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Three Ways that The Walking Classroom Makes Summer Learning Active, Engaging, and Fun!

Wednesday, 01 March 2023 10:53

There aren’t many things more exciting for kids than summer break. As out-of-school time (OST) professionals and caregivers know, kids need to keep on learning. Building fun, healthy, and engaging educational activities into summer programs is key to slowing down summer learning loss as well as helping kids catch up after recent disruptions to learning. Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Walking Classroom program is one way to accomplish that.  

Understanding that active kids learn better, The Walking Classroom contributes to Healthier Generation’s impact goal of building a strong foundation for whole child well-being and academic success by combining fun, educational podcasts with a brisk walk. The standards-aligned podcast topics cover language arts, social studies, and science; include integrated health messages and character values; and align perfectly withESSER funding requirements

Students get fresh air and exercise, supplemental instruction, increased health literacy, and social and emotional learning support. Best of all, educators AND students love it. 

So, why is this program so impactful? 

  1. Physical activity boosts learning and happiness

Studies show that integrating physical activity into lessons means kids not only learn more, they also become healthier and happier. With oxygenated brains, they absorb and retain more information than when sitting.  

Teacher Tracy Jones told us, “The Walking Classroom experience has been amazing. The kids love the physical activity and BEG to walk! I have seen their interest in topics grow and they have even done extra research on some of their podcasts.”

And students agree! Logan (grade 5) said, “I just love going outside and learning. Put them together and BAMM, my two favorite things together. I am so happy!”

  1. Student engagement increases

Educators and OST professionals frequently report better student engagement after their students go for a walk and listen to a Walking Classroom podcast. Students return in better moods, more focused, and more likely to engage in post-walk discussions 

Counselor Mary Foster told us, “I use The Walking Classroom for an enrichment afterschool class. Because there are so many podcasts, students can design their own curricular units based on their interests. It's exciting to see them engaged so actively in their learning.”

  1. The Walking Classroom makes learning fun!

“Can we take a walk and listen to another podcast?” This quote came from students that teacher Pam Gatts worked with during her county summer school program. 

There is overwhelming evidence from program adopters that kids love The Walking Classroom. As Herley (grade 6) told us, “Each time we finish a walk I feel so energetic. I feel like my brain can store more, so I'm able to learn more!”

Great outcomes for kids start with healthy bodies and minds. Continued summer access to nutritious meals, social-emotional learning, and opportunities for physical activity all contribute to preventing learning loss. When healthy environments are combined with fun learning activities, good things happen! Here are two more great Healthier Generation resources to keep the learning going:

Nature-based BINGO from Kohl's Healthy at Home (Spanish version)

Silly and Speedy Conversation Starters


Learn more about The Walking Classroom and Healthier Generation here.

By Daniel Hatcher, Senior Director Strategic Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation