Children learn what can be found in nature at Get Out and Play Day, scheduled this year for 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 28.

Children learn what can be found in nature at Get Out and Play Day, scheduled this year for 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 28.

Photo provided by Huron-Clinton Metroparks


Take a day to ‘Get Out and Play’

Lake St. Clair Metropark hosting outdoor activities Sept. 28

By: Kristyne E. Demske | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published September 20, 2019

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HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Huron-Clinton Metroparks and the Macomb County Health Department have a similar goal: to encourage local families to get fit and healthy outdoors.

That’s why they’re working together to make sure everyone gets out to play.

Julie Champion, the east district interpretive supervisor covering Lake St. Clair Metropark, said that the first Get Out and Play Day began several years ago with that in mind.

“I had been going to statewide steering committees trying to promote getting kids outdoors in nature” as part of the No Child Left Inside initiative, she said. At the same time, the Macomb County Health Department was trying to draw more attention to the health benefits of getting into nature and playing outdoors.

An event designed to show children and their families how much fun they can have in local parks, and their own backyards, seemed like the best way to teach local residents about those benefits.

Lake St. Clair Metropark will host the 2019 Get Out and Play Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 28 outside the nature center at the park, 31300 Metropolitan Parkway.

The event will include nature activities and lawn games, wagon rides, nature songs from Guy Louis, a straw bale maze, free healthy snacks and nutrition resources, the opportunity to make a bird feeder and learn about backyard gardening, foam-tipped archery with 4-H, and raffle prizes including bicycles.

Huron-Clinton Metroparks is partnering with the Healthy Kids Healthy Futures Coalition and the Macomb County Health Department through Move More Macomb for the event.

“It’s a collaboration,” Champion said. “A lot of it is geared for younger (children), but we have some (activities) ... for older kids to be active.”

She said they will also have nature stations where children can explore what they find in pond water or take a guided exploration on the trail and complete a scavenger hunt. The Anton Art Center will bring some nature-themed art projects to the event.

“Our idea, too, is to give parents ideas of things they can do with their families, even in their own backyard,” Champion said. “It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve had good response from a lot of the folks (attending).”

The mission of the Healthy Kids Healthy Futures Coalition is to promote healthy choices and behaviors among Macomb County children, said Kirsten Henry,  a public health educator with the Macomb County Health Department’s Healthy Communities Program and co-chair of the Healthy Kids Healthy Futures Coalition.

“These types of events are put on to increase awareness of healthy eating and getting out and getting active,” she said.

They will be bringing bicycles of various sizes for the raffle and providing nutrition education, teaching families and children ways to make healthy snacks together.

Move More Macomb will be bringing Frisbees, jump ropes, cinch bags and more to the event, said Emily Norton, a public health analyst with the Macomb County Health Department.

They’ll also have an activity wheel for visitors to spin and try out different exercises.

Norton said that the group launched movemoremacomb.org at the 2018 Get Out and Play Day.

“Since the launch, we’ve gone to at least one community event per month to get the word out,” she said.

The site provides information about parks and trails, nature centers, adaptive options, and opportunities for residents to find and participate in physical activities.

“Ninety-four percent of (county) residents have access to physical activities, (but) almost a quarter aren’t being active,” Norton said.

Get Out and Play Day will showcase all the options at the Lake St. Clair Metropark Nature Center and the surrounding areas.

“A lot of people just drive past the nature center (and don’t) see what’s really back there,” Norton said, adding that they hope to encourage residents to get out and be active as a family. “You can do more at a park than just walk.”

The event is free with a Metroparks vehicle entry permit, which costs $10 for one day or $35 for a year.

For more information, visit metroparks.com/event/get-out-and-play-day or call (586) 463-4332.

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