Archive for October, 2015


How Parents Can Help Make Playground Time Safer

October 23rd, 2015 by

How Parents Can Help Make Playground Time SaferWe all love to see our kids play and have fun, and we know that playing has benefits past putting a smile on little faces. Playing is good for coordination as well as muscle and emotional development, and can reduce stress. So here at Play N’ Learn, we take every opportunity there is to get out and play. But sometimes accidents do happen — it’s inevitable with the running, jumping, crawling, and more that comes with having a blast. Still, as parents, there are things you can do to make sure that your children enjoy playtime as safely as possible. Here are four easy ways to start.

1. Check playground equipment to make sure it’s received routine maintenance
Before setting your kids loose to have a good time, it’s a good idea to walk around your local playground to make sure everything looks and feels well maintained. There shouldn’t be loose or wobbly elements, and whatever protective flooring is in place shouldn’t be worn out. If any playground equipment seems to need a tune-up, especially as the seasons change, keep your kids (and their friends) off of it until repairs have been made.

2. Make sure your kids are playing on age-appropriate equipment
Another easy thing you can do to keep your kids safe at the playground is to make sure they are playing on age-appropriate equipment. For your children’s and others’ safety, they should stick to what has been deemed safe for their age group, no matter how alluring the equipment being used by older children may be. Many playgrounds have a variety of types of equipment available in the same location, including elements like low platforms and shorter slides for children under five, and swings and monkey bars for older children.

3. Leave your phone in your bag
We all get distracted by our devices, and when the kids are occupied, it may seem like a good time to get caught up on your emails, the news, or just get in a quick round of Candy Crush. But studies show that children are three times more likely to engage in risky behavior on the playground when their parents are distracted by electronic devices. Being able to stop those risky behaviors, like jumping off swings or using equipment outside of its intended use, before they turn into accidents requires your attention — and few distractions.

4. Keep your conversations in a place where you can still supervise
Electronics aren’t the only things that can pull your attention away from your kids when they’re in action at the playground. When all the parents are in one spot, it can be easy to get wrapped up in a conversation and not realize the kids have invented an innovative new game that might end in an accident. While the playground should be fun for parents, too, it’s important to keep an eye and ear on your kids at all times.

Getting your kids out to play should be a fun occasion, and keeping them safe doesn’t mean that your play time needs to be full of worry. Incorporating these few easy habits into your play routine can make it easy to keep your kids as safe as possible while taking those few inevitable bruises and scraped knees in stride. And if you’re ready to bring home the fun of an age-appropriate playground that can even grow with your kids, stop by a Play N’ Learn showroom. We can talk you through the process of adding play solutions to your yard that will be fun and safe for the whole family.

How to Join the Fun on National Play Outside Day

October 2nd, 2015 by

How to Join the Fun on National Play Outside DayDid you know that every first Saturday of every month is National Play Outside Day? Created in 2011 to encourage families to get outside and get moving, this “holiday” is a great way to make playing outside feel like an occasion. There are no formal, scheduled events associated with National Play Outside Day, but you can make it an event each month with your family. All you have to do to celebrate is go outside and have fun.

We’ve written before about just how beneficial and long-lasting the impacts of outdoor play can be. Yet in recent decades, children have begun to stay indoors more, spending as few as 30 minutes outside playing each day, but six or more hours a day on screens, according to a BBC article. All troubling information given that outdoor play can help young minds and bodies stay healthy.

In the face of chillier weather and shorter days, TV, computers, tablets, phones, gadgets, and other indoor activities become even more alluring. Some days it takes a concerted effort to get kids outside. Putting National Play Outside Day on your calendar for the first Saturday of each month is a great way to make sure you have dedicated time set aside for fun outdoor activities. If your kids love it, they’ll look forward to it over and over again each month.

So what kinds of activities can your family do to celebrate that will make outdoor play feel like a special occasion? Here are a few ideas:

  • Try a new biking path, let the kids help choose where to go, and then show them on a map how far you went.
  • Go apple picking at a local farm — see how many different types of apples you can identify — then make your favorite apple recipe at home with what you picked.
  • Hold a family HORSE tournament, and let the winner choose the dinner menu. Fun in the driveway often attracts other neighborhood kids. Before you know it, your kids will be making new friends around something other than a video game.
  • Invite neighbors to join in on a block party with relay games. Who doesn’t love a party?
  • Try out a different playground. It’s easy to go with what is familiar, but maybe the next town over has a playground that has different equipment, new slides, and new friends to meet!
  • Take your dog to the park to play catch. Even he probably needs more exercise! Let the kids invent a new game for the dog, or check out these 10 fun games kids can play with dogs.
  • Go on a nature walk and look for interesting plants and animals, or observe how the leaves are changing.
  • Make an obstacle course in the yard using household items and then invite friends — or even the family dog — to give it a try!

You get the idea — anything outside counts! Getting the whole family outdoors helps make new memories, models an active lifestyle, and creates respect for the environment — all important things for kids to learn early on. Take the opportunity for kids to use their imaginations, your family to meet new friends, and for parents to feel young again and have an excuse to unplug.

Getting outside doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or require a long trip in the car. You can celebrate National Play Outside Day in your own backyard or driveway!

If you’re looking for inspiration on how to encourage play in your yard or neighborhood, stop by a Play N’ Learn showroom to check out our playsets, basketball hoops, and more.