5 Ways To Make The Walk To School or Nursery More Fun
Less than half of school children walk to school, compared with 70% a generation ago. And while our lives might be busier, if it’s something we can fit in, it’s a positive move.
It adds a daily dose of physical exercise, it offers you time to talk to your little ones about how they’re feeling, and it connects you to your local community.
The campaign organisation Living Streets also wants to get more people walking to affect town planning – so our spaces are designed around pedestrians and bikes rather than cars.
So, whether your mornings and afternoons usually involve a walk, or whether you’re looking to build in walking every so often, here are some ways to turn the stress of the school run into something a little more fun.
Eyes And Ears Bingo
If you feel like you can’t take another game of I-Spy, play bingo instead! Choose seven (or more if your walk’s a bit longer) things you can look or hear out for on your walk. Here are some ideas:
- Birds and birdsong
- Moving cars and car engines
- A motorbike
- An emergency vehicle
- Traffic lights
- Blossom or green shoots
- Someone wearing yellow
- Someone wearing a hat
- A squirrel
You get the idea. Choose items that suit your surroundings, and if you’re feeling creative, make some bingo cards up. The first person to see and hear everything on their list is the winner. This is a great project to suggest to your school or nursery too, so you can tally sightings as a class each week.
Borrow A Dog!
If your children love dogs then there’s nothing more exciting than looking after one for a little while. Dogs also often have the power to elicit smiles from strangers, as dog-owners will know! If you don’t have a dog, perhaps you have a neighbour who would welcome you giving theirs a walk a couple of times a week.
Test Different Routes
The time-pressured school dash in the morning may not be the time for extended rambles around your neighbourhood, but you could test out a few different routes and see which is speediest.
While paying attention to hazards, what’s the quickest time you can make each week? If you have slightly older children you could turn this into a science project, monitoring times and observing what factors affect your speed.
What slows you down (waiting at traffic lights? Walking against the wind?).
There’s some debate about whether Pokémon promotes a love of the outdoors as it gets people outside in their neighbourhoods, or whether people get so engrossed in the game that they may as well be inside. You decide what’s right for your family. But, so long as you’re with them, and children are reminded to pay attention to their surroundings while they’re capturing their Weedles, Pokémon might be the game that excites your little ones to get their boots on and get excited about the walk to school.
Singing and storytelling
Singing while you walk may get you some smiles, but with children in tow you have a great excuse! Singing helps small legs keep up the pace, as well as unleashing playfulness into what might seem a chore. You can sing whatever you like, but Walking, Walking or The Ants Go Marching are particularly apt!
If your children are age 3+, try creating a story together. Use what you see around you as prompts and let the silliness commence. For example:
Me: “Once upon a time, there was a big oak tree. But it was no ordinary tree…”
6 year old: “It was a magical tree, and the squirrels who lived there could talk.”
3 year old: “And they like to eat you, and poo on your head.”
Me (wondering where to go from there): “So one day, there was a big meeting between the squirrels and the people to try and sort things out.”
Poo does seem to play an inevitable role in stories when young people get involved in the telling.
We hope these ideas help liven-up your school or nursery walks. What other tips do you have for making everyday walking commutes more interesting for big and little feet?