How to Celebrate Canada’s Parks Day
Did you know that the 3rd Saturday of each July is officially known as Canada’s Parks Day? The annual affair encourages households across the country to participate in fun, educational, family-oriented events in the parks and historic sites that are so bountiful in our neck of the continent. Preordained destinations, events, and gatherings aside (found here), you are encouraged to make of it what you will, as long as it gets the kids outside and learning. Let’s take a look at a few ideas that you can use to celebrate Canada’s Parks Day, any day of the wonderful summer season.
3 Ways You and Your Kids Can Recognize Canada’s Parks Day This Summer
1. Discover a National Park Near You
Teach your children about the designation of National Parks, and why the status is important. For instance, Canada’s National Parks are covered under the Canada National Parks Act which seeks to protect and preserve key regions for the benefit, education, and enjoyment of Canadians, visitors, and future generations.
After spending some time covering the difference between National Parks and municipal/provincial parks, plan a trip to visit one or more this summer, if not this coming Parks Day. Every province in Canada boasts its own National Park/s (view the list here) so there is a channel for exploration near you. For some, this can be accomplished in one single day, for others it may need to be worked into a long weekend or full-on family vacation. Either way – it’s worth it, especially when you consider the beauty and opportunity to discover the landscape, wildlife, and ecosystem unique to each. Each National Park will have a website that offers insight into these distinctive features, so brush up on them so that along your hikes, bike rides, and/or rafting tours you can identify those relevant to your child’s interests and education. And if you can, turn a National Park visit into an immersive family camping trip. Keep reading.
2. Immersive Camping
Camping is nothing new to Canadian households. However, after setting up the tent (or parking the RV) the overnight activity typically involves little more than swimming, playing games, and roasting marshmallows/s’mores. That’s all fine, of course, but if you want your kids to gain some knowledge along with fond memories why not make the experience a bit more immersive?
With some savvy research and planning this can be accomplished by teaching them to fish (and prepare for eating) and forage for fruits common to the area. In addition, together you can learn how to build a campfire without fuel or matches, tell the time based on the position of the sun, and study the stars to identify constellations and how they played a role in historic navigation. When you consider all that the great outdoors has to offer, you’ll find that the opportunity to teach your kids about the sustainable practices that helped build our country is boundless.
3. Farm Visit
Grade 1 students from Vernon Christian school visited the Factors Farm on Armstrong, BC last year. Read about that memorable experience from Ms. Sheri Price, their teacher here.
You don’t need to visit a National Park, campground, or outdoor landmark to celebrate the spirit of Canada’s Parks Day. For example, how does a farm visit sound? A farm provides a controlled and safe environment where kids can explore the great outdoors while learning about growing food and developing an appreciation of the seed-to-table food cycle. Our Foundation helps coordinate outdoor learning experiences for young children and feedback from educators and kids alike has been tremendous. Sheri Price, a Vernon Christian School teacher in Vernon BC, recently took her students on a Factors Farm visit in Armstrong, and after great success intends to carry on the tradition for years to come:
“The educational value and fun experienced at the Natural Factors Farms were excellent. We will want to make this a yearly experience for our grade one class.” (An Adventure at the Natural Factors Farms)
Pictured: Dr. Jennifer Dyck ND – guest presenter at another Factors Farm in June 2019
Whether at Factors Farms or a comparable destination near you, a farm visit is an amazing way to engage your kids with an outdoor learning experience they’ll never forget.
For more on the work of the Foundation, please visit our Funded Programs page. There are many ways you can get involved with the Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation – you can visit our Get Involved page, Help Fundraise, or Donate Now.