Getting Kids Active: Is Your Community Kid Friendly?

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
6/10/2009 6:23 PM   :  73 comments

See More: fitness, family, children,
When I was a kid many years ago, my friends and I spent most of our summer vacation practically living outdoors, even in the Texas heat. My childhood predated video games, 100 channel cable stations, and even the VCR; however in retrospect we weren’t missing out on much. Our main form of entertainment was going outside and playing. We would ride our bikes everywhere. We spent time playing baseball in the vacant fields and jumping on trampolines, we even had the old roller skates that you attached to your shoes with a key. See I told you I was old. LOL! We didn’t perceive playing as exercise; it was having fun with our friends. It was just what kids did back in the olden days.

We would get up, get dressed, eat our breakfast, then jump on our bikes and be gone for the better part of the day. Most of my friends had season passes to the local swimming pool down the street which became the hang out place Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until it was time to head home for dinner. My parents and my friends’ parents didn’t worry too much about us being gone all day, but we always made sure we had a dime for the pay phone. Looking back it was truly idyllic.

Unfortunately though, today that is not the case. Our children are growing up in a much different society and world than many of us grew up in. We no longer allow our kids to roam the streets much less walk to and from school so it isn’t surprising to see the effects of this lack of daily activity on our children’s health.

In a recent report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “32% of America children are overweight” which may be partially linked to our children's lack of physical activity. Fear of crime, lack of neighborhood community parks, and lack of public sidewalks only exacerbate this growing trend.

The report stated that in 1969-the year I was in second grade- “40.7% of all American children walked to school” which included me and my siblings. Sadly, today that number is around 13% and the number one reason cited by parents was “the school was too far away.”

In order for our children to receive the health benefits of activity, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 60 minutes of activity per day. This may be met by having our kids participate in a formal sports program, taking P.E. at school, or even walking and riding their bikes in the neighborhood under parental supervision.

With the trend of obesity continuing to grow, not just for kids but adults as well, we must all begin to take action to get healthy now. Becoming active in the community is definitely something we can all do. We must demand our local governments to provide sidewalks for our kids to have a safe place to walk and community parks for kids to run and play. Not to mention keeping pools open throughout the day in the summer, not just on certain days of the week like they are in my community now. While I know this will cost our local governments money to implement such measures, if we do not do them now, we will all pay a price eventually through higher health care rates and the possibility of losing a generation before their time.

Is your community kid friendly, with parks and walking trails provided? Do you believe that local government should spend money on providing their citizens with parks and sidewalks? Would you be willing to take action in your community to get our kids healthier?


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Comments

  • 73
    I think our community is trying to change things like adding sidewalks in more places and making bike trails around so it is easier to use them, but when it comes to school buses, it's a different story. Our school bus literally stops on every corner of our subdivision to pick children up for their schools (our community has grades split K-1st, 2nd and 3rd, 4th and 5th, then middle school and high school). I can't understand why they can't make a few stops and have kids walk a few blocks to get there--surely it would save a bit of money, too. In the winter and on rainy days, I've seen neighbors drive their children to the bus stop across the street which I think is ridiculous--haven't they heard of umbrellas? I remember walking to the bus stop for our school and it was not even in sight of our house--not even close, about 5-6 blocks away. - 5/2/2010   8:45:29 PM
  • 72
    There is nowhere for kids to play anymore with the over exaggerated 'health and safety' laws - it stops kids being able to let loose and have fun anymore. - 5/1/2010   4:40:53 PM
  • 71
    I remember those times well--and would not trade them for the way today's youth "plays". I don't believe it's the governments job to provide for sidewalks etc for healthy kids. It is up to parents to be involved and be roll models. - 3/16/2010   10:13:25 AM
  • 70
    HVOKES asked if there was any way that you can find out about what's being done to improve your community's kid-friendly places....I'm a Parks Director in a small town in Indiana, and we're always working on something to make our parks better places. The biggest thing right now...especially with extra stimulus money...is building more trails. If your community isn't working on that, they're missing out on prime opportunity for funding from the FED's. The other place that a community can get information for building playgrounds is www.KaBoom.org . They're doing alot to help communities. The other place here that's working on creating spaces for healthy living is hospitals. Our hospital built a multi-use trail about 5 years ago, and it is used quite a bit. We love it! Don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions!! I'm happy to talk about this stuff anytime! - 10/21/2009   1:39:36 PM
  • 69
    I guess my family is one of the lucky ones. We have a school playground 1 block north of us and then a city park with a play area, bball court, soccer field, baseball diamonds and tennis courts about 2 blocks southwest of us. But I do know that there are some communities that do not have that same thing and it is a shame for the kids. I agree that something needs to be done to get more things out there so that children can be more active then sedentary during the summer break for those communities that do not have the same as we do. - 6/15/2009   8:57:40 AM
  • 68
    This article is so true. It is a shame that kids today dont have the freedom that we had. So much for our society! Thanks for posting this - 6/14/2009   8:13:38 PM
  • 67
    I live in the USVI, and about half my students are confirmed couch potatoes by the time they hit 7th grade. The other half play sports, ride bikes, go to the beach, dance, etc. PE is a required class at school, but many of our students don't carry the ideas into their everyday lives.

