Open eyes, open mind: nature journaling with kids

In today’s post, Discovery Leader Carlin Thompson from Sandbanks Provincial Park shares her top tips for nature journaling with kids.

We did it, parents! We made it through another winter.

The struggle of tackling young children into layered outerwear and the scavenger hunts for matching mittens now seem like a distant memory. What sweet relief.

But before the unbridled joy of shucking the outerwear gives way to sunscreen-application-induced carpal tunnel and the din of summer boredom, let’s capitalize on our children’s excitement to be outside.

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5 kid-friendly signs of spring

Today’s post comes from MacGregor Point Provincial Park, courtesy of Discovery Program 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 local park (bonus: spring involves far less work for getting the young ones ready for a hike!).

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Discover birds with your kids

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

On my drive to work one morning last month, 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 other creatures?

Here are some fun ideas you can try out from your own backyard:

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How to get your kids to love cross-country skiing

Did you know 18 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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Family friendly parks in the near north

Summer is here, and now’s the perfect time for a last minute family road trip!

During the busy summer months, the solution to finding your serene camping trip is heading north.  Here are a few near north parks we suggest visiting with your little ones.

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Books to prepare your kids for camping

Written by Laurel Finney: Learning & Education Specialist, mother of two, avid camper, and long-time lover of children’s books.

Storybooks help children to discover themselves and relate to the world around them.

Whether you’re planning your next camping trip, snuggled up in the tent on your favourite campsite, or at home reliving your most recent adventure, these camping-themed children’s books will be new bedtime favourites.

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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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