Creating the perfect weekend plans can be challenging, especially if you’ve got kids with different interests or a limited amount of things that you can do in your local area. Of course, not having those perfect plans means that your kids will be bored and there’s nothing worse than bored kids — especially when they start acting out because they’ve got nothing to entertain them. While you can do just about anything on the weekend, why is the playground the perfect place to spend the day with your family?
Playgrounds Help Keep Them Healthy
Childhood has changed since we were little. Back then, we would spend our days outside from sunup to sundown, only returning to eat or when called. Today, children spend half as much time outdoors as their parents did. Parents want their children to learn how to use technology but nine out of ten of them would also prefer for their little ones to play outdoors. This lack of outdoor play is one of the things that is contributing to a rise in childhood obesity.
Childhood obesity affects more than 13.7 million children between the ages of 2 and 19, according to the CDC. Spending the weekend at the playground, when paired with a healthy diet, can help keep them at a healthy weight and prevent the problems that childhood obesity can cause later in life.
Play Teaches Important Skills
The act of playing is good for more than just keeping your kids entertained for a few hours in the afternoon or on the weekend. It can also teach your kids important skills that they will use throughout their lives. Spending a day creating worlds and telling stories improves creativity and problem-solving skills. Trying new things — whether they succeed or fail — helps to increase their confidence and self-esteem.
Kids learn leadership skills by taking the lead in a group of their peers. Not only do they learn how to be leaders, but they learn how to graciously step down if someone else comes up with a better idea or a better game for them to play. This is something that you can’t teach, but something that they can learn through experience. They learn how to navigate their social groups, and in the case of a playground, they play with children of all different ages instead of being segregated into groups based on their age like they are in school.
Supervision Increases Playground Safety
Spending the weekend at the playground as a parent means more than just sitting on the bench and playing on your phone while your kids play. Emergency rooms in the United States see more than 200,000 playground-related injuries every single year. When you choose a playground, make sure it’s SAFE. In this case, the word SAFE is an acronym that stands for supervision, age-appropriate, fall surfacing, and equipment. Supervision is the most important thing to remember — keeping an eye on your kids makes the entire experience safer for them.
After supervision, there’s age-appropriate, fall surfacing, and equipment. Make sure all of the equipment is in good working order and safe to use. If you’ve got younger children, opt for age-appropriate playgrounds that are designed for smaller players. Kids will fall, regardless of how well supervised they are, so make sure they’ve got a good place to fall safely.
Playgrounds are Community Builders
Playgrounds aren’t just hubs for kids. they can be a hub for adults as well. We take our kids out to play with their friends and the other little ones in the neighborhood, but it gives us a chance to network with adults who are outside doing the same thing we are — watching their kids and making sure their safe. Playground are community builders. Before long, you could have block parties and birthday parties to attend, and people to communicate with. You’ll become a tight-knit community like the ones that our parents raised us in.
We all love our kids but let’s be honest here — they aren’t the greatest conversationalists, especially when they’re young. Spending the weekend at the playground instead of at home could be the best thing to help you maintain your sanity as a parent.
Don’t Stay In This Weekend
If you’re looking for something to do with your kids this weekend, consider heading to your local playground. Not only will it wear your kids out so they sleep well at night, but it can also help teach them valuable skills that they’ll use throughout their lives. It also helps to keep them healthy, combatting the growing problem of childhood obesity and may give you someone to talk to who wants to converse about something other than Paw Patrol. Soak in the sunshine and enjoy yourself. Who knows — you might even have some fun yourself instead of using the weekend to catch up on the chores you couldn’t find time for during the week.