    A lot of parents are enablers - I see parents not only drive their children to school every day, they drive them around the entire school so they can drop them off by the cafeteria for breakfast, or over to their classroom door. I mean, what's so difficult about walking across a school campus????? - 6/14/2009   9:15:38 AM
  • CALAMITIJANE
    66
    i find it easier to let my kids play for hours in the summer and fall. It is harder in the winter and rainy spring when there aren't as many places for them to play. I let them play on the trampoline and ride their bikes and scooters, and go swimming. I hope my kids continue to play for exercise their whole lives. - 6/13/2009   12:17:56 AM
  • 65
    I grew up on a farm and never had to worry about all the bad things that can happen to kid's.. there is no way that i would let my kids walk anywhere.. there 15 13 and 8 i know that it is not safe for them.. we have a child molester that live just up the street from us .. so there is no way .. My son says that he can take care of him self but i do not care.. he stays close to home and that is fine with me.. he calls when he need to be picked up from friends.. overprotective mabee but i want to keep my kids safe bottom line!!! - 6/12/2009   2:12:08 PM
  • 64
    I am lucky enough to live in Midland, Michigan, voted one of the most family-friendly cities in the US for the last 5 years in a row. There are playgrounds nearby every neighborhood, walking trails, spraygrounds, 2 beaches within a 10 mile radius. I have no problem keeping myself and my daughter active outdoors! - 6/12/2009   1:51:38 PM
  • 63
    I'm with you on this, Nancy. I would love to see a greater investment in multi-use trails that can be used for walking, skating, or biking. Anything non-motorized. Some of the rail-to-trail conversions are really impressive. I would love to have a whole network of them in my area so I could ride my bike to work without having to worry about close encounters with automobiles, and not have to use gas to get to them. And encourage my children to do the same. I am fortunate that my community is pretty kid-friendly. - 6/12/2009   10:04:19 AM
  • 62
    32% thats a large percent. I made it one of my goals to always be active with my children. That's part of the reason i am on sparkpeople!
    I think part of the reason kids don't walk to school as much is because its not as safe...or we are learning it's not safe. I would only let my kids walk to school if I was walking with them. Which is actually a great idea my mom always walked me to school - 6/12/2009   8:02:51 AM
  • 61
    I live in an old part of town. There are tree lined streets, ally's and a awesome park a block away. There are also narrow streets with cars parked on either side and because of those great trees the side walks are bulked or crumbling. Our city is not very bike friendly. Most of the time our kids end up riding their bikes down the alley and back. As long as I am in the yard they can be out there if not they have to stay in the back yard. While I believe you can't be to careful with your kids, you also have to teach them to learn to trust their instincts. It is a hard balance. - 6/12/2009   7:05:15 AM
  • 60
    while i agree that our neighborhoods aren't as safe and kid-friendly as they used to be, i think this would onlychip a chip an icecube off the top of the childhood obesity problem. the mindset of the parents is a huge factor not to be overlooked. you can see by just looking at the people who join SP how many adults follow a completely unhealthy lifestyle, inactive, sedentary, and mesmerized by the companies who want to sell them unhealthy foods and later, quick fixes.
    i think a re-education of our entire society is necessary to revert the dangerous trend of growing obesity. and i am so glad that SP is taking a huge part in this re-education! - 6/12/2009   5:31:59 AM
  • 59
    This is a serious problem. We live in a pretty nice area and there is a nice park in our neighborhood, but I would never let my 9 year old son go there alone. He only gets to go out when I can be there with him. You just can't be careful enough with your kids today. I allow my son to choose an activity everyday and we go and do whatever he wants for 1-2hrs a day. It still sucks because the other part of the day when we're home and I have work to do he is not very busy. We did invest in a wii, but it doesn't add up. - 6/11/2009   9:11:40 PM
  • HVOKES
    58
    Does any one know how to find out if your town has a group that is working on trails, playgrounds, etc. for our town? - 6/11/2009   9:08:14 PM
  • 57
    Video games and TV have sure altered childhood fun. I used to skate, bike, swim and just run around. I too predate the tech age. I made mine get away from the tv and go outside to play and they make the grandkids do to. The Wii is a bit better for kids as they are moving but sitting and staring at a tv screen all day is not a good thing. - 6/11/2009   5:42:28 PM
  • 56
    My son just turned six, and I am still not comfortable with him walking by himself to school. It's a 20 minute walk away, but depending on the route taken, there's always one road without sidewalks (ours), 4-6 "neighborhood" roads to cross, and one highway. For convenience's sake, we double-up driving him to school and morning errands, and I plan on walking him to school in the name of either health, or community service (I volunteer at the school.)

