Do you need some fun ideas for keeping kids busy and entertained on a walk? We’ve got 30 great nature walking games to help you do just that.
Whether you’re walking for pleasure, on the school run, or taking regular walks to run errands with the kids, having some fun games up your sleeve can make all the difference when it comes to keeping everyone happy.
The many benefits of outdoor play and walking with kids
We all know that outdoor play is brilliant for kids, and walking is no different.
- It’s an opportunity for physical activity and exercise in the fresh air.
- It’s a great way to get them off the screens and video games!
- Outdoor walks and outdoor play is one of the easiest ways to engage with nature.
- Spending time outdoors can reduce levels of stress and anxiety, and boost happiness.
- It’s low cost or completely free!
Inspiration for nature walks and games
Finding lots of good games and activities to keep the kids happy when playing or walking outdoors can sometimes feel a little daunting. That’s where *A Year of Nature Walks and Games comes in very handy.
This lively book is packed with 52 fun nature activities that are perfect for a family walk or an outdoor adventure. From spring scavenger hunts to summer park games, autumn nature science and winter walking games, there’s a whole year’s worth of good ideas to make your walks more exciting and less boring!
30 fun nature walking games
Here are 30 of our favourite walking games, trail games and walking activities to play with the kids. They’re suitable for kids of all ages, the whole family can join in, and they’re just as much fun for the adults. You could try one of these easy games to play while walking on your next family hike or walking route, whenever you need to persuade the kids to go for a walk, or as a boredom-buster when little legs get tired on a long walk.
Spot the colour
Each player chooses a colour. During the walk, they need to spot things in that colour and get a point for each item they spot. The winner is the player with the most points at the end of the walk. Tip: some colours are easier than others!
One player thinks of a thing – it can be an object, living thing, or place. They tell everyone which category the thing belongs to, then players take it in turns to ask a question about the thing. The only answers allowed are ‘Yes’ or ‘No. If a player guesses what the thing is in twenty questions or less, they choose the next thing. If nobody gets it right after twenty questions, the ‘thing’ is revealed and players choose who goes next.
Journey stick walk
Take some pieces of string with you on your walk. Each child finds a stick at the start of the walk, then collects fallen nature treasures and ties them to the stick with the string. We’ve got a full guide to this great activity in our journey sticks article.
Taking a ball with you on your walk is an easy way to keep kids interested with a fun game Players throw it to each other as they walk, keeping count until the ball is dropped. Then try to beat your score.
Count the thing
Players choose an item to count during the walk. They can work in teams or individually, and the winner is the team or player with the highest score at the end of your walk. You can make this really easy for young children (for example, road signs) or more tricky (for example, yellow cars).
I went to the shop
The first player starts by saying ‘I went to the shop and I bought..’ then adds an item. The next player repeats what player one said, and adds another item on the end. Keep going until someone gets the list of items wrong, then you can start again.
Count your steps
How long can you keep count of your steps on a walk? Children don’t have to count for the whole walk; they could limit it to their street, for example. You could compare their total with a step counter on a smartphone to see how accurate it is.
Follow the leader
The player who is the leader is in charge of the actions, and everyone else has to copy them. For example, they can hop, wave, make a sound, skip, walk in single file, or do a silly walk. Each player gets to take a turn as the new leader during the walk.
As well as keeping kids busy, a nature scavenger hunt really helps them to develop their observation skills. You can find one online, or make up your own with the kids before you head out for your walk.
Make up a story
Work together to create a group story. Take it in turns to add a part of the story as you walk. Try to cover the place and time where the story is set, main characters, and their purpose – but anything goes!
One player is the spy, and says ‘I spy with my little eye, something beginning with (first letter of the thing)’. Everyone else has to guess what the thing is. The player who guesses correctly becomes the next spy.
Players take it in turns to count up from 1 to 10. The turns have to be random, and can’t be agreed before the game starts. If more than one player says the same number at the same time, the game goes back to 1 and starts again. You can increase the highest number if the game gets too easy for older kids, or keep it simple for younger kids.
