You might already know that we have a late afternoon routine of walking the dog (and ourselves) nearly every day. The reasons (and benefits) are many: exercise, visiting parks and playgrounds for Bergen, catching up on our days and making plans…we even have been known to throw in an errand or two at the post office or grocery store.
These days, depending on time and distance planned, sometimes Bergen walks on his own. However, most of the time, he rides in his stroller, with opportunities to walk & play built in, as we tent to log at least 3 miles on our outings.
When Bergen walks on his own, we can go several blocks at a decent pace, but after a while his speed slows and he’s more interested in interacting with the little things he sees on the grass, sidewalk and properties of our neighbors. He stalls, dilly-dallies, piddles, you name the technique for slowing down (and wasting time), he does it. It’s important to us though that he continues to build his walking stamina and endurance. The last thing we want as active adults is a kid who doesn’t want to walk anywhere.
Yesterday, we tried something new for our afternoon walk. I don’t know about your locale, but as city dwellers (at least in our neighborhood), we tent to get our share of trash that builds up along the sidewalk edges, curbs and intersections. We clean up our block and blocks close by every now and again, but we hadn’t done so in a while, and Bergen had never been a part of it.
So instead of our usual walk, we went on a trash pick-up walk. Bergen and I searched for pieces of trash while Slaed followed close by picking up all that we found and collecting it in a garbage bag. After just a couple of blocks, Bergen got pretty good at spotting garbage on the ground—and with all of the leaves that have fallen, it wasn’t exactly the easiest trash pick-up we’ve done!
A bonus to the while thing was that because pick-up takes time, we were actually going at Bergen’s ideal pace. We were able to focus him on sighting trash, but he also had extra time to explore and do his dawdling–checking out rocks, acorns, flowers, leaves and whatever else he could find. And without the pressure of speed and keeping up, he actually walked a whole lot further than he normally would!
Have you ever picked up trash in your neighborhood or another location? Do you volunteer with your kids? Tell us about it!
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