    Our neighborhood has sidewalks- but only on the roads of the "inside" of the neighborhood. We have about 5 roads that lead into the neighborhood itself, one of which has several offshoots (a road we live on,) but between those 5 roads and the main thoroughfare road, there's only one sidewalk. If you take a left instead of a right to the "entrance/exit" roads, you'll find the inside of the neighborhood, with sidewalks on both sides of the street (albiet cars can still easily park on them.) We're also lucky enough to have a swing-set park in our neighborhood- it's just a 30 minute walk away.

    I do remember the days of being able to play outside and run around in vacant lots, or build "secret forts" in the trees of overgrowth. These days, those are all fenced off, promised to Developers. The Jr. High School I went to had a nice open field, and 1/4 Mile track for people to use freely. About 5 years ago, they fenced it all in. I can understand why, having seen some of the random garbage (I won't go into detail) that now lines the fence, but it's still a shame. Society's degenerates are ruining our children's future! - 6/11/2009   5:28:37 PM
  • 55
    I had the key skates too! LOL We live in a rural area. There is lots of grass to run in. My son goes down to the Marsh to see the frogs. We live right off the rail trail but he is not allowed to go down there alone. Too many creeps, but he does go with me. - 6/11/2009   3:24:19 PM
  • 54
    My community is terrible. My daughter rides her bike, scooter, skateboard, and skates but she has to do it in the street as they are not allowed to ride these on the sidewalks. We had a community pool but that was demolished last year and is not being replaced. There are a few parks, one has a walking path around the pond and the other has play equipment. We have a few "offenders" who can't be trusted around children near us so the neighbors all band together and take turns watching each others children. Without that we would get nothing done because we would all be outside, or the kids would all be inside. I take my daughter to a family members place where there is 5.5 acres of ground, a pool, a creek. We play badminton and volleyball and best of all don't have to worry about anything happening to our kids. - 6/11/2009   2:55:28 PM
  • NIGHTSTAR777
    53
    My kids are graduated from colleges. However I do remember when our family just come to NY I asked my middle school student son what he was doing in school today." I sat on the floor."- he answered. "But you have activity class! What did you do in activity class?" "I sat down on the carpet floor." our boy was depressed, hated to go to school, missed his friends. I think there must be more places where kids ans teens can be together and safe. It is difficult today to fund such places as in big cities such in small towns, as I think. I am not sure about. - 6/11/2009   1:47:06 PM
  • 52
    When I read this I'm happy I don't live in the US, but in little, old Belgium. Here a lot of children still go to school on their bike, because everything is usually close by. But here things have changed a lot as well, since I was a kid, and that's not even that long ago. We always used to be outside, playing in the forest, driving our bikes, playing hide and seek all round the block. Nowadays, you hardly ever see the kids driving around, and the forests almost all have disappeared. Here PE is still obligated, so children and high school pupils get at least two hours a week of fysical activity. Although it isn't all that much, it's still better than no activity at all ... - 6/11/2009   1:44:19 PM
  • 51
    I think that my neighborhood is fairly kid friendly. I live in a community with a pool and fitness center, there is a trail nearby that follows the Anacostia River (Northeast Branch), and playgrounds along the way. Whenever I have been outside for a walk or a bike ride, there are children playing basketball, playing in the various playgrounds, and with other family members. There could probably be some improvements, but the children of the neighborhood really can not say that "there is nothing to do outside!"

