So often as moms we are task-driven, taking care of children, making sure we don’t live in total filth, and taking care of any other responsibilities on our plates. While being responsible and care-taking are so very important, it can feel never ending. In that sense, sometimes we need to step away to have room to breathe, to be lighthearted, and to simply be.
We are not meant as people to be robots or machines, yet often we have to be the ones to pull ourselves away, to put boundaries up, and to say that’s “good enough” for now, so that we can make space for something else that is important!
Research supports play as being good for our well-being, and what’s good for parents and their well-being has positive effects on the whole family.
For children, play is hardly a component of their life as it’s really their language. Through play, children communicate, problem solve, and develop creatively. Many times, play is centered around children, which has so much value, yet it’s so impactful when there is an opportunity for the whole family to play, to exhale together, to be refreshed through the fun and experience.
Of all the incredible places in our city, there is one that is especially inviting of people of all ages. In many ways, it is the heartbeat of Chattanooga. It’s a place where people of all ages and backgrounds gather together and PLAY.
Coolidge Park is located along the Tennessee river on the North Shore. Nearby are restaurants, shopping, and the ever-popular Clumpie’s ice cream shop. The pedestrian bridge is right there allowing for walks across the river to access downtown and other adventures such as the Tennessee Aquarium.
Whatever the season, Coolidge Park is inviting, yet the warmer months offer even more options for play. As the heat increases, kids can frolic in the splash pad. The river being right there offers not only beauty, but the opportunity for river access for those who love kayaking and paddling.
One of the classic draws to Coolidge Park is the carousel. For $1 a ride, the carousel is a delight and gifts its younger and older riders alike with a few moments of child-like wonder. Outdoor Chattanooga is located right there and offers all kinds of opportunities in the community including rock climbing underneath the bridge on the Walnut Wall. There are paved paths all around the area drawing walkers and runners of all ages, roller bladers, and parents with strollers.
A family favorite for our crew is packing up a football and soccer ball, our picnic blanket, and picking up a pizza to take some time together to hang out and eat a meal together in the park. While the opportunity to play ball captures our son’s attention, our gymnastics-loving daughters can often be found flipping and twirling their way through the park. The options at Coolidge Park really are endless, yet the invitation for play and refreshment is consistent.