Never underestimate the value of a town park.
That is the lesson from today's blog post. This one may not be the most informative, or have the prettiest pictures (I forgot the SD card for my camera!) but it is still an important message to keep in mind.
There are times when we don't have hours to spend walking on trails and being super adventurous, but I still want to have some outside time. Generally, this is when I take the boys to a local playground. Sometimes it's on the way home from daycare, other times it is when I only have half an hour to kill, or even when I don't feel like driving far and packing half our life in the car so we are prepared for anything and everything. In reality you could spend several hours at the park and your kids won't be bored. You know why? Because free play. That's why.
Giving your kids the chance to decide what THEY want to do is so crucial to developing creativity and self confidence. I often have to reign myself in from getting bored and saying things like: "Don't you want to go down the slide?" or "Aren't you tired of the swings, why don't we do something else?" As parents, sometimes we need to just stand back and let them do their own thing, within reason of course. If there are other kids at the playground, it adds a bonus social component that they may not have during our regular adventures in nature. I've noticed that D is most creative when coming up with imaginary scenarios with other children. Places like Smyrna Municipal Park are the perfect place to practice free play because the combination of man made structures and nature gives the kids more options and experiences in one location.
I can't believe I never noticed this before, but the park actually backs up to Duck Creek and in the Winter, you can see the water through the leafless trees. If you remember some of my earlier blog posts, I mentioned that we always try to adventure in places with water because "where there is water, there is life," as proven later in this post.
Although there aren't trails at the park, you can still enjoy nature by walking along the tree line perimeter and making a loop back to the center. It's a nice easy workout as well, especially if you are pushing a stroller over the grass and you can choose the distance that suits you best.
When we visited, we were the only people in the entire park so it was quiet and peaceful. To top it off, a bald eagle flew over us as we were about to leave! Of course I didn't have my DSLR camera when this happened, but if you zoom in really close, you can see it's white head and tail feathers. No matter where we go, somehow we always manage to see something really special on each adventure. Even in the middle of town!
|Heavily cropped, awful cell phone picture of the bald eagle|