Getting kids moving
from point A to
Active transportation is part of
Being active is an essential part of a child’s healthy
lifestyle. Physical activity is about more than exercise and
sports: it’s also about making good choices about how to
Walking, cycling, rollerblading, and even skateboarding
are good examples of active transportation, which is
anything that takes you from point A to point B and gets
the body moving and the heart pumping.
Many kids tend to be less active than the generation
before them. Canada’s Physical Activity Report Card
reports that between 2000 and 2010, the percentage of
Canadian children and youth using active transport to and
from school decreased to 24 from 28. In 1986, 53 per cent of
children walked to and from school.
Your child may not fully understand the benefits of
active transportation now, but she will later in life. Active
transportation (and active living in general) is one of the
best ways to get and stay healthy. It reduces the risk of
many diseases and, most importantly, it increases mental
and physical well-being.
Communities and parents also play a role in
encouraging active living. Communities can encourage
active transportation through organized programs such as
walking buddies, school travel plans, and “walking school
buses”—where one or more adults accompanies a group of
children walking to school. Public policy plays a role too,
by encouraging walkable and accessible neighbourhoods
built for everyone from age eight to 88.
Parents are perhaps the most important link in the
chain, as setting a good example for children is a powerful
way to get them to be more active. Parents who make safe,
healthy and active choices are saying to their children:
“This is something you can do too.”
— Brandon Beasley
Active transportation such as walking and cycling increases physical and
Quick tips for active safety
1. Supervision is the key to keeping children safe during active
transportation. Kids under the age of nine need an older child
or adult with them when walking to and from school (or to a
nearby playground or soccer field). Children are usually 10 to 14
years old before they have the skills to ride a bike on their own.
2. If your child is cycling, rollerblading or skateboarding, make
sure they have the right equipment such as a helmet, knee and
elbow pads, and wrist guards.
3. Talk with your child about what to do if approached by a