Do you have a park in your neighborhood? Somewhere close that you can walk or bike to? We have a wonderful park with two play structures, a splash pad, and a winter ice rink just two blocks away. We go there often, summer or winter.
While our daughter and son play really well together, sometimes it’s nice to add to the group. So we started an unofficial Park Tag-Along.
How does this work? We decide to bike, scooter, or walk to the park and on our way we pass a couple of houses with similar aged kids. We ring the doorbell and ask if Timmy, Jane, or Olivia want to join us in the park. We never call ahead and the parents don’t have to come if they don’t want to.
The kids love the spontaneity, the invitees are pleased to be asked, and usually the parents enjoy having an unexpected 45 minutes of free time.
How does a park tag along work best?
- Only stop by houses where you know the parents and the kids and the parents trust their kids in your care.
- Don’t ring doorbells too late or around dinner time—get a feeling for what other families are comfortable with.
- Bring bikes and scooters only if your kids will stick with them—you don’t want to be the one carrying back a child and their toy and bike.
- If the parents don’t join the group, make sure to identify a time when the kids need to be back home. Stick to that time.
- Ask kids that are comfortable with you and that get along with your kids. Don’t do this with a child that doesn’t listen or might be difficult to handle. You want this to be a fun experience for everyone.
- Enjoy the spontaneity. These days so many things are planned ahead of time that it’s refreshing to do something at the drop of a hat.
- Sit back and watch the kids play or join them for a game of tag or hide and seek. Monster chases seem to be very popular with the kids around here—squeeeal!