What to Pack
- Mind your manners. Standing in line for the slide, taking turns on the swings, sharing a sand box toy, saying, "You go first" at the water fountain, working as a team on a relay race. These are all lifetime social skills kids can practice on the playground.
- Explore opposites. Challenge your child to find opposites: up/down, top/bottom, left/right, high/low, over/under, big/little, front/back, push/pull. Say, "Go up. Now down. Go under. Now over." See if he can follow along.
- Count on kids. Ask, How many kids are swinging? How many are climbing the monkey bars? How many are running?
- Play shadow games. Explain how shadows work. Then play shadow tag.
- Play Follow-the-Leader. Have kids take turns playing follow-the-leader to practice coordination and large motor skills.
- Explore science. Talk about the scientific principles at work on the playground. What makes a swing go up? (Energy.) What makes it go down? (Gravity.) Why does a rolling ball stop? (Friction.)
- Go on a scavenger hunt. How many of these things can your child spot on your playground: a slide, swing, sand box, monkey bars, tire swing, bike, trike, ball, jump rope, bench, scooter, skateboard, water fountain, see-saw, hopscotch game, tunnel, baby stroller, in-line skates, fort.
- Play Simon Says Kids can only do the things that Simon says to do. For example, Simon says, "skip." Simon says, "Run," Simon says "Hop on one foot." "Sit." Kids who sit are out, because Simon didn't say "Sit."
- Investigate. Ask your child these questions:
- What's your favorite thing to do on the playground?
- What's your least favorite thing to do on the playground? Why?
- What should you do if you want to swing, but the swings are taken?
- What should you do if you want to play with kids you don't know?
- What should you do if you see a kid is sad because he's all by himself?
- Read all about it. Check out Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli, Jungle Gym Jitters by Chuck Richards and Maisy Goes to the Playground by Lucy Cousins.
Bonus Explorer Activity Set up an obstacle course in your backyard. Use tires to step through, chairs to slalom around, sticks to jump over.
For more exploring, play Dora's Great Big World game, find do-together Dora crafts, recipes, and activities, and print a personalized Explorer Kit for your child at DoraTheExplorer.com.
Thanks to Susan Hood
BACK: Dora's School Supplies Shopping Expedition / NEXT: Dora's Haircut Expedition