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Time to play!
Camilla Gryski, author of Let’s Play: Traditional Games of Childhood, believes free play is a critical component of every childhood. “Children’s lives are so structured today that they don’t have enough time to just play,” she says, “to use their imagination, to work out things through play.” Here are some of her tips for having fun at the park.
1. Mix it up: “Introduce the children to games from your childhood, and games you hear about or read about. But it’s also important to give them the freedom to make up their own games.” To that end, she suggests reminding children that they can change the rules.
2. Use what you see: A park provides enough room for active children to run and spread out — just what you need for games like tag, Red Rover, capture the flag. Help your child incorporate the playground equipment into the games — let the bottom of the slide be the home base for a game of hide-and-seek, for example.
3. Role-play: Playground equipment is great for the role-playing games. The climber can be a spaceship, a castle, school or a cave. The slide can be a waterfall, the back of a dinosaur, a rainbow or the escape hatch from an airplane.