As much fun as it is for your child or children to enjoy a playset or trampoline on their own, sometimes they—and you—would be much happier if you can also participate. Not every activity is appropriate for both ages to enjoy, but there are more than enough different things that you and your child can do together to keep both of you entertained through the summer and beyond.
Using the swings. The swings are one of the easiest and most efficient ways to spend time with your child; just push him or her back and forth, and all of a sudden you have a convenient chance to talk, a way to make sure they stay safe, and a fun activity to share. Even children who can swing by themselves will often prefer it if you push them, as it makes the activity seem like a ride at an amusement park.
Tag and pursuit games. One of the toughest things for children to learn around a playset — and in their lives more generally — is how to safely navigate their environment, particularly those aspects of it that are trickier and more physically demanding than others. Playing tag or other games of chasing and pursuit with your children allows you to set the right example for them in terms of how best to manage this type of movement, and the kind of walking, running, climbing and jumping that they can and shouldn’t do.
Pretend play. A playset creates a new landscape for children in the yard, something that isn’t like their house or the rest of their world, and that makes for a perfect opportunity for them to use their imagination. What makes this type of experience even more powerful is if you allow them to welcome you into their world and participate fully; this makes the power of their imagination seem even greater.
Supervisory activities. Much of the time, a parent’s most appropriate role in an outdoor situation with children is to make sure everyone is safe and playing with equipment in the way it’s designed. But with activities like using the trampoline, there are ways to turn that supervisory position into part of the game, whether it’s tossing a ball with your child or giving them tips on their form and strategy. Same goes for climbing on the playground — kids appreciate entertaining words and advice during play, and it enhances the experience for them.
Creating new games. Pretend play is one thing: you and your child inhabit another world, one that is separate from the physical reality of what you’re doing. But one other way to bring a fresh and novel perspective to the playset is to create a new game to enjoy that involves the resources at hands. Between coming up with the rules and determining how the game works, this provides plenty of opportunity for parents and children to collaborate and think outside the box.
There are countless other ways to enjoy your playset with your child; part of the fun is discovering them yourself, so get playing! If you want to test out any of these fun parent-child activities, be sure to check out our Free Open Play Days and our Play Anytime option at our Columbia location!