As the title suggests, this article explores the value of parks to our sense of well-being and happiness.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Any subject area; the lesson deals with basic human needs and the importance of maintaining a balance in our lives.

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What role do parks play in maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
  • What types of parks are there – including physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual – and how valuable is each to us?
  • What are your emotional, intellectual and spiritual parks?

Materials Needed:

Access to the article and perhaps a significant other to talk with about the ideas.

Study and Discussion Activity


To say we are in challenging times is a gross understatement. We are in a place we have never been before and we need the reassurance that, in the end, we will emerge OK. While we are engaged in facing these challenges and threats, we need a counterpoint to the information overload and the angst that accompany the unknown. Without this balance we can easily be overwhelmed and enter a state of great despair and stress. Talking about parks may seem strange in this context, but actually they can be a lifesaver. There are, for most of us, the physical parks in our neighbourhood which provide opportunities for getaways and fresh air – a pause from the daily trials and tribulations of life. Who among us does not think positively when considering the role that parks have played in our lives – space, opportunities for fun and frolic, memories of good times with friends as we explored, played games and set aside the trials, tribulations and restrictions that our organized lives brought to us.

But these are the parks of our childhood that stay alive in our memories and grow as we share, if fortunate enough, with our children and our grandchildren. There are other parks that we all have – getaways that help us to put life in perspective and deal with what appear to be overwhelming challenges. These are our intellectual, emotional and spiritual places that we count on so much in times of need. They provide the reassurances, comfort and positivity that the physical parks did for us as children. This lesson will have each student reflect on the good memories of childhood parks and use that as a stepping stone to consider the emotional, intellectual and spiritual parks that we now carry with us and the valuable role they play in providing a respite from times when, as the English poet William Wordsworth said, ‘the world is too much with us.”


  • When you think of parks, what do you think of?
  • Write down a few of the things you think about.
  • Are they positive thoughts? Why or why not?
  • When you thought about parks did you think about the different types of parks and what they have to offer? For example:
    1. Parks which are primarily gardens with beautiful flowers and manicured lawns
    2. Local playground parks with climbers and sandboxes
    3. Sports parks with baseball diamonds and soccer pitches (note: some of the above amenities are off-limits in some jurisdictions at the moment).
    4. Provincial and National parks with hiking and camping.
  • These are physical parks which provide great opportunities for getaways and making lifelong memories of good times with family and friends.
  • Read the article and discuss how this use of parks provides positive, refreshing experiences.
  • Can you think of different types of parks – ones that are not physical entities?
  • There are emotional, intellectual and spiritual parks that we all have that serve our psyches in times of need.


  • What are your emotional, intellectual and spiritual parks? What do you do to help stay calm, avoid loneliness, alleviate sadness, refresh in exhausting times, keep a positive perspective and determination to overcome?
  • These are our other parks that serve us well when we need them most.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Realization of the value of parks and all that they have to offer.
  • Recognition of the “parks” that we all have and the use of them to help us cope with the trials in our lives.

Confirming Activity:

  • A visit to one of our parks – be it a physical walk to a park ensuring that we do it safely or engaging in an activity associated with one of our other parks – such as a friendly interactive game with family, reading one of our favourite books or looking through the family photo album and remembering the good times, realizing that there are more to come.