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Mastering Springtime Outdoor Fun


MommyShorts tips for taking kids to the park

By Ilana Wiles/MommyShorts

The flowers are blooming and the street performers are singing. It’s adorable to watch both my children point out the beautiful pink blossoms that line our concrete commutes to school in NYC. “Spring is here!” they shout, like they are the first people to notice.

I love spring in Manhattan with kids. The playgrounds become viable options again, the restaurants spill out onto the sidewalks and the parks come alive with picnickers, musicians and performance artists.

I’m not sure what happens in the suburbs, but in the city on the weekends, parents often stock their strollers with necessities and stay out and about the entire day— going to the playground, picnicking in the park for lunch, taking a stroll among the shops or to the highline (often so toddlers have the opportunity to nap in the stroller) and then meeting up with friends for dinner.

MommyShorts tips for taking kids to the park

We usually take the umbrella stroller since it’s easy to get around and I hang my bag on the handle. We’ve got extra sweaters or light jackets in case it gets chilly, an extra pair of undies and an emergency pull-up (since my youngest just started leaving the house without a diaper), wipes (for the potty and for dirty hands), BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages and NEOSPORIN® (for cuts and scrapes), tissues, water bottles and tons of to-go snacks.

You could probably leave us out there for the whole weekend and we’d be okay.

We went to our favorite park, Washington Square Park, on the first warm day this year. The park is home to a rope-climbing playground, which is my kids’ new favorite outdoor play space in NYC. It has a spider web of ropes for little kids to play on and then one long rope ladder that stretches over a sunken area of grass for the big kids.

MommyShorts tips for taking kids to the park

My oldest daughter has been determined to cross this thing for a while now and it's awesome to watch her get a little closer each time we go to the park. She used to give up as soon as she couldn't depend on her feet but now she can go all the way to the center of the ladder before falling. It seems each time we go, she gets one or two rungs farther than the time before. Last time, she decided to make her way across the top which was a whole new challenge. She felt so accomplished when she reached the other side.

On that particular day, there was also a “love rally” happening in the park so both of my girls participated by drawing tons of hearts and pictures with the chalk provided at the scene. I think they could have stayed there all day.

I stuck most of my items in my bag and the girls rode their scooters. They pretty much know the route by heart and every time I told one of them to stop or take a left, their answer was, “I know, mom.”

MommyShorts tips for taking kids to the park

When we got home, their hands were dirty, their faces were sticky, their clothes were stained and they both had at least three BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages a piece.

But they were tired and happy, and told me they had an excellent day.

“Me too, guys,” I told them.

Spring in NYC is my absolute favorite.

In collaboration with National 4-H Council. Visit to download the Spring Activity Guide with tips and activities for your family.

BAND-AID® is a registered trademark of ©Johnson & Johnson Consumer

Ilana Wiles is a paid spokesperson for HEALTHY ESSENTIALS®

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If your child prefers juices to plain old water, but you’re looking to limit their sugar intake, consider flavoring their H20 by adding sliced lemons or grapefruits. The additives will give it a hint of taste.

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