Spending time outside has so many benefits and Central Oregon offers so much to do, whether in neighborhood parks or nearby public lands. Children need 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous activity every day to grow up to a healthy weight. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours a day in front of a screen watching TV or playing video games however, 8-18 year old adolescents spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using entertainment media. As an alternative to screen time, spend Family Time Outside – and be sure to get your Vitamin N!
Family Time Outside means…
- More exercise
- Improved mental and physical well-being
- Reduced stress
- Better ability to focus
- Sparking imagination
- Better appreciation of nature
- Building family connections
Family Events and Programs
Check out our event calendar!
Discover Nature Days!
Discover Nature Days are a 6-week series of free family programs, offered in neighborhood parks around Bend. Each week, a different Children’s Forest partner presents activities with a new theme each week. The programs are educational, active, and fun and are a great way for your family to explore parks all around Bend.
2015 Discover Nature Day Schedule
All events are from 11:00 am-12:00 noon. Recommended for ages 5-10 with parent or guardian.
July 9: The Invisible Tracker at Harvest Park
Presented by Wildheart Nature School. Learn how to walk like an invisible fox, the science of bird language, and the art of being undetected while tracking in nature!
July 16: What’s All the BUZZ About at Hollinshead Park
Presented by Discover Your Forest. Meet and Greet the local buzzing, burrowing, crawling and creeping bugs of our forests and parks through hands-on science activities, stories, and games.
July 23: Tracking the Wild Beast at Pilot Butte Neighborhood Park
Presented by Sunriver Nature Center. Who’s hanging around in your local park? Search for and learn to identify animal tracks, scat and other signs left behind by our wild friends.
July 30: Watery Wonders at Shevlin Park
Presented by Upper Deschutes Watershed Council. Explore the watery wonders of Tumalo Creek, collect and identify stream critters, and learn about what makes a healthy stream.
August 6: Predators and Prey at Boyd Park
Presented by The Environmental Center. Have fun learning about the diverse animals that call Central Oregon home through exciting games and interactive science activities!
August 13: Birds of Prey at Pine Ridge Park
Presented by High Desert Museum. Experience an up close encounter with a raptor and learn about exciting adaptations of birds of prey!
For a map of park locations click here. Hope to see you there!
Seasonal Activity Ideas
Photo Scavenger HuntMake a list of things to find in nature, photograph them and check them off your list!
GeocachingTry the kid-friendly apps Geocaching Intro or GeoBucket and set out on a treasure hunt
Rain ConcertCreate a rain concert next time there’s a storm in the forecast. Bring your metal pots, pans, and muffin tins outside into the rain and listen to the musical sounds they create!
Learn About FlowersLook at flowers up close with a magnifying lens. Design your own flower based on what you find.
Fort MakingGather natural materials including sticks, grasses, pine needles, and branches. Get some tips here.
Find more ideas at these fantastic websites: