As parents looking for weekend activities to share in some all-important family time, it can be difficult to find somewhere that is enjoyable, cost effective and child-friendly. It also seems like everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with information regarding the importance of keeping active, the health benefits of catching some sunshine (particularly in winter), and the shift towards using weekends to relax, chill out and to just ‘be’.
Can we really find a place that ticks ALL these boxes?
Park it at Family Friendly Parks
It’s the humble park! Parks are without a doubt a real ‘people pleaser’ when it comes to simple, cost-effective family fun. Those of us in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie are completely spoiled when it comes to finding family friendly parks. They are everywhere, and as we move through our daily routines they call to us from the main road, tucked away at the end of cul-de-sacs, and even attached to retail outlets like Hudson Park next to Westfield Kotara.
But This Park is JUST RIGHT!
There are huge parks like Speers Point Park in Lake Macquarie (this one practically has its own postcode!), and smaller, quieter parks like Attunga Park at Charlestown. There are ultra-modern parks like the new Warners Bay Park (have you SEEN the parent/baby swing? Ingenious!) And the more traditional parks like Centennial Park at Cooks Hill.
Despite their differences, all parks share some common awesome characteristics that make them a wonderful family space to enjoy. And if you;re wondering why we at A Growing Understanding Speech Pathology love parks so much, here are few of our reasons:
- There’s plenty of space for the kids to run around, burn off energy and play a variety of outdoor games
- The park equipment provides great opportunity to practice skills through climbing and balancing, riding bikes, ball games and other activities
- The park is free, always open and always available!
- It’s a chance to soak up some sunshine
- You can combine it with a picnic lunch, a take away coffee or (dare I suggest it!) an afternoon snooze (or at least a relax)
- Finally, the outdoors offer plenty of opportunities to practice language and communication skills
A Growing Understanding’s Favourite Family Friendly Parks
Clearly from the information above, our speech pathologists all love the park! In fact, we all have our own favourite parks that we love – and all for different reasons:
Lauren: Our practice director is a devoted fan of her local, Whitebridge Park. “This park has everything. It’s close to home, fenced and the abundance of trees provides plenty of climbing fun and places to explore. I also love that Pegs Café is a short walk away for a coffee and a muffin!”
Jackie: With two active children, Jackie loves Reay Park, Dudley for it’s wide open spaces: “Reay Park has a huge oval where the kids can kick a ball and the play equipment is fantastic. I also love that it’s super quiet as many parks can feel quite hectic. The BBQ facilities are great too which we love to use on warm summer evenings for a chilled out family dinner”.
Jess: Growing up in the city, King Edward Park holds a special place in Jess’ heart: “I used to watch the New Years fireworks at King Edward Park as a kid and I love the beautiful gardens and views out to the ocean. There are also great BBQ facilities and plenty of open spaces”.
Jordan: As a Redhead gal and an avid beach-goer, Jordan can’t go past her local – Webb Park: “Webb Park connects to a boardwalk which takes you down to a little duck pond! There’s plenty of open space for playing soccer or flying kites. The park has also been updated recently with new facilities including a flying fox. It’s also right next to Redhead Beach so there’s something for everyone!”
Shaylee: Living closer to our Williamtown clinic, Shaylee is our go-to for local knowledge in this area: “I love Raymond Terrace Park – it’s right on the water and has amazing sunset views. The walking path is perfect for pushing a pram and the play equipment has something for everyone”.
As for me, with a keen fisherman husband, a park that includes water nearby is a must. I love Pelican Park down near Belmont South. It’s fully fenced so it’s super safe for young kids that like to run. The lake is right next to the park which is great for water toys like kayaks and fishing or even just throwing rocks in the water.
So if you’re looking for an easy outing over the weekend or during the holidays that is both cost-effective and provides something for everyone, head down to your local park or visit one of our ‘tried and tested’ suggestions. We’d also love to hear from you – tell us why you love your family friendly park!