12 ways to raise healthier kids - includes walking at least partially to school!
Walk to school (or at least some of the way). This alone could make one of the biggest differences in activity levels. A generation ago, most self-respecting parents would laugh at their child's suggestion to drive them to school. Nowadays, lines of SUVs stretch out for blocks around campuses filled with kids burning nary a calorie whilst waiting to be dropped on the front step of the school. In some neighborhoods, this lost time is enough to fill most of the child's exercise requirement.
Lack of busing can shoulder some of the blame but the primary reason is fear. The world has gotten scary, or so we think, and parents drive their kids to keep them safe. In reality, the damage done from lack of activity is putting them at far more risk. According to former Department of Justice statistician Callie Rennison, our fears are mainly based on sensationalism in the media, which seem to promote every child abduction to the top of the headlines. "99.9 percent of child abduction cases are family related," she states. "Statistically, our kids are much safer in public than they've ever been."
Numbers aside, most parents will likely balk at the idea of making their kids the lab rats in some "walking to school" experiment. But, at least, you can drop them off close to school. The last part of the commute, the part while you're waiting in line, is a place where your kids could be moving in what is probably one of the safest situations imaginable—a line of cars filled with highly-protective parents.
Also, note that pediatricians recommend more activity for toddler age children than older - at least 60 mins of play and 60 minutes of planned activities.