Mileage clubs and contests encourage children either to begin walking and bicycling to school or to increase their current amount of physical activity by making it fun and rewarding. Generally children track the amount of miles they walk or bicycle and get a small gift or a chance to win a prize after a certain mileage goal is reached.
Mileage clubs and contests are usually designed in one of three ways:
- on an individual basis where every child logs miles walked or bicycled and has a chance to win;
- as a classroom competition where a classroom’s collective miles are compared against other classes; or
- as a competition among schools.
Winners are rewarded with prizes including medals, certificates or trophies.
These activities are very flexible. Depending on the school, the competition aspect can be emphasized or not, and the rewards can be elaborate or simple. In cases where children cannot walk or bicycle to school, because of distance, safety concerns, or a disability, the school can provide credit for distance walked and bicycled at home, to and from a bus stop, or during the school day on campus.
Mileage clubs and contests usually involve incentives like prizes or small gifts. In order to be most effective, incentives need to be provided in concert with other strategies over a period of time—not just given once.