Nothing says summer like passing an afternoon in the park. Given the circumstances, and with many of our favorite locations around the city closed or providing limited services, the time we spend outside enjoying our local parks seems like it only stands to increase.

So what should we do with all the time we’ll spend parked at the park? Here is a list of some fun activities you can do, alone or with family, to spend time apart together, enjoying the your beautiful local park.

Explore a New Park

Garden City has 11 parks currently. That’s a lot of green space! Yet many of us tend to gravitate toward the green spaces we already know and love. Our first suggestion on the list is that you take some time and explore somewhere new.

If you’re familiar with all 20 fabulous acres of Deane Wiley Park, why not try exploring Harold Long Park or Rotary Park?

Think about your city. Can you name all the parks? If not, it might be the right time to go exploring,

Have a Picnic

Now this one you’ve probably already thought about but it’s such a good idea we’ve gone ahead and added it to the list anyway. A picnic in the park is just about the best thing you can do on a nice day. All you need is a blanket, some nice snacks, and maybe a pitcher of lemonade.

The internet is chock full of ideas for delicious, nutritious food you can bring for your family on a picnic, and who knows, you might even find eating outside makes you feel closer to the food on your plate.

You are eating your vegetables aren’t you?

Read a Book

Don’t put that picnic blanket away yet, we’re just getting started. The park is a great place to unplug. Get away from the laptop, tuck the phone away, and break out one of those paperbacks you have been meaning to get around to.

Not only will you find the activity enjoyable and relaxing, you could be unconsciously giving your child a serious leg up.

Several studies indicate that children who read when they are young (or are read to by their parents) test ahead of their nonreading classmates. Reading young is also a key indicator of whether the child will continue reading into adulthood, which can be a key indicator for success.

Get Some Exercise

Parks are amazing places to get the heart pumping. Large, open areas are perfect for throwing a ball, running laps, or flying a kite, and parks like Finnup Park in Garden City have miles of accessible trails on which a person can run, walk, jog, or skip along.

It’s no surprise that people you see in the park are often the healthiest people in town. Embracing the park life now will have lasting benefits for your health in the future.

Get to Know the Locals

We’re not talking about other people in the town. Unfortunately, that will have to wait for a while until medical professionals get a handle on this thing. What we’re talking about is the local flora and fauna.

In a lot of ways, appreciating something new comes from learning about it. Once you’ve tried to bake a layer cake, you’ll have a newfound respect for the ones you see in store windows. The same can be said about the creatures, large and small that live in your community, and the ecosystem in which they live.

Before, you might have driven by the same old tree with the same old bird’s nest in it for years. Why not take a bit of time to learn about the bird, and the tree where it had chosen to make its home. Many animals complete legendary journeys over the course of their lifetimes, and the more time you take to learn, the more you’ll appreciate them.

That goes for bugs too!

One great way to start on your journey of getting to know the natural world in your park is to write down some of the things you see in a nature journal, then look them up later, when you get home.

Then test your memory the next time you go to the park.

Make Art

The oldest art humans ever made was made out of things that occurred right near human settlements. Prehistory humans painted animals and plants, using ingredients made out of the same.

We’re not suggesting you do anything quite so drastic as our ancestors (making paintbrushes out of animal bones, for example), but you can certainly do amazing things with sticks, leaves, and dried flowers.

Try it out, then post your family’s masterpieces online for the world to see!

Get Dirty

While many of our parks’ playground structures are still (at the moment), closed to the public, nature, the original playground, isn’t. Dress the kids (or yourself) up in some scrubby old clothes and make yourself familiar with the dirt, and grass, and mud that lets the world around us come alive.

Encourage your kids to get dirty and you’ll be left with a lot of clean, wholesome memories they are sure to cherish forever.

Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau

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