There are many state and local parks accessible - even within walking distance that you might not even know about. Sitting down with your children to explore your own local maps and destinations is a wonderful opportunity to talk about how our land is preserved and the wonderful ways you can engage with it.

Simple ideas like

  • Unfolding a map - not via the computer but the experience of touching the paper and running your fingers along the places you can visit - is a tactile experience for a child.
  • Holding the map and playing a game of "discovery" by calling out places then helping your child search for them on the paper (prompt by referencing colors, what the illustration is, etc.)
  • Letting your child take the lead when walking a trail and asking questions – welcome all answers because a child’s imagination will come up with wonderful explanations at this age

These are simple ways to empower your child's learning process; while you will also help them naturally exercise curiosity, leadership, critical thinking, and relationship management ...all through play. For children under six these experiences are vital for social and emotional growth and starting within the home is a positive first step for everyone.

To learn more about our state and local parks visit and  In recognition of Martin Luther King many parks are free the January 15-17th weekend while also offering additional weekends throughout the year.

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