Each year Kids to Parks Day is celebrated on the 3rd Saturday of May. It’s a day we can help kids and families connect with their local, state, and national parks and have fun! This year it’s Saturday, May 19th.
Why should we have a national day to celebrate taking kids to a park?
Because anything that encourages families and friends to explore the outdoors together is a great thing!
Where should you go?
If you’re wondering where to go, check out this great page from the National Park Trust called Explore Parks Near You. You can click on the state you want to explore to find parks.
Of course if there’s no national park near you, you can visit any nearby park or trail. The point is to get outside and enjoy nature.
What can you do?
Parks may offer a number of activities. You can investigate if they have hiking or biking trails, water activities such as swimming or fishing, camping, or more.
Check out these Boredom Busters and the ideas in this Park Adventure Booklet for your next park trip. You can also try to do all thirty of these 30 Things. If your kids are into creative games, you can have them go on a scavenger hunt.
What should you bring?
Always make sure you’re prepared when you’re going into nature.
Sunscreen and sun protection from hats and clothing is a must when outdoors. Use at least an SPF of 25 and reapply sunscreen every 2 hours until evening hours.
Sunglasses might also be appreciated and help protect the eyes from damaging rays. Be sure your sunglasses provide 100% UV protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Don’t forget the kids! We get 75-80% of our UV exposure before we turn 18.
Bug sprays can help prevent bug bites. If you’re in an area with ticks, still do daily tick checks even if you use insect repellant. You can use this handy online tool to find the best bug spray for your needs.
Be sure to bring water bottles for everyone. Dehydration is a risk when you’re active, especially if it’s warm outside. Caffeinated (and for adults, alcoholic) beverages don’t rehydrate as well as water.
Wear appropriate shoes. Many kids want to wear their favorite sandals, but if you’ll be outdoors walking, they will need a more sturdy shoe. If you’ll be around water you might even pack a second pair in case they get wet. Walking in wet shoes is begging for blisters.
Bring a camera to take memories, but don’t spend the day trying to get the perfect picture. Snap a few pictures, but make the day about enjoying the outdoors, not about taking pictures.
If you’ll be hiking, bird watching, or looking for wildlife, it might be helpful to have binoculars.
Bring healthy snacks or pack a lunch if you’ll be out during typical snack or meal times. When kids are hungry, they get angry. You don’t want hanger to ruin a fun day!
If there are areas appropriate for sporty activities, bring some balls or frisbees.
What should you not bring?
Leave the electronics at home. This is a great day to unplug!
If you have allergies in the family…
If someone (or many) in your family suffer from allergies, be prepared! I have many tips in a previous blog that covers allergies.