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The summer is the best time to head outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. While you can always find something to do at your neighborhood playground, it is fun to come up with some new ways to keep your friends and family engaged. These outdoor activities are perfect for summer, and they are guaranteed to make everyone want to join the fun.

Play Captain of the Ship

This classic game is played in much the same way as Simon Says. However, the game takes a twist by having everyone pretend like they are on one big ship. Start by choosing a person who is in charge of calling out orders. They can then instruct the group to do different things such as gather on the top deck of the play structure. It’s also fun to throw in some ship terms such as running starboard, which is to the right. If anyone does an action without hearing “Captain Says,” then they have to pretend like they are chasing after a shark until the next round.

Enjoy a Game of Pretend

Themed playgrounds provide the perfect place to let your kids’ imaginations run wild. Take a cue from the playground structure, and encourage the kids to pretend to be princesses or cavemen living in a fantasy paradise. You can make this even more enjoyable for older kids by having them put together a skit that they can perform in front of their parents.

Start a Baseball Game

Baseball has many benefits for both adults and kids, and outdoor sporting areas make it easy to put together a game. If your playground has sports bleachers, then all you need is to set up a few bases to get a game going. Consider putting together a team of mixed ages that allows both younger kids and adults to play together. Alternatively, you can set up an at-ball stand that lets the littlest ones at the playground try their hand at competing on an outdoor sports field.

Get the Little Ones Involved With Freeze Tag

Everyone enjoys a game of tag, and you can turn this into a fun way to cool off on a hot summer day. Add a twist to the game by appointing a few of the players as being in charge of melting anyone who is frozen. Instead of touching their teammates, they can squirt them with a water shooter to unfreeze them.

Go On a Scavenger Hunt

Playground scavenger hunts are another fun game that you can put together with only a little preparation. For younger kids, make a picture list of items that they can find. Swings, spinners, and other common playground equipment are easy items to add. Older kids can use their cameras to capture the items that they find. You can even hide some uncommon items beneath slides and other features to increase the challenge of this exciting activity.

The best outdoor activities are easy to put together, and they should always be inclusive enough that everyone can join in on the action. With these fun games in mind, you’ll quickly put together a few new things to do at the park that your friends and family will want to play again and again.

Posted by Matt Miller

***Blog repost from manufacturer GameTime***

City of Davis, California recently completed the transformation of play spaces in five local parks. Each of the park playgrounds is updated with modern play systems compliant with current safety standards and ADA accessibility guidelines and designed for the specific needs of the surrounding neighborhoods. The project was made possible, in part, by grant funding from GameTime.

The new playgrounds were designed with assistance from Kelly Oakes of MRC Recreation, GameTime's exclusive representative for Northern California. Oakes worked closely with city leaders and recreation advocates to create play spaces that met the developmental needs of children and provided a high play value for the overall community. The project began in fall of 2018 and together they completed the revitalization of Slide Hill Park, Arroyo Park, Covell Greenbelt, Hacienda Park and Evergreen Park in time for summer.

Existing playground equipment at each of the parks was 20-30 years old and no longer met local or national standards for public parks. In some cases, the play activities weren't age-appropriate or developmentally beneficial for the children who used the parks. Special care was taken to create play environments that addressed specific needs today, as well as the community needs of the future. Spencer Cheak, president of GameTime, remarked, "What the City of Davis has done with the revitalization of these five beautiful parks promotes a higher quality of life for the people who visit today, and for generations of families to come. We are honored to be a part of the Davis community."

Each of the five new playgrounds throughout the City of Davis represents the ongoing commitment of the city's leaders to promote outdoor recreation, better health and wellness, and first-rate amenities for families. They were designed using evidence-based research from GameTime's parent company, PlayCore, and are recognized as National Demonstration Sites. As such, these spaces are more than places to play. They are community destinations that bring people together, break down barriers and improve the overall quality of life for everyone. Congratulations to the City of Davis! Every slide, climber, and swing open up new and unlimited possibilities for children's imaginations, physical development, and emotional well-being.

Posted by Matt Miller

Summer is here, and that means that families are searching for the best places to take their kids to enjoy a little fun. While an epic summer vacation is always great, some of the best family adventures can take place right there in your community. Spray parks are quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations for families, child care programs and other neighborhood group outings. While it’s not hard to see why spray parks are so popular, it is exciting to see people enjoy the benefits of having one nearby.

Get Relief From the Heat

Kids are always asking to go to the playground. Yet, it is common for adults to be concerned about kids spending too much time running around in the sun. Splash pads give kids an easy way to cool off since all they have to do is run through a fountain to feel the heat just fade away. Splash pads are a great addition to the playground areas where kids can go back and forth between the features. You could include one as a standalone facility for people to visit when they want to play in the water without having to swim.

Enjoy Water Play in a Safe Environment

Visitors should always follow a few basic safety tips for visiting splash pads such as using sunscreen. However, it is also nice to have the backup of a place for kids to play in the water where safety features are included in the design. For instance, aquatic playground safety surfacing is skid-resistant and contains anti-microbial properties that allow kids to play without the fear of injuries. If your child is not yet swimming independently, then you can also enjoy watching as your child plays in a zero-depth environment.

Plan a Fun Experience for Diverse Groups

Trying to plan a summer adventure for groups that include people of varying ages and abilities is challenging. Fortunately, splash pads are designed with ADA standards in mind so that kids with limited mobility or sensory challenges are able to enjoy the experience. Splash pads can also be designed with areas for toddlers as well as older kids so that everyone can dive into the chance to play in the water.

Ditch the Guilt About Water Waste

In the past, many families had to rely upon home water sources such as sprinklers for their kids to enjoy some fun in the water. While kids rarely complain about getting to run through a sprinkler, that practice does often lead to significant amounts of water loss. Now, playground planners can choose from custom-themed designs for their splash pad installation. These include features such as sensors that can adjust the water flow to go where kids are actively playing. Since splash pads also use special water filtration and recycling systems, very little of this precious resource goes to waste.

Spray parks are filled with opportunities for kids to burn off their energy while adults enjoy the shade or join in on the fun. When you need a cool activity to do that requires very little planning, a trip to the spray park is the ultimate form of summer entertainment.

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Posted by Matt Miller

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