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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Science on the Playground

If I could scientifically calculate the amount of time I have spent on a playground in the past 5 years my guess that is that it would come out to be about 20% of my waking hours. Something like 5 bazillion hours…and that is a technical mommy term, thank you very much. I am not complaining though. I am grateful for the warm weather and plethora of parks within a 4 mile radius of my house that make our outdoor adventures possible.
The boys have their favorite playgrounds and they name them affectionately. We play at Rocket Ship Park, Dino Park, Castle Park, and even Starbucks Park. (You can imagine why the kids call it that.) The boys pick a park depending on their mood or who we are meeting up with. I think back to a year ago when we were new to this town and I feel a nostalgic affection for these parks. In those early weeks I picked a new park every day for us to explore. These excursions helped me learn my way around the surrounding area and kept me distracted from my homesickness. I met some of my first friends out here at these playgrounds. I like playgrounds.
The playground area on Sid the Science Kid plays an important role for the kids on the show. In the morning Sid conducts his surveys and explores his Big Questions with his friends on the playground. After an investigation, Sid and his friends sometimes go outside to act out a new science concept of learned skill. I especially like the “Laugh-In” style segment where the kids tell silly jokes on the playground. I appreciate the way the creators of the show use the playground as a place where children practice and expand on what they have learned.
I have also noticed how much playgrounds have changed since I was a child. There are lots of toys that I don’t even recognize and the boys have to figure out how to play on them. We’ve played recently at some really cool playgrounds where the equipment is designed to get the kids moving and to challenge them. One playground has a cool skateboard simulator where the boys stand on a metal plate with a handle that slides up and down a curved bar. It’s very exciting and I have to hold my breath hoping they don’t fall. I can’t help but notice that the equipment often relies on the force and energy the kids create in order to create and keep the momentum.
On this toy, Leo and Henry bounce and jump on the “snake” to create a wave motion. It requires balance, strength, and bravery from my little ones.
Here, Henry must use the weight of his body to spin. The more oomph he applies, the faster the spin. This makes Henry laugh and laugh.
These days even the climbing structures provide challenging ways to get up and down. Yes, there are still the stairs and slides, but most structures also have more interesting ways to get up and down.
As you can see, they are both really working hard and having fun at the same time. I like to go to the park in the late afternoon to get the maximum exhaustion effect in time for dinner and bedtime. We’ve come a long way from the jungle gyms and merry go rounds of my childhood. But in the end, the boys play, create, imagine, and invent just like I did with my brothers and friends. Any playground, park, or open space that can inspire creativity and exercise is a precious gift of childhood.
What do some of your favorite playgrounds and parks look like? What equipment do your children like the best?

Produced by: Funding is provided by:
Jim Hensen Corporation logo CPB ViNCi MetLife The Rosehills Foundation S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation logo The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations logo

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