Essay Park Kids

National Day of Outdoor Play

The third Saturday of May

Celebrate our Parks

Kids to Parks Day – celebrated annually on the third Saturday of May – is a national day of play that connects kids and families with their local, state, and national parks. By discovering our public lands, kids across the country:

— Enjoy outdoor recreation

— Learn STEM and history

— Embrace their important role as park stewards

Share Your Adventure

Adventures are meant to be shared. Kids to Parks Day is a great opportunity to meet new people in your area and share a fun experience at a local park. Share your adventure using #KidstoParks.

Care for Our Parks

Kids to Parks Day is an opportunity to cultivate future generations of outdoor enthusiasts and conservationists. Bring families and kids of all ages outdoors to their parks, Kids to Parks Day instills the value and appreciation of our public lands creating the next generation of park stewards.



What’s Kids to Parks Day All About?

Launched in 2011, Kids to Parks Day is a nationwide celebration of the great outdoors organized by NPT and is designed to connect kids and families with their local, state, and national parks and public lands. By discovering and exploring our public lands, kids across the country can learn about park stewardship, outdoor recreation, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), and the history of our country. In addition, by teaching our kids to appreciate and enjoy our public lands, we can foster future outdoor enthusiasts and create the next generation of park stewards and caretakers of these important places. Because kids need parks – and parks need kids!

Each year in preparation for Kids to Parks Day, which is always hosted on the third Saturday of May, NPT works with cities and towns, teachers, families, park and public lands officials and numerous partners across the country to invite kids of all ages to create their own adventures at one of the thousands of park events and programs featured on our site.

By coordinating a wide array of park activities on a single day, Kids to Parks Day attracts first-time park visitors as well as existing park enthusiasts. Together we will be able to protect and preserve our country’s public lands and waters by cultivating passionate park advocates and stewards. Join us today!

As our lovable woolly mascot Buddy Bison says: “Explore outdoors, the parks are yours!”

Host an Event

Hosting a Kids to Parks Day event? Check out this toolkit to help you plan and promote your event.

  • How to Host an Event
  • Register Your Event
  • Sample Blog/Social Media Messages
  • Promomotional Photos/Logos/Posters
  • Free Family Resources
  • And More…
  • Cities and Mayors - Proclaim the Day

    Are you a city or mayor planning to proclaim May 19th, 2018 Kids to Parks Day? Click here for resources to help you spread the word about Kids to Parks Day.

    Family Resources

    Print and go! Take these activities with you where ever you go: from your local city park – to your national park or any other public land and water. There’s something here for every outdoor nature space!

    Thank You Cities and Towns

    Click here to see a list of the mayors and town councils that signed proclamations in support of the day and encouraged their residents to explore their local parks.

    Kids to Parks Day 2018 Sponsors

    Kids to Parks Day 2018 National Collaborators

     Kids to Parks Day News

    Buddy Bison Students Kick Start their Year with Parks

    Written on

    Our Buddy Bison Schools have already started their park trips. Two of our schools in California “set sail” last month with field trips to learn about their state’s history on the sea. And Washington School for Girls explored Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium in D.C.

    Read more

    And The Buddy Goes To…

    Written on

    It's award season! We all know about the Emmys, the Oscars and the Tonys. This month, NPT surprised Chelsea Vines from M. Agnes Jones Elementary with The Buddy Award our National Educator Award for Excellence in Environmental Stewardship.

    Read more


    She learned proper behavior around wildlife while studying to become a Yellowstone Junior Ranger. “I took a little class about the most dangerous animal, which is the squirrel. People will stay away from the bears and, usually, would not attack them; buffalo are dangerous but, hopefully, people are smart enough to stay away. But people will go up to squirrels and try to feed them, and then the squirrels end up biting them,” said Skyler, who observes crows and rabbits primarily in her city yard.

    Her Yellowstone Jr. Ranger Badge is stuck inside her NPS “Passport” book, ready to travel again. With her, she can take the $1,000 VISA gift card she also won in the contest, but she plans to bank it—except for a $100 donation she has given to her San Diego school.

    At her elementary school, Skyler became a celebrity of sorts when the principal called her up to the 2009 graduation stage to explain her essay’s ideas. “Afterward, kids and their parents told me they liked the speech,” she said.

    In her speech and essay, Skyler emphasizes the power of celeb endorsements. “When American Idol was on, all the kids would talk about it,” she said. When asked why Angelina Jolie should be selected to promote parks, she said: “I know that the parents like her.”

    Her ideas don’t stop there. Skyler recommends the creation of a national parks video or Wii game. “The subjects could be: that you have to save the endangered animals; or, make it around a map of national parks that have obstacles, like a herd of elk, bears, a stream, a waterfall, a ranger and beat other people’s times; or … get rid of bad people like smokers, or people that litter, or feed the wildlife or don’t put out their campfires,” she wrote in her essay.


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