Now that summer is finally at our fingertips, we’re ready to jump into our time machines and make time slow down. Oh right, yo no tengo un time machine either—but we do try to savor and enjoy every moment. One of our favorite ways to do that is to take a little staycation and spend it visiting local parks and playgrounds. Not only is it an easy physical activity that requires little-to-no planning, but it’s also a wonderful way to socialize!
Here are five ways we make the most out of our local parks in the summer:
- We put our muscles to the test. The most obvious thing about playgrounds is one of the best things about them: the jungle gym. It’s been amazing watching mi hijo go from barely walking across the playground, to attempting to climb, to now climbing higher than I’d sometimes prefer. But it’s built his strength and coordination in the most natural way (we don’t have the most climbable trees here in the city!). As parents it’s also a great opportunity to give ourselves a little workout too. My little one loves to watch me attempt the monkey bars.
- We bring out our inner artists. While getting our bodies moving is always a great thing, working out our creative sides is so satisfying as well. By just packing some chalk in our summer bag, we have hours of endless fun at our disposal. We love to claim a little corner at the park and start drawing. The best part of it all is attracting new buddies along the way. At the end of our art sessions we walk away having created a masterpiece!
- We make friends. Speaking of buddies, the playground is the perfect place for my niños (and for me) to make friends. Unlike any other setting I’ve walked into, the playground is an even playing field. There’s an unspoken code amongst parents: once we hit the park, we’re all the same. We’re just parents that are trying to keep our kids occupied for as long as possible before their next meal or nap. That kind of common interest can really allow two people to share their deepest parenting secrets, even after meeting for only five minutes.
- We get in touch with nature. As a city-dwelling family, we’re always looking for a dose of nature, even if it is just a small patch of grass. The summer is the perfect time to discover new parks farther away from our home. When we commit to exploring outside of our comfort zone, we almost always find new parks with rolling lawns and all kinds of new nooks and crannies to discover.
- We cool down. Summer brings the heat, and we’re constantly seeking ways to cool down. While the beach makes for a fun outing, sometimes a mid-week jaunt to the park is the only path to survival. The joy on my kids’ faces when those sprinklers turn on automatically makes me the best parent ever. We always make sure to go equipped with a change of clothes, waterproof shoes, and plenty of water toys to share.