Activities for Kids at Your Local Park

By National Recreation and Park Association

With busy schedules and alluring electronics inside the home, it is often difficult to give your children the time outdoors you enjoyed as a child. But with a little planning and creativity, getting your kids to enjoy the outdoors, specifically at your local park, can benefit your children’s physical, mental and emotional development.

An hour of unstructured, free playtime is ideal and can be as simple as a play date, small gathering, or just your child by herself. It is beneficial to provide time outdoors where children can play together, independent of adult-organized activity. But if in case your children need more motivation and structure, here are a couple of activities to get them started:

• Encourage your children to watch for wildlife. There is often wildlife at parks including birds, bugs and sometimes larger friends. Children can log the wildlife they see into a notebook, create drawings or take photos.

• Go on a scavenger hunt. Work together to create a list of items you could see in a park like a leaf, a pinecone, sand, a swing, a fence etc.

• Draw a nature map of your local park. Walk the park and then have your children draw the map of the park including important features and details from your walk.

• Picnic in the park. Your sandwich often tastes better when you are sitting in a beautiful park. Bring a blanket and your favorite foods to enjoy the nice weather. Don’t forget to pick up your trash and to recycle.

• Walk. Before or after dinner, take some time to walk together as a family. Discuss what happened during the day while getting a little exercise.

• Running games. Teach your children to play “Hide and Seek,” “Red light/Green light” or “Red Rover’” Or with keep it simple by establishing a friendly competition running from one side of the neighborhood park to the other.

• Create your own Olympic Games. Who has the fastest time running from one tree to another? How many high jumps can you do in one minute? Use the resources in your neighborhood park to create an Olympic Games for your family.

• Make art from nature. Press flowers, glitter pine cones or draw part of your favorite park. Bring a little bit of nature back home with you.

• Play with dirt and mud. Bring a shovel or even better, use your hands to dig your way to China. Create mud structures and mud pies. Let your children have the opportunity to get really dirty while learning how to play and be creative by themselves.

• Watch the clouds. There is nothing better than to spend some time cloud watching in a park on a sunny day. Lie down on the grass and start to identify shapes.

• Start a rock collection. Collect all different shapes and sizes, colors and surfaces. Another great way to bring a bit of the outdoors home with you.

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The Streets WHISPER our History

John Moore, our trusty OHCA Treasurer, sent me an email regarding a wonderful article regarding how our San Antonio streets got their names.  Unfortunately I couldn’t get into the e-subscription without a login, but  the San Antonio Express article is available on MySanAntonio.

We drive down Callaghan every day, but do you know who the street is named for?  Bryan V. Callaghan was an Irish immigrant who came to SA in the late 1830s.   He became active in local politics, serving one term as mayor in 1845.  But that would only be the start of a political “dynasty” here in SA.  His son, Bryan Jr., served nine terms, 1885-92, 1897-99, and 1905-12, who was said to have been “born rich, died poor, served many.”  One hundred years later, in 1947, another descendant became mayor of San Antonio.

Read more for yourself:

Flannary, John B.  The Irish Texans.  San Antonio:  The Institute of Texan Cultures, 1995.  Accessed using UTSA’s Digital Collections.

Gambitta, Richard.  The Beauty of San Antonio’s Forms of Governance.  San Antonio Express-News.  Accessed using MySA.

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The Acorn – April Issue Available online

Here’s the latest Acorn.  Please send us any comments or questions.



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OH POPs (Oak Hills Parents of Pre-Schoolers)

Now that the weather is finally warming up, we would like to get together Monday and Tuesday mornings in the center park from 9-10 with Oak Hills families with preschoolers.  Bring some outdoor entertainment for the little ones if you can! (balls, bats, Frisbees, etc.)

~Ellen Leone

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OH Book Club – next meeting April 9

Just wanted to get these notes out to everyone to bring you up to date on our first meeting and future plans.  We had five attendees including myself and as it turned out, some very helpful insight from Bernice Bonner, who actually has experience as a book club member.  So far, we would like to meet monthly, alternating at the homes of members who will be able to host.  Since it turned out that some of us were coming directly from work, we thought it would be nice to include refreshments at the meetings.  This could range from sandwiches or pizza to a meal, depending on the host, and could even be tied in to the theme of the book selection.

To get the ball rolling, there will be a follow-up meeting Thursday, April 9th at 7:00 once again at my home on 211 Lakeridge.  The menu will probably be sandwiches and salads, but we’ll see how ambitious I feel!  Since the biggest project will be choosing a book, we thought it would be a good idea if everyone could e-mail me 5 or 6 books that they have read and enjoyed and/or selections that they would like to read.  I’ll then get a list out to everyone before the next meeting.  This will serve to give us a concrete feel for everyone’s reading tastes and also provide a recommendation list for those of us who are always looking for a good book to read on our own.  When recommending a book for the club, take into consideration a selection that would lend itself to discussion; interesting characters, plot development and possibly some other angle such as a historical setting or a unique location.  We would also like to omit anything overtly political – dangerous territory!

I’ll eventually get a roster out to everyone, but in the meantime, PLEASE spread the word.  I know that there are other book lovers out there, including men.  Book clubs sometimes suffer from the reputation of being a girls club, but we have one very engaged gentleman already involved and would like to include others.  Keep in mind that this project is evolving and nothing is carved in stone yet.  The main thing we agreed on at the meeting is that we want this to be an enjoyable experience for everyone.  I hope you all can make the next meeting, but if you cannot, please be sure you still get me your book selections so that your ideas can be included.

Best regards and happy reading! ~~Laura Lascurain

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