Did you know that nearly three out of every ten American adults do not spend more than 30 minutes per day outdoors?  That data was released by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) with research conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs.

How can we inspire children to lead healthier, more physically fit and active lives if we do not set the example for them?  That is the motivation behind the annual month that creates a call-to-action to make healthy play and exercise outdoors a priority.

The theme for the July 2014 Parks and Recreation Month is “OUT is IN!”  The National Recreation and Park Association would like to encourage singles, families, organizations and communities to adopt a new, healthy habit of enjoying more than thirty minutes of outdoor recreation each day.

In addition to getting involved in Park and Recreation Month locally, people are encouraged to take the OUT is IN 31-day social media challenge on Twitter and Instagram by posting photos of themselves doing typical inside activities outside with the hashtag #JulyOUTisIN.

Tips on How to Create More ‘Outside’ Time from American Parks Company™

Schedules can get busy, particularly with children out of school but there are a limitless number of local groups, activities and games that can make the most of your time outdoors.   To encourage children to enjoy playing outside by teaching them games and providing some creative tools to keep them engaged in healthy learning outdoors.

- Head to your local park for an old school family picnic.  Don’t forget the watermelon!
- Play games like ‘Capture the Flag’ or ‘Four Square’ at home in your back yard.
- Set up a craft table and painting station to encourage creative (and messy) play outdoors.
- Visit your local Zoo and arboretum to learn more about your natural environment.
- Create a vegetable garden and teach children the wonder and value of an organic garden.
- Volunteer with local wildlife or nature preserves and your local park.
- Get connected to summer culture and outdoor theater in your neighborhood.
- Visit your local pool and consider an outdoor membership.
- Join a sports team in your area.

Remember that spending time outside provides fresh air, vitamin D (from the sun) and great exercise that helps kids of all ages to learn.  Adults can enjoy stress relief while engaged in fun or challenging outdoor activities during Parks and Recreation Month, and aim to develop a new healthy lifestyle habit that involves play time outdoors.

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 40,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.NRPA.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.