City parks can motivate young children to learn through play by engaging them in informal experiential learning. Park play not only allows children to explore, discover, and participate it instills health-promoting physical activity!
Park play permits children to escape from the tight structure of their daily life, and is especially important when raising kids in a city where they live in small spaces, with no “green space” readily available.
Playgrounds are appropriate places for children’s play to come to full fruition, these playground spaces are where one can; make a mess, run, jump, hide, throw a ball, shout, whistle, and openly explore their surroundings.
Outdoor plays is critical in the early stages of development for reasons such as; fine and gross motor development, which is necessary in order to achieve cardiovascular health, and is most effectively learned through outdoor play.
Another reason to promote outdoor play with young children is a simple one, children need to fully experience and enjoys childhood in order to become productive members of the societies in which they live! What better way is there to enjoy your youth than by; exploring, experimenting, manipulating, reconfiguring, expanding, marveling, discovering, and creating in an outdoor space that allows for all of these activities to occur?
It is imperative for not only fine and gross motor development but social and emotional development, as well, to meet the needs and opportunities of children’s physical and emotional capabilities. Children need to understand and have the ability to challenge themselves by; seeing how high they can swing, daring themselves to go down a slide, realizing how high they can climb, which enables them to learn about the physical world through experimentation.
Most importantly outdoor play entitles children to enjoy natural environments and learn to seek out exercise, fresh air, and activity which are fundamentally healthy!
We are so fortunate to live in a city that houses over 600 parks as part of the Chicago Park District, and you can make it part of your Summer’s plans to explore as many as possible. Here are a few suggestions, to get you started;
Adams Playground Park-1919 N. Seminary Ave., Chicago, IL
Jonquil Playlot Park-1001 W. Wrightwood, Chicago, IL
Holstein Park-2200 N. Oakley Ave., Chicago, IL
Fellger Playlot Park-2000 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL
North Park Village Nature Center-5801 N. Pulaski, Chicago, IL
Wrightwood Park-2534 N. Greenview Ave, Chicago, IL
River Park-5100 N. Francisco Ave., Chicago, IL
Also, keep in mind, that most of these parks listed above have interactive water splash areas, and pools, so what better way to enjoy a Summer day(at no cost), than to pack up a lunch, bathing suit, towel, and experience hours of outdoor exploration!