Everything You Need to Know About Going to New York Playgrounds this Summer
What parents should know before taking children to the playground this summer—plus which playgrounds are open.
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Dr. Steever urges parents to monitor their children at all times, since it’s easy for a child to wander off or get too close to someone else by accident. “I’d hope that parents would be understanding they are monitoring their own children to follow the rules,” Dr. Steever says.
One way parents can further help their kids remain socially distant is to talk to other parents there and make arrangements. “For example, one family may play on the slide while another family uses the swings,” Stocker says.
When it’s time to head home, families should leave the park quickly and wash their hands immediately when they get home.
How to Make Staying Safe Fun
Children are more likely to do something if you make it sound fun—like making a game of picking up their toys. Dr. Steever suggets taking the same approach when talking to and keeping your children engaged in staying safe. If you haven’t already, get masks with fun designs that your kids will want to wear.
Another fun idea from Dr. Steever incorporates superheroes. Suggest to your kids that they play on the playground as if they are a superhero, like Batwoman or Spider-Man, and they need to keep their mask on to hide their secret identity. And some heroes have a very powerful touch, so they have to avoid touching others to keep people safe.
Dr. Steever equates this to vegetables at dinner. If you give two vegetable options, rather than just offering them one and telling them to eat it, then they have a choice in the matter. Playing a game works in the same way. They are actively involved in the social distancing protocols and making a choice to play the game.
Playground Safety for Kids 2 and Younger
The CDC recommends children younger than 2 not wear face masks. Stocker says this is because children that young could suffocate while wearing a mask. She suggests children younger than 2 be put in a stroller and go in walks around the neighborhood to avoid crowds. If you choose to bring young kids to the playground, follow them carefully and help them wash their hands, Stocker says.
Dr. Steever adds that your young child should be fine if they are in an area where you can be socially distant. Maintaining social distance with kids this young is crucial. So that may mean waiting to bring them to the playground.
Fun Playground Alternatives
If you’re not comfortable heading to the playground just yet, there are still ways your children can be active. Dr. Steever suggests parents take their kids to parks and large fields where there is more space to move around. Also, walks around the neighborhood are appropriate.
Parents also have many options to keep their kids entertained in their own backyard. With a little time and effort, you can easily recreate some of your favorite classic summer activities right in your own backyard, like camping, the carnival, and water play. Your kids can burn off their extra energy with some fun, safe outdoor activities, such as rollerblading, going for a bike ride, or even playing a socially distant game of flashlight tag. Plus, you can deck out your yard with some of this season’s hottest toys and play equipment to make your backyard into your kids’ personal playground!