PARTICIPATE IN "TAKE A CHILD OUTSIDE WEEK"
IN MISSOURI STATE PARKS
JEFFERSON CITY, MO.,- When remembering back to their childhood, most adults have fond memories full of fun times spent outdoors. With the ongoing increase in electronic gadgets, television channels, Internet access and other forms of entertainment that require an electrical outlet, many children are not experiencing the same kind of childhood that their parents had. To help change this trend, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is asking parents to participate in "Take a Child Outside Week," which is Sept. 24 through Sept. 30, by taking the kids to one of Missouri's state parks or historic sites.
"Take a Child Outside Week" is an international program designed to help break down obstacles that keep children from discovering the natural world. It ties into the department's current "Get Out and Play!" promotion, which encourages parents to take their kids to the nearest state park to let them freely explore the outdoors. State parks offer the following activities and programs to help achieve this goal during this particular week and year-round.
Go hiking! Cooler temperatures and great colors make fall a great time to hike. Missouri state parks offer more than 900 miles of trails, ranging from an easy stroll to a rugged mountain hike. Exercise is an added bonus!
Just relax (leave the schedule at home)! Sit at a picnic table and watch your kids' creativity and curiosity flourish as they explore the outdoors at their own pace. Both you and the kids will probably find nature to be quite calming.
Become a Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites Explorer! Anyone, any age can become an Explorer. State parks offer a variety of fun and educational nature programs to the public that help visitors earn an Explorer patch. Giving visitors a new appreciation and respect for the natural world around them and an interest in preserving it is the main goal of this program.
Fish or float! Many state parks border or offer lakes, streams or rivers for fishing, canoeing and boating.
Sleep under the stars! Thirty-nine state parks and historic sites offer campgrounds and the opportunity to hear nature at night.
These activities give children the opportunity to connect with nature - smell the fresh air, hear the birds, and insects, see the vibrant colors of the wildflowers, trees and plants, and feel the breezes. Children don't have to participate in structured or educational activities to enjoy and appreciate nature. In just a few minutes of free time outside, they'll appreciate the shade provided by a tree, be fascinated with the bugs busily crawling around and enjoy the sense of freedom that the outdoors can provide. In the near future, this generation of technology-savvy kids will be responsible for preserving and protecting Missouri's state parks and natural resources and their interest needs to be piqued now.
The "Take A Child Outside Week" was initiated by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and is held in cooperation with partner organizations across the United States and Canada.
Source: Missouri Department of Natural Resources
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