Article By Cyd Ross
Heading to the park is one of the kids’ favorite events. The promise of new friends and new places to play and climb calls to them. For the family, however, it can feel like a slog to get there and figure out what to do while there.
That’s why we wanted to provide some ideas for your outing prep. Here are five things to take to the park for some easy fun and a simple day for the whole family!
1. Essential Supplies
Getting to the park can feel like a huge endeavor. No matter if you have one kid or six, just wrangling them into the car and heading out can be a chore in itself. Because kids come with a lot of supplies, it’s important to ease your own load with a way to keep yourself ready.
To help get all of those items together, a great way is to build a park bag. Put all the little things you often forget in there so that you won’t forget them, like wipes, extra bottles of water, sunscreen, hair ties, band aids and antiseptic, and a waterproof blanket. Leave this bag in your car, loaded and ready to go so that when something goes wrong, you have everything you need on you to stop yourself from tearing your hair out!
The park is also not quite as relaxing as we often hope. If you have infants in your crew, a hands-free baby carrier is important! You can still help your bigger small person off the monkey bars or down from the climbing wall, tie shoes, and wipe noses while keeping your baby with you. Try to find a carrier with good back support, and look for features like mesh panels for breathability and front/back carry options.
Once the kids are outside, they typically recruit the other littles on the playground to play. If your kids are solo or need some inspiration, bring some learning toys to get them going. A bug box is a great way to get them hunting for bugs on their own. You’ll find they scour everything under the sun, from bugs to rocks and sticks.
A simple sand set is a great tool as well. Whether they’re digging up dirt, grass, or even water, they have a way to expand their play. It’s amazing how just a bucket can be hours of fun for a kid.
3. Snacks / Lunch / Drinks
Snacks. What more needs to be said. If you’re just struggling to get out of the house, throw a loaf of bread and some peanut butter in your bag, maybe a bag of bagels and some cream cheese, or even leftover breakfast pancakes. It doesn’t have to be gourmet — just something yummy to fill tummies and keep them playing. Make sure you have a knife to spread your condiments and a roll of paper towels for cleanup!
4. The Right Clothing
It’s not just about what the kids wear to the park, but what you have in reserve for the unexpected.
Arriving at the park just as it starts to rain, or suddenly the sun comes out and your kids, wrapped from head to toe for a cold morning, are sweating as they play. We can’t always predict what the weather has in store. The park also has hidden hazards for clean clothes. Ever look up to see your kid has found the only spot of mud in the whole park to fall in? Or a little accident takes them out of service? Keeping extra clothes and shoes in the car can save the day!
5. Balls Balls Balls
Balls of any kind can be quickly turned into a game. If you don’t have a lot of space to load up your activities, throw in an inflatable beach ball or a package of balloons. They’re easy to inflate, lots of fun to use, and quick to clean up. From kickball to volleyball and dodgeball, a beach ball is a great multi-use tool.
Bring Joy With You to the Park
The park is a great way to get the kids out, get their energy out, and hopefully find a bit of time to read a book or do some work. A little bit of prep and a few tools can help to make your day easy and fun. So don’t worry about the next time you go out — you’re going to have a great, stress-free time in the sun with your little ones!