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National Kids to Parks Day is May 19


May 16, 2012
By: Jamie Clark, Roanoke, VA PM
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Jamie Clark
Just what is National Kids to Parks Day, anyway? Simply put, every family in America is invited to attend a local park, state park, or national park and play the day away!  Many areas are hosting special events. CLICK HERE to find a list of Georgia events (such as Discovery Walks at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area or the events at Hammond Park in Sandy Springs). You can also go to www.kidstoparks.org and pledge to go to a park with your family on May 19th. Pretty cool!

This is the perfect opportunity to "unplug" and enjoy the great outdoors. You'll be amazed at how much fun you can have, and to help, kidstoparks.org has some ideas for kids and parents.  Of course, we have a few ideas to keep the kiddos busy (and from running off into the woods!), too!

1.  Have a scavenger hunt:  One way to keep your kids' attention is to give them something fun to do!  I printed out this scavenger hunt, glued it on a bag, attached a pen, and was ready to roll. You can also create your own based on your kids' ages. Toddlers can easily find leaves and rocks, right?  Find or draw some pictures right on a bag, add some words for older kids to read, and that's all you need!  

2.  Make a tape-bracelet:  I am going to admit I "stole" this idea from Earth Day Roanoke this year! I don't know who was doing it, but I saw tons of kiddos walking around with these tape bracelets and I thought it was the MOST GENIUS idea EVER!  Again, we all know that kids LOVE to pick up treasures off the ground from flowers to leaves to grass (and often some yucky stuff but we'll encourage them to go towards the good stuff!) so this is BRILLIANT!  In fact, when I did this recently with my 4 and 6-year old boys, they had a BLAST (I was actually surprised how much they enjoyed it!)  

Just take a piece of masking tape and wrap it around your child's wrist to create a bracelet, making sure it's sticky side up.  Then as you are walking around in the great outdoors, all those fun things they pick up can go right on their wrist as a keepsake!  So SIMPLE! And, to extend the learning... have older kids create a pattern or create a bracelet that is all made up of "yellow" things or "bumpy" things...so many possibilities!  

   

3.  Create clay impressions:  So now what? Your kids are home with a giant collection of all sorts of fun things from nature. If your kids are like my kids, they will insist these treasures are their new favorite things that MUST be kept forever in your living room. Unfortunately, I have other plans for all those goodies (like putting them right back outside where they were found), so making a clay impression is the perfect compromise!  You can use modeling clay, bakers clay  or even just regular old playdoh!  The idea is to create an impression of their new favorite things...so press those rocks and leaves and twigs into the clay to create a memory that will last forever (without it actually having to stay in your house)!

 

So, pack your supplies and get your kids to a park on Saturday!


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