Walking with Class: Is Single File Limiting your Field Trip?

On May 4, 2011, in General, Nonformal education, by Nicole Lantz

This along-the-way activity is especially good for children who have inadvertently gotten ants in their pants en route to a field trip destination. It also works as a 3-minute energizer in the middle of class – simply do the actions on the spot. From toddlers to preteens, use it with whole classes or, for the eager homeschooler, it is great for one or two.

My Engine is Broken

  1. Start walking. It’s best if children aren’t forced to walk in line unless it is necessary from a safety point of view (e.g. city streets, crowds of people). I do this on nature trails so there is no need for such rigidities, but go wild and try this in art galleries and museums where students can draw from their surroundings for ideas.
  2. “Uh oh! My engine is broken!” Stop all of a sudden and freeze in an awkward position. Then, call out to a student, asking them to “wind you up” (miming a crank on your back). Most children come up with a variation of this on their own. They are amazingly creative, especially the young ones. Once someone comes to the rescue, start walking again.
  3. After a while, start hopping spontaneously. “My hopper is stuck!” Continue hopping until, again, someone comes to the rescue. Let them invent a new solution to the problem (e.g. pull on your arm).
  4. Invariably someone catches on and decides that they, too, are now broken. If this isn’t happening, call out, ” I think so-and-so is having trouble over there. Is your kicker alright?” Pick someone extroverted. They will get the hint.
  5. Soon you’ll have a whole class full of children burning up that extra energy (and the fidgets too). The best part is that they will try to outdo each other jumping on one foot, zigzagging, flapping their arms, twisting, clapping, stomping, etc. By the time they arrive at the destination they’ll be wiggled out and ready to focus.

1 Response » to “Walking with Class: Is Single File Limiting your Field Trip?”

  1. Catherine says:

    In my teaching at an art gallery I often found myself taking a group of 3-5 year olds to the bathroom. With some of the younger children needing help in their stalls I began playing a frozen statue game to keep the waiting children occupied, safe and pleasantly quiet! You can put a lot of effort into trying to control children in a certain situation with rules and still not achieve what you could with a game. I tried not to take it personally when the bathroom trip seemed to be the highlight of a kid’s day but rather let it be a good reminder of how useful it can be to be playful. also a good skill to cultivate as having ideas like this up your sleeve, and the ability to be creative can help you out in those unexpected moments (such as a delay on your field trip).

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