How to start


Going for a walk can be an easy, fun way to get outdoors, get to know a local forest or trail, or just get to know the green spaces in your neighborhood.

Step 1

Be specific about where and why you’re going out for a walk — for instance: “let’s go somewhere to watch the chipmunks!”

Step 2

Get your child involved by asking them to help you “plan” the walk. If you know the route well, they can draw out a basic map and help you navigate.

Step 3

Be sure to wear the right shoes, and put on sunscreen 15 minutes before you go out.

Step 4

While you walk, encourage your child to point out interesting things they see. Ask them questions about it — “How long do you think that branch has been lying there?”

Step 5

At the forest, or when you get home, you and your child can draw the most interesting thing you saw on your walk.

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Exploration Ideas

  • Collect objects for an art collage

    As you walk, be on the lookout for leaves, twigs, feathers, pebbles — or anything interesting you find in your path. Be careful not to take leaves or flowers unless you have permission from a ranger. When you get home, encourage your child to make a collage by gluing them onto a colorful piece of paper. They can even try to identify where they came from!

  • Make it a photowalk

    If you find a particularly interesting spot on your walk, try letting your child do some amateur photography. For example, find a flower and encourage your child to capture lots of different angles — from the sides, close up, and far away. Talk about which picture they like best, and why.

What to Bring

  • Plenty of water, even for short hikes — a gallon per person per day is a good guide
  • Snacks such as fruit or trail mix and empty bags to collect any garbage
  • Sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Lightweight rain jacket


Safety Tips

  • Be mindful of the sun. Use sunscreen, seek shade, and drink plenty of water — even in the winter.
  • Animals have their own natural food supply so please don’t feed them.
  • Fruits and mushrooms can look tasty, but some are poisonous. To be safe, do not eat anything you find growing in the forest.
  • Railroad tracks are for trains only. Keep to the side and stay off the tracks.
  • Remember to be mindful of cars when you’re in a park near a road. Wear bright colors for extra visibility.