Back to School with the Traffic Snake
Well it’s that time of the year again! Children across the country are waking from their summer slumber and making their way back to school. For some of them, it will be their first time going to school. Parents will proudly be taking pictures of their child in school uniform and sharing them with friends and family. For others, it’s the same old journey and a different year. However, it doesn’t have to be!
The start of the new school year is a perfect time to try out different modes of travel – especially if this is your child’s first year in school or if siblings are joining. You can choose to make the journey to school as fun as you like or it can be just another commute. Over the summer, we’ve been posting information on our Twitter account (@TrafficSnakeUK) about activities you can do to keep children active when not in school. Now that you are back to school, this doesn’t have to stop. Why not let your child tell you what they’d like to do differently? Use the commute to teach them about sustainable travel or get them comfortable using the different modes of transport available. Take the journey to school as a time to spend some quality time with your child/ren.
We’ve put together a few ideas of how you can make the most out of a school journey. This is by no means a comprehensive list so feel free to comment and share your own ideas. We’d love to hear them.
- Walk and cycle to school as much as you can. Being active prior to arriving at school keeps kids more alert and focused during their classes.
- If walking to school, choose a topic and discuss it with your child on the way to school. This will provide mental ‘exercise’ as well as physical exercise. Topics can be on anything you like, for example on Monday the topic could be the ‘Animal Kingdom’ and you could discuss the different animals and where they live, what they eat, what their key defining features are etc. You could even just choose one topic a week (like the animal kingdom example) and choose a different animal each day.
- Another great walking mental activity is to pick a random object and let your child tell you about it. For example you could pick ‘Ice’. This will lead to a number of different discussions all based on ice such as how ice is formed, snow, ice-bergs, Antarctic, Polar bears etc. This is a great little game as the conversation is led by the child and often there is an exchange of information from parent/guardian to child.
- If cycling to school, this is a great opportunity to teach about road safety and the cycling laws in the UK. You can make the journey more fun by giving your child tasks. This could be anything from count the number of red letter boxes or oak trees. Ultimately, this exercise is about teaching your child awareness – it is very easy to focus only on the task they have been set but they must also be aware of their surroundings and still keep in mind road safety. Eventually, you can graduate to giving them a few tasks on each journey and then eventually, no task but a set of questions on the journey at the end so that this point is made and understood.
- You don’t have to only cycle – you could get your kids to skate, roller-skate, scooter etc when travelling to school. You could always rotate on which days of the week they travel by different modes.
- On bus and train journeys, you can play the same games you would when on a long car journey such as ‘I spy’ or other observational games.
What other games do you play? If you have any ideas, please do let us know. We will share them here so that other parents can benefit too.
The Traffic Snake UK Team