    It's great to see families along the bike trails and inthe parks that I pass. It shows that there is a commitment from all family members to become active. - 6/11/2009   1:30:41 PM
  • 50
    I think it is a combination of activity and food choices. As Parents we need to moniter what our children are eating and the amount of time spent in front of the TV. If they sit around playing video games and eating junk all day, would they even feel like being active? I struggle with helping my Son make better food choices. Sometimes the best ithing is to not have the junk in the house at all. I was an active child. I spent the summers swimming, biking, and playing softball, but I was still over weight because no one ever stopped me form eating that second bologna sandwitch smotherd with mayo and told me that what I was eating wasn't healthy. - 6/11/2009   12:44:14 PM
  • JANETBERRY1
    49
    somewhat (not enough), YES!!, maybe - 6/11/2009   12:23:22 PM
  • 48
    My grandkids, who are 6 and 8, walk with us every day. Today we did 4 miles. They never run out of energy! - 6/11/2009   12:19:59 PM
  • 47
    I was just curious as to how far is "too far" when it comes to kids walking to and from school? I thought most school districts provide transportation for kids who live more than a mile from school. I realize there are safety factors involved in some areas, and of course my first concern would be with the kids' safety. However, if safety is not the issue and people are thinking a mile is too far for their kids to walk, something is drastically wrong.

    When I was a kid, I literally DID live too far away from school to walk. My grade school wasn't even in the same community where we lived; it was close to 30 miles away. I always envied the "walkers" because they got dismissed from class five minutes ahead of everybody else so they could be well on their way home before the busses and increased traffic started arriving.

    When my daughter was in kindergarten, the school was just under a mile from our apartment. I walked her to school every morning, then walked back home. Then, I walked to the school to pick her up at noon and walked her home. So, I was walking about 4 miles a day and she was walking about 2 miles a day.

    When we moved into our first house, we bought one that was within walking distance of the elementary school as well as the high school. She was mature enough by then to walk to and from school by herself or with friends most days, as did her brother when he got old enough for school. On days when the weather was bad, I drove them to and from school.

    I sort of wish I had never stopped walking them to and from every day. Look at all the exercise I missed out on!

    As far as playing outdoors in the summertime, I really feel sad for kids who don't get that opportunity. Games like freeze tag, kick the can, mother-may-I, Red Rover, etc. brought the neighborhood kids together into a unified group - without any assistance from gang membership or street drugs, thank you very much! Summer days are meant for children' to play out their imaginary adventures, giving them a chance to exercise not only their bodies, but their minds as well. Even the non-athletic bookworms like me had a place in that summer time play. There's no reason to sit in your room watching TV or playing video games when you could be out in the fresh air, sitting under a tree reading a book, or playing make-believe.

