When taking your kids to the playground, can they entertain themselves, or do they look bored? If the playground is not evoking the hours of play you had anticipated, here are some activities to keep your little ones happy at the playground.
- Obstacle Course
Set up a route on the playground that involves the slide, climbing structures and, if your kids are old enough, the monkey bars. Have races to see who can get through the course faster. If your kids are too far apart in age, don’t race against one another, but rather race against a timer to see if they can beat their last time. Continue adding steps to the course to make it more challenging.
- Bring the Toys
Do you have your kids leave their toys behind when going to the playground? You may want to rethink that plan. Imagine the imaginative play that will come if you let them bring some Little People or action figures to the playground. Now, the wood-chipped jungle is not the right place for treasured toys (they may get lost) or toys with real hair and clothes (which will get dirty), but plastic toys that are easily washed can have a virtual adventure on all the playground surfaces. Just make sure your kids know what the rules for sharing are, before heading outside. It can be tempting for other kids on the playground to want to join. Sharing is great, but make sure you come home with everything you brought.
- I Spy Tag
Take the traditional I spy game to the playground. However, instead of simply yelling what the kids think you are spying, tell them they have to run to it and tag it. Add variations by asking the kids to tag as many items of a certain color as they can in a set amount of time. Then, let the winner take over as the “spy” and you can join the fun, with your kids.
- Hens and Chicks
If the playground has an open field, hens and chicks is a great game to encourage more active play. Set up two safe spots, like a picnic table or tree, about 25 feet apart. Then, designate one player as the “hen.” Tell the hen to call for chicks, which are the other players. The chicks must run from the first safe spot to the other, while the hen tries to catch them. Any chicks who are caught join the hen in trying to catch their friends during the next round. The last chick to avoid capture becomes the hen for the next round.
- Traditional Tag
The playground turns traditional “tag” into a fun adventure with so many surfaces to climb and explore. When you notice the kids starting to lag, simply tag one and say, “you’re it” and run. They will catch on quickly.
- Superhero Rescue
Do your kids play with superhero capes or masks at home? Bring these to the playground and watch as the slide tower becomes a skyscraper and little sister pretends to be the damsel in distress.
- Hot-Lava Monster
Did you ever balance on couch cushions to avoid hot lava? Your kids can do this on the playground. Make the wood chips the “lava” and become the lava monster. Ask them to make their way around the playground without falling into the lava or getting tickled by the lava monster.
The playground provides ample recreational opportunities, but sometimes mom needs to get involved to make it just a little more engaging. Go to your next visit armed with these ideas, and be prepared for hours of rewarding play.