Healthy Kids, Families and Communities

Boy at Lake The Missouri outdoors provide many opportunities for children. Connecting children to nature helps foster a lifelong appreciation of the plants and animals that live around us, and can make children better future stewards of our precious natural resources.

Healthy minds, bodies and spirit!

Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years according to the CDC. Getting outside can help reduce obesity rates and lower stress levels by getting active. It can be as simple as a walk around the block or a bike ride on a local trail. The outdoors provides a perfect backdrop for active living and healthy minds!

With your help, the Department of Natural Resources ensures a healthy environment in which to live, work and enjoy the outdoors.

100 Missouri Miles Challenge

100 Missouri Miles Challenge

Get in on the action! The 100 Missouri Miles Challenge provides a great opportunity for Missourians to get outdoors and enjoy our state’s award-winning trails, including the over 1,000 miles of trails in Missouri State Parks. Register your classroom or organization and share your journey and compare progress with others.

Great Outdoors

Nature is all around you!

Missouri offers many places to experience the great outdoors! From parks to playgrounds or exploring your backyard, there are many options to keep things fun and interesting. Use the Missouri Great Outdoors site to find all Missouri has to offer.

Healthy Benefits of Kids Being in Nature Images

Health Benefits of Kids Being in Nature

Only 27 percent of high school students participate in the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Spending time outside can be a great way to reach physical activity goals. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence improves strength and endurance, helps build healthy bones and muscles, helps control weight, reduces anxiety and stress, increases self-esteem, and may improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. For more information visit the CDC's site.

Did you know outdoor activity facilitated by natural playscapes often promotes the development of strength, flexibility, and coordination due to the types of activities promoted, such as climbing, balancing and swinging?

Missouri Outdoors

Additional Resources

  • Children & Nature Network – Building a movement to reconnect children and nature.
  • Last Child in the Woods – Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder.
  • Nature Rocks – Nature Rocks is a national program to inspire and empower families to play and explore in nature.
  • Missouri Botanical Garden – The Garden is a center for botanical research and science education, as well as an oasis in the city of St. Louis.
  • Powell Gardens – Powell Gardens is a private, not-for-profit botanical garden located just east of Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Audubon Society – Audubon’s Mission: To conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.
  • The Nature Conservancy – The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.