It has been proven time and again that local parks are beneficial for the wellness of community members of all ages. Community parks are geared towards providing fun, safe places for anyone to enjoy the benefits of being outdoors. Even during a pandemic, community members can take advantage of their local parks. Studies show that children who spend more time outside are more likely to engage in higher levels of physical activity than those who do not. Parks provide the perfect place for children to get active outdoors! Here are the top three park activities for kids little and big.
Did you know that children who live within a mile of a park with a playground are five times more likely to be a healthy weight? Many community parks offer comprehensive playgrounds with options for a variety of ages. Starting in the toddler years, children can explore local playgrounds and build a foundation of fitness through play. Playgrounds offer a host of developmental benefits for young children. From gaining self-confidence to increased creativity and imagination, playing on the playground is essential to growth.
Whether it’s a simple, paved walking path or a nature hike through the woods, trails of all kinds are great places for kids to explore and get active. Parks offer a sense of adventure and discovery for people of all ages but especially children. Taking a walk down a nature trail opens up a world of wonder full of wildlife! If your local park has a paved walking path, your children can get active on their favorite mode of transport whether it’s a bike, scooter, rollerblades, or anything in between. Just a 20-minute walk in nature can increase focus and reduce stress in people of all ages.
Most community parks offer some sort of sports area, whether it’s a basketball hoop or a tennis court. Grab a ball and play a round of H-O-R-S-E with your little ones, kick a soccer ball around, or show them how to practice their swing on the tennis court. Learning how to play a sport sets children up for a lifetime of wellness. Children who play sports are eight times more likely to be active by age 24 than those who don’t. Participation in sports also improves cognitive abilities and reduces risky behavior as children age. Getting started at your local park is an easy and accessible way to set kids on a path toward physical and mental well being.
Local parks offer a wide range of benefits for every community member especially during a time when our other outlets for mental and physical wellness may be limited or closed. Support your local parks by visiting, advocating for, and participating in programs year-round!