    The community I live in does have parks available and supervised programs and activities for kids and adults alike. I feel fortunate that is the case. The sad thing is that I see a lot of families who do not take advantage of those options. I think that's why so many kids get into such serious trouble these days. - 6/11/2009   12:04:52 PM
  • LAREINADEREY
    46
    I don't have kids yet but I my mom tells me about riding her bike all day around town--it sounds so nice! We have a local park a few blocks away--gladly, I often see many children playing there, but I'm disgusted that they recently took out the free small swimming/wading pool that was there, which was full to the brim of young kids everyday of every summer. This is especially upsetting when also nearby, we have a town recreation center which does include a pool--except that it's purely designed for adult use, with a small charge. It's Oympic-sized and the shallow end starts at 3-4 feet. I don't know where else in town our young children are able to swim, for free or otherwise. - 6/11/2009   12:01:56 PM
  • 45
    I also remember the times of spending the whole day outside playing, riding bikes, etc. Times have changed. I found myself very protective of my kids. I involved them in different summer programs to keep them busy, always had to watch where they go and who they were with. Even now as teenagers, I have a hard time letting go. The programs in our community have also changed over the years. There are not as many programs for our kids, but it's not the cities problem. The problem is parents aren't getting their kids involved in the programs so they have to cut them because of lack of participation. We have a lot of parks, etc. for the kids to go to and parents do have to set a good example and get moving with their kids. - 6/11/2009   11:58:31 AM
  • 44
    What a great blog! As a teacher, I've been saddened when I take a group of kids outside and see them stand around because they have no idea what to do outside. Remember Kick the Can, Capture the Flag, Freeze Tag, Mother May I?, Red Light, Green Light, Rover, Red Rover? These days tired, overstressed parents find it all to easy to plunk their kid down in front of the tv or video game. Parents need to make time to take their children outside. My grandson goes walking with me (he will ride his bike or take his tractor). I sit outside in the evenings so he can ride his scooter down the sidewalk or play in the sprinklers, etc. There aren't many other kids outside, even though I know there are quite a few on our street. We need to turn off the computers, televisions and video games and get outside! - 6/11/2009   11:53:47 AM
  • 43
    Great topic! The statictics are getting harder and harder to ignore. However, I don't think it's a community issue - I think it's a parenting issue. With so many adults living sedentary lifestyles and not making healthy choices - no wonder it's now spilling over to our children!!! What bigger of a wakeup call do we need?

    There are so many things you can do with your kids or that they can do alone in a very small space and with very little equipment that gets them moving - inside or out. It really doesn't matter how far they live from their child's school, or how many big fancy parks are in their area. What matters is leading by example - parents getting out there with our kids instead of being lazy or thinking that we have too many other "things" to do. And then getting creative and finding opportunities in our daily lives to keep everyone moving.

