Imagine Scouting in a world without local, state and national parks.
It’s not a pretty sight: Tents pitched in mall parking lots, s’mores cooked over an open tire fire, fishing in repurposed swimming pools.
Thank goodness for agencies like the National Park Trust, which helps preserve America’s local, state and national parks for future generations.
One of their big events each year is Kids to Parks Day, set for Saturday, May 17, 2014. Show them your support by registering your plans to explore parks and public lands that day.
The Boy Scouts of America — along with the National Park Service, NFL Players Association, American Hiking Society and others — is a prominent collaborator on Kids to Parks Day.
The National Park Trust estimates that more than 500,000 people will attend park events planned in 47 states and Washington, D.C., in what they’re calling “America’s national day of play.”
Here are five ways to get involved:
1. Register your unit, be entered to win a prize
Pledge to take your Scouts to a park on May 17, and when you register you’ll be entered to win the grand prize, which includes loads of cool stuff like an autographed NFLPA helmet, autographed jersey, a ton of camping gear and lots more. See contest details here.
Click here to register your event.
2. Find parks for kids in your state
A curated list of the best parks for kids. That’s the promise of this page that as of now includes only three states: California, Missouri and Virginia. They’ll add new ones each week, so keep checking back for yours.
With each state listing, you get a look at the coolest parks that offer unique activities for kids.
Click here to check them out.
3. Try some hiking or camping games
Maybe you’re at a park with some time to spare? Or your Scouts are lagging mid-hike? The National Park Trust has some boredom-busting games to help ramp up energy.
For example, “One-Word Stories”: One person begins a story by saying one word, and then the story is passed on to the next person, and the next, and so on, with each person building to the plot of the story. Since each person can only say one word at a time, the story becomes really silly and fun, and this game allows your kid’s imagination to run wild.
Games like these also work during long car rides.
Click here to see these activity ideas.
4. Learn from the experts
How do you prepare for a hike with kids?
What are the best outdoor snacks for kids?
Can you recommend any kid-appropriate park books?
Two experts — Ken Keffer and Stacy Tornio, creators of DestinationNature.net — weigh in on these topics and more. They offer some interesting ideas worth checking out.
Click here to get your questions answered.
5. Say hey to Buddy Bison
The National Park Trust’s lovable mascot is Buddy Bison, and he shares a bunch of tips aimed at showing kids how to have fun at parks.
They’re compact, making them easy for kids to digest. Here’s an example:
Click here for more from Buddy Bison.