Kids can easily spend all day watching television or staring at their tablets. You know that outdoor activity is good for them. Yet many excursions, such as zoos and water parks, cost money.
Thankfully, there is a place where your kids can have healthy outdoor fun at little or no cost: your local park. Parks are present in practically every neighborhood, so it should be easy to find one near you.
Parks are not just great for kids, either. They offer fun for everyone in your household. Here are six activities the entire family can do at the park.
Most parks have a field for organized sports such as kickball and baseball. All you need to bring are some balls and new youth baseball gloves. There may be a tennis court in your park, as well.
Even if there is no designated sports field, you can still play catch or kick around a soccer ball in the open grass. Start with a small game among your family members. Others may soon join in on the fun.
Have a Picnic
There is nothing like sitting on a blanket in the grass and enjoying lunch with loved ones. A picnic does not have to be fancy, either. Simple sandwiches will suffice. Just be sure to pick up your trash before you head back home.
For an even better view, grab your picnic basket and hike to a peak or waterfall for your meal. If your park has a pond or lake, you can also bring some extra bread and feed the ducks.
Bond With Your Dog
Dogs love parks just as much as humans do. Your town may even have a park designed for four-legged friends. At a dog park, you and your family can play Frisbee with your pet or take him through an agility course. You can then cool off at a low water fountain.
Even if your local park is not designed for dogs, it is likely canine-friendly. Check the rules before bringing your pet to the park. You may have to keep your pup on a leash, and you should always clean up after him.
Take a Hike
Parks provide various opportunities for hikes. Some are easy strolls that allow you to take in the gorgeous scenery. Others are a bit of a trek that will give your entire family a chance for exercise. The park website should have details on the length, features and disability accommodations of available hikes.
Learn About Nature
Parks are a great way for you and your family to learn more about nature. Bring a journal so you can draw pictures of what you see. If you are not an artist, have everyone pack a camera and take pictures of the various wildlife. You and your kids can then turn the photos into a scrapbook. This way, you will all remember the fun you had during your park adventure. There is even an online tool that identifies the different types of trees you find in the park.
Bugs and animals are particularly plentiful in parks. Take some time to watch and enjoy their antics.
Create a Scavenger Hunt
If you only have a limited amount of time in the park, consider creating a scavenger hunt. This will let everyone see various parts of the park. Making a scavenger hunt is easy, too. Just write a list of items or activities that you want each person to find or complete. Then hand out bags for collecting the items, and cameras for documenting the completion of each task. The first individual to finish everything on the list gets a reward.
If you are tired of everyone in your house sitting inside all day, get your spouse and kids in the car and drive to your local park. It is free or cheap to enter the park, and you can have fun for hours doing a variety of activities.