This post was sponsored by Landscape Structures as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Hi and happy weekend! We like to keep our days pretty open when the weekend comes around and try not to schedule anything if possible so that we can just relax and unwind with some family time. I can almost guarantee that there will be a trip to the park and I’m personally a big believer in having my kids enjoy the outdoors, even if it means wearing a few extra layers of clothing if its cold or putting on our rain boots if it recently rained. And even though I love the playground as a place for my little ones to expend all that extra energy, I love playgrounds even more for the lessons that I know they’re learning!
1. Take turns, work together.
Dylan and Mei are almost exactly 2.5 years apart and no doubt it’s every mother’s wish that her kids are close friends with each other. Now that Mei is getting a little older, I love seeing how she tries to keep up with her older brother and we’ve been working on Dylan knowing how to share and care for his little sister. On the playground, I love seeing how they play with each other and it’s amazing how they naturally seem to let each other take turns. Even if there might be some disagreement at first, I try to initially stay out of it and they’ve oftentimes surprised me by working out the issue on their own. There’s no better place to learn how to lead, follow, and work together than on the playground!
2. Get creative.
Playgrounds don’t come with instruction manuals and there isn’t only one right way in how to play with a certain structure. I oftentimes find Dylan creating Rube Goldberg-like sequences where he will swing from the monkey bars to knock over a stick that will then send a rock rolling down a slide and into a pile of leaves — it’s simple yet crazy and I just love seeing his imagination work!
3. Explore, challenge, engage.
I love a playground that lets my kids challenge themselves and gain confidence in their abilities. They are oftentimes facing their fears head on and learning how to overcome them. I know in the beginning, Mei was afraid to go down the slide on her own but gradually we started assisting her less until finally she was able to go solo. It was such an achievement and just the look of accomplishment in her eyes made me knew that she was learning a valuable lesson about herself!
4. It’s okay to fall.
As adults, it seems like we naturally start to fear falling and the idea of failure. I love that on the playground, falling is just a natural aspect of playing.
5. Have grit.
In the same vein, my little ones realize that even after they fall, they just pick themselves up and try again. Perseverance is such an important trait to develop and I love that they’re learning this concept just playing on the playground!
Persistence, leadership, competition, bravery, and even empathy are skills that kids learn when they’re just playing on the playground. I found it super interesting thath one of our favorite parks, Les Lacs, was designed by a company named Landscape Structures who is a leader in designing playscapes that are inspiring and inclusive for kids of all ages and abilities. Landscape Structures is partnered with University of Minnesota’s Institute of Childhood Development and they work together to research how play helps develop the whole child. Playgrounds are ultimately a place for play and learning — where children develop in the areas of leadership, teamwork, perseverance, and where they build valuable social relationships.
Will you be be hitting up the park this weekend with your kiddos?