Activity Plan 3-4: Take a Hike!
Children learn about health and fitness while enjoying the great outdoors
- Grades: PreK–K
Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Gross Motor
- a camera
- small plastic bags for collecting things
- plastic binoculars and magnifying glasses
- healthy snacks, including water, sandwiches, and fruit
- cooperative learning
- awareness of health and nutrition
- social development
- environmental awareness
- gross-motor development
Engage children in a conversation about hiking. Explain to them that a hike is a long outdoor walk that can take place in the woods, along the beach, or through the mountains. Ask them to share any experiences like that they may have had. Talk about why long walks outdoors are good for our health.
Choose a location in your area for your “hike.” It can be a local park or recreational area, a playground, or just a few blocks in your neighborhood. Invite families to come along.
Prepare a list of things that children would like to take on their hike, including healthy snacks to eat during a break. Discuss different types of healthy snacks they could bring, such as sandwiches, trail mix, or muffins. Plan time for children to prepare these snacks for the trip. Also mention the importance of drinking water instead of fruit juice to avoid dehydration.
Review or establish safety rules with the class before the hike. If you are going to a new area, you will want to make sure that there are enough chaperones and that everyone is dressed appropriately. Suggest things that the children might collect along the hike, such as shells or rocks. Hand out plastic binoculars and magnifying glasses so they can observe small insects and birds.
Have the class document their hike with photos. Use the photographs to make a book or bulletin-board display. Include their comments under each photograph.
Remember: Children love to wear their backpacks. Make sure that the packs are lightweight and only contain necessary items. Plan the length of your trip according to children’s abilities. It is important to keep the experience interesting and fun. Make sure that family members who are coming along are clear about their roles and responsibilities.
Family Fitness! Send home a note encouraging families to plan a family-fitness weekend activity. Include ideas such as a walk or hike, bike riding, or a game of catch or softball. Make some fun relay-race suggestions. Invite them to send in a description of their activity, along with a drawing done by their child. Set up a parent display board to highlight and share their experiences and ideas.
Curriculum Connection: Art and Literacy
Trip Highlights Following the hike, create a language experience chart to record children’s thoughts about the highlights of their trip. Plan time for them to share the items that they collected, and display them in the science area. Provide children with materials to draw and write about their hike, or have them dictate the information.