As we reach the mid-way point of summer vacation, some of us may be running out of things to do to keep the kids busy. But never fear, the easiest and best idea is right in front of you (or within walking distance anyway): the local park.
Whether you live in a big city or a quiet suburb, there is a good chance that you have a great park nearby to keep your kids entertained. Visit your local Parks ands Recreation website and print out a list of all the parks in your city and start at the top.
Here’s a list of ten reasons why visiting your local parks is one of the best things you can do this summer.
1. It’s Free
Times are tough and fun is expensive. Visiting your local neighborhood parks is FREE. A little sunblock, a few snacks from the pantry and you’re good to go!
2. It’s Healthy
When kids are at the park, they do the healthiest thing kids can do: play! Running and climbing for an hour or two will not only keep your kids healthy, but it will tire them (planning your park trip before nap time is a smart move, Mom). But it’s not just healthy for them; it’s healthy for you too. Take advantage of any walking paths surrounding the park and while the kids are swinging away, you can walk yourself toward a healthier you.
3. It’s Good For The City
Have you seen the show Parks & Recreation? Though it may be exaggerated, the truth is that there is whole staff of people in your local Parks & Recreation department who put their heart and soul into taking care of your local parks. Appreciating their hard work is just good citizenship!
4. It’s Good For The Community
The more parks you visit, the more people you meet. Many of us parents can recall vividly the days we spent at neighborhood parks playing with and getting to know other kids in the neighborhood. Times may have changed, but there is still a need for that sense of community. Frequenting the neighborhood parks is a great way to do that.
5. It Introduces Your Kids to New Parts of Town
Whether it’s the suburbs or the city, chances are there are plenty of neighborhoods your kids don’t know very well. By making it a point to visit new neighborhood parks throughout the city/town you live in can help introduce your kids to other parts of their hometown that they may not get to visit very often.
6. It’s Good for the Environment
Especially if you can skip the car and walk to come of the parks in your area. You save the gas and carbon emissions and stay local. You can also make the trip a learning experience for the kids by packing some garbage bags and spending a few minutes cleaning up any garbage you may find at the park. Teach your kids that it’s their neighborhood and their park, so they should help take care of it too.
7. The City is Putting on a Show For You
During the summer many cities and towns put on special events at local parks. Visit your city’s website to see when the next concert or Shakespeare in the Park is happening near you. These kind of events need attendance to keep going, so help your city out!
8. It’s Good For You
This especially goes for when your kids reach the age when they don’t need to be completely shadowed anymore. Take the opportunity to relax. Bring a blanket and lay on the grass or your lawn chair and favorite book. There are few chances for a mom to simply chill, and the park is a great chance to do that. Or invite a friend that you haven’t hung out with in a while and catch up while the kids play.
9. It Can Be an Adventure
Make a little scrapbook for your children. Every time you visit a new park, let them draw a picture and write about the park. They can even glue pictures you took while there. This is a great way to make the summer trips to the park a real adventure and a way to help keep your school age child writing and using their thinking skills while they’re on vacation.
10. Did I Mention its Free?
What your favorite thing about going to your neighborhood park?