April 03, 2012 Kerala Taylor

5 ways to get outside this month

Of course, every month should be “Get Outside Month,” but in April it’s official. Join the youth-inspired, youth-led Children & Nature Network initiative to Play, Serve and Celebrate—outside!

When we think of the “outdoors,” we often think of weekend destinations like beaches, forests, rivers, or mountains. These natural treasures are all well worth a visit, but this month we also encourage you to explore the Great Outdoors that exists right outside your front door.

Here are 5 ideas to get your family—and your neighborhood—playing outside in April. For more inspiration, check out our "Get Outside" board on Pinterest.

  1. Hold a Play Day

    Bring some old-fashioned fun to your neighborhood by organizing a Play Day on your street, at your school, or at your local park. Can you believe that some kids these days have never played Red Rover or fallen down in a three-legged race? A Play Day is a chance to gather your community to build awareness for the importance of play and teach kids those old-fashioned games that we all know and love.
  2. Conduct a neighborhood scavenger hunt

    Help local kids get to know their neighborhood—and each other—by organizing a neighborhood scavenger hunt. Give kids a list of elements to find, take pictures of, or request from fellow neighbors. See some sample hunt ideas at Playborhood and Free Range Kids.   
  3. Hide natural treasures on your street

    Think of it as a scavenger hunt in reverse. Create a few natural treasures—like painted rocks, shell wind chimes, or fairy houses (pictured at right)—and hide them in unexpected places throughout your neighborhood.  When other neighbors stumble across your treasures, they are sure to smile in delight—and perhaps be inspired to create their own.
  4. Visit every playground in your neighborhood

    Set a goal of visiting every park and playground in your zip code during the month of April. See which playgrounds are already marked on the KaBOOM! Map of Play and then use our mobile and online tools to fill in the holes and add to existing data. To maximize fun, share times and dates for each playground visit on a neighborhood listserv so that other families can get involved.
  5. Organize a walking school bus

    A mere 17% of children currently walk or ride a bike to school. Not only does walking let children flex their muscles, but it immerses them in a rich play environment. Riding in a car is a sedentary, sterile and uninspiring experience by contrast.

    If safety is a concern, remember that there is always safety in numbers. A walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. It can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their children to school, or as structured as a route with meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated schedule of trained volunteers.

What ideas do you have for getting your family and neighborhood outside this month?

Bottom photo by MoBikeFed (cc).

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