This post was originally published on August 28, 2013. Updated on October 04, 2020. We care about you, so please take extra precautions when doing the suggestions listed in this article.
Visiting parks and playgrounds no matter the season, we believe, would do good to your kids. It’s a chance to have bonding moments with them. It’s also a good way for them to exercise. Neighbourhood playgrounds, funparks, themed parks all excite a child. But the park nearest to you isn’t only convenient, it’s where they can meet friends from the neighbourhood too.
We very well know the proverb “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Although kids don’t work like adults do, their staying at home playing indoor games (probably on consoles) could rust them out physically. So running, jumping, climbing during park visits make their joints mobile. Studies also show that spending time contemplating on creation/nature relieves stress, even just having plants and trees near you. It’s not just the green pigment that makes one relax, being around nature promotes health and well-being as reported by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
The article also mentions how nature can improve cognitive functioning, reduce mental fatigue, increase social interactions, give opportunities for reflection, and improve stress amelioration (on both children and adults).
“The first blooms of spring always make my heart sing.” — S. Brown
Spring is a favorite time for us! The weather isn’t so warm and isn’t so cold. We can wear a light jacket, sometimes long-sleeved shirts would do, and we can move lightly than when wearing heavy jackets. It’s also the best time to identify the flowers – what with all of them blooming after months of hibernation.
Smell the Flowers
When the first bud appears, when the sky turns calm and blue, it’s time to go out and let the kids smell the flowers. That is, if they aren’t allergic. Kidding aside, letting the kids enjoy nature as it blooms from months of slumber makes them curious about creation and their surroundings.
A Lesson on Life
Speaking of creation, it might be good to teach them about the weather, the changes it brings to nature, or how a caterpillar turns to a butterfly. Yes, those will be in the books when they go to school but them seeing it firsthand gives them an appreciation of the beauty the Creator gave us.
It’s not only flowers and insects that are coming out of hibernation, our muscles too need to wake up from the cold winter months. So going to the park is the best gym. Climbing nets, installed ropes and such are fun challenges for kids. There are parks with real exercise equipment so make use of those – they’re free after all.
Except during winter, biking is a very fun thing to do. But it’s best to bike in spring seeing all the flowers by the roadside blooming, and with the sky painted so blue, it just lifts you up.
“Summertime. It was a song. It was a season. I wondered if that season would ever live inside of me.” —Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Last Night I Sang to the Monster
Summer is the best time to explore all the parks, play area, museums, and the many restaurants in the city if you’re not going out of the country. (Staycation = love your own.)
Summer park visits could also be spent in water parks to diminish the heat. There will be sandboxes and water installation the kids can play with. There may also be boats to rent, so take the time to go around on a boat, be it a motorboat, rowing boat, surf or paddle boat, skiffs or canoe, or pedal boats. We always brought an inflatable boat with us to the park lake when we get the chance to. Take turns on the wheels or pedalling to add to the kids’ experiences.
Swimming, if allowed is another way to relieve the heat. Make sure to put on sunscreen first!
Feed Ducks and Swans
Depending on where you are and if allowed, bring something for the ducks and swans like shredded lettuce. (Don’t ever feed them bread, please.)
The kids and I enjoy looking for insects to take macro photos of them. Just make sure that the insects are not ones that retaliate when disturbed.
Volleyball, football, basketball, tennis, there will surely be courts at the park for these, so bring a ball to play with the kids and break some sweat.
Enjoy a day or two of fishing fun, look for a park near a lake and where fishing is allowed. Make sure though that you have a license to fish to avoid a rub with the authorities.
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
If spring teaches us hope, autumn teaches us how change can be so beautiful.
Take Photos with Leaves as the Background
Autumn could well be the best season to take photos with the kids. And the park with the trees in gold, orange, yellow, and brown would be the best backdrop.
Pick Different Leaves
Take leaves of different sizes, colors, and shapes and compare them. You can also pick up chestnuts that have fallen to the ground. It’s also a good time to teach your toddlers how to count using those chestnuts.
Make Art for Autumn
You can press the leaves you picked up and laminate them, to use as book-markers or autumn frames.
Go Horseback riding
Dogs, cats, and fish give us therapeutic companionship, horses are no different. If for anything, these gentle giants are great stress-relievers. Riding a horse gets one out of the comfort zone and increases one’s ability to trust. Even if it’s a first-time horse ride, one could have a relaxing feeling even for those few minutes. (Summer is also a good time for horseback-riding but it could get so hot.)
There’s just so much more stuff you can do with the kids in autumn, click here.
“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
Don’t let the cold stop you from enjoying park visits with the kids. Winter parks could mean snowful grounds, frozen lakes, and just pristine white all over.
Park visits in the winter when there’s snow mean sledding fun. You do not have to spend a lot to go to the slopes to enjoy the snow. A 5€ toboggan could give your kids the best memories of winter throughout.
Take Pictures with an All-White Background
Winter sun could be nil and not the best light for your photos, but hey, just adjust your setting and where you stand to get those immaculate white background to make your kids’ portraits stand out. Winter photos are so nice to look at, just make sure you are well-warmed up and so are your kids.
Build A Snowman
No winter is complete without building a snowman, or Totoro, or your favorite cartoon character in the snow.
Even snow angels would be fun to do and take pictures of. Make sure though that you are geared and bundled-up properly to avoid cold bites. Take your kids’ creativity and resourcefulness out with what character they can build with snow.
Park Visits Safety Tips
Before going to the park, make sure that you are prepared with not only a first aid kit, dress the kids properly. Prepare jackets if the weather seemed to be unstable. In the summer, make sure that you have lathered sun protection cream, bring along sunglasses and caps
If going skateboarding or biking, put on elbow and knee pads, don’t forget the helmet too.
Pack their backpacks with a bottle of water each, an extra shirt, a sweat towel, and some snacks of course. They would certainly get hungry from all the running around, so they would need to replenish some energy.
Also, brief the kids to not touch mushrooms and plants easily. Bring antihistamines as well, especially if your child has allergies to certain trees.
Park visits no matter what season should be something on your “things to do with the kids” list. As Gary Zukad said”We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.” – So enjoy each season and create lasting memories the kids will treasure.