Turn off the screens and turn kids on to nature! Boulder was named the “best place to raise an outdoor kid” by Backpacker Magazine. There are many ways youth and families can explore and connect to these wild open space lands. Here are some ideas for you and your family.

Kids, Health and Nature

Did you know, children have experienced a huge decrease in time outdoors in the last few decades? To be exact, kids spend only 4-7 minutes of unstructured time outside each day! Compare this to an average of 7.5 hours in front of a screen each day. It's time to get everyone outside and exploring!

Spending time in nature can:

  • Increase creativity, self-confidence, academic achievement, and cognitive functioning.
  • Reduce obesity, stress, depression, and symptoms of ADHD.
  • Create compassion and improve social bonds.
  • Foster a life-long passion and appreciation for plants, animals, rocks, stars and other elements of our natural world.
  • Build stewards of the future, who understand what their impact is on the natural world.

Resources

Ways to Connect with the Outdoors

Join Us For a Program

OSMP offers a variety of programs for the public. Come join us! View this month's programming.

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Kids nature journaling
Jenny Natapow

Ranger Paula's Passport to Wild Adventures

Explore your open spaces and learn about new trails. Download and complete Ranger Paula's Passport to Wild Adventures to earn a Ranger Paula sew-on patch! To receive your patch, submit a completed passport to the Ranger Cottage and take the Ranger Paula Oath of Stewardship! LINK to trails page?

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Ranger Paula's Passport Program
OSMP

Nature Adventure Packs

Check out a backpack from the Chautauqua Ranger Cottage to take with you while exploring the area. In it you will find binoculars, guidebooks, bug boxes, art supplies, family activities, and more.

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Contents of nature discovery pack
OSMP

Flagstaff Mountain

During the summer months on weekends, visit the Flagstaff Summit Nature Center. Learn about which animals live in the area and what type of rocks you might find. While you are up there, explore the Sensory Nature Trail. See if you can hike the whole trail with your eyes closed. Find the tree that smells like vanilla!

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Flagstaff Nature Center
Dave Sutherland

Explore a New Trail or Take the OSMP Trails Challenge!

Browse the list of OSMP trails or check out the interactive trail map at osmptrails.org.

Or try the OSMP Trails Challenge.

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Trail Challenge Completion Pin
OSMP

Discover Accessible Trails

Check out the Visitors Experiencing Disabilities page for details on accessible trails and areas of open space.

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Child using a wheelchair on a trail
Mark Davison

Child Friendly Map

OSMP partner, Growing Up Boulder, has a Digital Child Friendly Map. See what this city has to offer youth. GUB's Boulder Digital Child-Friendly City Map.

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Child exploring in the mud
Jenny Natapow

Request a Program

Groups can request programs led by OSMP staff and volunteers. Request a program.

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OSMP Staff leading nature hike

Nature Discovery Public Programs

Storytime Hikes

Read along with us as we share some of our favorite nature-themed picture books. Readings are followed by a short hike along scenic kid-friendly trails. Designed for ages 3-5.

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Storytime Hike

Fishing is Fun

Any time is a good time for a fishing excursion. Give it a go and try to catch bass, sunfish, bluegill, and other warm-water species. Learn about interesting fish adaptations and behaviors. These programs are geared for children who have never been fishing before or have limited fishing experience. Equipment and bait are available but bring your own if you can. Also, visit Colorado Parks & Wildlife's website Go Fish for  '101 places to take kids fishing'.

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Child fishing
Andrea Paras

Nature Play Dates

Join OSMP naturalists for mornings of exploration, scrambling, creating, and looking for signs of wildlife. Meet other families who also like to immerse and connect with nature. These are a great way for children and parents to find ways to play in nature together!

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Child crossing stream on a log
Jenny Natapow

Meadow Music

Come join OSMP and local musicians Jeff Kagan and Paige Doughty, for concerts filled with music, fun, and all sorts of information about our amazing natural world. Concerts take place in the summer months. Watch an online concert.

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Meadow Music at Chautauqua

Seasonal Fireside Community Events

Share the awakening of the seasons with afternoons of storytelling, singing, hiking, and new friendships, all enhanced by the warmth of a fire at OSMP Staff’s favorite shelters.

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Fireside Program
Curry Rosato