PERRY HALL—Playgrounds across Baltimore County are open this week and kids are eager to get out and play after months of their favorite swing sets and monkey bars being closed due to COVID-19.
"It wasn't 100 percent approved but we were actually going to have a field trip here that the kids didn't know about. All the paperwork for it was still on my desk before we had to leave," Candice Werrell, a Kindergarten teacher at Perry Hall Elementary said while sitting on a bench at Angel Park.
Werrell happened to bump into one of her now former students at the park and said it is wonderful to reconnect with her students who she had to say goodby to back in March.
There have been ways she has kept in touch with them though.
"A couple of [my students] have written me messages on their sidewalks so I've gone and wrote messages back to them on their sidewalks. Some of them have gone through losses so I've gone and dropped off a book for them. I made an end of the year slide show where I cried, I balled like a baby. One mother has sent me things through Amazon so I've sent her and her family things through Amazon too—there's a lot of different ways we have stayed connected."
Werrell, who has been a teacher for nine years, said she understands if parents are hesitant to let their kids play on public playgrounds but said finding other ways for kids to play outside is very important.
"Being outside improves their motor skills, it involves them using their imagination and working together in cooperative play and being outside is absolutely necessary for their cognitive development," Werrell said.
Ten, soon to be 11-year-old, Shelby Long was able to get some outdoor playtime and said she decided to go to Angel Park because it's one of her favorite playgrounds in the area.
"Parks reopened and I wanted to come to the biggest playground I knew. My favorite part is how big it is," Long said.
Chris Groh was happy to bring her grandson to the playground and said it was her first time to Angel Park.
"I am babysitting today and I didn't want to take him to the mall or something because he just love to go go go. [When parks closed] it was really hard for him because he was still going to the parks. So his father just started taking him to a parking lot to let him ride his bike," Groh said.
In addition to playgrounds being open, kids can also take advantage of Baltimore County's Department of Recreation and park's Grab-and-Go Program, which provides free recreation kits for kids to take and use were ever they choose.
These kits focus on various activities such as fitness, sports, arts and nature. Beginning Saturday, June 13 through July 22, kids can take part in these easy and free activities including the Ravens Fitness Flock (begins June 22), Locomotor Skills Obstacle Course, Nature Bingo, Butterfly Ring and Tissue Paper Flower Craft, and Recreation Rocks.
Instructions for each activity can be found at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/recreation/index.html#grabandgoprogram and supplies for the activities can be provided by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.