Playing in a park is one of childhood’s greatest joys. You get to run free, explore the world and nature, get a little dirty, and take some safe risks. Leave structure at the park’s edge and just let them loose. But that doesn’t mean we should totally disengage and turn to our phones while our kids play. You can get in there and run around too. Or, sit back and let them have their fun… but observe what they are excited by or what might frustrate or confuse them. And when it feels right, tap in to what they’re doing with these prompts. Just don’t over think it… because, after all free form fun is the point of enjoying a park!

- Who can get there first – have a race and see if your child can predict who win
- Let’s find something bumpy… let’s find something smooth
- How long will it take us to get there if we walk? How long will it take us to get there if we run?
- Which tree do you think is the oldest? How can you tell?
- How do you think they turn that big tree into a piece of paper?
- What is the same about these two trees? What is different?
- How do you think the birds/ducks in the pond/squirrels stay warm in the winter?
- What do you think the squirrels do for food in the winter?
- If there is a creek, ask where do you think it starts and/or ends? How can you tell in which direction is the beginning of the creek
- Which will float faster down the creek?
- How many different ways can you think of to get over to the other side of the creek?
- How do you think that person over there is feeling right now? How can you tell?
- Do you think the park will be crowded today or not? Why do you think that?
- Narrate what you see as you are walking in together. Here we are at the park… look how many people there are, it is very crowded! Lots of kids are playing, going up and down on the swing. I wonder where we will be able to sit and have our snack. Should we have our snack first and then play or should you play and then have a snack? I spy something blue and bouncy – can you figure it out? How many rectangles can we count in the sidewalk from here to the playground?
- Let’s march… now let’s walk on our tippy toes… now let’s skip… now let’s run… and now let’s walk
- What do you think you want to do first?
- What do you think would happen if you… jumped instead of climbed? spun this way instead of that way? went up instead of down? went this way instead of that way?
- How many different kinds of bugs can we find?
- Can you count the number of things we see – dogs, birds, balls, strollers, swings
- What is the same about those birds? What is different?
- Do you see more girls or boys here?
- What is the noisiest/loudest thing we hear?
- How many different sounds can we find?
- Why do we make more noise when we walk on the sidewalk or gravel than we do when we walk on the grass?

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