Children love the playground. For myself, as part of the 30×30 Nature Challenge, I have discovered that I love it too. My time spent outside with Alex and Sophia over the past few weeks has made me appreciate the simple pleasures of play.

Our challenge was to visit as many playgrounds as possible. We launched our nature challenge by working together to assemble a brand new red wagon. In the afternoon sunshine, on our back deck, the three of us all helped to put it together. We were beaming with pride as we finally headed down the street with our new set of wheels. Since then, we’ve explored numerous parks and playgrounds in the neighborhood. Taking your kids to the playground is a pretty regular activity for most parents, but this time I decided to do it differently. Instead of sitting on the bench checking my phone while they dig in the sand or climb the structures, I decided to play too. I got sand in my shoes and made castles with them. I became the monster that chased them around the slides and I showed them how to swing their legs in the swing. By consciously participating in outdoor play, I came away feeling as refreshed and energized as they do.

This challenge has made me think about how much spending time outside and play is important not only for the little people, but also for us. Through outdoor play, I became a kid again. My head felt cleared, I let go of the little frustrations and focused on the simple pleasures that are found at a nearby playground. So, next time you take your kids to the playground, get in there, get dirty and start playing.