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5 fun walking games to entertain your 5-year-old

While taking a family walk has many benefits like exercise, fresh air, and bonding time, just walking along can feel boring for some kids, especially 5-year-olds who always need a new activity to occupy them. With these five walking games for kids, you can entertain your kids on a walk without anything except your minds and voices and virtually zero prep work. Fun walking games are the key to making a stroll or a hike entertaining and enjoyable for all of you if you’ve run out of things to talk about or you can see they’re getting antsy.

Best of all, you’ll be helping your child to gain an appreciation for screen-free fun and for nature as you ask them to notice their surroundings and have fun in ways that make their mind get creative and observant. These games work for many ages of kids, and once they know the game, you can play it for years to come.

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Fun walking games for kids

20 questions

The name of the game gives it away. Think of something, and the other player gets to ask 20 questions to narrow it down and figure out what it is you’re thinking of. If you’re on a hike, you could choose something you can see, like a lake, or hide something like a pinecone in your bag or hand and have them guess what you’re hiding. You could also play this abstractly and think of a T Rex or Bluey. This game helps critical thinking skills, and you don’t need anything at all to play except each other.

Count off

Pick something to keep track of and see how many you can count. How many squirrels can you spot by the end of the walk? How many cars go by? How many downed trees do you see? This encourages kids to take note of their surroundings and be present while practicing counting skills. See how high your child can count! You can choose to play this collaboratively where you both spot as much as you can as a team or competitively to see who can find more of the designated item.

Follow the leader

The leader (you or your child) gets to walk in a unique way like skipping, hopping, making a funny noise with every step, or clapping hands as they walk. The follower needs to copy the way the leader is walking. Your child will love it when you let them be the leader. You could complicate this by switching roles back and forth and adding something on with each turn, i.e. first leader does a hop, second leader does a hop then a skip, first leader does a hop then a skip then a clap, etc.

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I spy

Here’s an easy classic everyone knows and anyone can play. One player (you or your child) chooses an object and tells the other player(s) “I spy with my little eye, something…” and give a clue like “something that begins with C” (if they know their alphabet well enough), or “something blue” or “something tall.” Similar to 20 questions, the guesser needs to figure out the mystery object, but in this case, they are given a big clue upfront, and they just guess items (Is it a car? A cactus? A canyon?) instead of asking questions to narrow it down.

Scavenger hunt

You don’t need to prep a whole official scavenger hunt to play this. You can simply ask your child to be on the lookout for a pinecone, and once they find that, tell them to now find a bird. Without writing anything down, you can just verbally tell them what to find as you walk. You can also tell them three (or another number of) items to find by the end of your walk, and whenever they get bored or distracted, remind them about the game. If you have more than one child, they can play cooperatively or competitively. Who can find the most items? Who can find them first?

Which of these fun walking games do you think your child will like the most? Whether it’s enhancing exercise with Follow the Leader or working the mind like 20 Questions, your 5-year-old is sure to have more fun than ever on your next walk.

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Sarah Prager
Sarah is a writer and mom who lives in Massachusetts. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, National…
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