Spending time outside with your children and grandchildren can be a healthy way to get exercise and create memories. Why not head to a community park? Here are some easy steps to help your day go smoothly.
Set a Time Limit in Advance
Children like to understand what the plans are for their day. Let them know how long you will be spending at the park before you leave home. Remind them when there is an hour left, and then give a 15-minute warning. Keeping them informed helps the transition back to the car much easier. It also helps them to budget their activity time accordingly.
Choose a Park with Multiple Features
If you are planning to spend more than two hours, choose a park with plenty of features to keep the children interested. Some favorites are the traditional park items that you played on as a child. Do you remember having a parent or older sibling push you on a swing, and the day you could do it all by yourself? How about the slippery slide — even the longest one! Hanging on as you crossed the monkey bars until you had callouses on your palms isn’t easily forgotten. Allow your young ones to enjoy these same activities.
Some newer parks have a child-safe zipline that is a favorite attraction. Hanging on while zipping to the other end of the line can be thrilling. Look to see if there is a water feature with pond aerators and fountains. By keeping the water moving, it will allow fish, turtles, ducks and other water creatures to thrive. Your children will love watching and if allowed, they can bring some food to share with the animals.
Bring Plenty of Water and Snacks
Playing outside makes anyone thirsty and hungry. Most children have their own water bottles. Make sure they are filled with fresh water before leaving home. Snacks such as string cheese, crackers, popcorn, veggies, hummus and fruit are refreshing and healthy. Bring a blanket and create your own picnic on a grassy area or use the tables provided.
Check the Weather
Parks can be enjoyed year-round. During the winter, you can make snowmen and have a sleigh ride. Be sure to dress warmly and with winter clothing that will keep everyone dry. During the hot summer months, don’t forget to bring sunblock and look for shade. Spring and autumn seasons are ideal park times. Like Goldilocks says: “Not too hot, not too cold…it’s just right!”
Enjoy the time with your little ones at the park. Everyone will sleep better at night after your outdoor adventure.