Family walks are a great opportunity to get out and active, have the kids run around in the fresh air and off screens. But if you need a little incentive to entice them for the walk, then games and a little competition can really help. These entertaining games to play on a family walk are suitable for a range of ages and need nothing more than a little imagination and creativity!
My youngest daughter was never a fan of going for a walk, but the minute we suggested a game while walking she would forget the walking and have fun with the game. We also used to enjoy hunting for and collecting things while out on walks – it’s amazing how challenging your child to find something turns them into instant detectives!
Fun Games to Play On a Family Walk
#1. I Spy
One of the classic games to play on a family walk is a simple one to get started with as well. When the kids were younger we used to play the colour version (e.g. finding something green for grass or yellow for a daffodil) when they couldn’t spell as easily.
The person doing the spying has to choose something and say to the others “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with G” (e.g. grass) and the rest of the players have to guess what they have spied. The person who guesses correctly gets to be the next spy.
#2. Animal Vegetable Mineral
Also known as 20 Questions, players take it in turn to think of something. They tell the other players whether it is animal, vegetable or mineral and the others have to ask questions for Yes/No answers only to try to narrow down what they are thinking of. The person who guesses gets to be the person who thinks of the next thing.
In the 20 Questions variation, you have to guess the answer by the end of 20 questions or the current player gets to choose another thing for the rest to guess.
#3. Who Am I?
In this game, the first player thinks of somebody and the rest of the players have to guess who they are. They can only ask questions with Yes/No answers. E.g. are they in our family? Do I know them personally? etc. Again the guesser gets to be the next Who Am I?
#4. Scavenger Hunt
#5. Follow the Leader
Someone is “It” and they decide how everyone will walk for the next two minutes or five minutes if you want to make it longer. E.g. hopping on one leg, jumping like a kangaroo or a frog, etc.
#6. Guess What
Put something small that will fit in your hand into your pocket. When you start the walk, you carry the thing in your hand and the kids have to guess what it is. You could take a few different teeny items for them to guess.
#7. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
Follow in the footsteps of the favourite kids book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen as you go on your walk. Here are a few of the lines to remind you:
We’re going on a bear hunt.
We’re going to catch a big one.
What a beautiful day!
We’re not scared.
Long wavy grass.
We can’t go over it.
We can’t go under it.
We’ve got to go through it!
Through the grass: Swishy swashy! Swishy swashy! Swishy swashy!
Through the river: Splash splosh! Splash splosh! Splash splosh!
Through the mud: Squelch squerch! Squelch squerch! Squelch squerch!
Through the forest! Stumble trip! Stumble trip! Stumble trip!
Through the snowstorm! Hoooo woooo! Hoooo woooo! Hoooo woooo!
Through the cave! Tiptoe! Tiptoe! Tiptoe!
It’s a bear!
#8. Teeny Tiny Hunt
Give your child a small empty gift box or matchbox and they have to fill it with teeny treasures they find. It could be a tiny seed, a flower head, an acorn and so on. Or if you are at the beach, small shell, pebble, tiny bit of seaweed, etc.
#9. Collection Time
Start a collection of similar things, e.g.
- interesting leaves of different shapes and colours
- twigs with a bend
- smooth stones
- shells if you’re at the beach
#10. Toss the Coin Hike
Take a coin with you and the kids get to decide if left or right matches heads or tails then every time you reach a junction or where the path / road divides toss the coin to let it choose where you go next.
#11. Shopping Game
The first person starts by saying ‘I went to the shops today and bought…’ something beginning with A (e.g. apple). The next person continues by saying the previous item (apple) and then something beginning with B (e.g. banana) and so on, going through the alphabet adding one more item to the end of the list each time. See if you can get all the way to Z and list them all!
Geocaching is like a treasure hunt. All you need is your smartphone, and you use Global Positioning System (GPS) to guide you to the treasure. Geocaching introduces your children to basic map reading skills as well as teaching them about latitude, longitude, and geography.
People have hidden trinkets and objects at various locations, which you and your children can go out and find. When you find the treasure (cache), you swap items in it. So take out something and put something in that has similar or higher value before returning the cache to its original hiding place.
#13. Sound Hunt
Instead of hunting for things, why not go on a sound hunt? When you take a moment to stop and listen outside there are lots of noises to hear. From leaves rustling to birds singing. Now see if you can find all the sounds on our sound scavenger hunt.
#14. Pooh Sticks
Another of our favourite games to play on a family walk is Pooh Sticks, which is also a great one for toddlers and preschoolers!
To play you will need a stream with a bridge over it, and each person finds a stick to use for the game. check which way the water is flowing under the bridge first and go to the side upstream. Then on the count of 3, everyone tosses their sticks into the water, runs to the other side of the bridge to see whose stick floats out first and wins.
#15. Giddy Up Horses
For this game, you pretend that you are riding ponies or horses along the walk. Sometimes you need to trot or canter or gallop. Other times you will need to jump low fences or walls. And don’t forget to pat your horse at the end of the ride and give them a drink and a treat!