Once again, we’re back to school! Geneva School District 304 will begin its 2014-15 school year this morning. Today also marks the first time kindergartners will attend a full day of school. While many students are excited to reconnect with peers and take on the new and exciting challenges of the upcoming year, making the transition from the lazy, hazy days of summer to a six-hour school day can be tough.
But Geneva residents truly made the most of their summer this year by soaking up the sun at our local parks and facilities. Last month, we celebrated national Park and Recreation Month by playing outside every day in July. We danced along the Fox River banks with live music at Island Park, splashed around at the Moore Park Sprayground and discovered wildlife down at the Ralph Dantino Teaching Dock on Peck Lake!
The month-long “out is in” motto helped us achieve record numbers at the Butterfly House at Peck Farm Park. More than 11,295 visitors walked through its doors in July alone.
While national Park and Recreation Month is officially over and school has just begun, playing outdoors remains vital as ever. Free, unstructured play offers an antidote to the hurried lifestyles, scheduled activities and digital distractions that leave few opportunities for kids to really let loose.
Playing is how we connect. Unstructured play allows children to explore social interactions and learn through experience. According to Dr. Stuart Brown, psychologist and founding director of the National Institute for Play, children have a lot to learn from playtime, including empathy, communication skills and how to roll with the punches.
Time spent on the playground can be as equally beneficial as time in the classroom. In fact, more and more research suggests healthy playtime leads to healthy adulthood.
For the Geneva Park District, getting out to play will always be in style – regardless of the time of year! Our playgrounds welcome kids of all ages to go outside and play year round. Putt putt at Stone Creek Mini Golf Course through Sept. 28; Peck Farm Park’s Butterfly House doesn’t close until after the Autumn Fair on Sept. 20; Hawks Hollow Nature Playground remains open through the fall; and Sunset Pool is open after school through Labor Day weekend (with the exception of Aug. 25 through 28).
Fall registration for both residents and nonresidents is currently open for programs, including natural education at Peck Farm Park, youth athletics, dance, cheerleading, cultural arts and adult fitness.
Plus, go fly a kite with your family at the fourth annual Kite Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 6 at Peck Farm Park, 4038 Kaneville Road, Geneva. Bring your own kite or buy one there. Weather permitting, Chicago Kite will perform large kite demonstrations. In addition, Antonio’s Pizza and Dairy Queen will be available to buy. Plus, don’t be late – the first 500 kids to arrive will receive free paper kites to color, assemble and fly.
For information, call 630-232-4542 or visit www.genevaparks.org.
• Natalie Seidel is marketing coordinator for the Geneva Park District and can be reached at 630-232-4542. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.