We feel incredibly lucky to have a lifestyle that is centered around nature conservation, but you don’t have to work in conservation to make a difference. Conservation Corner is a series where I highlight the many ways people around the world are making an effort to tread a little lighter on our planet. This post contains affiliate links.
Today Becky from Kid World Citizen shares how her family uses bicycles as a form of transport. Becky’s site is an amazing resource for parents and educators. She shares a wealth of information and “activities that help young minds go global.” I love how easy it is to find what you are looking for at Kid World Citizen as all the posts are categorized by both world area and topic and almost every post has great links for further exploration. I am forever using Becky’s ideas in our homeschool and I’m so excited about her new book (co-written with Homa Sabet Tavanger) The Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners that is available for pre-order right now.
I plan to highlight one story a month and I hope to make this a space where people who walk with light footsteps meet. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in contributing to this series or stop by the Conservation Corner page for a list of upcoming posts.
Bicycle for Family Transport
Do you know the top 10 countries with most bicycles per capita? Think of your answers, and I will reveal them at the end of the article.
When my kids were smaller, I bought the most amazing used blue bike trailer. I had 2 kindergarteners (who could ride their own bikes), and 2 smaller preschoolers. With their schools being relatively close, it seemed silly to get in the car when our “commute” could be done in the fresh air. We began to bike daily- first over the bridge to drop off the kinders at their school in one direction, then back over the bridge home… a little while later I would load up the little ones again and we’d head in the other direction to their preschool.
As the kids got stronger, we began to use bikes more often to go around town: to the library, to swim, to the grocery store. It was not only fun: biking is good exercise, for us it saves time, saves gas, reduces pollution. People began to recognize me as the lady with the blue trailer, and would come up to me in the supermarket: “Everyday as I’m in my car for carpool, I see you ride your bike with your kids! You make me want to get out our bikes!”
I read in Yes! Magazine that “in 1969… 48% of kids aged 5-15 regularly walked or biked to school. In 2009, it was just 13%.” With our sedentary lifestyle, we’re spending more time in front of screens and less time outdoors and being active- if you have to go somewhere nearby, why not consider a bike as your transport?
May 7th is Bike to School Day- encourage your neighborhood and school to motivate kids to ride! In 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do To Save the Earth, they mention cycling places as a way to keep our air clean; the book suggests that we make up a list of all of the restaurants you can walk or bike to. Maybe as a family you could come up with 10 nearby destinations that are feasible by bike? Get inspired by the Finch Family of Portland, OR, US, whose mom uses a bike to tote her 6 kids around town.
Now that my kids are older and can ride to and from friends’ houses, or to school if they have an early activity, it helps increase responsibility, helps them learn their way around their neighborhood, and gives them a little freedom. I think it’s important that my kids are growing up knowing that they don’t have to automatically get in the car to go somewhere; biking is one mode of transportation that is not only pleasant, but also environmentally-friendly and healthy.
Here are some fabulous cycling books to inspire your kids:
Ben Rides On by Pulitzer-prize winning Matt Davies
Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle by Chris Raschka
Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen by Cari Best
The Bear’s Bicycle by Emilie Warren McLeod
Along a Long Road by Frank Viva
Gracie Goat’s Big Bike Race (Barnsville Sports Squad) by Erin Mirabella
And the top 10 countries with the most bicycles per capita are:
- The Netherlands
Did you bike to school as a kid? Do your kids? What about around town? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Kid World Citizen:
Becky is the founder of KidWorldCitizen.org, where she shares activities that teach kids about the world. She is a teacher, a mom to 4 bilingual and multicultural kids, and loves geography, world cultures, travel, and the outdoors. Becky recently wrote The Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners.
Thank you Becky! Your post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for me as we are just about to remove Boo’s training wheels!