This post is written in collaboration with the National Park Trust and Northside Shoes. May 20, 2017 is the 7th annual Kids to Parks Day. Our family was provided shoes in return for our honest review. Every opinion in this post is 100% mine.
The kids are slowly getting up this morning, after a much-needed long night’s sleep. All six of us have been running in different directions the past few weeks. Having one (rare) morning of laziness and togetherness does our minds and bodies well.
We are gathered around the breakfast table, when Jordan breaks our comfortable silence. He’s our resident homebody. He loves lounging around the house without an agenda. But not today.
“Mama! I know what we should do today! It’s something we haven’t done in a while!” (I pause before I reply. I am convinced this will either involve a trip to a retail store, cost me a lot of money, or require us to drive far!)
Jordan is unstoppable at this point! His excitement is contagious.
“Let’s go to that place, you know… where we can run around, fish and there are lots of trees and nature!” (In other words, he wants to go to our local National Park.)
I breathe a sigh of relief. Thankfully his idea is doable, won’t break the bank, is easily arranged and doesn’t require us to drive for hours! Off to the Park we go!
Before we head out, I pack a small backpack with a few essentials and dress the kids in appropriate outfits, to ensure that everyone has a great time.
Things to Bring and Wear at a Florida National Park:
- Light cotton or dri-fit t-shirt.
- Comfortable shorts.
- Polarized sunglasses.
- Sturdy shoes for walking in wet and dry conditions.
- Our family wears Northside hiking shoes when we are on (or off) the trails.
- Northside shoes are comfortable enough for us to wear all day long, durable for long hours of wear and fashionable so the kids wear them to school.
- Frozen bottles of water:
- From last year’s hurricane preparation stash, we have several bottles of water stored in the freezer. These bottles are convenient for when you are on the go and need your drink to stay cool for a while.
- Cooling towels or frozen washcloths in ziplock bags.
- One of our kids is heat intolerant, so being outside in the South Florida heat can be very uncomfortable for him. We keep him cool by placing frozen Cooling Towels or frozen washcloths around his neck.
- Without fail, whenever you go somewhere with the kids, they inevitably get hungry, even if you fed them RIGHT before leaving the house. I always pack light snacks in my backpack.
- Applesauce pouches.
- Remember to teach the kids never to feed wild animals or leave scraps of food behind. Human food isn’t good for wild animals, and the animals associate humans with “feeding time” and lose their instinct to naturally fear humans.
Supplies to bring:
- Sunscreen: apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside, and then reapply every 60 – 90 minutes.
- Trash bag: this is a great opportunity to teach your kids that the only thing they should leave behind is their footprints.
- Discard the trash when you get home.
- Insect repellant: because there are lots of bugs in Florida – and they are BIG.
- Scavenger Hunt: print this scavenger hunt and laminate it before you head out. Give each kid their own sheet and a dry-erase pen.
- Camera: We want our National Parks to remain beautiful eco-systems for generations to come, so the only thing you should take home with you are photos.
It takes minimal time to pack and prepare for a day at the Park. But the best part is that the memories we make and the experiences we have last a lifetime.
After a great afternoon at the Park, watching the kids run down the trails, checking things off their scavenger hunt and teaching them about Florida wildlife, we load up the van to head home.
The kids are quiet and worn out, actually a couple of them fall asleep on our short drive home. I smile at my husband and whisper “why don’t we do this more often?”
May 20, 2017 is the 7th annual Kids to Parks Day. As you can see, it doesn’t take much time, money or effort to get the kids outside. Head over to http://kidstoparks.org and pledge to get your kids to a park on May 20th – and enter to win awesome prizes.
Local and national parks and public lands all around the U.S. will participate in the National Kids to Parks Day, which is a national day of park play! National Park Trust (NPT) urges kids across the country to discover science, history, nature and adventure in a neighborhood park right around the corner or just across town. Many parks host kid-friendly events.
Kids to Parks Day helps kids and families develop more active, healthy lifestyles, and create lifelong memories and educational opportunities.
Kids to Parks Day 2017 promises to be bigger than ever! Last year, Kids to Parks Day had more than 730,000 participants in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. This year, the goal is to have 900,000 people enjoy Kids to Parks Day all across the country.
This year’s sponsor of the Kids to Parks Day is Northside. Our family has fallen in love with our shoes from Northside. Their shoes are solid and great for trail hiking. The kids ran and frolicked – as kids do. The trails were a good mix of sandy and muddy, as to be expected in a Florida Park – and our shoes have held up perfectly. The kids’ feet stay dry and comfortable, even after hours of kid-filled fun.
Northside has shoes for outdoors fun for everyone in your family, without breaking the bank.
Check out the water shoes, hiking shoes and even winter boots.
PRINTABLE SCAVENGER HUNT for Florida Parks
About National Park Trust
National Park Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. As people spend more time indoors, and as successive generations grow up with less of a connection to nature, NPT wants to build a greater awareness and appreciation for the importance of our country’s public lands and parks. NPT’s Buddy Bison® School Program and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest were selected in 2015 as a National Park Service Centennial Challenge Project. Learn more at: www.parktrust.org or call 301-279-7275.