10 Fun Activities in Parks for Children
Updated: Apr 19
Did you know it's #DiscoverNationalParks fortnight? In Suffolk we are very fortunate to have lots of different parks to explore. Access to the outdoors increases happiness, takes away stress and can improve mood and sleep.
Going to a green space such as a park also gives children an opportunity for more active play and physical benefits.
But what can you do once you have exhausted the playground? Here are 10 different ideas to get kids outdoors and enjoying nature.
1. Rolling down hills
Obviously for this one you need a park with an incline of some kind but it is a great way to get kids having fun and rolling around in the grass is a great way to let off steam. Adults may even want to join in too! It is actually a great way of building up children's core strength as well.
2. Teddy bear's picnic
Great for younger kids to add a different element to the traditional picnic, just bring along a favourite cuddly toy or teddy and make some teeny tiny sandwiches for the teddies as well. If your children are not into teddies just have a fun picnic with a big blanket, some yummy treats and you have an inexpensive way to enjoy your local parks. Make sure you are prepared with wipes, sun lotion and plasters!
3. Join in an event
Who remembers the Elmer trail in Ipswich, raising funds for St Elizabeth's Hospice? One of the key events of 2019 was when Elmer, the beloved patchwork elephant children’s character, came to town. Families could follow the Elmer trail map to find 55 Elmer sculptures in places such as Christchurch Park, like the Eleanor the Adventurer Elmer pictured here. There are lots of things to join in with in parks, from outdoor music events to adventure trails. Look up your nearest parks to see what's on.
4. Bike or scooter riding
Get in extra exercise and burn off energy by taking along bikes, skateboards, scooters or any other similar thing to let the children have fun whilst burning off energy. Have some races to make it a bit competitive too.
5. Walking the dogs
If you have a dog this is a great reason to go to the park. You could meet up with other dog owners too (depending on current lockdown rules). Children will learn the responsibility that comes with having a pet and needing to exercise them. They can also have fun throwing sticks or balls, or just running around with them. Demonstrate responsible pet ownership by making sure to pick up any mess and keeping them on a lead of required.
6. Build a den
If you are visiting a park with a woodland or forest element to it, such as country parks, then making a den or a fort is a lot of fun for children. All you need is sticks and trees and you have the perfect activity to while away a few hours. A great activity to enable your child or children to play with others too as they all work together to achieve the same goal. This enables valuable social skills. Once constructed, why not enjoy a snack or drink in the den, or play a game.
7. Spot signs of the season
In springtime you can look for flowers such as daffodils and bluebells and spring blossom. Take a sketchbook with you to draw the details you discover. Apart from seeing lovely plants and wildlife, it is great just for kids to be in green spaces such as parks, playgrounds. According to the World Health Organisation, seeing greenery can promote mental and physical health. As April is #StressAwarenessMonth, it is important to encourage use of these outdoor spaces as much as possible. An initiative you might want to be involved with is #1MillionHoursOutdoors (find them on Instagram), which has the aim to collect 1 million hours outdoors and support the important people in our lives to boost our mental health.
8. Fly a kite
Windy days are made for flying kites in the park. This could lead to an opportunity for children to learn about wind speed and weather. It also fosters concentration and focus on an activity. It can even be good exercise for your child's eyes as they control the kite in the air.
9. Play a game
Take a football, frisbee or rounders/cricket set with you. This way the whole family can be involved and improve skills such as balance, coordination and spatial awareness. Alternatively you could take a board game or a few books and just enjoy being somewhere beautiful.
10. Take your camera
Children will love taking pictures of the wildlife you might spot, from squirrels to ducks and birds. You could print out the photos and make a scrapbook using some natural elements you find as well, such as leaves or twigs. Ideal for treasuring those memories.
I hope you have lots of fun enjoying your local park. Leave a comment below to let me know what you get up to in your favourite park, or tag me on social media with some pics!
If you are interested in fun activities with the children you might also like my post about geocaching.