Since the warm months are here many families visit playgrounds as a fun outdoor activity. While playgrounds are an excellent place to let kids run around and be kids, they can also learn something here. It never hurts to combine physical and mental learning while at playgrounds.
Here’s what kids can learn at Playgrounds broken down by age since different ages have different capabilities.
One Year Olds:
*Moms of one year olds who are walking know that all they want to do at this age is show off their new found ability. Go with it! Actually, run with it. Let them walk or run in wide open areas.
*Baby swings – if your park has a baby swing, this is the perfect age to buckle your child in and let them experience the wind on their face.
*Wildlife – at this age it’s still about narrating what you are doing. If you see any wildlife, name it for your child. Talk to them about that animal.
Twos and Threes:
*Children in this age group are still all about running around so let them burn off as much energy as possible by running and jumping.
*This age will enjoy swings too but may or may not fit in the “baby swing” depending on its size. Sing songs while you swing or imagine you are pumping your legs to reach a destination. Three year olds have great imaginations so encourage it while swinging.
*This age group will love to run and hide from you. Make a game of it. Or pretend you’re in a castle with hidden doors and rooms.
*If you spot any wildlife (birds, bunnies, squirrels etc) have your kids identify the type of animal and make the coordinating noise if there is one.
Fours and Fives:
*This age group has mastered gross motor skills so now they can easily move on to higher slides, “fire fighter” poles, hand-over-hand ladders etc. Look for a park with more activities to keep this age group occupied.
*Parks with creeks will also interest this age group. There is so much to explore in creeks from different types of plants to squishy animals.
*Challenge this age group in a large open space by skipping, hopping on one foot etc.
Six and Beyond:
*As with the last age group, look for a park, perhaps a city park, with more equipment and activities. This group is very agile and sure of themselves. You’ll probably hear lots of “Look, Mom!” as they boast of their new skill.
*Parks with creeks are also good for this age. Now you can take it to the next level in learning and apply science to what you see along the creek.
*Bring a ball – many older kids are involved in sports. Now’s the time to bring the soccer ball and kick it around for pure fun. Or if the park has a basketball goal, shoot some hoops.