With huge snowbanks, freezing temperatures and slippery conditions, it is too dangerous for children to walk to and from school during the winter? ❄
With a little preparation, walking to school is easy and good for you, regardless of the season! (Don’t let other winter cities catch wind that we’re debating this topic; they will be very disappointed in us).
Winter weather conditions should be no reason for your family to avoid going outside. It is usually just a matter of planning ahead and being prepared to make an outdoor activity, such as walking to and from school, both doable and enjoyable. Making sure your child is dressed warmly with as much of their body covered as possible, as they are particularly susceptible to heat loss and frostbite, is a key consideration before they leave the house. It may seem obvious, but being properly dressed makes such a difference in taking pleasure from the weather! Don’t forget: your children spend upwards of 30+ minutes outside at school for recess and over the lunch hour, so they’ll be out and have to be well-dressed anyways! It’s always a good idea to send extra dry mitts, hats, etc. to school so they have items to change into if needed.
In regards to traffic concerns, by walking with your child or planning and practicing the route together, you can teach them important road safety skills. This includes making sure vehicles have stopped and eye contact with the driver has been made before stepping from the curb, or looking both ways (and double checking) before crossing. This is an especially important lesson given the impact road conditions can have on a vehicle’s ability to stop quickly and the risks associated with fewer hours of daylight. Learn more about safety and walking to school in our Active and Safe Routes to School handbook.
There may seem to be less incentive to being outdoors during the winter, but showing your child that it can be easy and fun (i.e. sledding to school!) leads to a lifetime of wonderful winter activity and a more positive outlook. It’s about embracing winter for what it is and steering away from the negativity. Redirect conversations about the “horrors” of winter to the opportunities and benefits of the season instead. Help others by tackling exaggerations about the cold, amount of snow, and length. Learn more about appreciating winter here.
Your opportunity to celebrate walking, sledding, biking, etc. to school in winter is fast approaching! Join us in the fun by participating in Jack Frost Challenge on February 3-9, 2019!
Jack Frost Challenge
The Jack Frost Challenge is a free, week-long challenge for ALL Manitobans.
Gather a team of 1-5 family members, friends, or co-workers to complete 130 collective kilometres of outdoor activities. This could include walking, running, biking, skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, and more!
All you need to do is register and log your kilometres of outdoor activity during the week of February 3-9.
*NEW: This year we are hosting a Winter Walk to School Day (Feb. 6th) and Winter Bike to School Day (Feb. 8th) so that schools, students, and their families can join in on Jack Frost Challenge! Register your school here.
For more myths, see our Green Myth Busting page.
This blog was been updated from 2011.