A Child's Walk Any amount of time spent outdoors at all with your child is hugely beneficial, but sometimes we make the mistake of thinking we have to go big or go home, that a special day out is a big organized trip to the zoo or to an activity centre. This is difficult to provide during rolling restrictions! Luckily, our children view the world with fresh eyes and it is easy to give them a new exciting take away from your normal walk location. In a clear space of the park or forest, let them explore as they please – at their own pace. Where an adult’s walk goal is to finish the walk, a child’s walk goal is the journey itself, the chance to explore and interact with the natural world as they feel like doing. A child-led walk is… Messy! Whatever they can manage to get into they will. Try not to rush in, everything can be washed later! Enjoy watching the sheer joy your child has when getting up close and personal with a blade of grass, a leaf, a bug, crushing mud under their fingernails, smelling the wet earth. Absolute bliss! When to start? As soon as they are walking! Children can be reasonably expected to be able to walk one mile for every year of their age, at their own pace. Starting at a young age will increase their ability as they age. If you are starting with an older child, ease in slowly, don’t try 7 miles with a 7-year-old right away unless you want to be met with moaning! What are the benefits? A child-led walk helps to build confidence and independence in your child, develop fine and gross motor skills, and increase sensory development. Taking a short walk, no matter the weather is an excellent way to build resilience at an early age. In Ireland we know all too well if we waited for perfect weather to go outside, we would get out less than 20 days a year. Let them clamber over logs, walk along a low wall, across a small brook. A popular Danish saying is ”a happy childhood is full of smiles and (minor!) bruises”. Are you up for the challenge? Let our activity guides inspire you. Week 1 shows you how to paint shadows to help solve the question "what will I draw?" Click here to Download This post is part of our larger toddler and nature series. Please stay tuned for more and check out our Welly Waddlers Workshops, where you can see the benefits of hands-on nature-play first hand with your little one. To find out more or to enquire please contact us at [email protected] or on 063 91300.