Roughly 26 million children in the United States take a bus to school every weekday, and many others get there via a family car. There is a movement that has been growing for over a decade now, though, to get kids to walk or ride a bicycle to school, even if only for a day.
The group behind the movement, International Walk to School (or “iwalk”), is as the name suggests not limited to the United States. In fact, in other countries, they set the entire month of October as “International Walk to School Month.” Here in America we get off easy, with only tomorrow, October 5, designated for the event.
The reasons behind the movement are several. From the official website:
To enhance the health of kids
Increased physical activity can combat a host of health problems facing kids today.
To improve air quality and the environment
Replacing car trips to school with walking or bicycling can help reduce air pollution.
To create safer routes for walking and bicycling
Sidewalks, education programs and traffic calming measures are some of the ways to improve conditions.
So yes, it might feel a little silly to have your kids walk or bike to school when the bus is going to go to their stop anyway, but there is a good purpose behind it. There are lots of events planned across the country, so you won’t be alone, and this kind of thing can only hope to inspire change if it gets a really big turnout. They even have printable badges, crowns, stickers, and puzzles to help get kids excited about the idea available on the website (after registration).
So if it’s at all possible for your family time-wise and safety-wise, I encourage you to give this a try. Send your kids to school tomorrow on two feet or two wheels, and leave the bus behind just for once.