How to Start

Walking

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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Activity 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.