Healthy Kids Community Activation Center - Start a “Walking Bus”
If you live too close to school to take a bus but have always thought you live too far to walk, think again! A mile-long walk twice a day is a built-in way to get exercise-about 5,000 steps getting to and from school!
Kids can't always walk to school alone for safety reasons. That's where a walking "pool" or "bus" comes in! Kids meet at a central point, as they do to take a bus. They walk to school together with a parent or a few, depending on the size and ages of the group.
How to Get Started ...
- Talk to other parents. Start with families who live close to you. Map out a safe route and ask parents to take turns as chaperones. If each parent helps one day a week, they all know their kids are also safely walking to school the other four!
- Work with your school. Schools can provide a meeting place safe from cars and busses to gather at the end of the day. They can also help connect nearby families.
- Combat complaints with creativity. Kids who are used to getting a ride to school may protest at first. They'll adjust and start to enjoy themselves, especially when they see friends and neighbors walking, too. Make the walk more fun by singing songs, playing eye-spy, challenging kids not to step on sidewalk lines or other diversions.
- Join the crowd! If your school or community has one or a number of walking groups, you may want to be part of National Walk to School Day on October 6, 2010, and on October 5, 2011.
- Take the extra step. Encourage walking to run errands or go the library or park. Through online sites such as Google, you can create maps with walking or biking routes. Hospitals, schools or businesses may be willing to supply pedometers so kids can record how many steps they take each day.
To Learn More ...
Many organizations and agencies have information and guides to promote walking to school. Among them-
- International Walk to School Day or Month
- Kids Walk to School
- Safe Routes to School
- Start a Walking School Bus
Share with Others ...
Already have your kids walking? Tell us about your walking group!
Or Consider This ...
In many communities, the road system discourages kids from walking or biking to school, the park or their friends' houses, because of a lack of sidewalks and/or bike lanes. Ask your city or county elected officials to support policies that facilitate better access for walkers and bikers and to fund safe, convenient routes.