Celebrating "Take a Walk in the Park" Day
March 30th is the annual 'Take a Walk in the Park' Day. How can you and your children celebrate this nature-loving day of park appreciation?
It may not be as well-known as Christmas, Easter, or Halloween, but the end of March hosts a fantastic day encouraging us to all get outdoors, breathe some fresh air, and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer.
Founded as a way to help people reconnect with nature and improve their mental and physical health, this special day is a great opportunity to start some new habits, get some exercise, and take some time away from all of daily life's various screens and closed-in walls.
Ways to Enjoy 'Take a Walk in the Park' Day
Any trip to a park has plenty of potential, especially as a parent. Planning a walk either alone or with your kids can provide numerous opportunities for fun, new experiences, and even educational moments.
Here are some things you can consider doing when visiting your local park:
Making a "race" out of the walk
Although it may not be as fun to a tired parent, making a "race" out of the walk you're taking is great for entertaining children with far too much energy. To avoid having them run too far ahead of you, you can also consider making them run a "silly race." Instead of just bolting ahead and running as much as possible, you can sound a buzzer on your phone that requires them to "run" part of that race in the goofiest ways possible: dancing, crab walking, going backward, etc.
This is a great way to burn off some of that energy as well as have a blast making your kids listen to the next buzzer sound and set of goofy "running" instructions.
Feeding the local wildlife
There may be rules about this depending upon where you're located, so always be sure to check with the park you're visiting regarding their rules about feeding the animals.
However, in many cases, it's perfectly acceptable to bring some seeds and other appropriate feed to throw out for squirrels and birds. (Please do not try to feed deer, raccoons, possums, or any other critters that typically aren't found out and about human beings for safety reasons.) Be sure to research the types of birds and squirrels you'll likely encounter beforehand to ensure that you've chosen a safe and healthy food option for them.
Contrary to popular belief, throwing out processed white bread for birds is a terrible idea and can negatively impact their health. Try organic, less-processed breads that are loaded with seeds and healthy grains, or simply stick to plain seed mixes instead.
Identifying plants, trees, and bugs
Some toddlers may be down for this, but this is actually a great idea for older kids that may have some interest in science and biology.
Take some time to learn more about the trees you see at your local park as well as any flowers or other neat plants you may come across. Learn about what's safe to touch, what can be harmful, what can be useful if you're outdoors a lot, and more.
Additionally, if you or your children aren't too squeamish, you may also want to go on a bug hunt and see what creepy crawly critters you can find and identify. Especially for younger kids, this is a great opportunity to teach them about the types of bugs to avoid and what to do if they get bitten or stung one day.
If your family has any pets (especially a dog), this is the perfect day to take your canine buddy (or other travel-friendly pet) out with the family for a walk in the great outdoors.
There are plenty more things you can do in a park as well, depending upon how your local park is set up. Many have playgrounds for children of all ages, some have lakes and other water features, and those near mountains commonly have beautiful hiking trails.
All of these are great activities for the whole family to get involved and continue to do even after March 30th has passed.
Be sure to check with your local park for any information regarding special events and park policies, and always be sure to practice proper outdoor safety.