20 Ideas for Walk to School Day

In many communities, the school trip this fall involves simply walking from the bedroom to the kitchen.  In some places, schools are open, and students are able to walk and roll to school.  

Regardless, Walk to School Day is a way to support unchanging community goals in a time of great change, whether the goal is to strengthen community connections, promote physical activity, advance road safety, celebrate the benefits of walking or something else.  

Whether you’re encouraging individual families to celebrate, organizing a neighborhood-wide event or recognizing the day on a school campus, there are ways to be part of Walk to School Day. Just be sure whatever you promote aligns with local public health guidance. 

  • Families

    1. Encourage students to join a “virtual walk” by reporting on their mileage. Tally up the mileage and report the total miles walked by the school.  

    2. Create a “traffic garden” in the school parking lot using chalk. Invite families to bring their bikes and practice their biking skills. Encourage coming on a specific day of the week depending on last name to minimize the chances of several families using it at the same time. (For example, students with last names A–F would be invited to bike the garden on Monday.) 

    3. Encourage any kind of outdoor physical activity, whether it’s running, walking, riding, rolling or something else. 

    4. Invite families to use a neighborhood walk to talk about pedestrian safety and practice safety skills.  

    5. Promote the mental health benefits of walking and exercise.  

    6. Build a schedule of activities for the week of Walk to School Day.  

    7. Ask teachers and local political figures to engage in a virtual “walk to school.” Each person records a shareable video of themselves walking to a local school, demonstrating safe behaviors and commenting on the benefits of active transportation (such as number of steps walked, observing wildlife, waving to neighbors).  

  • Neighborhoods

    8. Meet at the neighborhood entrance with posters and take a physically distanced walk around the neighborhood. Let residents know about the walk beforehand and encourage them to wave when the group passes their homes. 

    9. Organize a virtual advocacy day of action to address road safety concerns in your neighborhood or on the route to school.  

    10. Plan a route past each student’s home to “pick up” students along the way. If it’s too far, designate a few centralized “stops.” Walk together to a park or other special neighborhood feature.  

    11. Create a neighborhood challenge to reach a certain number of steps or minutes spent walking during the week or entire month. 

    12. Conduct an informal walk audit of the neighborhood. Ask students to write down safety concerns.  

    13. Ask families to share pictures or videos of their walks on social media (and tag #WalktoSchoolDay to share with the wider Walk to School Day community). 

    14. Draw chalk rainbows (or something else) around the neighborhood and challenge students to find them all.  

  • Schools

    15. Keep it simple and congratulate students and families for walking and biking to school using school communications channels such as a school newsletter or social media post. You could also remind them of the health benefits they’re gaining and that they’re helping reduce private vehicle traffic around the school. 

    16. Challenge walkers to commit to walking to school a certain number of days in October. 

    17. Use the day to bring attention to the need for drivers to slow down and funding needed for sidewalks.  

    18. Kick-off a “park and walk” campaign to reduce motor vehicle traffic arriving at the school.  

    19. Create an online form for students to “check in” for Walk to School events to include in-person learners physically walking to school as well as e-learners who are walking around their neighborhood for an exercise break during their school day. 

    20. Ask PE teachers to send home information about the value of walking and importance of pedestrian safety and encourage everyone to take a walk at home.  

Original source: http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/20-ideas-for-walk-to-school-day-2020/