May 20th is National Kids to Parks Day! For the 7th year, the National Park Trust is getting families and kids to enjoy our parks all across the country. Last year an astounding 731,000 participants visited 1130 parks. My son and I were in that number and we hope that you will join us again this year!
It can be any park that you choose, from a local park, state park, or a national park. You can still participate even if you don’t have kids! Make it an outting and round up all of your friends and family with little ones. If you’re an educator (and parents too) tell your local school and possibly plan to meet up at a park.
What I love most about being a Kids to Parks Ambassador is that we share the same belief that our parks are for everyone! Whether you consider yourself urban or rural, it really doesn’t matter. You can find an oasis among the skyscrapers right where you live if you can’t get out into the wilderness. Trust me. Parks are everywhere and there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from having a brand new outdoor adventure!
Tips for making the most of your day in the park:
1. Enter your participation pledge and be entered to win a really great prize pack from North Face.
2. Search the Kids to Parks Event Page for events in your state or plan to visit a park on your own. If you plan your own outing choose somewhere you haven’t visited before. I’m actually hosting an event so if you are in the Tampa Bay area join me and my awesome Facebook group for a day in the park: https://www.facebook.com/events/662687180581177??ti=ia
3. Wear comfortable lightweight clothing and the right shoes. For far too long I’ve had the wrong shoes for my hikes but this year thanks to Northside Shoes, I finally have real hiking shoes. I opted for the waterproof BurkeII breathable sandles/shoe hybrids. They have grip, cushion and support, and they are waterproof. (Northside USA provided me with shoes as part of my relationship with National Park Trust as an ambassador for Kids to Parks Day. All opinions are my own. Full Disclosure)
4. Don’t forget sunblock and insect repellant. I’m a huge fan of the wearable clip on repellant fans.
5. Visit the visitor’s center if they have one and get a map. Ask the park ranger for recommendations or availability to give you a tour. Guided tours can give you insight into areas of the park you may not have explored otherwise on your own.
6. Pack snacks and plenty of water to stay hydrated. A water bladder backpack is a great way to carry water and keep your hands free. It’s also the GREEN way to go by lowering the amount of trash in the park.
7. Running around outside is usually entertainment enough for younger kids, however the older kids/tweens/teens might get bored with just a leisurely hike. Try to make it fun by having a scavenger hunt with a prize to motivate them. You could even make it a photo scavenger hunt to eliminate the need for paper. You can text everyone a list of items and they have to take pics of the items when they encounter them on the hike.
8. Be social. Make sure to share the pics from your parks outing and tag @NatParkTrust on Twitter and use hashtag #kidstoparks on Twitter and Instagram.
I’m excited to announce that as a Kids to Parks Day Ambassador, I’m hosting a giveaway courtesy of Northside. They strongly believe in making outdoor recreation accessible and affordable for ALL families. One lucky winner will win a promo code to redeem for one pair of shoes from the Northside website. I’ve been loving my Burke II waterproof all-purpose shoes and my son has been enjoying his McKinley style hiking boots. Enter the giveaway. **Giveaway has ended**
I hope you will join the hundreds of thousands of others across the country by visiting a park on May 2oth with your family. Visit the National Park Trust website to pledge your visit and be entered to win an awesome grand prize from North Face. It’s also a great resource for activity ideas as well as listings of planned park events for the special day. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #KidsToParks to share pictures of your outing.