What Toddlers Learn at the Playground

monkeybarsNow that outdoor play weather is here, my boys and I have been spending plenty of time out in the yard. That has been wonderful, and we have lots of fun together, but to keep things interesting we like to go out to some local parks and playgrounds a few times each week. Not only do the various play structures enable my little guys to develop new and exciting (okay, sometimes terrifying) physical skills, the presence of other children gives them a chance to play and interact with someone other than me.

While I do have to stay pretty close to my little guys (mostly 13 month old Blake) to keep them safe, I try to give them as much freedom as possible to explore the things and people that are at the playgrounds that we go to. It really is fun to see them trying new things and meeting new people. Yesterday, I watched with delight as Dylan approached a couple of older boys and introduced himself. Within minutes, they were playing together and before too long there were quite a few kids involved in a friendly game of tag.

While his older brother played tag, Blake walked over to a teenage girl who was sitting on the swing and captured her attention with a big, dimpled smile. It was so funny to watch because he saw her from across the playground, made up his mind that he was going to walk over to her, and set out in that direction. Since he started walking fairly recently, he’s still a bit bowlegged and that causes him to swagger in the most adorable way. The girl was thrilled that he was smiling and laughing for her. I was a bit surprised that he was that comfortable walking up to a complete stranger to introduce himself, but at the same time it makes me happy that he is outgoing.

The park or playground can be a great place for your toddler to build his physical skills. It is also a great opportunity for toddlers to learn how to connect with and communicate with other children. I look forward to exploring more parks and playgrounds with my boys as the weather gets even nicer.