The weather is finally warming up here in Wisconsin and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. We’ve been able to get outside, go for walks and we even took a trip to a new (to us) park a few weekends ago! The weather is still a little back-and-forth as it is every spring, but things are definitely looking up and thank goodness for that because we were all starting to catch some cabin fever from being indoors all winter.
It’s just next to impossible to get out of the house with an infant in the heart of winter, you know? And everyone, parents included, have to get bundled up so much we can barely walk! All you southern fair weather folks, I’m all kinds of envious of you and your mild “winters”!
Every time I take Alea to a park, I’m always amazed at the things she’s learned to do. She can do the monkey bars so well and girlfriend has no fear! She hangs upside down, runs, jumps and climbs structures that make me a little nervous! I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit of a helicopter mom, so having to stay near Mckenna while she was in her stroller was definitely a good way of breaking me from that habit!
And I’m happy I did!
It was so cool to follow her around (from a distance on the sidewalk) and watch her talk with other children, swing from the monkey bars like a little monkey, and swing as high as she could on the swings. Even at almost 7-years-old, play is still so, so important. Alea would be perfectly content to sit in front of the TV or tablet all day (yikes), but we try and encourage her to use her imagination and get outside and play, read, and turn off the screens as much as possible. She’s such a happy girl because of that and you can just see that she’s learning invaluable skills while she does so.
We found a new-to-us park in La Crosse called Crowley park and were crazy impressed by the quality of the structures and the size of the playground. Everything was definitely newer and so much fun that parents (who weren’t watching their infant) were even chasing their kids around and getting in on the fun! That’s always fun to see because more often than not, you usually see parent’s just sitting on a nearby bench with their nose in their phones.
This playground is a Landscapes Structures park. They have partnered with the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development to research how important play is for our children and they’ve discovered how truly important play is to childhood development. Alea’s teacher is a huge advocate of this, too, which I really appreciate. Alea’s homework the other day was to “get outside and play!” Now that’s some good homework, if you ask me. Landscapes Structures encourages childhood development and learning through play through their creative, innovative structures and also encourage social relationships. I also appreciate that the structures are designed for all ages and abilities– so important!
Just check out this video:
Find a Landscapes Structures playground near you with their playground finder!
This trip to the park was especially special for us. It was Mckenna’s first trip to the park, actually, and even though she stayed in her stroller the entire time, it was so fun to watch her watching her sister and the other kids playing. She’s so observant now at this age and she was perfectly content to just sit there and take in all of the action, sunshine and warm weather.
What a fabulous weekend! We’re looking forward to warmer weather and much more frequent park trips and walks around our neighborhood this spring!
How do you encourage learning through play for your kid(s)?