All posts by Tracy Anderson

Walking, Biking to School Keeps Kids Happy, Healthy, and Focused

Walking or biking to school is a fun way to get outside, explore your community, and make friends. 

Walking or biking to school also keeps kids Happy, Healthy, and Focused.

Happy

It is well known that activities like walking and biking are good for physical health. Did you know that walking and biking is also good for your child’s mental health? 

Physical exercise reduces the risk of depression in kids ages 6 – 13 (Source: CDC). 

A 2021 study found that “children and adolescents who are more physically active showed better general mental health and fewer mental health problems” (Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health). 

Another 2020 study found that physical activity promotes happiness (Source: International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity). 

Healthy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children get at least one hour of physical activity every day. Walking or biking one mile to school is a great way for kids to get the recommended activity. 

 

Physical activity, like walking or biking to school, improves bone health, cardiorespiratory, and muscular fitness in kids (Source: CDC). 

Kids who walk to school are more active the rest of the day (Source: BMJ) and are more likely to become active adults (Source: National Library of Medicine).

Focused

Short bouts of moderately-intense exercise like walking can improve cognitive control and attention in children (Source: Neuroscience).

One study found that children who walk or cycle to school, rather than being driven by their parents, have better concentration (Source: Nordic Science).

These benefits seem to continue through life. Physical activity in childhood can lead to higher cognitive function later in life. In one study, participants who exercised when they were children did better on cognitive tests regardless of their current age (Source: Science News). 

Splash Pad

Fantastic! You solved the next clue.

Whether you play in a splash pad or bike around your neighborhood, physical activity makes us all happier and healthier.


v

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that kids get 1 hour of physical activity a day.

What is your favorite thing to do outside?

Bicycle/Pedestrian Sign

Yay! You found the next clue.

This bright sign helps to alert drivers to watch for people walking and biking.

All road users are safer when cars are traveling slower and paying attention.

We all have an important part to play in keeping each other safe on the road. One way to do that is to play the SPOTS game with our family.

Anytime you see a person on the road, tap your head and say “I SPOT someone!”

This friendly competition will help us to remember to always look for people walking and rolling.

Crosswalk

Great job! You have arrived at the second Scavenger Hunt  point.

Grown-ups – kids learn by observation. Let’s practice the SEP method.

SHOW: Show your child how to look both ways for cars and how to listen for traffic.

EXPLAIN: Have a short discussion about why you look both ways and listen for cars. Ask questions and listen to your child to see if they understand.

PRACTICE: Now, holding hands, practice looking both ways, listening, and then crossing together. If a car approaches, practice waiting in a safe spot and making eye contact with the driver.

As you practice the SEP method with your child, they will build healthy and safe habits which will last a lifetime.

Sidewalk to Lenoir St.

Congratulations! You solved the first clue!

Anytime you are walking, it’s important to use your eyes and ears to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.

What do you hear right now?

What do you see?

How can you use your eyes and your ears to stay safe on the road?

Now try plugging your ears with your fingers. What do you hear now?

If you were wearing headphones, how might that affect your awareness of your surroundings?