When you can’t go camping or hiking, go to the park! When we lived in Farmington, NM, it wasn’t so easy to just go out into the woods. My husband and I both worked full-time and I also worked on the weekends. Actual woods with trees and mountains were about an hour and a half away in Colorado and the public lands in the local area were pretty much desert. We didn’t have a yard because we lived in a little apartment in town, so being able to go outside was limited for us. So, to get us and our kids outside, Al and I would go to the park instead with our family. This is overall a great way to get your kids outside no matter where you live.
I would get up early, and pack up sandwiches, granola bars, fruit and water. It would then be waiting in the fridge so when I did get home, I could just put it in our bag. I kept a cloth, reusable grocery bag ready to go for the park, packed with kites, balls, mitts and even water guns.
My husband would get our oldest from her mother’s and we would head out to the park. It was just three of us back then, and we spent several evenings a week at the park. we would all climb on the playground equipment together. Sliding, swinging, tether ball… After we were tired, we would spread out a blanket and eat our picnic.
After we would finish eating, I would get some of the toys out of the bag. Several of the parks down there don’t have a lot of trees or any power lines, so we would sometimes fly kites. Other times we would play ball or Frisbee.
One of the things I liked most about the parks in Farmington, was that a lot of them had little creeks and so we would wade in the water or look for frogs. Farmington also had a large park that was on a river and we would walk along the river walk. Sometimes we would even bring our bikes and go for a bike ride.
Here are a few tips if you plan to take your children to the park.
- Pack plenty of water. For any outdoor activity, you should stay hydrated. It is dangerous to get dehydrated and can lead to hospitalization or even death. Each of us has our own water bottles and I always keep extra water in the car so it’s there if we need it.
- Stay safe in the sun. Wear sunscreen. No one likes a sunburn and this also prevents skin cancer. Having a tan or darker skin does not prevent any of these things. You can find hypo-allergenic and chemical free sunscreens. We always use 70 SPF and also Chap Stick with sunscreen. Wearing long sleeves and/or a hat can also be helpful to protect yourself from the sun.
- Protect yourself from bugs. Mosquitos, ticks and other bugs can carry diseases or illnesses. Wear long sleeve shirts, a mosquito net, bug spray or all three. You can find chemical-free bug repellent. If you do not want to spray yourself with sticky anti-bug spray, you can also find citronella bracelets, treated clothing and even stickers that can deter insects.
- Be safe and mindful. Use the playground equipment properly and check to make sure it is not broken or damaged. If skateboarding, riding a bike or roller blading, use the necessary protective gear to prevent injury.
- Follow the rules. Most parks have rules listed for a reason. This is to keep you and your little ones safe. Keep your children within your line of sight r their safety. If animals are allowed, keep them leashed and use doggy bags.
- Pack snacks and outdoor toys like a ball, bubbles and a kite. A blanket is also nice to have. I also pack baby wipes too, because you never know what mess you’ll have to clean up.
- And most of all have fun!!! Its great being outside and having fun creating those great memories for you and your children.