My kids live about six blocks away from their school, yet, in their short two-year school career, they have never walked.

They wouldn't have to walk through a dangerous neighborhood to get to school; it's actually quite a nice residential section.

Granted, they're young, in just the first grade and only recently having turned seven. But I remember walking a similar distance by myself to school  when I was in kindergarten.

And there's certainly nothing stopping us from walking to school with them.  Except laziness. In this day where parents line up outside of schools like rows of SUV-driving taxi drivers at the airport, the suggestion that the kids might just walk to school is likely to bring a confounded stare from a parent.

That brings us to this Wednesday's Walk to School Day.

International Walk to School Day is a global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day. It began in 1997 as a one-day event.

Over time, this event has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration – with record breaking participation – each October. Today, thousands of schools across America – from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – participate every October.

Communities and schools are using Walk or Bike to School Day as the first step to change community culture and to create options for getting around that are more inviting for everyone, both young and old. Here are some reasons to support walking and bicycling to school:

It’s Fun! Walking and bicycling bring a sense of joy and independence.

Healthier Habits:The trip to school is a chance for children (and adults!) to get the physical activity they need.

Cleaner Environment:  Replacing car trips to school with walking or bicycling can reduce congestion and air-polluting emissions.

Promoting Safety: Building sidewalks, providing education programs and adding traffic calming measures are some of the ways to improve safety. Encouraging walking and bicycling to school can help build support for infrastructure improvements in the broader community.

Community Benefits: Reducing traffic congestion, boosting a sense of community, and improving neighborhood connections benefit the community.

By the way, this Wednesday, for the first time, my kids will be walking to school!

Here's the Walk/Bike to School website with more details on Wednesday's Walk to school Day 2013.