By: Maureen White
As the summer months begin and schools start to empty, neighborhood streets, parks and pools begin to fill up. These three months of leisure and play are very beneficial for children in regards to promoting physical growth, social skills and even family relationships. After spending 8 hours in an office, sometimes the last thing a parent wants to do is chase their children around a park, but there are some major benefits applicable to parents when going to a park. Listed below are some hidden perks that may encourage you to take the kids out to play more often during these summer months.
Physical benefits- Aside from the obvious time for children to run around and be active, the opportunity for exercise is also available for parents. Although you may feel like crashing on the couch after a long day at work, a nightly visit to the park could be just what you need to build up some energy for the rest of the evening. For instance, walking to a local park instead of driving can count as a workout in itself. Pushing children on swings and holding them up to reach the monkey bars works wonders in building up arm strength. Even just being out in the fresh air for a-while will benefit your body. So instead of taking the night off, do something your kids and your body will enjoy and take a trip to your local park.
Social Benefits- Playgrounds offer children the chance to play along and form friendships with other children outside of the classroom, so who says it can’t be the same for adults? Visiting a neighborhood park on a regular basis lets both children and parents interact and form new relationships. While the children are off on the playground equipment, take the opportunity to introduce yourself and meet the other parents in the vicinity. Getting to know other parents within the neighborhood could generate new friendships and deepen the sense of community within a neighborhood.
Family Benefits – Nights spent at a local park can be used as a bonding experience between children and parents. While most parents are away at work all day, going to a neighborhood park in the evening hours is the perfect time to catch-up with kids. If the park is not very crowded, spend some time on the swings asking your children about their day. Not only will you be aware of what is going on in your child’s life, you will also be able to instill in your child a sense of confidence and be able to make memories together.
What a great week it’s been! I hope you’ve joined us on Facebook and Twitter to help spread the word about the importance of playground safety – and about making sure your community or school playground equipment and surfacing is IPEMA certified. One of the most important things about this week, however, is making sure that playground safety is a year long commitment.
The conditions of playground equipment and surfacing can change quickly. They can suffer from storm damage, vandalism, fire or other sudden natural or man-made events. Other less severe but problematic conditions can develop quickly as well – things like the overnight appearance of broken glass or nails; users kicking away loose-fill surfacing to below minimum protective depths; sand or pea stone tracked onto hard surfaces and creating a slip hazard.
It’s a wise practice to have routine, early safety and maintenance inspections of playgrounds to ensure they are unbroken, functional, clean and hazard-free before children arrive. With proper maintenance procedures, you can help make sure your playground stays as safe as possible. Play on!