    It all starts with us - adults, and I think it's starting to be proven that we're letting our children down. Let's get up and out and show and teach our children how much fun we had as kids - they might just beg to play "Kick the can" with you instead of begging to watching a movie!!!!! - 6/11/2009   11:49:53 AM
  • 42
    This is a great topic, Nancy. I too grew up like you did. Our summers especially were filled with swimming lessons, bike riding, picnics, playing softball, playing games with all the neighborhood kids. We always walked or ride our bikes to school, even the school that was miles away.
    In raising my kids in the 1970's and 1980's, I limited the amount of TV they watched, and made sure we were outside doing lots of things. This was right in that time when many parents started driving their kids to school. It is so unfortunate that the culture now has become dangerous enough that we can't even allow our kids to walk to school, but as parents we still need to take responsibility for their activity - It is us that needs to limit their inside activity, and show a good example by getting outside and doing fun things with them. Our community has parks that we can go to, and has a few bike riding trails. We can encourage them to be involved in sports, dance, hiking, etc. Lead by example. - 6/11/2009   11:28:07 AM
  • 41
    If only it were safe. We live right across the street from a park, but i don't feel safe letting my kids go alone. - 6/11/2009   11:24:03 AM
  • MYFOREVERME
    40
    I had the same experiences as a child, only we had to do our chores before we headed out the door for the day. I grew up in a VERY SMALL community of about 20 homes. All of us kids played together, fought together, and then made up. We had 2 churches and 1 general store. My family moved to another nearby town after I graduated but, to me that will always be my hometown. Now all but 2 of the families have moved away and the store is closed. That wonderful little town I grew up in is now full of drug dealers and lowlifes. My hubby and I almost bought my childhood home after we got married, I'm glad we didn't because I would not raise my child in that community now.
    Were we live we have a huge park within walking distance of our home. There are several playgrounds, a pool, a lake, tennis courts, 3 ball fields, 2 volley ball courts, disc golf, several nature trails, and even an enclosed builidng for walking in the winter time. I will not let my dd go by herself yet, but when she gets older I will, she's only10. - 6/11/2009   11:07:22 AM
  • 39
    One of the reasons we chose to move to our town when our DD was a year old is because it's such a great family and kid-friendly environment. The grade school is too far to walk, and we lack a lot of sidewalks, being in a small town. But our pool is amazing, our kid programs are varied and popular, we have dance and gymnastics centers, plus just all the bike-riding and skiing that are kind of the foundation of living in a ski resort town. We feel pretty lucky to be here. - 6/11/2009   10:51:38 AM
  • 38
    This is a great topic of which nearly everyone of us can relate...sounds like I am in the same age bracket as you...I also remember all those things...swimming in the creek, picking apples off the neighbors tree, playing red rover, hide and seek at night...awww what memories. Where did they go? Unfortunately as more evil took over, the less we allow our children to do. I for one was a very protective parent trying to do better for my children and unfortunately, I feel I did them more harm than good by trying to make their lives easier. One I now regret. We didn't have money for the video games (not that there were many at the time) but I usually found them rides to and from school. Being a single parent and broke, we did spend more time outside doing things. I lived in Colorado then and they do have sidewalks and so it was safer to walk on. When we moved to Oklahoma and now Texas, I notice that sidewalks are hard to come by. As I was driving to work today I saw a man walking on the side of the road...no sidewalk. It would be good if our children/grandchildren would play more out side and do more outside...parents are just going to need to get out there with them to be sure everyone is safe. Thanks for the blog...I really enjoyed it. - 6/11/2009   10:51:14 AM
  • 37
    I don't think it is necessarily something we need to rely on the local communities to provide for us. I think it is up to us to send our kids outside to play and limit the time on the video games. I live in a rural area and there is nothing close enough provided by the local community. But that does not prevent the kids on my street from being outside all the time. They are all in great shape because they play with each other outside in our own properties. They ride bikes to each others houses and around the street and come up with games outside. They don't need a community pool, etc, etc to have fun. They use their own initiative and make up fun things to do. They are constantly outside when the weather is nice. - 6/11/2009   10:39:02 AM
  • 36
    I'm a grandma and help my hard working son and daughter-in-law by getting out with my DGS. We have our favorite parks to go to for tree climbing, walking the dog, riding his scooter, and doing a little water fun. - 6/11/2009   10:31:16 AM
  • 35
    I'd consider this area and the town to be kid friendly. We have a community beach where they can swim in the summers, there are at least two parks, and the entire town is connected by a series of bike paths. There's also a state park near at hand and they recently spent money to connect that into the bike path network.

    The schools unfortunately no longer offer PE on a regular basis. I am a teacher and I interned at several middle schools. They get one twenty minute period per day into which they must also fit their lunch. Afterward, they may run around the field. They are not allowed any equipment nor can they play on the playground, which is for younger students. The PE class is offered once a week for one thirty minute period.

