10 Things Parents Should Know Before a Playground Trip
If you’re planning on taking your kids out for a nice day at your local park or playground, there are some things you should know before you go. You should take some time to consider what to take to the park and what guidelines to give your kids for playtime. Playgrounds and other green spaces come with so many benefits, but it’s essential to make sure your kids stay safe while playing.
Here are the top 10 things parents should know before going on a playground trip:
1. Supervise Your Kids
This sounds like a given, but keeping an eye on your kids is one way to make sure they’re using playground equipment the right way. Younger and adventurous kids who like to wander off need extra attention than mature kids, but you should always keep one eye out as kids play.
It’s important to walk the line between supervision and hovering, especially for older kids. You want your kids to make friends on the playground and have a fun time, but that can be difficult with a parent who’s always hovering. Unless your child asks you to play with them or they need help, feel free to stand back and watch them have a good time while keeping an eye on them to make sure nothing goes wrong.
2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Pay attention to your kids and their surroundings. Again, this seems like a given, but it’s easy to get caught up in relaxing, reading or scrolling through your phone while sitting near the playground as your kids play. Watch for anything from strangers to bees or biting insects and take your kids to a safer area if anything is wrong.
3. Bring Water or Water Bottles
Playing on a playground will tire out any kid, and if it’s a hot day, staying hydrated is more important than ever. Frozen treats and finding some shade will cool you and your kids down, but water is best after plenty of exercise and sun exposure. Keep some extra water bottles in a cooler in your car for after playtime and have water bottles for you and your kids on you at the playground. If your park has water fountains, bring reusable water bottles to stay hydrated and eco-friendly.
4. Pack Snacks or Lunch
Staying hydrated is essential, but your kids will also need some food to fuel their fun. Depending on certain factors, you may need to bring more or fewer snacks or meals, so think about:
- What time you go to the park.
- How long you plan to be there.
- If you have plans before or after.
- If your kids ate before visiting the park.
Consider those factors, then plan what to bring for snacks. Keep them simple and healthy, like an apple or a pack of crackers. They don’t need to be elaborate homemade snacks, but rather something quick that your kids can munch on between playing or on the car ride home. You could plan a more elaborate picnic lunch, but make sure whatever you bring creates minimal garbage with wrappers or other packaging. Throw everything out or take it with you if your playground doesn’t have receptacles for trash.
5. Bring a First Aid Kit
If you aren’t sure what to take to the park, a first aid kid should be first on your list. These supplies are handy to bring anywhere, not just the playground, especially if you have kids who love to play. If you already have a first aid kit, you probably have everything you need, but double-check or create your own with supplies like:
- Adhesive bandages
- Alcohol or disinfectant wipes
- Bug spray
- Creams for relief from bug bites
For kids with allergy concerns, be sure to have all the necessary supplies on-hand, especially if your child is allergic to bees or other bugs. Add other first aid supplies you know your kids will need based on how they play and what first aid help they often need.
6. Bring Games or Other Sports Equipment
Your packing list for the park doesn’t have to be all practical supplies. Throw in something fun with sports equipment or other outdoor play items. Playgrounds often have plenty of thrilling equipment for kids to enjoy, but if your park has other play areas for sports and activities, you’ll need some equipment like balls or frisbees.
It’s also a good idea to keep some of these outdoor toys in your car just in case the playground is crowded or your kids decide they want to play somewhere else. The extra supplies you bring don’t have to be for just games — pack a blanket or camping chair to sit on in case the benches are taken, or bring other activities your kids like to do.
7. Wear Closed-Toe Shoes
You and your kids should wear closed-toe shoes to the park or playground. Whether the playground has mulch, sand or other loose materials, those can end up in sandals or other open-toe footwear. Closed-toe shoes keep playground materials, mud, bugs and more out of your kids’ shoes, so they can play safely and comfortably.
Wear comfortable sneakers or walking shoes if you plan on walking before playing on the playground. Check that everyone’s laces are tied tightly before they head off to play, as well.
8. Wear Play Clothes
Don’t bring kids to the park in their school uniforms or nice clothes. Your kids probably have some shirts and pants that are more casual, or they may even have sets of outdoor or play clothes. Make sure kids wear those to the playground, even if you just think they’ll be sliding and swinging all day. You don’t want the risk of your kids finding some mud to play in when they have on their nice school clothes.
9. Follow Signs and Safety Rules
Playgrounds and parks have rules posted for visitors to follow. Go over them with your kids and keep them in mind as you watch them play. Remind them of the rules if your kids come close to breaking them, and refresh their memory every time you visit the playground, especially if you have younger kids.
You should also respect signs of closures or other warnings telling you to stay away from areas of the park or playground. These signs go up for various reasons, like weather or environmental concerns, but no matter the reason, be sure to stay out of the posted area. If you live far from a playground and don’t want to make the long drive or walk only to find an area closed, check online resources when planning your visit to make sure everything is open.
10. Create Rules for Your Kids
Most playground signs are about equipment safety and how to play safely in the park, so you’ll need to create some rules for your kids when you visit the park, as well. Some guidelines you should establish with your kids before playing on a playground include:
- Do check-ins every once in a while.
- Come to you first if they want to play somewhere else instead of wandering.
- Come to you first before going to a bathroom, a water fountain area or somewhere else outside of the playground.
- Don’t talk to adults who are strangers.
- Stay within an area where they can still see you and you can see them.
If you create some guidelines and communicate those with your kids often, you’ll be able to relax a bit more during your visit to your playground as your kids stay safe and play.
Get the Most out of Your Playground Trip With Miracle® Recreation
When you’re prepared, a trip to the playground is everything your kids need to unwind after school or have some outdoor excitement on the weekends. For the most thrilling time at the park, Miracle Recreation has the designs and details your playground needs. Though we’re one of the oldest manufacturers of playground equipment out there, we’re proud to be industry leaders in innovation. At Miracle Recreation, our playground equipment creates an exciting outdoor space for kids to explore.