Getting kids outside and allowing them the time to play at a park is so much more than “that half-hour where I watch them go wild.”
Kids, all of them, no matter their situation, need that connection with the outdoors, with other kids, with themselves and the world.
And it doesn’t matter if it’s hot, raining, it’s cold, or if it’s just a bad day.
It doesn’t matter if your kid is special in some way, facing challenges physically or mentally.
Because, deep down, all kids are the same.
They need to play.
Plain and simple. They need to play.
October is Sensory Awareness Month–so, let’s take that excuse right there and let them play.
And maybe these 5 Reasons You Should Take Your Kids to the Park (no matter the weather) will help you feel good about that 30 minutes you’re just watching them run wild.
5 Reasons to Take Your Kids to the Park (no matter the weather)
- Play teaches kids. Not things like how to tie their shoe or count or anything like that–you’re their parent and you cannot be replaced by play. But play, specifically outdoor play, can teach kids about weather and seasons and all sorts of things you just have to experience to truly understand. And Inclusive Play, with kids of all kinds, is part of this. Kids, no matter what situation they’re facing–or not facing–learn life lessons at the park about how people are different and empathy for those differences.
- Play allows kids to be independent. Being outside and “running wild” let’s kids be themselves and gives them a chance to be free from the constraints of their life. You may not think that their lives are stressful–they certainly aren’t in comparison to yours, for sure. But to them, this is the only life they’ve lived and it can seem stressful to them. Being independent loosens those bonds and let’s them be in charge for a moment.
- Play is something all kids can do. It doesn’t matter their situation. All kids can play. And they crave the chance to do so. It is built into us in our ancient DNA. So we can all feel that urge–and kids can do it, so they want to. They want to experience all the things. They want to do everything that they can. And play is easy–so they want to do it. It’s like the water cycle. It just is.
- Play is practicing life. For real, how else are kids supposed to practice all the things that they will have to do in their lives? What else will give them that experience? Nothing. Play is the basis for all the future experiences that they’ll have. With Inclusive Play, they’ll learn leadership skills and persistence–all the things they’ll need in life.
- Play is childhood. For real, think about how much less stress your life had when you were a child and you played. Think about the skills you were learning with so little stress because you were free to explore and define your own self. Play defines childhood. And Inclusive Play–bringing all the elements together–invites children to learn about social equity and empathy.
No matter how bad the day–play will always be a way to turn it around.
For anyone who is unaware, Inclusive play is more than just accessibility. It’s addressing age and development appropriateness and sensory-stimulating activities.
So, for my kids, given that they have different developmental needs and different sensory needs, we generally head to to a Landscape Structures Inclusion Playground.
Because we believe in social equity and inclusion, we talk about the special swings for kids that can’t use the old sling swings, we talk about how parks are for more than just us–how they’re for the whole community, and how diverse our community is.
This is an important lesson that being outside and playing can teach our kids.
That our community is greater and more diverse than we are.
That is a great reason to take your kids to the park.