Springtime Park Hopping

Park hopping is one of my family's favorite spring and summer activities.  Springtime (here in Idaho) is a bit cooler this year than normal, but that doesn't mean we can't get outside and into nature.  You just have to be a little better prepared for changes in the weather. 

Most communities have parks and regardless of whether they are big or small, all have space to play, picnic, and just enjoy your family.  I have a bag of staples I always keep in my car this time of year.  It helps us be ready for anything and makes sure fun can be had wherever we are.  My park bag has come in handy for bad weather at soccer games and other un-scheduled events, too.  Here's a list of what I keep in it:
  • Pocket Rain Ponchos - Rain, Shine or Tidal Wave!
  • Sweatshirts for each family member - just in case it gets cold.
  • Sand toys and shovels - for digging just about anywhere.
  • Shelf-Stable Snack - a quick snack can keep kids happy and playing longer.
  • Crayons and Paper - for making sketches, texture drawings and keeping littles busy during boring soccer games.
  • Inflatable Beach Ball - fun for a quick game.  I also like a small frisbee or nerf-like balls.
  • Light weight blanket - for sitting, sleeping or keeping warm.  It all works.
  • A beach towel - for sponging off the dog after a dip in the pond, or wiping muddy feet.
Feeding the DucksParks are also a great resource because they are usually not too far from where you live.  My community has 5 great parks that are less than 20 minutes from my house.  They all have different amenities and offer different recreational opportunities.  Almost all have playgrounds.  You are really just limited to your imagination when it comes to things to do.  Here are a few of our go-to ideas:
  • Color on the sidewalks with bark, leaves that you roll up, or flowers.  It's free, washable, and loads of fun.
  • Race sticks or leaves you find in the pond or creek.
  • Take paper, crayons, and leaves and make leaf prints.  Place the leaf under the paper and scribble over the top of it with a crayon.
  • Roll, sled, or ice block down a hill.  It is fun to have races, too. (Ice Blocking is essentially sledding in the summer.  You use a large block of ice for a sled, cover the top with a towel and slide down a hill.)
  • Play hot lava on the playground. (This game is best for kids who can cross the monkey bars.)  Hot Lava is basically tag, but you can't touch the ground because its "hot lava."  It is also fun to play when there are hot lava monsters.  Those are people who are "it" and they can touch the ground but no one else can.
These are some of our favorites, but we would love to hear some of yours!  Comment below and share them with us.  If you wan even more ways to have fun at home or nearby, check out Adventures At Home!

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Tags: kids  fun  adventure  play  outdoor  family 

Dan Barclay said...
Thanks Melanie-
We too have done this and find that no matter how many times you go (even to the same park) the kids love it. My wife and I are the parents of 6 children, and grandparents to 26. I love the "Hot lava" game and Gmpa is usually the monster. Grandkids love it.
Thanks for this interesting site. Love the tips.

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