Friday, May 11, 2012

Walking Games


We try to walk places whenever we can around here. After all, it saves gas, reduces wear and tear on the car, and --at least in the long run--it means you spend less on doctors' bills.

We have also found that it is easier to get places on time when we walk. This seems counter-intuitive, but I think it is because walking forces you to plan. When I drive places, I often forget to think about how long it really takes to pack everyone in and out, not to mention driving through traffic. What I think is a five minute trip, might actually take 15. There is another advantage to walking as well. If you're five minutes late walking somewhere, you can always make up time by doubling your speed. Try this in a car, and you're likely to cause an accident, or get a ticket.

So, walking is wonderful! I love walking...

But, sometimes I hate it. Here is why: my four year-old is slow. He is a dawdler and a foot dragger. He likes to use up all of his energy weaving across the sidewalk and then wander into someone's yard to step on their decorative rocks or pick their dandelions. When we're running late getting his brother to school, this is a little frustrating.

Fortunately, we have found a solution which works well, at least sometimes. We play games. Here are a few of them:

Racing Cheetahs: My friend invented this, and my son won't actually play it unless she is running the game.   In this one, the kids are cheetahs, chasing after deer, giraffes, and other wildlife. The wildlife is played by obliging street lamps, signs, poles, and hydrants. The grown-up tells the kids about wildlife up ahead and sends them chasing after it.

Ping Pong Ball: I am the paddle, the kids are the ping pong balls. I give them a gentle whack on the back and send them flying, when they reach a busy driveway or intersection we "roll" across together.

Bow & Arrow: I am the bow. The kids are the arrows. I pull them back and send them flying at a pole, tree, or sign up ahead.

Whack It With a Stick: This one is my favorite. I have him find a stick (not too heavy) and whack things as I call them out. We stick stuff I'm sure he won't damage, like sturdy trees, poles, and garbage bins.