This week is the official walk to school week. It’s a great chance for children of all ages to get outside, at least for a few minutes. Here’s our top tips on getting involved.
Check what your school is doing
Many schools are running special events this week to encourage children (and parents!) to walk more. Check out if there are pre-school activities that your children could join in, which may be a good way of motivating children who are reluctant to walk. Some schools have small prizes for children that walk in every day.
Have to drive? Try ‘park and stride’
It’s not always practical if you live some distance from the school, or need to drive to work after dropping off, but consider parking your car further away than normal and walking the rest of the way. Aim for about 10 minutes walk or so if you can - and you’ll help reduce the school gate parking chaos too!
Let older children walk on their own
This will depend on your child's’ age and the route to school, but this is a great opportunity for children to walk to school on their own, or with friends. If you normally drive them to school many will enjoy the chance to walk for a change.
If it’s not sensible for them to walk in on their own, why not ask around at the school and see if any other parent who live nearby are planning on walking in this week? Alternatively, you could volunteer to take a gaggle* of children in, especially if you are already planning on walking past their homes.
*As an aside, does anyone know the correct word for a group of schoolchildren? Tell us in the comments!
...and if it’s just not possible
Depending on your distance to school, issues with having children at different schools, work commitments or children's ages it’s not always going to be possible to walk to school at all.
However, why not plan a walk with their friends for the weekend or one of the lighter evenings instead? It can be a simple as walking to the local park or heading for a green space near your home. If you are feeling more adventurous check out the huge database of walking routes in OS Maps - you can filter by distance to find something suitable, and search for a nearby adventure.
Walk to School week is part of the wider ‘National Walking Month’ campaign to encourage more people to walk. By walking instead of driving to school you will reduce traffic and encourage your children to stay active and healthy.
There’s also strong evidence that regular exercise helps children to learn better in class - and walking is easy, free and available right from your doorstep.