Thursday, March 31, 2016

It's Spring! Time to Head Back to the Playground #VoiceofPlay #SpringtimePlay

I know many folks are fans of winter. Skiing, snow mobiles, ice fishing, snowmen, skating. But I am not. Sorry. I like to be warm, and I don't enjoy being all bundled up. So with the arrival of spring I am coming back to life along with all the plants that have lain dormant since fall. I am excited to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and vitamin D that I've been missing, and I'm looking forward to doing lots of fun things out there with my boys.

We are lucky to live in a fairly quiet neighbourhood, where the kids do hang out and play in their yards, ride their bikes on the side streets, and congregate at the school playground. In fact, since our property backs on to the school, we get to see a lot of the fun that happens back there, and often will head over when Boo sees one of his friends playing ball or on the swings. Actually, we regularly have kids coming to our back fence and calling out to see if he's home and can come over to the school to play with them. That's something I love, because it reminds me of when I was growing up and my friends would come round looking for me to head across the street to our park for some fun on the swings or climbing bars.

A favourite activity for Boo is to take his bike and head to the school for some practice riding. He and his buddy next door love to do this in the evenings, and they often bump into friends when they are there. The even pavement in the hardscape area of the playground is perfect for bike races or just circling around while the kids chat and laugh. It's a chance for them to enjoy fresh air, exercise and some social time that does not include the usual video games.

The play structures themselves offer lots of entertainment. Slides, swings and twirly things provide opportunities for movement, imagination, and cooperation. I enjoy watching the kids negotiate who will push whom on the spinners and work out who gets to go first on the slide. The playground presents excellent environments for social as well as physical development.

playground equipment
Waiting for the kids to come out after the school bell.

I have to comment on the benefits for parents as well. Whether it's after the final bell of the day, or on the weekend, the playground is a great place to meet your child's friends and their parents. Boo no longer needs (or wants) me to pick him up after school, but with the warmer weather in the spring I am beginning to make that trek around the corner at 3:15 again, at least on the good weather days. I look forward to the chance to chat with other moms and dads, catch up on what's new, and to watch the kids enjoying themselves in their own, unstructured way.

small boy on slide
He may be a lot bigger now, and we may have newer equipment, but he still loves the slide!
boy on top of climbing equipment
A trip to see the grandparents always involves a visit to the playground behind their place.
Climbing is great for building strength and confidence.

Do you have a favourite playground in your neighbourhood? Is it at a school, or city run? I hope whoever runs it, that it's well cared for and well loved by all the families in your area! Now get out there and PLAY!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Voice of Play. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

The Voice of Play is an education and advocacy initiative of the non-profit membership association, IPEMA, formed to educate and promote the benefits of children’s free outdoor play and playgrounds. Through the Voice of Play website and social media properties, IPEMA highlights the scientifically proven physical, social, emotional and cognitive benefits of play.

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