GFP, DOH offer grant program to get kids outside
PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department and the state Department of Health recently teamed up in an effort to increase the amount of time children in after-school programs spend outdoors.
The two departments recently awarded nature activity totes, filled with items to encourage outdoor activities, to 114 after-school and out-of-school programs across the state. Based on class sizes provided by applicants, the totes will reach nearly 7,000 children.
“The nature grant program is a perfect opportunity for GFP and the Department of Health to partner with caregivers in getting kids outside,” said GFP Secretary Jeff Vonk. “Keeping kids physically active and connecting them with nature is very important, both for the children as individuals and for society as a whole.”
Studies show children who play outside are healthier, have higher self-esteem, are good problem-solvers, have good self-discipline and do better in school.
This is the third installment of the grant program. In the first two years, the Game, Fish and Parks Department reached over 12,500 pre-school age children by awarding backpacks to 424 childcare providers across the state. Followup surveys showed that childcare providers were going outside more often and spending longer periods of time outside each time.
More information on other opportunities provided by GFP can be found at GFP's Children in Nature webpage