    That is, in my opinion, not nearly enough but that is what budget cuts have done. - 6/11/2009   10:26:18 AM
  • 34
    I was the oldest of 6 children and, from the age of 11 or 12 on, was responsible for watching my siblings while we were outside while my mother was at her job or in the house or garden working. We rode bikes, played hot box, went to the river to go swimming, etc., all without parental supervision. You state, "We no longer allow our kids to roam the streets much less walk to and from school so it isn’t surprising to see the effects of this lack of daily activity on our children’s health." We live in an age now when abductions and molestations not only seem more prevalent, but are widely publicized. I never felt comfortable letting my children go to the park or ride bikes or even play in our yard without my or my husband's presence. We no longer live in a society where we can wave goodbye to our children as they ride their bikes out of our sight and not worry if they don't reappear until lunch. If my mother had to watch us the whole time we were outside, we would have spent a lot more time indoors, too, and I suspect you would have also. - 6/11/2009   10:26:03 AM
  • 33
    About the school thing, my son's school (elementary) is .90 miles away from my house, my daughter's (jr high) is 1.90 miles away. The school district doesn't provide transportation which leaves a lot of kids walking (which is okay with me, the sidewalks to school are within the community where a lot of parents and kids walk daily) or get dropped off. I would make my kids walk at least one way with me meeting half way (I was on maternity leave pregnant with twins, I was lucky to get half way) so they would get more exercise. They don't always like it but I have noticed my daughter especially slimming down a little. - 6/11/2009   10:22:44 AM
  • 32
    We thought hard before buying our first house. The school district and community. In our community we have to pay association fees but I think it's worth it because it includes a lot. It has 3 parks in our community, a pool, volleyball courts, basketball courts, playgrounds, baseball/soccer fields and lots of bike/walk trails through out. I also live across from Lake Perris which has more outdoor activities to do like hiking. Which I have yet to do, but I plan on doing soon. I became out of it with this last pregnancy and haven't been in the best shape. Now I work out a lot and eat better and trying to get my kids to follow in my footsteps to avoid them growing up in a bad habit life style.
    - 6/11/2009   10:18:18 AM
  • 31
    The little town I live in does not have any good parks or walking trails. Sidewalks are also only in limited places. There are a few with Little League fields, but of course you have to pay to play. I feel that governments should provide parks and sidewalks, but just like the rest of us governments are feeling the economic pinch. But, it just may be time to ante up and provide these things for the health and well-being of our future. - 6/11/2009   9:40:22 AM
  • 30
    Our community has awesome parks and trails, 2 pools, tennis courts, and a fitness center but they are put in by the HOA not the city. We do have nice city park relatively close.
    On the other hand, they bus our kid a few blocks to school - kind of silly. OK, my kids don't ride the bus, they walk or ride their bike - it is less than 1/2 a mile, but lots of kids on our street ride the bus. I don't get it. - 6/11/2009   9:39:55 AM
  • 29
    I think that the change in times just means we have to spend more time playing with our kids. There is no reason why a 30 year old mom can't play with their kid, unless they're lazy. I'm all for more side walks and parks, but you can't just rely on your kid to do the work. Even though I grew up in a different time, I played sports. I was always active and my mom didn't feed me junk. - 6/11/2009   9:38:54 AM
  • 28
    Each of us can help build that essential "Community" by shopping locally for food and other necessities, participating in local entertainment options rather than indulging in solitary pursuits such as the tv, and moving around as little as possible. If we spent as much energy money and time on our local area as we do on our vacations our children would loose some of their hyper-individualism and get back outside. - 6/11/2009   9:30:09 AM
  • KHALIA2
    27
    No, my community is not kid friendly. I must sit on my front porch to watch my grandchildren ride their bicycles. I would be willing to take action and make my community better for all children. - 6/11/2009   9:26:17 AM
  • 26
    The community in which I live is very kid-friendly. We have a huge recreational park and a walking/biking trail. There are also places for hiking nearby.
    We live close to town, but it's still too far to walk. The roads are not safe to bike on either.
    Yes, I do believe that local governments should spend the money, as it will reduce costs in the long run! - 6/11/2009   9:20:48 AM
  • 25
    Three years ago we sold our home in the city and moved just outside the city limits. The only thing I miss...riding bikes and walking around town. There is no safe way to get into town on bikes with little kids. We have to take a state highway. We are only two miles from town. I would love to take a ride for icecream like we did in the city! Maybe we'll have to start riding around the subdivision and then drive to town. :) Otherwise, my kids and daycare kids are get plenty of outside exercise. No elecronics allowed unless it's raining! - 6/11/2009   9:03:09 AM
  • 24
    Our South Bay LA community feels very safe and has lots of parks BUT like in much of SoCal, you really need to drive to them unless you live next door - the sidewalks are bad, the crosswalk lights long, and everything caters to the car culture. We live in a gated community with a playground and a pool, so my kids are among the lucky ones - they really can go out on their own to play. But they need to check back and we check on them, and DD carries a cell at age 10 for safety. I do remember those good old days, and I miss them dreadfully. - 6/11/2009   8:40:31 AM

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