Back to School, Back to Park Play

Could it be that the lazy days of summer are coming to an end? School is just around the corner and we’ll be trading afternoon naps for evening homework. Armed with fresh notebooks and sharpened pencils, area children will be headed to the classrooms ready to learn.

An important part of a child’s life is physical activity. Keeping active benefits children mentally by giving them time to unwind from a day at the desk. Plus, it gives them the much-needed health benefits of exercise, particularly in a society where so many of our children are overweight.

Consider these statistics from the National Park and Recreation Fact Sheet:
– Studies have found that on average, children who live in greener environments weigh less than children (at the same age and same sex) who live in less green areas.
– Children that have easy access to a playground (less than 2/3 of a mile from their home) are approximately five times more likely to have a healthy weight than children that do not have easy access to playgrounds.
– The national Let’s Move! campaign reports that children who are active for 60 minutes each day have increased concentration and focus, better classroom attendance and behavior, and improved academic performance.

It’s tough to argue with the benefits of outdoor play. If your child doesn’t have many opportunities for physical activity at school, local parks are a wonderful resource. Many of our Charleston city parks have playgrounds, trails, sports fields/courts and open green space for running.

So even though family schedules are about to get a little more hectic, don’t forget to carve out some outdoor play. Check out our online Park Directory of more than 120 parks and green spaces in the city of Charleston.

Here’s a great list of 10 family park activities, including an obstacle course and scavenger hunt.

Now, let’s hear your best ideas for activities in the park and how you’re keeping the kids active.

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