Along our walks, Silke and I have painted several stones with animals, gnomes, etc. The children know them very well. At each one, we stop and have a simple lesson. There is the rhyming pig, which helps us with phonics and sounds, the wise buffalo, who gives us a thought for the day. There is gnome plus (ever happy) and gnome minus (always sad), who ask us to count children, clouds, fingers or whatever might be at hand. There is the silly bird, the "eye spy", the question queen, the owl (who can answer any question), and more.
These visitors can help a struggling child make the long walk, creating natural stopping points along the way and giving motivation to walk "just a little further till we reach tortoise, who can tell us something." It also adds structure and lessons to our walks, so that the children hardly even know they are learning something. To them, it's just something fun they look forward to. And if Silke or I walk past without taking notice, the children will shout forcefully to remind us, "you missed gnome A!", the snake, or whatever it happened to be.
See photos for more detail. These are only about half of our gnomes. Someday I can post more. They change throughout the year. The children can even participate in making them.