Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why I Love Playgrounds in the Fall

I love everything about fall: pumpkin bread, apple cider, Halloween costumes, boots, sweaters, leaves, even cooler weather and shorter days.  This weekend, here in North Carolina, we got our first taste of fall-like cool and damp weather.  None-the-less, since the cold front rolled in on Sunday, we've been enjoyed lots of time outside with two football games, one softball game, and two trips to playgrounds.  In fact, I love playgrounds in the fall, maybe even more so than other times of the year.  Here's why:

It's not as hot
That one's obvious, but in the summer, after about an hour at a playground with no shade, I'm melting and ready to run for the air conditioned car.  In the fall, I let the kids play longer and even find excuses to stay outside once we're at the park.  Today, we were at one of my favorite parks and before leaving we strolled through a beautiful Fall Butterfly garden.  There were so many pink and orange flowers blooming and lots of butterflies and bumblebees to watch.
Just because it's cooler, don't forget the sunscreen and water bottles.  We play longer and harder at the park in the fall, so sunburn and dehydration are definitely still a risk to consider.

There are more same-age friends
In the fall, older kids are in school, leaving parks full of kids under the age of five.  My littlest guy loves his brothers, and learns a lot from older peers.  Still, playing with kids of a similar age and developmental stage helps to reinforce moral and social development skills.  It's so nice to watch sharing and good manners spread contagiously through a group of two-year olds!

New animals and nature to observe
I love the sound of crunching leaves as little ones come down the slide.  I love collecting acorns as they fall from tall trees into the mulch.  I love watching squirrels scurry around and geese fly in formation and butterflies slurping nectar from fall blooms.  More than that, I love watching my children notice the changes in nature as the seasons change.

So, don't let fall temperatures keep you inside.  Get out and enjoy your favorite parks from summer break and relish the changes of the season.

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