Celebrate Take a Child Outside Week September 24-30

Monday, September 18, 2017 - 10:25am

“Take a Child Outside” is designed to help children develop an appreciation for the outdoors by giving parents, grandparents, caregivers and teachers information on nature activities and places to visit.

Take a Child Outside Week is coordinated by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences with participation by partner organizations throughout the U.S. and around the world. The program encourages all citizens to participate in outdoor activities and occurs annually from September 24 to September 30.

You can find ideas for outdoor activities to do with children of all ages on the NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ Take a Child Outside website. The program is designed to help break down obstacles that keep children from discovering the natural world, and to provide resources and recreational activities for exploring local habitats.

Organizations and agencies across the state including parks, nature and science centers, museums, aquariums, botanical gardens, and other environmental education centers are hosting events during the week. There are many opportunities to take children, grandchildren or students outdoors. Events include nature hikes, story walks, bird calling, hawk watching, fishing, spider sniffing and pond explorations. You can visit the North Carolina Environmental Education Calendar to search for Take a Child Outside activities being offered across the state.

And don’t worry if you are new to exploring the outdoors with children. The Kids in Parks program has installed a network of hiking trails throughout North Carolina that are designed to get kids and families outdoors for both their health and the health of our parks and public lands. Each of their TRACK Trails has a series of self-guided brochures children kids can use to learn about and connect with the resources that make that place unique, converting an ordinary hike into a fun-filled, discovery-packed adventure. Kids that complete TRACK Trails can register their adventures through the program’s website and earn prizes designed to make their next outdoor adventure more meaningful and keep them engaged in the program. For a complete list of TRACK Trail locations, and for more information about the program, please visit their website kidsinparks.com.

Do you and your kids wish you had more opportunities to play outside when TACO week is over? Then consider signing them up to become a NC State Parks Junior Ranger! (Geared for kids ages 6-12). Earn unique park patches at each of the state parks by completing the self-led activity guide, attending park programs, and helping with a kid-friendly stewardship project. See if you can collect all 41 patches!  Or sign up for the quarterly Junior Ranger e-newsletter for fun activities and articles to stay on top of the latest with NC State Parks. Learn more about NC State Parks Junior Rangers on the website.

North Carolina has many environmental education centers and other public lands that are great places for children to explore September 24-30 (and year-round). So, whether it is at a national, state or local park; your neighborhood or your own backyard--Take a Child Outside!