Walking with Children

Walking with your children is an especially wonderful way to spend time together. It's fun, it's healthy and it won't cost you anything.  

If you want to get your kids away from the computer screen for the day, think about planning an adventure outside! You can explore where you live, find new routes to different places, enjoy nature in the park or countryside, or simply just have fun and quality time together.  Here are a few different ideas that might inspire you:

Try a Medal Route, easy short walks across Scotland. Download the App

Scotland Magazine's 10 Easy strolls to take the family on

Or there's a hill walk,  Wild about Scotland's Top 10 Family Hill Walks 

The National Trust have some good trails for children although there is an entry charge for non members. 

The Woodland Trust have lost of suggestions for fun activities for children in the woods

Antonia Kearton

But you don't have to go far, you can go walking anytime and anywhere that suits you - it’s the easiest exercise to build into your daily life. Children should be physically active for at least 60 minutes a day and walking is a great way of contributing to this target.  If you make it fun, you’ll find it much easier to get your children out walking regularly.

Top tips for making walking fun:

  • Plan a walk just for fun.  Fun things that are active will make you and your children smile or laugh.  For example, finding unusual steps or ways to walk, jumping in puddles, singing whilst walking, looking for happy or silly things, looking for fun events in your area.
  • If they don’t like to walk – don’t suggest a walk, instead suggest an adventure that just happens to include a walk, a trip to somewhere they like that will get them to take notice of everything.  This could be to a pond, a hill to fly a kite, a park or some swings, a visit to a friend, a ruin, a railway, a waterfall or canal side – there are endless possibilities.
  • Take nice things to eat and drink on the way.  Think of it as a treat and your children will catch your excitement.

Antonia Kearton

  • Don’t make it too long and hard – the chances are they will need to build up their fitness gradually just like an adult does.  Be prepared to go at their pace, even if it means playing in the puddles for half the afternoon.
  • Cut the walk short if necessary – children can have a staggering amount of energy one minute and be totally exhausted the next.  Congratulate them on any special effort and achievement.
  • Show them where they are on a map if you have one.
  • Make sure children have comfortable clothes and shoes.  Carry extra layers for them and be prepared for them to get hot and cold in rapid succession.  Take something to change into in case they get wet and remember sun cream and lotion for bites and stings.
  • Give them a small rucksack to pack and carry – this will add to the sense of adventure.  But remember you’ll probably end up carrying it so don’t let them pack too much!
  • Children love clambering over things – boulders, tree trunks or small steep hills or dunes.  They like climbing trees and rocks – it’s the straight flat paths that they find boring.

Antonia Kearton

  • Let them take a friend.
  • Think up things they can look for – animals, birds, trees, people, buildings.  Or things they can collect – tree seeds, leaves, shells, small stones, feathers. 
  • Take a camera or use a camera on a phone – they could put photos in a "walkers' diary".
  • Try to make walking part of their regular journey to school.  This will help them build up their strength as they do it everyday. 
  • Joining forces with another family is often a good idea. The children can have fun together and there can be more commitment to go when others are involved.
  • Don’t force them to walk if they really don’t want to – you might put them off walking for good. And don’t be surprised if enthusiastic junior walkers lose all interest in walking as teenagers; the chances are they will take it up again in later life.


The aim of the plan is to get you walking briskly for at least half an hour on at least five days of the week.