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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8 ways paddling can improve your health

Just when we thought nothing could top the “good for you” news about chocolate…

…research shows that paddling is good not only for our physical health, but for our mental health as well!

Here are some of the benefits that will have you reaching for your paddle:

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How to use your senses to experience nature at home

Today’s post comes from Rachel Gagnon, Ontario Parks’ Healthy Parks Healthy People Coordinator.

Did you know that nature can touch all our senses: sound, smell, sight, touch, and taste?

During these times when we can’t visit our favourite natural spaces, bringing pieces of nature home can help us experience some of its benefits.

So few things in the world stimulate our minds and bodies like nature does. It can soothe us, alleviate our stress, and put us in a better mood.

Here are some ways you can incorporate nature into your daily life through connecting to your five senses:

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Health benefits of backcountry camping

Today’s post comes from Sarah McMichael, Ontario Parks’ Healthy Parks Healthy People Coordinator.

Backcountry camping is known for being a way to experience beautiful, serene landscapes. But a backcountry trip also provides an opportunity to challenge yourself physically and mentally.

The combination of paddling, portaging, and hiking through the backcountry is a great all-over workout. Plus, you will experience a ton of health benefits simply by being outdoors.

Hit the backcountry for a killer total-body workout this summer. Let’s do this!

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Health benefits of cross-country skiing

Staying active in the winter isn’t always easy. For some of us, it’s tempting to stay in, cuddle up, and spend the long winter months binging Netflix and unhealthy snacks.

Cross-country skiing boasts a wide array of benefits for your physical and mental health. Here’s why you should strap on some skis and spend your winter gliding through frozen forests and snow-covered trails:

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Mental health benefits of the outdoors

Do you ever find yourself feeling calmer, more relaxed, or more focused after spending time in nature? That’s because time outside has studied and proven benefits for your mental health.

Mental illness affects one in five Canadians in any given year. Let’s talk about what some Vitamin N (nature) can do for your mental health:

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Why it’s important for children to play outside in winter

Every winter, as the temperatures drop, so does the amount of time we spend outside. This is especially true for children — playtime can become limited to the indoors.

It may be tempting to hide inside until the weather warms up, but outdoor play is essential for your children’s well-being all year long.

Here are some of the top reasons why you should get our kids outside and active this winter:

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5 walks through winter woods

The health benefits of hiking are head-to-toe. A walk in the woods can help alleviate mental fatigue, and improve creative thinking. Hiking is also great for cardiovascular health and muscle tone.

But is hiking an option in the winter?

Absolutely. We’ve collected a list of five parks with stellar options for winter rambles:

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4 ways camping helps us slow down and enjoy life

Today’s post comes from Connor Oke, an Ontario Parks marketing intern. 

We live in a world that demands a lot of us.

Canadians work overtime at higher rates than they did 25 years ago. At the same time, we spend more hours in front of screens and on social media, which are linked to increased anxiety and distractedness. We also get less sleep than we did 15 years ago.

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Healthy resolutions for a new year

The research is clear: spending time in nature improves our physical, mental and social well-being.

Yes. Even when it’s cold outside.

Ready for a healthier 2020? We chatted with parks planner Will Kershaw to find out how he stays fit and healthy during the winter months. These are his top tips:

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