Every sunny day that your schedule allows for a trip to the local park is an opportunity to get outside and enjoy some fresh air with the little ones. Park visits are a classic way for kids to safely explore in the sunshine. There’s built-in fun, plenty of space to roam, and a budget-friendly setting for a wide range of fun activities.
But the point of a park day is to have fun – be it through structured play, free play, or a mixture of both. Worry and stress shouldn’t be on the agenda. Easily avoid any hiccups that could put a damper on your day by fully preparing for your kid-friendly park outing.
If you’re planning to visit a local park with children this season, here are some expert tips to help you make the most of it.
1. Appropriate Behavior and Expectations
Have a casual talk with kids before your park visit together, to go over the expectations for how they are encouraged to behave. This doesn’t mean they can’t have fun – quite the contrary. Going over the rules ahead of time allows them to have more fun without making anyone worry unnecessarily for their safety.
When you arrive, find a flat, relatively quiet place to set up your belongings with a blanket or a table. This spot should also offer good visibility of the playground. Give the kids boundaries of how far they’re allowed to roam, and consider using a call-and-response location game, like “Marco-Polo,” to quickly locate playing children if you lose visibility.
Encourage kids to be friendly with other children, reminding them to use their words if a conflict arises. If the parents of other children engage with them, instruct them to promptly call you over to join the conversation. Last but not least, discuss dog bite prevention tips with kids should any unknown canines happen to cross their paths. For legal advice on dog bites and other personal injury cases, it’s always a good idea to consult with the experts at Bisnar Chase.
2. Do Some Digging
Not just with sand toys, but do online research beforehand. Check the hours of operation and see what else you can find out. Get acquainted with the layout if it’s new, or see what hidden gems you can discover about a park you already know.
Go over the park rules with your kids, and be aware of any seasonal warnings. Checking the park’s website for available amenities is useful when planning ahead. Getting to know the place a bit better before you arrive will help ensure there are no surprises that risk spoiling the fun on park day.
3. Appropriate Attire and Equipment
Make sure you and your little ones are dressed for the occasion, including appropriate footwear. Closed-toed shoes are best for running, climbing, and playing. Before leaving home, get a good look at what colors each kid is wearing, so it’ll be easier to spot them from a distance. Check the weather and bring layers for everyone, just in case.
Pack a big picnic blanket to lay out and maybe a foldable chair for yourself if space allows. If there isn’t much natural shade, consider packing a portable umbrella or a folding easy-up. Wear or bring hats and sunglasses, if desired, and plenty of SPF. Remember to reapply sunscreen every few hours. Even when the weather is overcast, the sunburn struggle is real.
4. Pack All the Essentials
Sports equipment can take the park to a whole new level. Balls, jump ropes, skates, bikes, and more, can all give kids fun, creative ways to exercise together. Don’t forget protective equipment, like helmets and knee pads, when necessary.
A day at the park can be as exhausting as it is entertaining. Running around is sure to work up an appetite, and playing in the sun can increase the need to hydrate. Bring healthy lunches, snacks, and plenty of water to keep everyone well-nourished all day long. If you can, pack an ice chest with cool goodies like fruit popsicles and juice.
Comply with any park policies, of course, and always clean up after yourselves. It also never hurts to pack extra clothes, just in case. The same goes for hand sanitizer, tissues, wet wipes, and anything else you think might come in handy (did we mention sunscreen?). A few smart essentials tend to go a long way on park day.
5. Plan Fun Activities
Throw some art supplies in a bag, or consider a special activity like tie dye. Maybe you can invite some other friends to join up for a playdate while you’re there. If you have yard games that the kids would enjoy, pack those too. Bring a book they like so you can read aloud to them.
Does the group enjoy any classic games of decades past, like “red light, green light”? Does anyone know any yoga moves they can teach to everyone else? In fact, it might be fun to invite each child to give a quick explanation or lesson surrounding anything they’ve been enjoying lately or specialize in. You may be surprised by all they have to teach!
6. Don’t Bring Valuables
Although it may be tempting, always make sure everyone’s favorite toys stay safe at home. There’s no use bringing anything precious to the park and risking it getting lost or damaged there. Let the little ones look forward to using those special toys when they return home.
Lock valuables in the car if needed, and offer to hold onto kids’ belongings at the picnic blanket while they play. Charge up your devices and consider bringing a portable charger and battery, just in case. You never know what can happen, and there’s nothing to lose by preparing for the unexpected.
There you have it! Half a dozen awesome tips and ideas to get your park day underway like a total pro. Grab these goodies and gather the group, so everyone can get on the same page about the fun times ahead.
With these six smart strategies, game-changers, and literal games, every park day on the calendar is sure to be a smashing success!