Stay safe: please read our page about how to walk outdoors safely during COVID-19.

New to Walking: Getting Started
Take the Challenge
Walk for Adventure: Explore and Discover
Walk for Peacefulness, Solitude and to Connect with Nature

For Families

Help your kids be on top of their game! Studies show that kids who go on walks and spend time outdoors in nature are happier, healthier, and more creative, and do better in school and sleep better. Taking kids on walks in natural areas decreases stress and anxiety, improves motor development and coordination, and improves social development. It's good for their physical and mental health to spend time outdoors playing, exploring nature, making discoveries, and burning off excess energy. You and their teachers will notice the difference! Parents also find that getting their kids to spend time outside in green spaces helps manage ADHD.

Health care providers are concerned that children today are spending too much time indoors looking at screens and absorbed in their computers, phones, games and television. While most kids are very interested in the environment, many are disconnected from nature. Most are not spending enough time outdoors. A recent study found that prison inmates spend more time outdoors each week than most children. Some are even calling the current epidemic of mental and physical health problems "Nature Deficit Disorder."

RI Walks can help you and your kids add balance to your lives. Taking walks and spending time outdoors in nature is fun for children of all ages and a great family activity. It's easy to fit walks into your family's schedule. Best of all, taking walks in natural areas is free!

If you live within easy walking distance of a park or green space, kids can easily spend time in nature and explore this space. If you don't live within walking distance to a park or other green space, your kids need your help to spend time in nature! Start now by setting a time in your family schedule for taking walks outdoors.

RI Walks enables you and your kids to:

And best of all, RI Walks has adventure guides that you can print and take with you on the trail to make walks more fun.

It's never too early to begin. You can take infants for walks in a baby carrier or backpack and take toddlers walking on bike paths and other stroller friendly trails.

How much time do you need to spend outdoors to make a difference?
Research shows that spending 2 hours a week in nature appears to be the "magic" number for the amount of time necessary to start seeing some health benefits. The good news is that you can get similar health benefits from multiple short sessions - 15-20 minutes a day - as you do from one 2-hour block of time.

From an exercise perspective, talk with your health care provider to see what they recommend for walking and exercise for your child/children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 1 hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity for children 6 years old and above each day. Again, these 60 minutes do not need to be in one block of time and can be achieved throughout the day. Taking walks, playing and exploring outdoors can help to meet this goal.

Tips for keeping kids interested:
Anyone who has watched kids at the beach knows that it doesn't take much for them to have fun, play and be active. Children chase gulls, make sand castles or just dig a hole or a moat to guide the flow of water from the waves. But there are things you can do to help make time outdoors and walks fun:

Start a moms or dads group that takes kids for walks in parks and other natural areas.

Images Courtesy of RI Families in Nature

© Rhode Island Land Trust Council • P.O. Box 633 • Saunderstown, RI 02874 USA

Header image and photo button images courtesy of RI Families in Nature.

Privacy Policy Tems of Service