Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July is National Park and Recreation Month and it's Time to Get Wild!

It took approximately one day of summer vacation before my kids missed school.

Fortunately, instead of bouncing off the walls or fighting over what to watch on television, my girls know that summer not only means fun, it means fun outdoors. After all, there's no better time to throw on a pair of sandals and go hunting for bugs, play at the park with friends, or go swimming until their fingers have shriveled into raisins.

And, in case your family needs a reason to celebrate all that is amazing about the outdoors, July is National Park and Recreation month and your local parks are gearing up to "Get Wild!"

Park and Recreation Month

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is dedicated to advancing parks, recreation, and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people. After all, with at least 12,000 publicly funded state and local park and recreation agencies in the United States, parks and recreation are powerful catalysts for change — in everything from the economy to health to conservation.

Studies have shown that parks help boost the economy and contribute to the value of surrounding residential properties. In addition, they help make the local community a safer place to raise a family. Which just makes them even better for sports, playground equipment or simply a great place to hang out and play!

playing in the park

Since 1985, America has celebrated July as the nation's official Park and Recreation Month and this year the NRPA is encouraging you and your community to get wild! Recreation departments nationwide have organized events and activities to help families spend quality time together, enjoy nature and get active.

This provides a great opportunity to not only make the most of the beautiful weather, but also to take a stand against the obesity epidemic and technology trends that consistently keep more kids indoors and living less active lifestyles.

It has always been my goal to have my kids love the outdoors and being active, so I continue to be excited when they would rather go jump on our trampoline, swing on our swings, slide down our slide or even just squirt each other with the hose instead of sitting with a video game.

outdoor fun

Through fun initiatives and games, the National Recreation and Park Association continues to find creative, exciting ways to encourage families to play outside. One visit to the NRPA website will provide you with a wealth of information on how you can participate in this month's activities.

First, the calendar of local events provides details, locations and contact information for activities happening across the country. Second, the official toolkit includes the 2012 Official "Get Wild" Social Media Poster (which allows participants to upload photos to Twitter and Facebook of their adventures at their local park), a customizable calendar, various graphics, and info on the "Get Wild" Geocaching Contest.

The Geocaching Contest is a fun outdoor search game for families that enables them to participate in the real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. As you explore local park and recreation areas in your community and share your geocaching photos on Facebook, you'll automatically be entered to win one of five Magellan GC eXplorist GPS Devices!

Finally, visitors to the NRPA site have the opportunity to take the Get Wild pledge and commit to getting wild in their local park and rec areas this July. Whether that means activities, connecting with nature, hitting the hiking or biking trails, visiting the playground or more, it's a fun way to show your support for discovering new ways to have fun in your community... plus you'll receive a cute Facebook badge to display to show that you've taken the pledge!

There are multiple parks within walking distance of our house and we love them all, as they each have just the right qualities that make them the perfect destination for our family. It doesn't matter if we are heading over on the spur of the moment or have plans to meet friends, our community parks are great for encouraging my kids to lead healthy, active lifestyles along with  learning to appreciate nature and the environment.

How do your local parks inspire you? Find out more about how you can get involved and "Get Wild" with the National Recreation and Park Association on their website and on Facebook.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of National Recreation and Park Association and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.


Liz Mays said...

Although my kids don't use the play equipment anymore, we still love finding local parks just for hiking, strolling, and searching for critters. Nature is a big part of my family.