6 Organizations That Provide Kids With Outdoor Activities

It's important for kids to get exercise, but with harsh winters, long school days, urban environments with fewer and fewer parks, and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, young people are at risk of not getting enough physical activity. These organizations are fighting against this trend by offering fun and educational ways for kids to enjoy the outdoors while developing skills and an appreciation for nature that will last a lifetime. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

6 Groups Giving Kids Something To Do Outdoors

Organization Headquarters Mission Key Activities
Outdoors for All Foundation Seattle, WA Provides adaptive and therapeutic recreation for children and adults with disabilities Skiing, yoga, hiking, rock climbing, cycling, snowboarding, kayaking
Trips For Kids Portland, OR Promotes healthy lifestyles and environmental awareness through cycling experiences at chapters across the country Cycling
WinterKids Westbrook ME Develops healthy lifelong habits through education and outdoor activities in the Northeastern United States WinterKids Winter Games, Welcome to Winter festival, skiing, snowshoeing, sledding/tubing
Frost Valley YMCA Claryville, NY Camp and environmental education center in the Catskill Mountains that serves children and adults, including those with developmental disabilities, chronic illness, or other special needs Fishing, hunting, hiking, disc golf, horseback riding, maple sugar collection
Orienteering USA Philadelphia, PA and Arlington, VA Provides resources to introduce kids to the sport of orienteering Orienteering, sometimes coupled with cycling, skiing, or paddling
Howell Nature Center Howell, MI Offers comprehensive outdoor education and recreational programs to nature lovers, including the chance to interact with wildlife Animal interactions, archery, kayaking, Girl Scout badge events, photography workshops, Tree House play area, survival skills, climbing tower, swimming, zip line, fishing

Outdoors For All's Winter Programs

Obesity Rates In The U.S.

Years Studied Adult Obesity Rate Youth Obesity Rate (2-19 years of age)
2015-2016 39.6% 18.5%
2013-2014 37.7% 17.2%
2011-2012 34.9% 16.9%
2009-2010 35.7% 16.9%
2007-2008 33.7% 16.8%
2005-2006 34.3% 15.4%
2003-2004 32.2% 17.1%
2001-2001 30.5% 15.4%
1999-2000 30.5% 13.9%

The 2019 Welcome to Winter Festival From WinterKids

In Depth

In the modern world, it's easy for kids to entertain themselves all day without ever leaving the house. But taking the time to go outside regularly can bring them closer to nature, make them more curious about the world around them, and help them get a healthy amount of physical activity. Here, in no particular order, are six organizations that provide children with fun and fulfilling outdoor activities.

First up, at #1, we have Outdoors for All Foundation, which strives to enrich the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities through recreation. The programming offered is designed to accommodate a broad range of skill levels, from people who are looking to try something new to athletes who want to compete. Courses can also be adapted for different needs. For instance, traditional stand-up skiing is offered, but the foundation also has adaptive equipment for those who use wheelchairs or have balance issues, so everyone can join in on the fun.

Participants can also try their hand at yoga, hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, and more. Military programs are specifically designed for veterans with disabilities and injured active duty soldiers and are run in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs. If you'd like to help out, there are volunteer opportunities all year, and different positions are available, depending on how much time you have in your schedule. Those who are unable to volunteer can buy the group something from its wish list.

Military programs are specifically designed for veterans with disabilities and injured active duty soldiers and are run in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In the #2 spot is Trips For Kids. Founded by social activist Marilyn Price, this organization uses bicycle trail riding to teach children about personal responsibility, achievement, and environmental awareness in a way that's both profound and fun. Chapters spread throughout the United States and Canada can provide programming that's designed for their particular local community, while also having access to the resources, expertise, and contacts of the national team.

In the Earn-a-Bike Workshop, kids learn about bicycle maintenance and safety through hands-on experience, and gain credits toward a bike of their very own. The Mobile Clinic reaches out to schools, YMCA chapters, and other youth-related organizations and brings equipment and instructors to them for on-site lessons and activities. To support these and other efforts, consider buying something from the T.F.K. online store.

At #3, we have WinterKids, which encourages youngsters to develop healthy lifelong habits through education and outdoor activities. During the cold season in New England, it can be easy for families to stay indoors and hibernate until spring. But with the right opportunities, like school programs and community events, children can stay active all year long.

During the cold season in New England, it can be easy for families to stay indoors and hibernate until spring.

The group starts early with a preschool program that supplies educators with an eight-week curriculum covering everything from diet and exercise to how animals behave in the winter. This Guide to Active Outdoor Learning continues into elementary school, combining more complex academic subjects with stretches, games, and more. The foundation also hosts events like the Winter Games that add elements like competition and teamwork into the mix. Those who would like to give back can make WinterKids their charity of choice on AmazonSmile.

Coming in at #4 is Frost Valley YMCA, a camp, retreat destination, and environmental education center that offers people of all ages and abilities enriching experiences in the fresh air. Located in the Catskill Mountains, the 5,500 acre property serves Girl and Boy Scout troops, college groups, corporate teams, and more. They have a variety of camps so that parents can find an option that's perfect for their child, whether they have developmental disabilities, chronic illness, or other special needs.

Young athletes can try their hand at hiking, climbing, and swimming, while aspiring artists can take courses in painting, pottery, and digital photography. Older teens who are interested in taking on a leadership role can enroll in the Counselors-in-Training program, where they will learn how to supervise younger campers and gain confidence and independence. By donating to the Campership program, you can help children from low-income families gain access to these and other opportunities.

Young athletes can try their hand at hiking, climbing, and swimming, while aspiring artists can take courses in painting, pottery, and digital photography.

Next up, at #5, is Orienteering USA. The sport of orienteering, navigating unfamiliar terrain with a map and a compass, requires a unique blend of physical and mental exercise. Participants race to complete a course, visiting a number of predetermined sites along the way before finding and crossing the finish line. This is often done on foot, but can also be combined with skiing, mountain biking, and paddling. The organization manages local clubs throughout America, and those who don't live close to one can start their own.

Youth leaders, like teachers and scout masters, who are interested in introducing kids to this sport can find resources on safety, training, and lesson planning on Orienteering USA's website. Beginners can also go online and learn everything from specialized lingo to what they should expect at their first event. Those who want to get involved can sign up for a membership and gain access to discounts, training, and a monthly newsletter.

Finally, at #6, we have Howell Nature Center. Surrounded by woods and wetlands in Livingston County, Michigan, the center offers comprehensive outdoor education and recreational programs to nature lovers all over the Midwest. At the Wild Wonders Wildlife Park, visitors can meet a variety of animal ambassadors, from owls and eagles to groundhogs and coyotes. Alexandria's NatureScape, a natural play area, lets little ones splash in a waterfall, dig in sand dunes, climb a giant spider web, and more.

Alexandria's NatureScape, a natural play area, lets little ones splash in a waterfall, dig in sand dunes, climb a giant spider web, and more.

Instructors at the center encourage young visitors to be curious about nature and teach them about survival skills, local flora and fauna, and recreational pursuits. Both day and overnight camps are offered, providing kids with fun adventures and teaching them to be caretakers of one another and the environment. If you want to help the organization continue to thrive, consider symbolically adopting an animal or buying the group something from its wish list.