Do you know how many parks are in Orange County???
I think it’s somewhere in the 850 to 900 range. Now, not all these parks have playgrounds. Some are only sports fields or pocket parks. I don’t have a count on the ones with playgrounds, but there are over 250 on my Playground Map. So how can you record your play adventures? I call these handy-dandy ideas Summer Play Keepers.
#1 – Playground Passport
Use my Playground Map to find places to go (each marker links back to the blog post on that park). My playful friend, Kara Noel, created the cutest Playground Passport to record your trips! Photo credit: Kara Noel
#2 – Nature Scene Investigator
I wrote about the Nature Scene Investigator Guidebook back in March of 2010. And Get Outdoors! OC added 3 NEW locations this year! Basically, you register online and then as you complete clue-based missions, you’ll discover codes which you can then go back and record. There is a quarterly prize drawing for participants. And you can get entered extra if you attend Inside the Outdoors community events. You can get the books at all the NSI park locations, 22 OC Libraries (the list is on the Get Outdoors website) and the Tustin and Huntington Beach REI stores. You can also send an email through the “contact us” portion of the Get Outdoors site and request a copy be sent to you.
#3 – Family Adventure Journal
My friend, Debi at GoExploreNature.com, takes journaling to a whole new level with very detailed recording in her Family Adventure Journal. The whole family fills it out after the get home from an adventure and it’s all in a neat little package so they can keep their adventures to remember later.
#4 – Be a Park Scout
If you go to parks that are NOT on my Playground Map — then you can do a community service by sharing it with others. I’ll blog it for you! Read How to Be a Park Scout. I like to “help families find new places to play.” If you can be a Park Scout and help me out, I’d love it. You can also add your park to the Kaboom.org Map of Play (national nonprofit promoting play). And don’t limit it to playgrounds – nature adventures are even better. I’ll even send a personal thank you and certificate to your child for helping me out!
What’s the point?
Don’t forget that the point of all this is to encourage your kids to play outside — and maybe get the adults excited about it, too. But if you don’t complete your misson, or make it to your planned destination, that’s okay! Remember, it’s an adventure! Adventures take twists and turns — and they all have challenges. The most important part is that you just BE with your kids in a natural setting without distractions.
I was going to say that I don’t keep a record of our play adventures, but then there’s this blog that you’re reading. Duh!