Explore Through Movement and Play
Summer in Alexandria is HOT, HOT, HOT!! It can be tempting to slow down or stay inside to keep cool. But, the summer months are also the perfect time to get moving and explore the world around us through movement and play. Infants, toddlers, and young children are like scientists – curious and eager to learn about the world through movement and play! Movement and play keep your child active, healthy, and help develop their coordination and strength.
Alexandria City Public Schools understand this and has created Choice Boards to support their families during the summer months (link to website once they are posted). The Choice Board activities align and support the Creative Curriculum Exercise Study they will be implementing over the summer during Summer Learning for All. Jane Richardson, the ACPS Early Childhood Programs Coordinator, explained, “We know now more than ever our children need to be outdoors and learning through investigation and inquiry. Our preschoolers’ develop their interests and grow creatively through naturalistic and authentic play experiences.”
We encourage you to take advantage of beautiful parks and playgrounds Alexandria offers and use the list below to explore.
The City of Alexandria has more than 566 acres of City owned park land with 41 playground areas! To find a park or playground near you, you can use ParkLink – an interactive map. The City also provides a comprehensive listing of all of the playgrounds and tot lots. One favorite spots to visit is the Jerome Buddie Ford Nature Center. Just outside the Nature Center lies Dora Kelley Nature Park, a 50-acre wildlife sanctuary with a one-mile long nature trail that meanders along streams, wooded hills, and freshwater marshland. A paved bike trail connecting Sanger Ave. and Van Dorn St. winds through the park which is ADA accessible.
When you head outside with your child, be sure to plan ahead. Bring water, sunscreen, and maybe a hat. You can even bring some food and have a picnic at the park. Encourage your child to be an explorer and make binoculars or a telescope out of toilet paper or paper towel rolls. You can even turn a simple walk into a scavenger hunt. Your child can help you make a list of things to find on the walk, or you can use this one (link to scavenger hunt). Whether you step out your door for a neighborhood walk, head to a local playground, or make a trip to a nature center, your child will learn as they explore the world through movement and play!