Family Fun Guide: A Day in the Park

violet flower

Even in the teensiest of towns, you’ll almost always find a local park that local families frequent, probably right alongside runners and cyclists. Is there such a park in your city? If the answer is yes—or if you can think of more than one off the top of your head—you’ve probably already exhausted the number of times you can take your kids to its playground and expect them to stay entertained for hours on end. They’ve already swung on that swing; they’ve slid down that slide; they’ve seesawed on that seesaw. Time to get creative with visits to the park. That’s why we’ve created a guide to fun activities you can do at the park that are out of the ordinary. Check it out for some inspiration:

  • Create an obstacle course. Bring along a few hula hoops, a jump rope, and some orange cones, and you have everything you need to make an obstacle course on the park’s lawn. Challenge kids to dribble around the orange cones in a zigzagging pattern, then hop on one foot through a maze of hula hoops, and finally jump rope 10 times in a row without missing a beat. Winner gets to make up new fun rules for the next round.
  • Make nature into art .If your kids exhibit an interest in local wildlife, help them cultivate it. Bring some art supplies along to the park and immortalize natural features. For example, you can collect fallen leaves and stick them under a piece of paper, then rub crayons over top to recreate the texture and shape of the leaf. You can also collect pine cones and cover them in colorful glitter to make a holiday ornament, or slather them in peanut butter and dip them in bird seed to create a makeshift bird feeder.
  • Set up a scavenger hunt. A sandbox. A tennis court. An acorn. These are some of the items you’d expect to find in a park, and they should all go on your scavenger hunt list of things kids must find. Make it even more fun by letting kids inviting a friend along to be on their “team” and pitting them against each other. Offer a nominal prize, like 10 minutes of free pushing on the swings or first pick of the hot dogs at lunch.
  • Enjoy a summer concert. Many local parks have outdoor performance spaces, and they come to live in the summertime. Local musicians fill the amphitheaters or fields with their sweet, dulcet tones, typically as a free service to the people of the city. Bring along a blanket, some snacks, and maybe even an adult beverage or two (if they’re allowed) to enjoy the free concert in the fresh air.
  • Picnic and cloud-gaze. Sometimes keeping it simple makes for the best park day. If your kids seem content to just soak up the sunshine, pack a healthy lunch in the picnic basket and grab a table at the park. After lunch, you can all lounge on the grass and spot shapes in the clouds—or head straight to the playground to run off your meal.

Image and attribution: