Summer is here, which means it’s time for kids across Wake County to “get their play on.” July is National Parks and Recreation Month, a great opportunity for families and children to take advantage of the power of outdoor play and adventure.


Wake County’s Parks and Recreation department, which served more than 1.25 million patrons in 2016, offers endless parks and open spaces for family play. But parks provide more than just a way to pass the time on a sunny summer day. The great outdoors can play a big role in children’s healthy development — inspiring curiosity, encouraging creativity, spreading joy, and relieving stress.


The Kaleidoscope Project encourages using nature to nurture throughout the year. In fact, it’s one of our best practices. From regular outdoor time with children and incorporating outdoor programming, to engaging local experts to enhance the use of natural elements within your space, there are many ways to use nature to enhance the lives of Wake County children.


The National Recreation and Park Association offers even more inspiration for celebrating “Get Your Play On” this month. Did you know that:

·      Fifty percent of all vigorous exercise in America happens in parks?

·      Kids who play outside have better vision than kids who play inside? 

·      Community play spaces boost positive attitudes towards cultural diversity and reduce feelings of isolation?

·      One hour of daily vigorous play provides intense skill learning?

·      Kids who play at school become team players and develop into creative thinkers?


For children and adults, play is a vital part of our mental wellbeing, physical health, and personal interactions. Whether it’s summer camp, an adult sports league, exploring a trail, Zumba class, meeting friends on the playground, playing cards in the park, or discovering nature — parks and powerful play go hand in hand.