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Making your kid’s playdate at the park even better!

Avery, holding up her completed scavenger hunt

My daughter, Avery, has been a part of a playgroup since she was 3 months old.  Which I realize means it was really more of my playgroup than hers.  But, having grown up with the other children in her playgroup, three years later she is fabulous friends with each of the children.

We take turns planning events for our group of nearly-four-year-olds.  Ordinarily, we choose a park and provide the snack during the week we hostess.  If the weather is bad, we’ll either open up our homes or meet at a bounce warehouse or play area at a restaurant.

This week, our friend Miss Stephanie and her son Tyler played hostess and host.  We met at Mary Jo Peckham park, which in itself makes for a wonderful playdate.  However, Stephanie also provided the children with a scavenger hunt.  She gave each child a paper with words and pictures listing items to find: squirrels, trees, fish, flowers, leaves… As each child found something on the list, they’d get a sticker to put in a box next to the corresponding word and picture.  After they found three of each item, they got a treasure… bubbles!

We had such a great time and it really allowed the kids to appreciate nature.  The kids all huddled together to stare down at an ant hill, raced on the path to the pier to check for fish in the lake, and yelled with delight when they discovered three ducks at once!  The children loved being a part of a structured activity together and finished it up with bubbles, playing together on the park’s play structures, and snack.

It was so much fun and such an easy idea that I plan to use it much more often.  Perhaps on walks around our neighborhood as we wait for Daddy to get home, or when I know we’ll be stuck in a doctor’s office for a long wait, or even on car rides… the possibilities are endless!

How about you?  Do you have any great ideas to make a day at the park even more enriching?  Post a comment below!

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