Puffin-watching in Pembrokeshire
Gemma Nelson shares her experience, Puffin-watching on Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire. She tells of early starts and beautiful walks along the Pembrokeshire coasts.
Could you walk to school every week? Get Out With The Kids, Shell Grayston, takes us through her top tips and reasons to walk to school.
Walk to School Week is all about encouraging families to leave the car at home and walk to school.
We are passionate supporters of this campaign, as it's one of the easiest ways to incorporate some exercise into your child's (and your) daily routine for healthy wellbeing.
At our local primary school, we regularly see children who live just around the corner getting dropped off right outside the school gate. They practically live on the school grounds!
Traffic Congestion around our schools is a big problem and raises serious safety issues for the children, and this is probably a nationwide problem. How much safer would it be for our children if people left their cars at home?!
We are fortunate where we live as it's about a 15-minute walk to school. The route is straightforward and passes a lovely nature pond and woodland area. Ducks, geese and swans are the locals!
When I'm not working, the school run is always done on foot, even in the rain! If I do have to take the car, then I park away from the school and walk the last 200 meters to school. This has been the norm for all three of our children, and now the older two are at secondary school, they still walk to school, which is a good hour away.
1. An easy way to get in some exercise for children and adults. The benefits of walking are well documented and published. It gets the heart pumping and body moving, ready for a day of learning at school!
2. Good for brain health. Studies have shown that exercise before school result in improved concentration levels and better performance in lessons.
3. Better for the environment. The fewer cars on the road, the less pollution. An issue we all need to be doing something about.
4. Save some money. Who doesn't want to save a few pennies? Short journeys in the car are not very economical. You could save the money you would spend on petrol towards a family day out.
5. Walking to school is a lovely way to connect with nature. Embrace your local area; it's surprising what you can see on a walk to school.
6. The walk to school is an ideal time to practice those timetables and get in some last minute practice before a test.
7. Helps to install an early good habit and love of walking. The younger you start children walking outside the better, they won't expect to be driven everywhere, and walking will become the norm and part of their daily routine.
8. It's an excellent time to spend some quality time together walking and talking with no distractions or screens.
9. Burn off some energy! When I collect my youngest one from school, he is usually full of energy after spending a day inside sitting down and being good! He is more than ready for a bit of exercise, and that walk home helps to release a bit of energy benefiting us all!!
As a working mum, I appreciate how hard it is to fit into the school routine around work and family life. Here are some tips that might help you to incorporate some steps into the daily routine and encourage the kids to walk to school.
1. If they won't walk, what about using a bike or scooter? They might find scootering and cycling more exciting, and if you have a long distance to cover, then it could be a lot quicker on wheels!
2. Try walking a different way home from school to add a bit of interest to the walk and maintain levels of enthusiasm. If you have a Fitbit, you could count steps and work out distance travelled, a good distraction to rejuvenate flagging spirits.
3. Call off at the local park on the way home. This never fails to work! A play with some friends at the park and they soon forget they are walking home.
4. If you have to take the car, park away from the school gates and walk the last part to school. Much safer and you still get to walk a few steps.
5. Play games on the walk to make it fun and maintain their enthusiasm levels. I spy is a favourite of ours!
It's time to leave the car at home and walk to school... it's more fun, good for the planet and you!
Shell Grayston and family are passionate advocates of getting outside with kids.