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 your kids outside and active this winter:

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Health benefits of dark skies

Today’s blog comes from Senior Marketing Specialist Sarah McMichael-Chen. 

My most memorable camping memory didn’t come from a crackling campfire, a panoramic lookout, or a stunning sandy beach.

It happened at 3:00 am at Lake Superior Provincial Park.

As I stumbled out of my tent for a late-night bathroom break, I noticed something different about the sky above me. There were stars.

A LOT of stars.

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Nature on the brain

Today’s blog comes from Kelsey Fenwick, senior park naturalist at Blue Lake Provincial Park

Growing up in small town Ontario, I’ve always loved and appreciated the natural world.

Interestingly, I spent most of my life appreciating nature from a distance.

Although my hometown of Dryden is surrounded by the beautiful boreal forest, for most of my life I was content to stick to the familiarity of the paved streets and the “safety” that I perceived as being within city limits.

I was always nervous to stray “off the beaten path” — you’d never catch me backcountry camping or hiking on a trail more than a kilometre in length.

This all changed for me after high school when I scored a summer job working outdoors. The idea of having to venture from that familiar beaten path was really intimidating, but I’m so glad I took the chance because it changed the course of my life and career.

I realized how good I felt after coming home from work.

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Waldeinsamkeit: solitude in the forest

Picture this: you’re alone, deep into a forested trail. Your only companions are the birds fluttering from branch to branch around you. As you walk, you follow a corridor made of pillars of ancient trees, and smell the earthy aroma of moss and damp leaves.

How do you feel? It’s hard to describe, but the words which immediately come to mind are calm, peaceful, and contemplative. You feel a deep-rooted connection to the world around you, and you are reminded of the importance of our natural environment.

There’s a word for that feeling: waldeinsamkeit.

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Health benefits of fishing

Fishing is an iconic Canadian pastime. There’s nothing like spending the day by the water with your friends and family, casting a line and enjoying the great outdoors.

But did you know you can get more than a killer catch from a day of fishing? Fishing actually has benefits for your physical and mental health.

Here are a few ways fishing can improve your overall well-being.

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The scoop on dog poop: why all scat is not the same

Part of being a good pet owner and park visitor is cleaning up after your dog.

“Stoop and scoop” is a phrase all pet owners have heard for decades, yet park staff are often asked: “why do I need to pick up after my dog when wildlife poop does not need to be picked up?”

It’s a good question. How is dog poop different from raccoon, coyote, moose or even bear scat?

As it turns out, not all scat is the same.

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Try a regular dose of camping for good health

Time to reach for our sleeping bags and tents?

Research shows that camping in nature is good for our mental and physical well-being.

What better reason to head out with family and friends into the great outdoors and sleep under the stars?

Check out the brain and body benefits of camping:

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Healing in the forest: a guide to forest bathing

Let’s take a walk in the woods.

With no specific destination in mind, we will wander, observe and immerse ourselves in nature. Allow our senses to guide us.

When was the last time you walked into the woods with no plans? No final destination? Without a species to ID, hill to climb, or lookout to conquer?

This is exactly the experience offered by a forest bathing session.

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The great outdoors are… great!

Today’s blog comes from Sarah Higginson, a market development specialist with Ontario Parks.

August is over and so is the Healthy Parks Healthy People 30×30 Challenge.

This was my first year taking on the challenge (not counting the year I did it for two days then got distracted) and it was a magical month-long adventure filled with scenery, sunshine, and even some self-awareness!

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Five outdoor activities to improve your health

Who needs a gym membership when you have the outdoors?

Outdoor exercise has a stronger effect on blood pressure and mood than indoor exercise. Stress is relieved within minutes of exposure to nature as measured by muscle tension, blood pressure, and brain activity.

To put it simply, time spent outside is good for you! Let’s take a look at a few fun outdoor activities that can improve your health.

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