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10 Ways to keep a daily family walk interesting

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Hit the pavement together

A daily walk with your family is more than good exercise. Hitting the pavement together gives you and your kids an opportunity to chat, explore nature and create fond memories. Here are a few ways you can keep your children engaged in your daily family walk.

1. Playground pit stops

It's not about the calorie burn and distance traveled, Mom. Anytime you approach a playground, give your kids the green light to run ahead and monkey around on the neighborhood jungle gym. If a daily walk is attached to a daily playground visit, you won't hear your kids complain about lacing up and stepping out.

2. Make it an obstacle course

Take a closer look: Your daily walk likely consists of numerous obstacles for added interest. Encourage your kids to run up and down a flight of stairs, roll down a grassy hill or leap over small hedges. Those quick bursts of energy will increase their adrenaline and excitement during walk time.

3. Create a marathon club

If you hope to log a mile a day, you and the kids will have walked a marathon in less than a month. Cool, right? Your kids will think so, too. Keep track of how many miles your children walk, and give them a special prize when they have walked enough to join the "marathon club."

4. Find a firefly

Time your daily walks with twilight so that summer fireflies will dance around your children as you meander through the neighborhood. Tell them to bring mason jars so they can catch a few when you need a break from walking.

5. Bring a picnic

Pack a bag with tasty snacks, water and a blanket. Once you've traversed a couple of miles, find a spot to sit and enjoy an outdoor dinnertime with the kiddos.

6. Alternate your routes

It's important to change your exercise scenery every now and then. Hop into the car to visit a lake, forest or neighborhood so your children will see new and interesting things on your walking route. You can even call it a hike so they feel extra adventurous.

7. Road trip games

Games like "I Spy" and "20 Questions" don't need to be relegated to a cross-country road trip. Instead, go ahead and play some of your favorite family road trip games while you're walking. You'll be surprised at how quickly the miles pass.

8. A destination to remember

Weird things happen when you start walking as a family. Namely, you'll recall that walking is more than exercise. It can actually take you places you want to go. To keep your kids interested in a daily walk, let them know that a fun destination awaits at the end of the journey, like a dollar theater, a favorite restaurant or even a creek bed for an afternoon of catching minnows.

9. Sing a few songs

Bring your phone with you and crank up the Pandora tunes without headphones attached. Sure, you may irritate your neighbors as you power-walk on by, but they'll get over it. Your kids will think it's fun to sing out loud to your family's favorite songs.

10. Play dress-up

Who says games of dress-up have to be relegated to the house? Encourage your kids to dress as their favorite superheroes before your daily walk. We bet they'll channel all of those super powers into bursts of energy and play that will get everyone's blood pumping.

Did you know? Walking with family — especially teenagers — is a great way to start conversation. People feel less intimidated when they can talk while looking forward rather than holding eye contact.

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