Be ready to play when warm weather hits

Rhonda Follman is the area director of the Colorado State University Tri River Area Extension office.

With the extreme cold this winter and storms that just keep on bringing the snow it seems implausible that spring is almost here.  Now that we’re into March, I just know those warm days are right around the corner.  Once we hit our first 60-degree day I know my 5-year-old is going to want to get outside and have some good old fashioned fun.  With all the emphasis on getting our kids moving these days I don’t want to waste a single opportunity.

However, if you’re like me, the bicycles are under a heap of lawn furniture on the patio and the outdoor play equipment is somewhere in the garage and the swing set and trampoline are looking a little worse for wear after sitting out all winter.

Hence, the first day my youngster wants to enjoy the warmer weather is always spent airing up bicycle tires, looking for knee pads and helmets, and inspecting outdoor play equipment for safety.  Well not this year!  I’m going to get out there this weekend and get my act together so that first warm, beautiful spring day is filled with fun!

Now is the perfect time of year to get your children’s bicycles in good working condition. Airing up tires or replacing tire tubes that have holes in them and making sure brakes are working properly are things that can be done now to ensure your child is ready to ride on that first warm day.  Don’t forget to adjust the seat.  Kids grow fast and will probably have grown some since the fall.

Pull the outdoor play equipment out of storage.  Every winter I pack up all the balls, bats and lawn toys and store them for the winter.  When I pull them out in the spring I have a hodge-podge of flat basketballs and knee and elbow pads with no mates.  This is the perfect time of year to get all this equipment in good working condition and organized for use.  Airing up balls, getting safety equipment like knee pads and helmets together and in a handy spot, and organizing these toys so they are easy to pull out and even easier to put away will ensure that first spring day is packed with fun.

Playground equipment such as slides, swings, playhouse structures, and trampolines can become damaged from the elements.  These items should be checked to ensure all pieces are securely attached and safe for youngsters.  Equipment should be inspected for nails, splinters, sharp edges, rust, weakened support, and breaks.  Playground equipment can serve as nesting areas for bees and wasps as summer approaches.  Make sure tubular pieces on metal swing sets are capped and equipment is routinely checked for signs of nesting. Replacing wood chips or sand around the base of the equipment that has been washed away by the weather can make for softer landings.

The best part about getting all this done now is once we have that first warm day you will be able to enjoy the day playing with your children!

Rhonda Follman is the area director of the Colorado State University Tri River Area Extension office.  She is a home economist who often writes about safe and healthy homes and families.


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