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Summer is a time when children have greater opportunities to explore their environment. The weather motivates them to enjoy the sun, and they are not obligated to spend time in the classroom and on homework assignments. Still though, children who are provided complete autonomy over their activities often encounter safety risks.

When your children venture out to the playground, you can help keep them safe and entertained. Grazed knees and bumps on the head are normal for young children who are keen to explore the environment around them, but more serious accidents can occur if we don’t teach our kids how to play safely with and around others.

Read the signs

Oftentimes, many playgrounds will have signage posted around the equipment, indicating which parts are designed for smaller children and which parts aren’t. While children naturally explore their surrounds to satisfy their curiosity, it is best for your child, if they are small, and other children, if your child is older, that you ensure they stay in the designated area. Something as simple as flailing limbs on the monkey bars can injure a small child quite quickly.

Swings and slides the right way

Going down the slide and laughing on a swing are both quintessential parts of childhood, but it is a good idea to ensure our children are taught how to use the equipment properly. Children don’t have the ability to consider the consequences of their behaviour the way that we do and lack the foresight to know that going down the slide headfirst will hurt. If we take steps to show our children the right way to use the equipment, they can encourage other children to do the same.

Hide and seek

In a busy park, children can and do disappear quite quickly. Use your judgement for this one, some parents don’t feel comfortable closing their eyes or turning away from their child, so it might be worth your while to have an older tween, teen or adult friend nearby who is watching the game. Furthermore, get yourself in the habit of exercising the ‘if in doubt, don’t’ rule of thumb. If the situation is unsafe, you don’t know the area well enough, the park is too busy or you don’t feel they have adequate supervision, you might be better off playing hide and seek at home.

Sandpit

There are playgrounds out there that have sandpits where kids can spend their afternoon playing and digging in the sand, but these often don’t get covered up at night so it’s a good idea to encourage your child to keep their shoes on in the sandpit, you can also take the time to investigate and dig through the sand yourself. Sandpits can often have glass, spiders or – yikes – sometimes needles in them, so you might save yourself a lot of grief if you take a quick look for yourself.

Songs

Preschoolers often learn through song. When you take them to the playground, you can sing songs about the equipment there. Young children often love to sing, and they have a good time when doing so. These songs can also teach them about safety in the playground. When you incorporate these ideas into the songs, your kids will learn about safety without even realizing that they are doing so.

Rules

Recent research has found that children are more likely to follow rules if you work on them together. If you sit down with your children and write down a list of rules for playing in the playground as a collaborative effort, you may find that they follow the rules more often. Researchers have attributed this to the sense of responsibility that children feel when asked for their advice.

If the playground has an open field, you may want to bring sports equipment that is safe for preschoolers, such as a tee ball. When it comes to outdoor games for preschooler and toddlers, it is a good idea to scope out the area for any dangers or yuckies that might be lurking, like bees or the dreaded dog poo. Teaching them how to safely play sports is a valuable skill that can help them in PE class and on teams when they are older.

These activities help young children to learn safety habits from an early age.

What rules did you discuss with your children before you took them to the playground? Share below!

Image source Shutterstock.

 

  • All that and you’re kids are still likely to hurt themselves. Safety, rules, being careful…..all handy but will never completely stop kids from being hurt in playgrounds

    Reply

  • I am more likely to sing with my little one at home not in the playground.

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  • I sorry to sound rude but I did find parts of this article strange …”Summer is a time when children have greater opportunities to explore their environment. The weather motivates them to enjoy the sun, and they are not obligated to spend time in the classroom and on homework assignments.” Gosh we don’t live in America where they have summer break.

    “Oftentimes, many playgrounds will have signage posted around the equipment, indicating which parts are designed for smaller children and which parts aren’t. ” Personally I am yet to see this.

    “There are playgrounds out there that have sandpits where kids can spend their afternoon playing and digging in the sand, but these often don’t get covered up at night so it’s a good idea to encourage your child to keep their shoes on in the sandpit, you can also take the time to investigate and dig through the sand yourself. Sandpits can often have glass, spiders or – yikes – sometimes needles in them, so you might save yourself a lot of grief if you take a quick look for yourself.” Personally I feel for person safety that shoes should remain on throughout the visit, with the exception of at the end maybe taking off to shake out dirt etc but then its straight back on. Also leaving shoes on in a sand pit is going to protect their feet but also does nothing to protect their hands etc. I do not like sand pits at all, even if you rack through the sand your self you still can’t eliminate the bacteria and germ factor.
    Thanks for sharing your article though.

    Reply

  • Regarding reading the signs, many parks ban dogs or require dogs to be on a lead. Many people not only ignore these signs but do not pick up after their dog. You need to teach your child not to approach a dog unless the owner is present and not to pick up dog poo.


    • Also, the playground in the park looks great – where is it located?

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  • also check the temperature of ANY play equipment before you let the kids get on. Some things gets SOOOO hot in summer especially slides

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  • Great comments – and whoever takes the children to the playground must watch the children and not be distracted by a book or their phone.

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  • One issue have when I take our children to the playground is the little ones trying to do what the older ones can do safely. i have a 9 year old boy who will not listen when I explain to him that his 4 year old brother and other even younger children will want to try to do the same things. It can be difficult for a parent of 2 or 3 children of different ages to watch all of them 100% of the time in a large playground. Sometimes I cut short the length of playground time if my eldest one will not comply with our rules to protect both his own brother and smaller children. To make matters worse the eldest one knows I can’t physically catch his as I can’t run and takes advantage of it when I try to stop him getting on equipment the other side of a large playground.

    Reply

  • Shoes always stay on and I stay close to my daughter

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  • Shoes always stay on when at parks and a general safety check.

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  • Whenever I took my daughter to a playground, I pretty much hovered because older children could be rough and sometimes would not let her have a go unless I was with her.

    Reply

  • Good tips.
    When I go with my toddler to the play ground I like to go to an enclosed playground which isn’t too big so I can oversee it easily. When I take my older kids as well I always warn them to watch their behaviour as toddlers see them as example and copy them.
    We go together, we leave together, we play safe, we give the right example and always include.

    Reply

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