Taking walks.

In our house, the more we are outside, the happier everyone is. This results in a lot of walks during the day when the 3 year old gets grumpy. As an added bonus, the baby sleeps when we go on walks (she won’t sleep when her brother is up and playing). So we take lots of walks.

Walks, by themselves, are great experiences. You can talk about everything you see, look for letters, look for shapes and colors, and learn about the outside world. But you can also make each walk have a focus. When you pick a focus for your walk, you can turn it from a random educational/learning experience into a more themed experience.

Basic walks can include picking a letter, a shape, or a color. Then you point out everything along the way that is that color/that shape/starts with that letter. These walks are great for reinforcing colors, shapes, and letters already learned or for working on learning those things.

You can also go on “finding” walks. These work much like a scavenger hunt. For older kids you can make a list and have them find everything on the list, crossing the objects off as they find them. When you are walking with children who do not read, but you want to do a finding walk, you can make a list of pictures: Draw a flower for a flower, a tree for a tree, and so on. Or, for someone who wants to focus on one thing, you can pick that object at the beginning – like flowers – and simply point out all the flowers along the way.

There are also spelling walks. These can work one of two ways; first, you pick words and find the letters on signs and license plates you see on your walk. Second, you find objects that begin with the letters you need. You need to pick appropriate words at the beginning and make a list so that the letters can be crossed off. You can choose to find the letters in order, or find them generally.

Here are some of the lists we use on our walks:

Finding walks

List 1: flower, tree, animals, car, truck, rock, cow, cloud, grass, leaf, stick

List 2: paper, red flower, brown board, green leaf, a leaf with at least three sides, a clover, an oval rock, a brown rock, a white and black cow, a gray bird, an animal in the air, a bug with four legs, a flying bug, a tree with fruit or flowers on it

List 3: a red car, a bulldozer, a yellow car, a pickup truck, a delivery truck, a flatbed truck, a road sign, number 0-9, stop sign, an octagon, a diamond sign

Spelling walks

List 1: car, rock, road, shoe

List 2: star, cloud, cow

List 3: bird, rainbow, banana

List 4: spoon, fork, hat

List 5: water, apple, plate

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