Fill a tiny box
Each child takes a small box (for example, a gift box or an empty matchbox) on the walk. During the walk, they have to go on a nature treasure hunt and fill their box with small items such as a petal, a leaf, a twig. Make sure they protect nature by only collecting fallen items, and not picking things from plants or trees.
Coin toss walk
This is a good walking game if you don’t mind where you end up! Take a coin on your walk, and toss it every time you get to a corner or want to change direction. Heads means you turn left, tails means you turn right.
Name that tune
This simple game is super-easy and can last for ages. Players take it in turns to hum a tune, and everyone else has to guess what it is. The player who guesses right is the next person to hum a tune. The game works best if you stick to their favourite songs.
Hide and seek
A classic game, and ideal if you’re going to make stops during your walk. One player hides while everyone else counts to twenty, then everyone tries to find them. Make sure you agree with children how far they can go before you start.
Make list of common birds where you live (you can look this up online). Then see how many you can spot during your walk. You could also talk about why you think each bird is where you saw it – was it feeding, building a nest, singing, or looking after young? If you own a pair of binoculars they will come in handy for this game.
During your walk, players have to listen out for sounds and make a list of them. What happens when they start to listen carefully – do they hear things they never noticed before?
Who Am I?
This is similar to 20 questions. A player chooses somebody to ‘be’, and the rest of the players have to ask questions to guess who they are. Only ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answers are allowed.
Follow a map route
Before you start your walk, take a look at the route on a map or a smartphone mapping app. Children then have to follow the map to your destination.
See how many different insects you can find on your walk. You could take a magnifying glass and a bug ID chart to help you.
You need the geocaching app on a smartphone for this activity. The app will show you the locations of geocaches in your area, and you then have to go on a walk to find the ‘treasure’.
The aim is to be the first to spot something that starts with the letter ‘A’, then the letter ‘B’ and so on. The winner is the player who spots the most letters.
What’s in my pocket?
Before going for your walk, an adult puts something small in their pocket. During the walk, kids have to guess what it is. Keep the item easy for younger children – for example, a favourite toy – or a bit more obscure for older children.
Players have to really tune into their senses for this one. As you walk, encourage them to focus on one sense at a time, paying attention to what they can see, hear, touch or smell. You could make a list of things, or try the same thing on two different walks and compare.
Make up a poem
Players take it in turns to make up lines of a poem. Trying to make each line rhyme will make things more fun and probably a bit silly!
How many different trees can you spot on your walk? You could find a tree identification guide that shows different types of leaves to help you; these are easy to find online.
A to Z game
Pick a theme, for example, different types of animals. Starting with ‘A’, players have to think of something that begins with that letter, for example, ‘Antelope’. Carry on through the alphabet to ‘Z’. Each player can pass on a letter once.
Take a camera or smartphone with you on your walk. Kids can become nature photographers, looking out for things like birds, insects, flowers, textures or colours. You could create a gallery of your photos when you get home.
Intervals walking game
This is a fun take on interval training. Kids have to carry out a sequence of moves as you walk, such as running, hopping, crab walking, skipping, or speed walking. You can use a stopwatch to give each move a set amount of time if you like.
More fantastic resources for outdoor play and walking games
Head this way for even more great ideas for helping kids explore nature:
This *brilliant book is full of nature activities, including nature crafts, science experiments, gardening projects and brilliant games to play outdoors.
This bumper list of outdoor games has 35 easy and fun nature games and activities for kids.
Seasonal bucket lists for outdoor play
If you’d like to buy a gift that encourages children to explore nature, this list of gifts for outdoorsy kids has lots of suggestions.
A collection of easy, low-cost ways to help kids explore nature. Grab the free printable here.
How about adding some giggles to your nature walk? We’ve got lots of family-friendly nature jokes for you to enjoy:
- Spring jokes, summer jokes and autumn jokes
- Flower jokes, plant jokes, tree jokes and garden jokes
- Bird jokes, bee jokes and cat jokes
- Fruit jokes and vegetable jokes
- Nature jokes
You’ll also find lots of great ideas in this article on nature games.