Take A Child Outside Week, an international initiative spearheaded by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, kicks off Sunday, Sept. 24 and runs through Saturday, Sept. 30.
Designed to help break down obstacles that keep children from exploring the natural world, the program encourages children and adults to spend time together outdoors. It was inspired by Richard Louv’s book “Last Child in the Woods,” which identifies the benefits of outdoor experiences for children and addresses some of the problems of what he terms “Nature Deficit Disorder,” such as increased stress and feelings of being disconnected from the world.
Free programs and activities will be hosted at Prairie Ridge Ecostation (1671 Gold Star Dr., Raleigh), the Museum’s 40-acre outdoor education facility in west Raleigh:
- Tuesday, Sept. 26: Nature Play Day, 10 a.m. - noon (7 and under)
- Wednesday, Sept. 27: Little Stream Explorers, 10:30-11:30 a.m. (7 and under)
- Wednesday, Sept 27: Nature Scavenger Hunt, 10-11 a.m. (8 and over)
- Thursday, Sept. 28: Bilingual Nature Stories, 10:30-11:30 a.m. (7 and under)
- Friday, Sept. 29: "Preschoolers" at the Pond, 10:30-11:30 a.m. (7 and under)
- Saturday, Sept. 30: FlutterFest, 9 a.m. - noon (all ages)
- Bilingual StoryWalk® featuring “Senorita Mariposa,” self-led walk during open hours, Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
More information at naturalsciences.org
Additionally, on the Take A Child Outside website (www.takeachildoutside.org), adults can find organizations in their area offering activities and outdoor spaces along with interesting outdoor activities. “Free time in nature has been shown to improve every area of a child’s life, from having healthier, stronger bodies, to being more successful in school, to having better relationships in their community,” says Beth Cranford, program coordinator for the Museum. “Time outside every day should be part of your regular routine.”
More than 150 organizations currently participate nationwide, including North Carolina State Parks, various city and county parks, and nature centers of all sizes. Partner categories include Outdoor Site Partner, School Partner and Supporting Partner to include organizations that have land as well as those who don’t. Partnership is free, so visit takeachildoutside.org/become-a-partner to sign up. For more information, please e-mail email@example.com or call 919-707-9902.
About the NC Museum of Natural Sciences
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh (11 and 121 W. Jones St.) is an active research institution that engages visitors of every age and stage of learning in the wonders of science and the natural world. In addition to two downtown buildings showcasing seven floors of world-class exhibits, the Museum runs Prairie Ridge Ecostation, a 45-acre outdoor education and research facility in west Raleigh, as well as satellite facilities in Whiteville, Greenville and Grifton (Contentnea Creek). Our mission is to illuminate the natural world and inspire its conservation. Downtown Raleigh Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. General admission is free. For more information, visit www.naturalsciences.org.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina – its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.
The department manages over 100 locations across the state, including 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, five science museums, four aquariums, 35 state parks, four recreation areas, dozens of state trails and natural areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C Symphony, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, the American Indian Heritage Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Highway Historical Markers program, the N.C. Land and Water Fund, and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov.