Hudson Valley Parent

HVP May 2015

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32 Hudson Valley Parent ■ May 2015 P laying outside is not just about letting o steam and getting the kids out of the house. It is also a vital part of childhood development, helping children develop physical strength, coordination and balance. When children play with other children, they learn to communicate, share, collaborate and empathize with others. Not only do playgrounds teach valuable social skills and problem-solving skills, but managing the physical and social chal- lenges of a playground helps children to learn about keeping themselves safe. Make sure to visit us online at best-playgrounds for a list of our favorite Hudson Valley playgrounds, as well as a great checklist for parents on playground safety. The next time you're at your favorite play- ground, step back and watch your kids use their own initiative, explore and take chances — these are all great opportunities to learn while playing. Thanks to all of our readers who submitted photos of your children playing at their favorite playground! Child's play! We love our local playgrounds — and you should, too! Katelyn, 4 months, at Bowdoin Park playground in Wappingers Falls. Bowdoin Park 85 Sheafe Rd., Wappingers Falls With its nature center, hiking trails, and handicapped-accessible playground with swings, slides, tunnels, and climbing apparatus, it is easy to see why this 300-acre park is beloved by all. High- lights also include a water play area with three large spouting turtles and unobstructed views of the Hudson River. Thomas Bull Memorial Park 211 State Rte. 416, Montgomery This 20-acre park is home to Sally's Dream Playground, a beautiful handicapped-accessible playground with plenty of shade, ramps and platform bridges, swings, and even some play instruments and puzzles. Hasbrouck Park Mohonk Ave., New Paltz The main attraction of this playground is the large wooden, cas- tle-style structure that allows kids to exercise their imagination as well. With nooks and crannies to climb, this fenced-in playground has a wood-chip ground cover, a sandbox, slides, and swings. Grasshopper Grove Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, 120 Muser Dr., Cornwall A half-acre of safe, accessible nature play space where young chil- dren can run down hills, balance on logs, use their imaginations and develop their motor skills. Natural elements give young chil- dren the opportunity to nd adventure and appreciate the wonder of nature. Admission is free for members, $3 for nonmembers. 4 TOP HUDSON VALLEY PLAYGROUNDS:

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