Today, kids are spending more time looking at screens and less time looking up, exploring the great outdoors. Studies have shown that kids spend an average of 7.65 hours per day “plugged in” – and only 7 minutes per day in unstructured outdoor play. Over time, these habits can take a toll on children’s mental and physical health, leading to problems like emotional distress, anxiety – even obesity.
That’s why Kids in Parks developed the TRACK Trails program in 2008. Rather than eliminating the use of technology, they view it as a tool to enhance kids’ park experiences; turning normal hikes into rewarding outdoor adventures.
There are more than 190 TRACK trails in 12 states, with seven trailheads in six San Diego County Parks: San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center, Guajome, Stelzer, Lindo Lake, Felicita, and San Dieguito County Parks.
The process is simple; kids start at the TRACK Trails kiosk, where they can pick up an adventure guide. The guide provides information on the trail and local plants, animals and insects. Kids follow along and take notes – later logging them into their Kids in Parks account for a chance to earn free, nature-related prizes like backpacks and magnifying glasses.
And, on Saturday, August 24 (National TRACK Trails Day), we’re celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Kids in Parks program by hosting seven TRACK Trails events across San Diego!
There are plenty of adventures to choose from; kids can embark on a guided hike, learn all about the park’s history, and gain insight into native birds, endangered species and more.
National TRACK Trails Day Activities in County Parks: