Thursday, 3 October 2013

Play park - Why bother? Part 2

I've been AWOL again, disappeared in a mountain of Scout activity which all required preparing, planning and following up.  Now I can breathe again for a little while, though there's still plenty to be done.  I'm thinking about starting a "Scouting Life" blog too, all about the Scouty type things that I get up to.

But back to this blog.  I posted two weeks ago about how the play park is of benefit to your children, but lets face it, standing alone in a windswept play park pushing a swing can be pretty soul destroying.  How can you get to enjoy the play park as much as they do?  Here are a few ideas.

  1. Take a friend.  Don’t go to the play park by yourself.  If there are two or more of you, then you can chat as you push swings, or sit and chat while the children play.  The more of you there are the better, take a picnic and make it an afternoon out, lo

    ts of space for children of different ages to play and time for parents to catch up on the gossip.
  2. If you can’t manage to persuade anybody to join you, then take a magazine or book.  Don’t make it a page-turner or you may forget to keep an eye on the children!
  3. Take a flask of coffee and a snack (and I suppose you could take a snack and drink for the children too!).
  4. Join in!  There’s no rule that says once you’re a grown-up you have to stop playing.  Observe any rules about maximum ages on equipment, but for most equipment its just about common sense – if it looks a bit wobbly, you won’t fit in it, or playing on it will cause a danger or worry to small children, then don’t go on.  Your children will love to see you climbing, swinging and clambering, and it’s good for your fitness and strength as well.  Children should see the playful side of their parents as often as possible. 
  5. Trips to the play-park needn’t stop when it’s cold, snowy or rainy; they just take on different challenges.  Put the children in full waterproofs with grippy shoes.  In these conditions the flask of coffee and joining in yourself become more important than ever – if you stand in the cold you’ll soon become pretty grumpy and anxious to head for home.
  6. Set challenges for the children.  Make the playground into an obstacle course with a beginning and end – can they get all the way around without touching the floor?  Can they slide down the slide in ten different ways?  Can they climb to the very top of the frame?
  7. Strike up a conversation with a stranger… go on, I dare you!
  8. Be mindful.  Take the time to just sit with your eyes closed and listen to the sounds of the outdoors, smell the smells of the season, feel the breath of wind on your cheek.

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