The park is the perfect place to take toddlers and preschoolers. They never seem to tire of digging in the sand, swinging high as the sky, scaling the jungle gym, running in the grass, and climbing the trees. And while they play, they’re burning off some of that boundless energy, gaining strength, muscle, coordination, and balance, and breathing clean, fresh air. They’re also interacting with other kids, learning to share, cooperate, and take turns.
Thus, parents everywhere happily load their trunks and wagons with buckets, shovels, balls, and picnic baskets and make the trek to their local parks. But, let’s face it, the daily park routine can get a little stale for us grown-ups. Luckily, we’ve got some ideas for perking up your trip to the park. From themed picnics to scavenger hunts, old fashioned game days, and more, read on to learn how you can turn a trip to the park into an adventure you’ll all enjoy.
Water It Down
Sure, sitting on the side of the sand box sifting sand between your fingers can get pretty dull, but mundane digging gets a make-over with water! Simply adding water to sand (or dirt, if you’re up for it) turns regular old sand play into a wet sand wonderland. Suddenly, kids can mold shapes, build castles, dig holes and trenches, and so much more – and you can help! When you’re ready for a break, take a walk together and search for twigs, branches, feathers, and flowers to add as roads and flags for your fortress.
Speaking of searching, the park is a great place to hunt for all kinds of things! You can find quantities of things like pine cones, pink flowers, three things that are blue, two things that are round, one object for each color of the rainbow… you get it! A goal keeps kids motivated and working together is always more fun that sitting and watching.
Tired of the same old games? Throwback to the good ol’ days with some traditional outdoor Americana activities. Bring an old pillow case or potato sack to the park and introduce your little one to the fine art of sack racing. A hula hoop and a stick make for a fun, rolling challenge. Dig that apple out of the snack bag and try passing it back and forth from under your chins or race each other to the far tree and back carrying hard boiled eggs on spoons.
Since you’re already up, turn your time at the park a mini work out! Even if it’s just you and your little one, you can get your heart pumping with games like hopscotch, Simon Says, tag, and hide and seek. Looking for some serious cardio? Try wheelbarrow walking your little one across a field—you hold her legs while she “walks” with her arms.
When you’re ready for a break from all the physical fun, surprise your sweetie with a themed picnic. Pick a country, say, Mexico, and theme your picnic lunch accordingly, complete with a colorful sarape picnic blanket, pre-made quesadillas, avocado slices, and, of course, chocolate, which originated in Mexico. You may even want to hit the library and stock up on a picture book or two to support your theme. Color-themed baskets are also a treat. For a red theme, pack red apples, tomato and red pepper slices, watermelon balls, strawberries, and red Jello.. Don’t forget your red and white checkered picnic blanket!
With a little bit of prep and a lot of imagination, you can have as much fun as your child does at the park. Now get out there and give it a go!