According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control, just 13 percent of children get to school under their own power. In 1972, 87 percent of children who lived within a mile of school walked or biked daily. This huge dropoff in walking to school has many negative consequences for kids.

I highly recommend that you walk or bike with your kids to school every day, rain or shine! I’ve been biking 1-1/2 miles every day with my oldest son Marco, now in first grade, since his first day of kindergarten last year. Here are the main benefits and skills he’s gotten from this daily ritual:

  1. exercise every day
  2. morning discipline
  3. management of personal items
  4. a no excuses attitude
  5. neighborhood awareness
  6. expertise riding in traffic
  7. navigation ability

You can read more about these benefits of riding to school at this article on Playborhood.com.

We’re thrilled to introduce our new weekly contributor Mike Lanza, founder of Playborhood, a blog (and soon-to-be-released book) that shows parents how to give their children a life of neighborhood play. Mike writes about how he’s done this for his three boys, ages 7, 3-1/2, and 2, in his Menlo Park, CA neighborhood, and he also writes about other playful neighborhoods throughout the US.