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Monday, January 30, 2017

Outdoor Summer Fun Activities and Options for Children

By Ihor Cap
It is summer time. School’s out and you, like many other families with children are wondering how to keep them busy without spending a lot of money. One of the first things to keep in mind as a parent is to get your children outdoors, especially in the summertime. No excuses. They need there vitamin D you know. They can stay indoors when it gets colder outside. They only have a couple of warm summer months ahead of them before school starts again, so make sure they get to spend much of it outdoors.
There are many things a family can do with their children outside. Check the web site for your locality to see what amenities are available in your area and operating hours. The city amenities I describe herein are free but they may have a small fee attached to it in your area depending on the services offered. They usually open by the end of June and close around the first week of September, right before school starts.
Children love play dates
You can always stay in your own backyard if you have to, but children get bored fast. Every now and then, they need a change of pace. Make a play date with your child’s school friends. Offer to supervise the play date. The other parents have a chance to escape for a few hours and do some of the things they never get a chance to do with the kids around. They will return the favor. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. The kids get to play and you have time for yourself.
The School Playground and Local Park
Children want to meet other children and there is no better place to do that than at the local school play structure or nearby park. Children know that their school mates tend to hang out there especially if they go to the park often enough. Your children may already know many of the kids there from school and you do not have far to go. It is about spending quality time with your children and memories that last for you and your children forever. They love interacting with their school friends and have a chance to make new friends along the way. You will also get a chance to meet some of your children’s friends and get to know them better as well as their parents. Who knows? You may make some new friends too.
Outdoor Games
Children especially enjoy riding a bicycle in the park and playgrounds are fertile ground for playing well known kids games like “grounders” and “hop- scotch.” Some playgrounds have a basketball, football, soccer or baseball field nearby so you might want to bring a ball with you. It’s easy to make friends or join in the fun if someone is kicking or passing the ball around. Try something else like throwing a Frisbee, flying a kite, skateboarding or roller-blading. These are all healthy and fun activities short of going for a stroll around the park.
Splash parks, Spray pads, Wading pools and all that Jazz
Splash parks and wading pools are cool. What a fun way to spend an hour of your time with your children. Designed to entertain children 12 years of age and under, these spray grounds may include but are not limited to spray pads, liner pools, outdoor wading pools, playground/slide/sprayer combinations, water play equipment only, and parks with spray features only. The wading pools are no deeper than 24 inches or 60 centimeters. Some splash parks are also wheelchair accessible. My children especially love the water slides but a healthy mix of all of the above activities may be best for them.
Unlike the water parks with enormous slides and swimming pools, there is no cost to enter the splash parks within the city. They open early starting around 11 in the morning and close around six in the evening. They work on a first come first serve basis so plan to arrive early. It is not unusual to find line ups because these water parks are sooooooo popular. They will make your child’s day. Bring a lawn chair with you or a towel to sit on. No food or drinks are allowed on the premises. Families are encouraged to stay but usually no more than 1.5 hours so that other families have an opportunity to enjoy the splash park too. Children under 5 must be supervised actively by a parent/guardian or caregiver, especially when using a slide. Not every splash pad is supervised though, so it’s up to you to monitor your children actively even if it means being in the water with them. Water play parks do have a maximum bathing capacity so staff reserves the right to limit the number of patrons on the play grounds. Do be patient and wait your turn. They do this to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Note that play parks can be booked at certain times by daycares and outside user groups. Ask the staff about these special provisions.
Dress appropriately for the activity you have in mind. Wear protective safety equipment when riding a bike, skateboarding or roller-blading and the like. Wear a hat, put on some sunscreen, and bring a change of clothes for your children, where necessary. Supervise your children at all times. Follow the rules, play safely and above all have fun!
Author Information:
Ihor Cap is a Web Author and Dad.
Photo Attributions: Playdate By English: Pfc. Jackeline M. Perez Rivera [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Playground Swings By Mark Ahsmann (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons Sports_icon By Pepetps (made by myself) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Splash pad park by Larry D. Moore [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons