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Celebrating the New Ontario Children's Outdoor Charter

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Celebrating the New Ontario Children's Outdoor Charter

Ontario Government Encourages Kids to Get Outside, Be Active

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Ontario and its partners are helping children across the province develop a life-long connection with nature thanks to Canada's first-ever children's outdoor charter.

The Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter features a passport for kids, highlighting 12 exciting outdoor activities that Ontario children and their families can enjoy together, including:

  • Follow a trail
  • Explore a park
  • Harvest something to eat
  • Swim in a lake
  • Paddle a canoe
  • Play in the snow
  • Build an outdoor fort
  • Visit a farm
  • Camp under the stars
  • Go fishing
  • Observe plants and wildlife
  • Create an outdoor adventure

Working to keep Ontario children and their families healthy and active is part of the government’s plan to work together as One Ontario to build a successful, compassionate and united province where everyone has the opportunity to connect, contribute and enjoy a high quality of life.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is the first province in Canada to develop an outdoor charter for children and youth.
  • A survey of young Canadians found that 70 per cent spend an hour or less a day outdoors.
  • A 2011 University of Essex study shows that participating in outdoor activities improves children’s mental health, increases physical activity and boosts self-esteem. Children report feeling happier, more energetic and having a more positive outlook on their school, home and social lives.
  • A 2010 University of Florida study found that the more time children and youth spend outdoors, the more likely they are to act in an environmentally friendly manner.
  • Ontario’s rich biodiversity offers boundless opportunities for discovery. Our province is home to approximately 250,000 lakes, 30,000 known species of plants and animals, more than 330 provincial parks and over 80,000 kilometres of provincial trails.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Childhood is a time to play and explore. The Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter reinforces the importance of children being outside to discover the wonders of nature. When we encourage a child to take part in outdoor activities, we help develop healthy habits and a lifetime of appreciation for Ontario’s biodiversity.”

David Orazietti

Minister of Natural Resources

“The well-being of our children depends on a healthy, active lifestyle. The Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter advocates for an environment where active choices are easy choices for students, encouraging them to build a stronger connection to nature.”

Liz Sandals

Minister of Education

“The charter is an open invitation to explore the wonders of nature. The partners to the charter encourage everyone - parents, organizations, governments, communities - to work together to make sure kids have chances to connect with nature. The opportunities in the charter are a doorway to making that happen.”

Bill Kilburn

Back to Nature Network

“Far too many of our youth have become disconnected from the very life support system that sustains them: our biodiversity. Why would we protect or care about that which we do not understand? The Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter seeks to unleash a lifelong fascination in the life that surrounds them and to instill a passion to protect what sustains them.”

Steve Hounsell

Chair, Ontario Biodiversity Council

“Let’s help our children find a balance between screen time and old-fashioned outdoor play with the help of tools like the Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter. Computers are good, but nature is better!”

Don Hall

President of the Sault Naturalists

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