Discover birds with your kids

Today’s post comes from Eva Paleczny, Learning & Education Leader with Ontario Parks.

On my drive to work one morning, I noticed a bunch of Mourning Doves sitting in a row along an electrical line. As I continued driving, I wondered why birds gather in groups like that…are they being social? Is it advantageous to their survival?

Birds are among the most commonly seen wildlife in our parks and cities, yet probably among the most difficult to observe and identify, due to their intricate colour patterns, quick movements, and ability to stay hidden from view. Not to mention the HUGE variety of bird species out there!

Despite this, I’ve seen many young children express awe and excitement when they see a bird fly by or land on a nearby window sill. These are new sightings for them and they are curious…but eventually, they become ordinary sightings.

How can you tap into discovering birds with your children at home? How can you spark a lifelong curiosity in birds and creatures?

Some fun ideas you can try out:

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How to raise environmentally conscious kids

Earth Week is an annual reminder of how important it is to celebrate our beautiful planet and do our part to protect it for future generations.

It’s also a timely reminder of how essential it is to instill a love – and respect – of the outdoors in our children. It’s something we can’t start too early.

Recent research shows that if you give kids (aged five to ten) an immersive experience in nature, it will lead to a lifelong love for the environment and a sense of stewardship for the earth. You’ll also likely produce more creative thinkers!

Algonquin Provincial Park Biologist Alison Lake offers these tips on how to raise environmentally conscious kids in an increasingly urban and regulated world:

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5 kid friendly signs of spring

Today’s post comes from MacGregor Point Provincial Park, courtesy of Natural Heritage Education Leader Matt Cunliffe.

Longer days give back extra hours of outdoor play and provide the perfect opportunity to explore our trails with the kids.

So don some comfy clothes and head to your favourite park (Bonus: spring involves far less work for getting the young ones ready for a hike!).

Continue reading 5 kid friendly signs of spring

How to get your kids to love cross-country skiing

Did you know 19 of our parks have cross-country trails, about half of them groomed?

Cross-country skiing is a great way for families to get outdoors and enjoy the winter together! It’s less expensive and safer than alpine skiing, it helps keep kids fit, and it’s a skill they’ll have their entire life.

Here are our top seven tips for getting kids hooked on cross-country skiing:

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Day trips at Ontario Parks 

Looking for easy ways to escape the heat this summer? Head to Ontario Parks. Many provincial parks are an hour drive from urban areas. Think about purchasing a Summer Daily Vehicle Seasonal Pass for just $125.00, valid from April 1, 2015 until November 30, 2015 and enjoy a summer of family fun. Here are three day trip ideas to get you started: Continue reading Day trips at Ontario Parks 

Tracking mysteries at Ontario Parks

On winter mornings especially after a light dusting of snow, animal tracks deposited under the cover of darkness provide clues about wildlife inhabiting Ontario Parks – tracks left in snow, chewed bark on or around a tree, snapped twigs, traces of urine, blood, or feathers or even evidence of a life and death struggle. Continue reading Tracking mysteries at Ontario Parks