With Memorial Day behind us and students at schools across the United States either out for the summer or counting the days to go, the best time of year to experience the playground – the summer season – is upon us. While the weather is kind, daylight is abundant and the days seem to be a little more carefree, there are still a few measures that can improve playground safety and overall health for your children.
Here are some tips to keep the swings moving for your family this year:
1. Keep kids hydrated – Taking water with you to the playground is a great way to prevent dehydration and keep kids energized. If your kids don’t like to drink plain water, you may try sweetening it with some lemon or lime. Experts recommend offering children water six times a day – even if they say they aren’t thirsty – to ensure hydration. Children who are becoming dehydrated often suffer from fatigue and irritability. (Source: Kaboose)
2. Respect the sun – Like a trip to the beach, a trip to the playground should not be taken without sunscreen. The CDC recommends a minimum of SPF 15 with UVA and UVB protection for children, which should be applied to exposed skin 30 minutes before a venture outside. You should also take the bottle with you to the playground and apply it several times throughout the day. Other measures for preventing sunburns include playing in shady areas, covering up exposed skin and wearing a hat and sunglasses. (Source: Centers for Disease Control)
3. Check for hot equipment surfaces – It’s no secret that – when exposed to the summer sun – playground equipment surfaces can become hot, causing a jolt of discomfort for children. By checking the heat of equipment surfaces with your hand and advising children what areas of the equipment are cool enough to play on, you can prevent any early exits from playtime. You may also want to dress younger children in long pants or bring an old pillow case or small blanket for them to sit on while going down slides. (Source: Landscape Online)
4. Play during the coolest hours – Early afternoon is typically the hottest segment of the day, so by using playgrounds in the morning and evening, you and your kids can experience play during the nicest hours summer has to offer, while also lowering other playground risks in the process.
(Source: Landscape Online)
With a little effort, there is no doubt that summer is the best season to go to the playground and experience outdoor play. We hope you’ll get up, get out and enjoy everything the season has to offer, while also making some great memories with your children on the playground this year!
On Saturday, the National Park Trust, in conjunction with Let’s Move!, will host the second annual National Kids to Parks Day, featuring unique events at parks across the country.
According to a news release from the National Park Trust, 61,000 individuals have pledged to play outdoors on this day and 228 mayors in 45 states have passed resolutions of support.
Grace Lee, the executive director of NPT, was quoted in the press release saying, “We want to encourage children across the country to explore their neighborhood parks and discover the history, nature and adventure right around the corner or just across town. The Summer season is the time to be outdoors and have fun.”
This wonderful initiative, which began last year, is aimed at improving park attendance and decreasing national obesity rates by calling citizens to local parks.
With recent research suggesting that 42 percent of Americans could be obese by 2030, it is now more important than ever to promote the benefits of outdoor play in our parks and playgrounds.
This annual day of events is a great way to showcase all that local parks have to offer citizens – including amazing, inspiring playgrounds for kids to exercise their bodies, minds, emotions and spirits. Conveniently, outdoor free play is also a solution to help decrease obesity. We join NPT in celebrating national parks, state parks, and local parks and playgrounds and hope to encourage more free play at parks for households across the nation.
At Voice of Play, we hope this campaign helps inspire more frequent outdoor play for families all year long and that, eventually, this spark of interest will soon lead to each and every day becoming a “Kids to Parks” day.
Learn more about the National Kids to Parks Day events happening in your area: http://www.kidstoparks.org/attend-an-event