I’ve really prioritized walking to school this year! The weather has been incredibly cooperative so far, but it’s still an investment – I have to have all four kids ready to go a full forty minutes before school starts, instead of ten minutes before, then there’s the complaining about being tired/shoes hurting/being cold because they refused to wear their jacket (they’re getting smarter about that last one!)
It’s all worth it, because the benefits of walking to school far outweigh the disadvantages! Here are a few things we enjoy:
- Bonding time. Our walk is about a mile each way, so it’s plenty of time to talk about things that are on our minds, make up jokes, and just enjoy being together. I find that my kids talk a lot more when we’re walking than they do sitting at home.
- Exercise. Walking to and from school guarantees that I get nearly two miles of exercise a day, even if it’s at a snail’s pace. It’s great for the kids, too.
- Sensory experience. My kids love finding new plants, and this morning Johnny gave up his turn riding on the stroller board just so that he could crunch the fall leaves under his feet.
- Exploring nature. We’re learning about different birds and plants – what they look like, and what they sound like. We are all learning to pay more attention to the beautiful world we live in.
- Math. Walks are a fantastic way to practice counting! My kids count rocks, and leaves, and other objects. We also discovered that the telephone poles in our neighborhood are numbered – perfect for preschoolers to practice number recognition and sequencing!
- Calm-down time. Getting ready for school can feel stressful, and walking there once you are ready can provide a calming space that will help kids be ready for the day ahead. Walking home gives kids time to process their school day and transition to being home.
Do you take your kids on walks?