The benefits of walking with kids

children in the street

Walking can be a great way to find out more about your neighbourhood

Children walking to school

Children love walking to school with their friends

Three children and mum walking through park

Stretch those legs and take a walk in the park

Walking is a fantastic activity for you and your children. The kids can be free, spontaneous, and it's a great way to spend quality time together.

It's never too early to start walking, as soon as your child has mastered the art, it’s one of the easiest ways to be physically active. You can do it virtually anywhere without special or expensive gear - just a comfortable pair of shoes.

Getting children walking from a young age is an investment for life, developing road awareness in time for independent walking as a teenager, and creating good habits for an active life as an adult.

Why is walking good for kids?

Walking is a great way to stay active for people for all ages. Particularly for kids, walking is: 

  • fun and interesting. You get to notice things along the way and meet people in your neighbourhood.
  • sociable. Children love walking with their friends, especially on the journey to school.
  • makes them feel good. The exercise makes them feel calmer and happier and it improves their concentration, making it easier to focus in school.
  • promotes independence and freedom. Children can make more decisions about their journey than they can in the car. They can choose to stop and look at something along the way and they can start to make decisions about road safety. For older children, walking independently offers some time to themselves.

There are health benefits to walking, too. It helps keep you and your kids stay healthy in mind as well as body, helping to boost your mood and self-esteem. What’s more, many teachers report that kids who walk and cycle to school are more alert and ready to learn than those who arrive by car.

Swap a few car journeys

When you have a busy family life it’s tempting to jump in the car to ferry everyone around all the clubs, play dates and activities. But swapping just a few of those journeys to travel by foot or bike could be easier than you think. About a third of all the journeys we undertake are less than a mile, which is about a 20 minute walk - and you won’t have to hunt for a parking space when you arrive.

Walking, as well as being one of the cheapest ways of getting around, is also kind to our planet. You won’t leave a carbon footprint, just your own. If we all swapped one car journey a week for walking, car traffic levels would reduce by at least 10%.

Read more tips for planning your family walks

Explore routes for families on the National Cycle Network