Using the Park to help Children Learn

You do not need to be in a formal educational setting for your child to learn, nor do you need a vast array of resources. Teachable moments can arise on many different occasions while doing the most mundane of day-to-day activities. Even simple trips out can offer the opportunity for learning experiences to take place. A trip to the park with your child is one such teachable moment and will give you the opportunity to teach your child about a number of different topics.

Literacy

A simple literacy activity that you can do with your child at the park is to read the signs, directions and information that you will find around the park. Once at home, your child can write about their experiences at the park. If they are not yet able to write, they can draw pictures and you can support them in putting some simple words and phrases on their artwork.

Physical educational

The park is a great place for your child to run around and let off some steam. Most parks have a playing field and a children’s play area. The playground will allow them to play on their own using a variety of different physical skills. It is also a chance for them to be creative in their play. The playing field is fantastic for doing activities with your child and with other people. Take a ball along with you to the park and practice some ball skills while you are there.

Science and nature

Everywhere you look in the park you are surrounded by nature; trees, flowers, water features and vast expanses of grass. This makes an ideal talking point for you and your young child. How plants grow, the types of flowers and trees that you can see, insects that live on the flowers and the different parts of plants are all interesting topics that you can discuss. There are lots of activities that you can do with a child to further their learning including collecting different leaves, drawing pictures, learning the names of trees and doing a wax rubbing of bark.

Social skills

Parks are sociable places, especially the playground sections. It is an ideal chance for your child to socialize with other children and learn a variety of social skills, such as talking, listening, working with others and taking turns.

History

Many parks are steeped in history. You may find information about the park on plaques as you go around. Read these out to your child and talk about history in your local area. Parks are also a place where memorial statues in memory of those who have fought for their country and died in wars are situated. You can talk to your child about the different wars. The age of the child will dictate the depth of this conversation.

Technology

Before you leave for the park you can use the computer with your child to look up information about opening times and what the park has to offer its visitors. Once you are at the park you can discuss how play equipment, such as the roundabout and see-saw, work.

Art

Art is a brilliant way for children to express themselves and the park is a great place for children to do artistic activities. Drawing their experiences, painting the things they can see or creating a collage out of the leaves they have collected are all wonderful activities for younger children.

A trip to the park with your child has the potential to be so much more than a fun day out. It can also be a great place to offer your child some informal education in areas such as literacy, art, social skills, physical education, history, science and technology. Your child can learn without realizing as they will be having so much fun exploring the park.