Apartment life, particularly if you’re down-sizing from a single-family home, can seem daunting for parents. Without my own yard, what outdoor activities for kids will be available, they wonder? Luckily, these days, apartment communities plan ahead, making sure that play areas for kids are part of the blueprint. Thoughtfully utilize the amenities your community offers and you’ll maximize the fun!
Just about every apartment community has a clubhouse. It’s where complex-wide events happen, from ice-cream socials to paint night and beyond. It's also an ideal place to meet neighbors of all ages. What does yours offer? Our neighborhood recently renovated its clubhouse and along with a gym upgrade and a dedicated locker room for packages, expanded its play area for kids, adding two pool tables, a giant magnetic Scrabble game and a one-lane bowling alley!
Stay on top of the community schedule, too, to be sure to take advantage not only of game nights or holiday parties, but happenings like food truck events or even local-restaurant discount nights.
This is where the best stuff happens, because outdoor activities for kids not only allow them to get exercise and fresh air, its where they’re more likely to meet and make new friends – and not necessarily all human, either!
Then it’s likely there are walking trails or perhaps even a dog park! If you have a dog – great! You’re already using them, but even kids without dogs can make great use of these amenities. Many dog owners leave their pets for hours on end while at work, so they’re often quite appreciative of any neighbor – canine or human – who might want to help Rover blow off steam with a game of catch or fetch or tug of war. Dog parks (let’s hope your neighbors are considerate and actively keep it clean!) aren’t just play areas for dogs, they can be play areas for kids, as well!
Many rental communities install exercise stations along their walking paths. If yours has one, give it a walk-through with your children, making sure you understand how each one works and supervising age-appropriately where necessary. It’s a great way to introduce and reinforce the importance of a regular fitness routine – especially if you do it with them and lead by example.
For both relaxation and exercise in the summer, the pool is perfect. If your children are old enough to go by themselves, wonderful! Just make sure you go over your pool safety rules and ensure that other residents can enjoy the pool the way they’d like to without distraction. Young children need adult supervision, of course, but this just means you can get your sun and splash on alongside theirs – what a fun way to enjoy time together. And there’s no pesky maintenance to worry about, another check in the “pro” column where apartment life is concerned.
Burgeoning young chefs will have a blast preparing marinades and skewering veggies at home to take outside for cooking! In fact, you can ensure every member of the family enjoys your community’s outdoor spaces by starting a grill-night tradition on a given evening each week. Take turns picking favorites – hot dogs one week, lamb kebabs another, beer-can chicken the following – while expanding your kids’ palates and having a wonderful time enjoying the weather.
Just because you don’t have a house doesn’t mean you can’t have a bicycle! Whether you keep your kids’ bikes in your unit or a storage space or garage, there’s no reason your kids can’t explore their rental community neighborhood as they would any other. Be sure to give them all the necessary protective gear and supervise wee ones on their journey around the complex.
Green spaces – long stretches of lawn between or behind buildings – are open for all kinds of games, from catch to Frisbee to flag football, and be sure to utilize basketball, handball or racquetball courts, as well.
And when a splash of color is in order, there’s nothing better than a big ‘ol bucket of sidewalk chalk to make the blacktop and walkways shine with charming art work. Your neighbors will likely appreciate the cheery doodles – just make sure to keep kids out of stairwells and breezeways, where their sometimes noisy zest for life could irritate folks trying to relax quietly at home.