This is a guest post by Becky Wilcox:
Ode To The Local Park
A couple weeks ago, I began to get bored of the dull winter routine and began to think of a warm, exotic, overseas trip for myself and my family. In my free time, I started looking for airline deals and credit cards without foreign transaction fees in place of my usual searches for children’s clothing and the best credit cards cash back rewards. I dreamt of places like Europe and the Caribbean. I was anxious to get away.
But that changed this week when a mild day arrived and I took the kids to the park. The place was crowded, the kids were happy, and the other moms were eager to share holiday stories with each other. It was a very pleasant afternoon. As I sat on the bench while chatting with a friend and eyeing my son on the swing, I realized that the park provides all the travel that my children seek. It offers activities, exploration, adventures, and numerous exotic opportunities. And sitting there, watching my kids play, I realized that I didn’t need to travel – rather, I just needed fresh air and some time to relax.
For young children, there really is nothing that can beat the simple yet diverse pleasures of the local park. The park provides limitless possibilities for games and for fun. It is a gathering place that offers an incredible amount of socialization among other children. And its proximity and familiarity breed in the child a sense of safety and confidence.
For the parent, the park is a great, free place to go when the child is too cooped up at home (and needs an outdoor outlet) or when they are being too sedimentary (and need some exercise). Numerous studies have also shown that playing at a park or a playground can have important benefits for a child’s long-term emotional and cognitive development. Furthermore, the park is also a great place for parents to meet, talk, and discuss issues relating to their children.
As you can see, I’ve gained a new-found appreciation for my local park. While an exotic vacation certainly still holds an appeal, you won’t find me complaining when I’m sitting on a park bench, relaxing, and watching my kids play.