Journeys to school

Find out how children around the world travel to school then create a map of your school journey using pictures and symbols.


Wouldn’t it be great if you had fun walking with your family and friends, being more active, while also having a positive impact on the environment? Walk to School Week 2021 is taking place from 17 – 21 May! The annual walk to school challenge focuses on motivating young people to get active and encourages everyone to walk to school for the week. 

Before you Begin

Have a think about some of the questions below: 

  1. Do you usually walk to school?
  2. How do other people in your class usually get to school?
  3. Is your school far away?
  4. Why do you think it is important to walk to school? 
  5. How do you think that participating in this activity will help the environment?
  6. What do you see, smell and hear on the way to school?
  7. How do you think other children around the world get to their schools?

Some children and young people walk to school everyday of the year. Some children around the world have to travel a long way to get to school and some live very close by! Use these pictures from UNICEF to see what journeys to school look like around the world. Ask the same questions above again but about the children and young people you see in the pictures. What different things might other children see, smell or hear on their way to school? Is it the same or different to your journey?

What to Do

You can be as creative as you like with your map. You could make it for your own reference or to share with someone else to follow your route to school. Start by choosing how your map is going to look. You could choose to draw a simple track or a path through the middle of the page. Another option would be to try and map out every twist and turn in your journey. You could do this activity from memory of what you see on your way to school or take a clipboard and pens out with you on your journey!

brown and white concrete building beside road during daytime

Next, begin to draw in some of the things you see on your journey to school. For example if you pass a post box at the end of your road you could draw this or create a symbol to show where it is on the journey. If you have lots of things to add in you may want to make smaller symbols for each object. Use Map Symbols to find out more about what symbols you could use or make up your own and make a key if others are going to follow your map.

Drawing of a map showing a journey past a hospital, pond and building to get to school.

If you are doing this activity with others who have a different journey to school or a journey to a different school see if there are any similarities between your maps. Do you pass any of the same landmarks, buildings or green spaces? Do different things stand out to you and not to others?

Look back at the pictures from UNICEF of journeys to school from around the world. Could you make a map showing what others might see on their way to school? What are the similarities and differences there?

Let someone else follow your map, now that it is finished, and see if they can spot (or work out) what all the symbols mean. You could also make a map of your journey to your youth group, friends house or swimming lessons. Can others follow your symbols?

Take it further

Do you pass your friends house on your journey to school? You could ‘pick them up’ along the way. If you pass a lot of your classmates homes along the way you could start up a ‘walking bus ‘ and all arrive at school together! 

If you  found this activity fun and interesting you could have a look at Day in My Life to find out about a day in the life of other children around the world and tell your own story.

This is a weekly challenge activity. Why not share a photo of what you achieve on social media using the hashtag #DreamBigAtHome?

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