Lessons learned at the park

A formal educational setting is not needed to provide lessons to you children. Teachable moments can arise in an instant. As a perfect example of this: the other day, we were at the park and I was stressing to my daughter that she did not need to push back and forth while on the spinning apparatus thing (for lack of better word) because it works by centrifugal force.

wpid-20140619_115439.jpgSo I just finished saying to her “Just slightly move your body back and forth, no harsh movements, you’ll get hurt if you do”.

I turn around for a second and it happens; a yell, a cry and her lip is bleeding. So needless to say our time at the park was cut short. Although she got hurt,  it was a lesson none the less.

There is a lot to learned at the park, here are a few:

Literacy: A simple literacy activity that you can do with your child while visiting the park is to simply read the signs. Read the directions and information that you will find around the playground. When you get home have your child write about their experiences at the park that day. If they are still little have them draw it, you can ask them to describe the picture to you and you can write it on the drawing afterwards.

Physical educational: Let them run, climb, jump and slide. Not only will they burn of some steam but they actually be exercising. Most playgrounds have different play areas with designated age levels so they can exert their own physical skills. Take a ball with you to the park and practice kicking an throwing the ball while you are there.

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Science and nature: My daughters favorite thing. Go on a nature walk, discuss the nature surrounding them. The trees, flowers, water features, grass and bugs. How do the plants grow, why does mold grow on this side of the tree, what type of flower/tree is this, what type of insects live here and what do they eat and what are the different parts of plants? Collect some leaves and do leaf rubbings when you get home.

Social/Etiquette skills: Lets face it some people just don’t pick up after themselves. You can teach them pick up at least five pieces of trash. (serve your community)  If everyone did that, our parks would sparkle. Parks are also very sociable places. It is an ideal opportunity for your child  (and yourself) to socialize with other children (moms) and learn a variety of social skills such as talking, listening and sharing.

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History: Many parks have some great history behind them. Find information on plaques/memorial statues.

Art: A brilliant way for children to express themselves is through art. Have them draw their experiences. Make a collage out of the leaves they have collected. One of our favorite activities is to gather and collect “nature” then they make create nature creatures. Use grass as rope to tie twigs together.

A simply trip to the park can provide so many lessons.

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