When I was in elementary school we walked to school. There was really no other option except for an occasional ride from a parent. Not only did we walk, but we walked by ourselves (my sister was usually far in front of me, making sure no one saw us together). No adult supervision-just us kids, traffic, and LOTS of strangers. And we survived.
As much as I would like them to, it’s not logistically possible for my own children to walk to school. We live too far and there aren’t sidewalks on a few segments of the route. As a result, their “morning walk” consists of taking 15 steps to the bus stop and waiting for that big yellow bus to pull up so they can sit down and ride to school.
Just because walking might not be as convenient as it was when I was in school doesn’t mean walking is any less important. It’s probably more important now given the increase in childhood obesity rates- approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and teens aged 2—19 years are obese.
As a way to promote and encourage communities to create walkable and bikable environments, Healthy Child Healthy World and Every Body Walk have partnered together to promote National Walk to School Day on October 5th.
On October 5th, kids and families from around the globe will be putting on their sneakers and walking or biking to school.
Why walk or bike?
- Promotes physical activity.
- It’s free.
- It’s easy.
- It’s healthy and green.
- Helps prevent obesity.
- Improves air quality – less cars on the road emitting toxic chemicals into the environment.
- Promotes awareness within a community for safe routes for biking and walking.
What if it’s too far or logistically impossible to walk?
In our community the sidewalks are sporadic. There aren’t enough to get us from our home to school safely. So rather than walking the entire distance to the school we have a designated meeting area within walking distance of the school that allows families to park and walk together.
How to organize a walk or bike to school
Check with Walktoschool.org to see if an event has already been planned in your area. Register your own event with Walktoschool.org. Go to the site for ideas, suggestions and other information on how to make your event a success.
Need a little more encouragement?
Check out these students doing the Ped Safety Dance-
Hopefully your walking and biking to school won’t start and end on October 5th. Try to incorporate it into your weekly or monthly schedule.
Are you ready to walk or bike on October 5th? Do you regularly walk or bike to school or work? Does your community celebrate National Walk to School Day?
Ready for more ideas for National Walk to School Day? Check out these other great submissions from our Blogger Network!
- Michelle of Simplify, Live, Love shares ideas for how homeschoolers can participate.
- Andrea of Tales of Goodness details her family’s experience committing to walking to school once a week. Her family lost 15 minutes of sleep, but gained 30 minutes of quality time together.
- Brenna of Almost All The Truth discusses some history of walking to school. One shocking fact: in 1969 nearly 50 percent of students in grades K through eight walked or bicycled to school and by 2009 it was less than 13 percent!
- Betsy of Eco-Novice discusses the conundrum of choosing schools.
- Micaela of Mindful Momma shares how two dedicated parents organized a neighborhood-wide "walking school bus."
- Whitney of 510Families shares details of local events to participate in, as well as how you can plan your own event.
Great submissions everyone! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and advice! Interested in being a part of this program? Sign-up here!
GIVEAWAY! Will you take the walk to school challenge? Join parents around the globe on October 5th for International Walk to School Day for a chance to win one of these prize packages:
Revolution Foods Lunchbox Simplicity Kit including a Revolution Foods t-shirt; paper "Lunchbox" filled with tattoos, stickers and coupons for mom; 24 Revolution Foods Mashups(TM) organic squeezable fruit pouches; 25 Revolution Foods organic Jammy Sammys(TM) snack size sandwich bars; and samples from Revolution Foods full organic snack line including Yo’ Drops(TM) and Grammy Sammys(TM). Total Value: $80
HAPPYFAMILY prize package including 1 mixed case of HAPPYMUNCHIES, 1 case of HAPPYMELTS snack packs, and 1 mix case of HAPPYMORNING/HAPPYSQUEEZE smoothies in pouches. Total Value: $80
CleanWell Back to School Hand Hygiene Pack including 2 foaming hand soaps, 2 canisters wipes (1 of each scent), 1 foaming hand sanitizer, and 2 (1-oz) hand sanitizer sprays (1 of each scent). Total Value: $30
Take the challenge and leave a comment about your experience by October 8, 2011 at 11:59pm PST to enter the giveaway. For an extra chance to win, sign up for our newsletter and leave a comment saying you did so! We will pick three random winners and announce it here on Monday, October 10, 2011.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of Healthy Child Healthy World.
Eligibility Statement: Contest open to U.S. residents. Employees of Revolution Foods, CleanWell, HAPPYFAMILY, and Healthy Child Healthy World and their families are not eligible.
Legal Disclaimer: These brands are Trusted Partners of Healthy Child Healthy World, a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring a movement to protect children from harmful chemicals. Trusted Partners are companies that offer superior products that meet Healthy Child Healthy World’s high Quality Standards, demonstrate a long-term commitment to their mission by joining their Trusted Partnership program, and contribute financially to the organization.