10 Ideas for Getting Students Active Inside & Outside

  1. Develop a school-wide campaign to encourage students to get outside every day for a “Green Hour.”
  2. Send home information with students and consider holding a workshop or a series of speakers for parents, teachers & staff about the importance of time outside.
  3. Turn outdoor time into a reward, holding outdoor parties when students do well on tests or reach milestones.
  4. Add a wildlife garden or edible garden on your school grounds. Involve students in the process of planning, establishing and maintaining the garden and utilize it as an outdoor laboratory and learning space.
  5. You don’t need a large transportation budget to have a field trip! Explore nearby, walkable areas in your community such as parks, trails, lakeshores and riverfronts. Make an effort to incorporate outdoor time even on indoor field trips (e.g., walk to your destination or have a picnic lunch outside).
  6. Encourage students to connect with nature by observing and exploring the great outdoors. Engage students in an assessment of the school grounds for outdoor projects and citizen science opportunities.
  7. Hold a fun run or walk for your school community.
  8. Brainstorm opportunities to get students up and moving around in the classroom while teaching daily lessons.
  9. Encourage teachers to assign “outdoor homework” in their classes. No matter what the subject area, teachers can find ways to use the outdoors as inspiration or research subject. For instance:
    • Language Arts: Write a poem about a natural object or outdoor place.
    • Science: Make a hypothesis about a natural process and record observations
    • Math: Collect weather data and graph trends over time.
    • Geography: Create or follow a map of an outdoor area.
    • Visual Arts: Use the landscape or natural objects to inspire artwork
  10. Review the Center for Active Design Toolkit for Schools that provides ideas and resources to incorporate active design into schools. Although the toolkit was developed to inform school design in New York City, ideas presented in the toolkit can be adapted for use by schools anywhere in the country to improve the success, health, and well-being of their students.