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Mental Health Week: 10th-16th May: Walks with children

This is taken from a chapter in my book ‘Mindful walks to be in the present’ which is copyrighted so I therefore have to acknowledge that I’m taking this excerpt despite it being from my own book.

There is nothing better than taking a walk with children and seeing their responses to their environment which often helps the adult see it all through fresh eyes which is always a wondrous thing. It is also important for children to see their place in the world, their immediate surroundings as well as their family and this can be achieved through a walk together. They can build their confidence in being outdoors as well as interacting with others.

All these benefits are of course in addition to them being outdoors in the fresh air and being able to be refreshed and rejuvenated by play and taking in their environment.

All of the walks mentioned so far can be adapted for and to involve children. You will know how best to do that for the children you know.

I like to encourage them to find a leaf or something else from their surroundings which they like and to examine it, talking through what they see, smell and feel and why they wanted to pick it up.

Another favourite of mine is to admire plants and flowers whilst still leaving them in place rather than feeling the need to pluck them from their environment. So I engage children in discussing why the flowers look good there and how they will look next time we come visit the area rather than if we plucked them and took them home. Can they draw it or take a photograph as a reminder of their walk?

Walking along saying what they can see such as colours, trees, plants, flowers and any wildlife they can name. encourage their curiosity about their environment whilst also teaching them respect and safety around their environment.

Make up a creative story as you walk along together describing what you see, hear and touch and relate that back to yourselves or a fictional character. This can be a lovely way of encouraging children and adults to connect with each other as well as feel connected to their environment so they may see their place firmly within it.

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