A Toddler’s Guide to Fun at the Park

By Jasmine Stephens, Family Editor

Firstly, let’s make one thing clear. Your mummy loves the park, why else would she take you there day in day out, whatever the weather? The sun-cream and the ice-cream van in summer and the mud and twenty layers of clothes in winter; she may complain to her friends, but like an addict, she can’t stay away. If you want to maximise her enjoyment, follow these easy steps:

Use the Scattergun Approach

You know the drill; your sibling runs to the slide, you head for the climbing frame. He decides on the roundabout, you need to be pushed on the swing. Your mum is always saying she spends her life running around after you; help make this a reality.

Age is Just a Number

Just because you’re only 2, doesn’t mean that the monkey bars and fireman’s pole are not for you. Your mummy loves to see you dangling 4 foot above the ground and it’s astonishing how quickly she will rush over to show you her appreciation.

Make Use of Props

Mummies love wondrous inconsistency. You’ll definitely need your scooter to get out of the car park, but beyond there it should be abandoned along with your helmet, coat and preferably socks. Hats of any kind are not to be trusted whether it’s twenty below or scorching sunshine.

Head for Water

A pond, a stream, a muddy puddle, it doesn’t matter. The deeper the better. Plan ahead and insist on wearing your best shoes. Doing washing is her favourite hobby so extra points if you manage to sit down in it.

Team Up with Nature

Keep her on her toes with random reactions. A huge goose honks in your face, it’s hilarious. A virtually invisible fly whizzes past, it’s time for meltdown. Stones and sticks you collect en route are precious and must not be mislaid. N.B. If she says you can leave it there and collect it later, don’t listen. The truth means nothing to that woman.

Timing is Everything

Nappy changes, snack demands, drink requirements. Make sure you maximise the distance from the car and minimise the time she’s spent sitting down. Shout ‘Carry!’ and attach yourself to her leg until she complies; she’ll appreciate the weight-bearing exercise. If you manage to sneak in an unanticipated nap, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacularly late bedtime, which also has added knock-on benefits the next day by way of tasty tantrum-induced bribes.

Food is a Tool

Mummies love having attention drawn to them, so the nicer the eatery, the more obstreperous your behaviour should be. Insist on the café’s lunch box and make sure you stick to the well-recognised order of consumption; juice, cake, raisins. You have no business engaging with the sandwich.

Don’t forget, these are transferrable skills which will also be welcomed at your friends’ houses, the school playground and your local soft-play centre. If you manage to follow these simple rules your mummy will reward you by bringing you back to the park time and time again.

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