Activities during walks
Activities for toddlers and babies
This theme will help make your daily walks more enjoyable for little ones. Use it to explore children's legs and feet, the body parts used for walking.
Decorate your daycare with items that will make children think about interesting things they saw or did during walks with their daycare friends. See the "Arts & crafts" section for decorations you can make with your group.
Print and cut out several footsteps. Laminate them and secure them on the floor using adhesive paper. Display pictures of the children in your group sitting in your daycare buggy or of toddlers walking next to you.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
Use empty toilet paper rolls to make simple binoculars for the children in your group. They will enjoy looking through them to observe things during your walks. For each child, glue two toilet paper rolls together. Have children decorate their binoculars with crayons and attach a string so they can wear them around their neck (supervision required) when you are out and about.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (hear)
Create your own unique picture book complete with pictures that represent the different things you regularly see and hear during your walks: a church bell, a car, a truck honking its horn, a barking dog, a chirping bird, children laughing and playing, etc.
ARTS & CRAFTS
To establish a connection between shoes and walking, make a special poster with the babies and toddlers in your group. Hang a large piece of paper on a wall. Print pictures of shoes or cut them out of catalogues and magazines. Glue your findings on the paper to create a unique shoe poster.
You will need empty tissue boxes. Let children paint them or draw on them using markers. Show little ones how they can wear the tissue boxes on their feet, just like shoes. Toddlers will especially enjoy trying to walk with these very silly shoes.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
A letter in the mail
Invite each child to draw on a piece of paper. When they are done, help them fold it and insert it in an envelope. Write the address of someone who is very dear to each child on his/her envelope. During one of your walks, let babies and toddlers deposit their envelope in a nearby mailbox.
Family outing in your neighbourhood
For this activity, you will need the collaboration of children's parents. Have each family bring their stroller. Together, take a walk in your neighbourhood. If parents cannot join you, invite grandparents, uncles, aunts, the cook, the janitor, etc. to take their place.
Provide a costume bin and help children choose a costume to wear. Paint each child's face. Wear silly hats and parade around your daycare or neighbourhood. If you wish, you may also provide musical instruments to make your walk that much more special for little ones. Decorate your stroller or daycare buggy with balloons too!
Where will we go today?
Go for a walk with your group and give older children the chance to choose between two quiet streets. If possible, ask them if they want to go left or right at each intersection.
Recognizing your shoes
Show each child two pairs of shoes (one pair that belongs to another child and his/her shoes). Check to see if they are able to recognize their shoes. With older toddlers, mix all their shoes together in a pile and encourage them to find their own pair of shoes.
During walks with your group, chances are your itinerary is almost always the same and you stop at the same places each time, such as the big apple tree, the birdfeeder, the water fountain, etc. Photograph the things that children like to look at during your walks and use them to create a special album that maps out your walks. Present each picture in the order in which you see the items during your walks. Babies and toddlers can turn the pages and use the pictures as a map representing the itinerary they know so well. This activity represents an introduction to spatial landmarks.
If you wish, you can even bring the album along on your walks and show the pictures to your group as you reach each photographed element (especially in the beginning to help little ones establish the link between the pictures and the things they see). Older children will like to hold the album as they walk along and search for the next object along their path.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES AND MOTOR SKILLS
Taking dolls for a walk
For this activity, select a very quiet street (or simply use your backyard). Provide toy strollers and dolls or stuffed animals. Offer toddlers the chance to push the strollers along on the sidewalk. Variation: On a rainy day, this activity can be done in your daycare hallways.
Walking in the rain
When it's raining, take your group out for a walk equipped with umbrellas, rain hats, rain boots, and raincoats. Let them jump in a tiny puddle.
Walking here, walking there
Throughout the week, change your itinerary whenever possible. Explore a new street, use a pedestrian path or a bike path, walk in a schoolyard, etc.
Toddlers are getting bigger
If your group includes toddlers who will soon be changing groups, let them walk next to the stroller or daycare buggy. Variation: Have children practice walking while holding a walking rope in your daycare hallways, at the playground, and then on a quiet street.
Animals are often the highlight of your walks for little ones. Name the animals and insects that you cross paths with: birds, squirrels, cats, dogs, butterflies, etc. Stop to observe and describe them (color, sound, etc.).
Early childhood educator
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