FUN GAMES TO PLAY AT THE PARK
Everyone’s got their favorite game to play at the park, and active nature play is vital for so many aspects of a child’s development.
However, in today’s busy society, kids are occupied with school, homework, extracurricular activities and more — not to mention all of the enticing television shows, video games and social media apps beckoning for their attention. But taking a moment away from all of this and going to the park gets the whole family outside and away from distractions. The fresh air, physical activity and bonding time are good for everyone’s health, and playtime helps children develop important social skills, problem-solving skills, motor skills, self-regulation and more.
Free play at the park is crucial to children’s physical, mental, social and emotional development, and it’s an essential part of childhood fun. Plan ahead for fun games the whole family can play at the park together to bust boredom, keep everyone involved, and create a more memorable and fun outing. Try introducing games from your childhood to your kids, or if you’re ready for some fresh park activities ideas, check out this list of fun games to try. Your family might just find some new favorites!
HIDE AND SEEK
One of the oldest and most classic games to play at the park is hide and seek. This simple game needs no preparation or supplies, so you can play just about anywhere and anytime. All players except for one must quickly find a place to hide. The remaining person is “it” and counts to a number all players have determined ahead of time. When the person who is “it” finishes counting, they loudly declare, “Ready or not, here I come!” and start looking for the rest of the players.
The game is great for small children practicing counting their numbers and can be adjusted for all ages and abilities. If you’re playing with young children, set some boundaries for acceptable hiding places and avoid venturing off too far, or the game can become too difficult for little ones.
Most parks have a basketball court or hoop, and you can use it in a variety of ways to play games with the kids. If there’s a full court, and you have a larger group of older kids, divide up into two teams and play a game of basketball. For smaller groups and younger kids, try a game of H-O-R-S-E. This is a versatile and fun version of basketball that can be adapted to different ages and abilities. Players take turns trying to get a basket from five different locations near the hoop, or with five different creative shots. If someone makes the shot, and the rest of the players miss, each of the other players get a letter toward the word horse. Spell the whole word, and you’re out of the game.
In a simpler version of H-O-R-S-E that’s great for little kids, you can spell out the word horse — or any other word you choose — in large chalk letters on the pavement around a basketball hoop. Try writing out your child’s name or using numbers or shapes for variety. Each player takes turns trying to get a basket standing on each of the chalk letters.
Badminton is a fun game that the whole family can enjoy at the park. While you’ll have to bring your own equipment and set it up, it’s relatively easy to set up and play in a large grassy area of the park. Each player has a racquet that they use to hit the badminton shuttle, or birdie, across the net to the other players. If the shuttle hits the ground on the other side, the opposing team gets a point. The first team to get to 21 points wins.
You can play badminton as singles, doubles or teams, and adjust the rules for different age groups and abilities. It’s best to play the game on a day that’s not too windy, as wind can carry the lightweight birdies easily and affect the gameplay.
TUG OF WAR
An old, classic park game, tug of war is great for large groups of any age. All you need for this game is a long rope and a large, grassy area. Mark an area on the ground that will be the middle line, and divide your group evenly into two teams. If you have a mix of ages and abilities, put the stronger, older kids on the outsides, and younger kids towards the middle. Once the game begins, everyone pulls as hard as they can on the rope to try to pull the other team across the middle line. A team wins if they can pull the whole other team across.
This idea takes a little more prep work but is so worth it for the fun experiences. You can either visit the site beforehand to plan out your clues or decide what items the kids should look for, or you can create lists of more generic items to find, adjusted for ages and skill levels of your group. Before your park outing, print off your clues or your park scavenger hunt list to hand out to each participant.
Whatever age group you have for your scavenger hunt, be sure to remind everyone to not disturb nature by touching animals, getting in the way of animal families or dangerous animals, touching dangerous plants like poison ivy, or picking or digging up important plant species.
PARKS AND RECREATION PLAYGROUNDS
Fresh air and nature play are critical to childhood development, so it’s important for communities to have usable, versatile green spaces for families to use. A playground can make a community park even more enticing to young families, and keep them coming back again and again. Adding or updating the playground equipment in your park will encourage more visitors to your park and provide many benefits for children and families.
The playground equipment from Max Play blends seamlessly with the natural surroundings of your park and encourages a curiosity and appreciation of nature in little ones. Our playgrounds are inclusive to all kids of all abilities and ages and can be designed to meet the needs and budget of any community. Our designs go beyond simple swings and slides and are designed to spark imagination and creative play. To add our wow factor to your park, check out some of our amazing designs and park ideas, and request a quote for your community. We can transform your park into a destination any family will want to visit.
CONTACT MAX PLAY
A community playground is a natural place to come together. If your school, park, condo association, or community needs its own play space, contact Max Play to start designing your creative new playground today.