(Written by Steve Jenks) Children are recommended to get at least thirty minutes of outdoor playtime each day. This recreational time ensures healthy bodies, develops motor skills, starts a lifetime of healthy habits, encourages creativity, and is a great opportunity for families to bond together.
Those who live near playgrounds typically get more exercise than those who have to travel far to find recreational opportunities. Parents can make a conscious effort to ensure outdoor playtime by either purchasing play equipment for their own yard, or tapping into a few helpful smart phone apps that guide users to outdoor play spaces.
- Playgrounds!- This app is a joint effort between Parents magazine and KaBOOM! It is a great search tool focused on playgrounds. Users can look for playgrounds in their area, rate playgrounds, add new playgrounds, and even coordinate play dates. This is especially helpful for those in a new area unsure how to find the best playgrounds, or even for travelers looking for a chance to let the kids get out energy. A few interesting extras are included trivia about specific playgrounds, and a focus on activities for specific age groups.
- Park Pogo: The Playground Finder- Currently only serving the San Diego area, this park app works to meet a multitude of needs. Not only does it list parks from closest to farthest away, it shows features that other apps have not listed. BBQ pits are one of the many specific items park goers can search for, and parks are linked to their Yelp reviews. Hopefully this app will expand to other cities.
- Parks n Rec- A national tool that finds all types of outdoor recreational options for families. While some may find playground specific apps limited to younger children, this app even includes searches for specific sporting options. Users can look for a place to play basketball, bike, or even skateboard. This is a great tool for families with a range of outdoor interests, as there is no shortage to the opportunities to get out and move. It is especially appealing to travelers as it even finds parks with campgrounds and swimming pools. Boasting over 43,000 parks, this app is packed with outdoor play opportunities.
- Playground Pump- An adult focused app that offers up fitness ideas and workouts based on playground equipment helps busy families focus on fitness. By letting kids get in their necessary playtime as mom and dad work out, multi-tasking is being used in its best form. This app features 44 different exercises that users can scroll through to pick their favorites. Exercises can also be saved so that preferred routines are easily accessible. Users can motivate friends by sending them exercise cards as well.
- KIDzOUT- Families out and about looking for play will find this to be a helpful tool. It helps find nearby playgrounds, as well as all types of play places that can be a great tool when weather keeps children indoors. Users can search through playgrounds by looking for specific features, so whether kids are slide lovers or swing enthusiasts, one is sure to find an appropriate playground. As this is a well-rounded tool for families on the go it also locates restrooms nearby, and can highlight those with diaper changing facilities.
Getting in the recommended thirty minutes of playtime is easily done with any of these helpful apps, most of which are free. Once a routine is made of going out to play, parents will find that it is easy to stick with it.
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