Many of the ideas below come from event organizers who have registered with Walk to School Day or Bike to School Day. Some of these ideas are simple, and others are more complex. Think about what fits your event and community. You can also learn what other schools are doing this year by visiting our Who's Walking section.
This is our school’s first Walk to School Day. We had great participation. The children were very excited as they dressed in the school spirit wear and decorated their shoes! A walkability checklist was filled out to gather helpful information. There was a huge impact of not so many drivers which helps the traffic issue. Just a great, fun, safe and healthy day!
– Parent, California
1. Carry signs that display pedestrian or bicycle safety messages.
2. Provide a nutritious breakfast before or after the walk or bike ride.
3. Incorporate a walking or biking theme into a physical education class.
4. Invite the school mascot or wear school colors while walking or biking.
5. Use walkability or bikeability checklists or make a list of problems spotted along the walk.
6. Take disposable cameras on the route and document what you see.
7. Carry colorful balloons during the event.
8. Ask the mayor to sign an official proclamation.
9. Invite local athletes or celebrities to participate.
10. Have kids design promotional materials for the event.
11. Hold a pep rally before the event.
12. Invite firefighters or law enforcement officers to hand out materials.
13. Create an event website.
14. Incorporate Ohio DOT's "Safe Out the Door" Glee-inspired video.
15. Hold a contest to design a logo for the event.
16. Have community leaders greet and congratulate kids as they arrive at school.
17. Make and display posters promoting the event at school, along the route(s) and throughout the community.
18. Provide parents with maps of suggested walking and bicycling routes to school. (Using resources like Google Maps).
19. Use the school intercom system to announce pedestrian and bicycle safety tips and to give reminders about the event.
20. Have the students help plan the event. Members of student councils, student safety patrols and other leadership groups can provide good peer role models.
21. Hold a pedestrian and/or bicycle safety assembly or a "question and answer" session in conjunction with the event.
23. Encourage students to work towards a school-wide goal of “One Million Minutes of Motion.”
24. For schools that are too far away or too dangerous for walking, use the event to kick-off a year-round walking AT school program.
25. Ask older elementary or middle school students to review routes using walkability and bikeability checklists and to present their results to the city council.
26. Mark routes to school with the school mascot’s prints (get permission from the city or town before marking public property).
27. Work with the local health department to promote physical activity.
28. Designate an area for parents to Park and Walk or Park and Bike Ride so that children who live further away can participate. It will also reduce traffic congestion at school.
29. Decorate the school’s bicycle racks.
30. Create a student “Walk to School Committee” responsible for calculating, posting and announcing statistics about the number of walkers, miles walked or any other related goals.
31. Create a “15-minute Walking Zone” around the school. Assign students the task of measuring and promoting it.
32. Invite parents and grandparents for refreshments at the school on the first “Walking Wednesday” or “Bike Friday” of every month.
33. Encourage parents or students to write songs about active transportation that the school choir can perform.
34. Choose a motto that captures the reason for walking or biking to school, like “spare the air, save a bear.”
35. Set a mileage goal and log the miles walked or biked toward that goal. The entire school can combine mileage to work toward a symbolic goal, like climbing Mount Everest, bicycling along the Nile or walking the Great Wall of China. Daily reports calculated by students chart progress. Study the target destination and plan a party based on the local culture for when the group "arrives."
36. Design and laminate a Frequent Walker/Biker Punch Card (sample template available to members) that students can hang from their backpacks. Choose regular and “surprise” walking days to punch cards that will be rewarded with small incentives for participation.
37. Plan a school-wide event to recognize the day, such as a picnic, assembly, awards ceremony or party for the class with the most walkers or bicyclists.
38. Reward the class that has the greatest percentage of students walking or biking to school at least three days a week, and the one that collectively walks the greatest distance. This helps to even out the differences between fifth graders and first graders, who may not walk or bike as far but may have great participation.
39. Teach kids how to use a pedometer, a small, pager-sized step counter worn on the hip. Some are available for as little as $4 each in bulk. Give them to kids and see if they can increase their total daily steps because of their walks to and from school.
40. Have students list the “Top 10 ways they got parents to walk or bike with them,” “Top 10 funny things they saw while walking or biking,” “Top 10 reasons to walk or bike,” or “Top 10 things that must be improved along the route.” Have monthly contests or votes to pick the best 10 ideas school-wide.
41. Develop walking themes for each day of the week and have children correspond their clothing to those days: safety colors day, green for the environment day, school colors day, etc.
42. Have students map a walking or bicycling route from their home to the school. Ask them to write a short narrative about why this route is the best one to use. Is it the fastest route? The safest route? The route with the most interesting sights to see as they walk? Post maps and narratives in the hallways a week before the event.
43. Highlight the construction of a new trail with a community walk and ride the weekend before the event. Show parents how safe and convenient these special assets are to walking and biking routes.
44. Practice pedestrian safety skills in the classroom and show students how to safely cross a street when walking or biking. Use desks, chairs and masking tape to show parked cars and pavement markings.
45. Practice locking bikes (or a bike substitute) to the bike racks on campus a few days before your Bike to School event so that students know where and how to safely store their bikes.
46. Host an after-school helmet fitting clinic for parents and students a week before the event.
47. Give the “Golden Shoe” award to the classroom or grade that has the most participants in the day’s events. Extend the friendly competition to other schools in your area.
48. Give students a picture of a bicycle on a piece of paper. Ask them to draw safety equipment like lights and a bell. Encourage them to decorate their bikes, too!
49. Include students with disabilities in your event. Talk to the Special Education Team Leader to create ways to ensure that all students can participate.
50. Play music with lyrics about walking or bicycling.
51. Say the pledge of allegiance outdoors as a group once all students arrive at the school.