We spend a lot of time outdoors and make it a priority to visit plenty of local parks. We plan annual camping trips around birthdays, We have dreams of visiting every national state park one day, we’ve already crossed off a few. If you follow my blog then you know I am passionate about getting kids outside and into nature in any capacity. The benefits are incredible, and with it being “Earth Week” and all (because one day just isn’t enough), I thought I’d share the latest in Kids To Parks Day 2017.
Each year, the National Park Trust hosts the annual Kids To Parks Day. A day dedicated to getting kids outdoors for some good old-fashioned play. Kids To Parks Day takes place on Saturday, May 20th. Anyone can participate in Kids to Parks Day, which is a national day of park play. National Park Trust (NPT) urges kids across the country to discover science, history, nature and adventure in a neighborhood park right around the corner or just across town. In an effort to get kids playing outside again, I’m listing a few of the ways you can encourage the children in your life to appreciate outdoor play.
One of the best ways to get kids outdoors is to constantly provide the space and opportunity. Keeping their schedule light and free for unstructured play to take place is crucial. While sports are outdoor activities, it’s imperative to have time for creative play without competition. It doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal, some days we just take a walk after dinner around our neighborhood lake, or local trails. You’d be surprised the type of interaction this environment sparks. Many an important conversation have taken place on a simple hiking trail.
Don’t expect kids to stay immaculate in their Sunday’s best all the time. Constantly policing stains on a natural hike will the opposite effect and could discourage a child from wanting to engage outdoors. I keep a spare pair of play clothes in case we happen upon some park play fun one afternoon after school. I change it according to the season.
This year, National Park Trust is delighted to welcome their new Kids to Parks Day sponsor: Northside. Their generous support will provide park grants for some of the winners of our Kids to Parks Day School Contest. This year we all are taking our Northside Shoes for a spin. They are extremely comfortable and perfect for any elements. We all have matching pairs of the hiking sport sandals to keep us comfortable and safe on any terrain.
Last year more than 4,000 students from Title 1 schools benefited from the contest. Kids to Parks Day is the signature event of NPT’s popular Buddy Bison® school program, which teaches environmental education and the benefits of outdoor recreation to children in under-served schools across the country. NPT’s goal is to cultivate future park stewards and outdoor enthusiasts. Read more about the Buddy Bison® school program.
Get Kids Involved
I find one of the easiest ways to get our kids interested in something is giving them complete control over it. If the boys are being picky with dinnertime, I begin to ask them what they would like to eat certain days of the week. I take them to our garden to pick the vegetables to cook. The more involved they are in the decision-making process, the more interested they become. By letting the kids pick some of our destinations from time to time, they get excited about planned dates to “their pick”.
Only good can come from teaching our kids to appreciate nature and get outside. After all, they are the generation that is going to have to defend it, and discover new ways to sustain it.
You can find out more about Kids To Parks Day and National Park Trust on their website. You can even schedule a park date of your own using NPT’s free resources. Kids to Parks Day 2017 promises to be bigger than ever! Last year, Kids to Parks Day had more than 730,000 participants in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. This year, the goal is to have 900,000 people enjoy Kids to Parks Day all across the country. To participate you can do the following:
- Step 1: Pledge to have a park adventure on Kids to Parks Day and be entered to win one of several prizes
- Step 2. Find or register an event in your area
- Step 3. Encourage friends and family to join you
- Step 4. Share photos and adventures on social media with #kidstoparks and #BuddyBison Keep checking back to www.kidstoparks.org as more information about park events and prizes are updated until the big day!
Keep checking back to www.kidstoparks.org as more information about park events and prizes are updated until the big day.
I hope you’ll join me in celebrating Kids To Parks Day this year on May 20, 2017.We’ll be sure not to leave Buddy behind!
In order to encourage one of my readers to participate, I am partnering with Northside to give away a free pair of Northside shoes of your choosing. Simply enter the giveaway below for your chance to win between now and May 1st, and #GetOutside.
National Park Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. As people spend more time indoors, and as successive generations grow up with less of a connection to nature, NPT wants to build a greater awareness and appreciation for the importance of our country’s public lands and parks. NPT’s Buddy Bison® School Program and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest were selected in 2015 as a National Park Service Centennial Challenge Project. Learn more at: www.parktrust.org or call 301-279-7275.