On September 1, the National Park Service will kick off its Every Kid in a Park initiative, designed to encourage kids and their families to visit one of our country’s many national parks, historical sites, or national monuments. With Girl Scouts’ goal of getting more girls outside more often and in more engaging ways, we are excited to partner with the National Park Service on this important program.
Did you know there are four million fourth-graders in the United States? Imagine if all these kids took their families to a national park and were able to experience the many splendors it had to offer? Research shows that regular exposure to and interaction with nature before the age of 11 has lifelong impacts on children and creates positive feelings about nature and the environment.
With Every Kid in a Park, fourth-grade Girl Scouts will have access to educational programs at our national parks that are designed just for their age group. And they can start now! Encourage your girl to visit www.nationalparks.org, click on the Every Kid in a Park link, and complete one of the engaging educational activities (again, designed just for fourth-graders). She’ll receive a downloadable paper voucher giving her and her family free access to any national park, seashore, or historic monument/site for one year.
Findings in our own More than S’mores report (2014) show that outdoor spaces support physical play, and that spending time in nature improves concentration and creative reasoning, and enhances leadership in girls by cultivating curiosity and a sense of discovery about the natural world. Spending time with family in our amazing national parks will help foster in girls an interest in land stewardship and open them up to the wonders of nature.
So have your girl check out www.nationalparks.org and begin her outdoor adventure today!