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MayaMohan2 Posted by:
Maya Mohan, Department of Public Health

Maya is the Physical Activity Coordinator for DPH.

I love back to school time!  I’ve been out of school for, well, longer than I care to admit, but even now, this time of year still signifies to me the start of something new, the anticipation of all I can accomplish from this new fresh start.  It’s like New Year’s Resolution time, but with better weather.

It’s also the start of new routines for a lot of people – especially those with school aged kids.  A great way to build some activity into your day (and your child’s) is to walk or bike with them to school.  Or, if you live in a neighborhood with a good number of school aged kids, help coordinate a walking school bus with some of your neighbors.  It’s social and a great way to sneak in some activity for both you and your child. 

Setting up a walking school bus is pretty simple (If you prefer to bicycle, then the equivalent to this is called a bicycle train): 

  1. Invite families who live nearby to be part of the walking school bus – much like you would invite families to join in a carpool, but without the car! 
  2. Pick a route 
  3. Take a test walk (without the kids)
  4. Decide how often the group wants to walk together
  5. Start walking and have fun! 

Voila!  Walking School Bus has commenced.  Start small and as interest grows, consider expanding to more communities/neighborhoods.  There are more tips on how to do that here.  Now, keep in mind that as your walking school bus (or bicycle train) grows in popularity (which, trust me, it will!), this effort may need to be more structured – this may mean establishing more routes and other logistical details, recruiting more neighborhoods and volunteers to chaperone the bus/train, conducting safety training, etc.  Don’t let these details intimidate you though – as interest grows so will the number of partners who will want to help out.  Click here for more resources and examples of how to set up a walking school bus in your neighborhood. 

If you plan on setting up a walking school bus or bicycle train in your neighborhood, let us know!  We’d love to hear about it (and send us pictures!).

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