Thursday, 5 March 2015

Exploring SG Playgrounds as a Family (Part I)

Exploring SG Playgrounds as a Family (Part I) 

Our weekly adventure started upon Daddy's suggestion that we should explore our neighborhood playgrounds as a family. The kids were naturally super excited. For hubby and me, we take it as a form of exercise which we desperately need.  

So, our main objective is to visit as many playgrounds as possible on foot each time for a start. At each playground, we will take a fun shot. 

For our first family adventure, we headed eastward from our house. 

We assigned roles for our children for this adventure.

Natalie is responsible for our logistics - i.e. water supply. 
Emmanuel is responsible for looking after his youngest sister, always making sure she is in sight.
All 3 kids are responsible for spotting playgrounds as we walk eastwards.

At our first playground, the kids were all excited to play. This playground is unique in a sense because the kids spotted words in Spanish behind this 'rock wall'. So they found it interesting and spent some time looking at it.  

For people who stay near Choa Chu Kang, I won't reveal the actual location of this playground. So you can go explore and discover...hehe..

Our second stop. We spent some time playing tic tac toe here.. I can't believe Natalie actually won me. ;(

Our special stop - under one of the HDB block, we saw this chart and the kids insisted on finding out how healthy my hubby and I are. Well, fortunately for both of us, we fall into the healthy range. We also took this opportunity to educate our children to eat and live healthily.  

We spent more than half an hour at our third stop as the kids loved the swing so much and they managed to gather a group to play catching. 

We have always love playgrounds, but I decided to blog about it because it's really fun and meaningful. Playing at the playground has many benefits. 

1) This is an allocated family exercise time and family bonding time.

We spent more than 2 hours just exploring and discovering these 3 playgrounds. My hubby and I believe that outdoor physical activities are important for the growth of our children. Both mental and physical growth are important. Therefore, we had a great time exercising once a week as a family (walking, running after the kids and playing at the playground). 

Moreover, as we walk, my hubby and I will talk to each individual child separately. So we are in a way, spending some one to one time, talking to each child. 

2) Kids learn valuable social skills at the playground.
At the playground, the kids will learn to take turns, mix around with other children, introduce themselves and learn to play cooperatively, not only with their siblings, but also with other kids. They often learn the skill of negotiation as well. 

Moreover, what I like about having the kids playing at the playground is that they learn to deal with bullies. Bullies are everywhere. Whether you are playing at the playground, or at school or even at work, they are there. So the sooner they learn to deal with them, the better it is. Very often, my kids will come to me. However, if the situation is non threatening, I will ask the kids to go deal with it themselves. Most of the time, Natalie, Emmanuel and Faith will get the rest of the kids at the playground and gang up against the bully. Several times, when Faith or Emmanuel got hit by a bully, Natalie will bring them to the bully and demand for an apology. So standing up to bullies is one thing every child has to learn. 

3) Building Leadership Skills
It's really interesting to see how the children interact and how my own children behave at the playground. Leadership skills can be built at the playground too as each child will have their turn to be a leader and lead in the play. I often observe their play and it amazes me how sometimes, a child can gather all the kids at the playground and get all of them to play the same game ( usually catching or hide and seek). Even then, it's an important leadership skill to gather some followers, suggest a game and give instructions as to how to play. Although, it's not all the time that my kids lead in the play, it is also important for them to be a follower too.

There was once, Natalie and Emmanuel refuse to play with some kids that were too rough. Unfortunately, these rough kids were the leader of the ring. Therefore, they had to make a choice to either continue playing with them, or leave the group. Surprisingly, they choose to leave. What was more amazing was that other kids started leaving the group and started joining Natalie and Emmanuel. To me, I was proud that Natalie and Emmanuel had the moral courage to say no. 

4) Values at the playground. 
At the playground, children can learn many values as well. 

Firstly, they learn the value of respect. 
I often remind my kids to be respectful at the playground - meaning, they should say please, thank you, take turns and always be polite (even when people say no to them). Learning to respect people and their property is important to me. 

Secondly, kids can learn the value of resilience
Falling down, getting injured when playing and being rejected are very common. Hence, my hubby and I never fuss over these things. In fact, since my kids are young, when they fall, we will not go to them or to pick them up. We simply look at them and smile. Interestingly enough, as a result, my kids rarely cry when they fall. In fact, they simply stand up, brush brush and continue playing. Of course, there are occasions where they will cry when they fall badly, and that is when we will attend to them immediately.

Accepting rejection is also important. Sometimes, there are older kids are more domineering and would reject playing with the young ones. Therefore, it's good for children to face rejection and learn how to deal with it. Sometimes, even my eldest girl will find it hard to accept and would cry and refuse to go back to the playground. However, I find this such an excellent opportunity to talk to her about rejection and how she can deal with it. I always focus on what she can do in this kind of situation.

Therefore, I found this weekly adventure very meaningful and am really looking forward to our next adventure. 

What do you think about this adventure? Start your adventure this weekend, explore the playgrounds in your neighborhood  and discover more about your kids..

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