Category Archives: Playgrounds

Endicott Park

We joined a Meetup.com meetup at Endicott Park in Danvers. We’d never been, but it is only 15 minutes from our home in Stoneham, and it was great fun. It’s run by the town of Danvers: http://www.endicottpark.com/

Located in northeast Massachusetts, in the Town of Danvers, Endicott Park encompasses 165 acres, and is home to some of the most unique and varied recreational land on the North Shore.

The park’s varied landscape includes pastoral views, historic farm buildings, orchards, woodlands, and marshes, with a network of trails and gravel roads for stress free and stroller friendly exploration of the park.

Entrance fee to the park is $1 for residents and $3 for non-residents during the weekend. Free during the week, but they are looking for donations to purchase a new climbing rock for the playground. And I always support people who want to improve a playground 😉 (For my playground project see http://RebuildingRounds.org)

Anyway, the playground area is fully fenced, has lots of benches, lots of shade trees, and lots of space with grass. There are two areas, one for the 2-5 year old set, one for the 5-12 year old set. Both are well designed, usable, and FUN! There are lots of swings, thought the ones with the infant seats and the big kid seats are at opposite sides of the playground. There are NO TRASH BARRELS since this is a carry in – carry out facility. Bring a plastic bag.

There are restrooms, some farm animals, some strolling trails, and lots of meadows and trees for frolicking.

Top 5 Playgrounds from Summer 2012

We went to a lot of playgrounds this summer, and here is a short list of our five most favorite ones.

Spaulding Playground (Wakefield) is a beautiful playground right on the shore of Lake Quannapowit in Wakefield. It has a large structure for 5-12yo, a separate structure for under-5yo, a very large number of swings, plenty of benches, a water fountain, a beach (no swimming though). We can spend hours and hours here and then go across the road to get a bite to eat.

PlaygroundHunt at Spaulding Playground

 

Greenwood Park Playground (Stoneham) is a large, shady playground in the north of the Middlesex Fells, just opposite the Stone Zoo. There is a huge sandbox, liberally stocked with donated trucks and shovels, a very fun big-kid structure with our favorite slide ever: THE Tunnel Slide. This playground also has a structure with slide for toddlers, several picnic tables, a circle of six sit-on wobbly toys, and my favorite: a large stone wall, full of possibilities. It is easy to go for a short hike through the Fells and explore the forest and marsh.

Playground Hunt at Greenwood Park

 

Paulina Street Playground (Somerville) is right in the middle of Davis Square in Somerville.  This is a very friendly playground, where we have had many great experiences with other parents supervising and encouraging their kids to share and be kind. We call this the Yellow Playground because both the under-5yo and the older kid structures are bright yellow. There is also a nice club-house with a several (!) donated play kitchens, a beautifully designed, shaded sand river, some swings, and a water-pump play feature. Alex and Jen mostly run around in circles here…

Paulina Street Playground

Springs Brook Park (Bedford) is a pay-for-use facility operated by the Town of Bedford. It is a man-made lake with lots of lifeguards and zero-depth entry from the sandy beach all around. The sprinkler park is our favorite in the Boston North area. There is also a playground, but the surfaces are usually boiling hot, so we just spent our time going between sprinkler park, lake, and the very reasonably priced concession stand.

Spring Brooks Park

North Point Park (Cambridge) is near the Museum of Science, beautiful, huge, and rarely visited, perhaps due to the two-hour parking limit nearby. There is a separately fenced toddler playground with water feature, several slides, several innovative structures, and a shaded picnic area. Outside the toddler area are three other huge big-kid play structures and a sprinkler park. From this playground you can also see trains and boats on the harbor. We always leave here happy.

Playground Hunt at North Point Park in Cambridge

Art in the Park – Playground Hopping

Welcome “Playground Hopping”

I was so happy to see another playground blogger in the Boston area. Please visit Playground Hopping’s new blog at http://playground-hoppingmass.blogspot.com/ and check out her other posts. Here is one with lots of pretty pictures of Boston area playgrounds from earlier this month…

“Parks and playgrounds should invite you in, be a place to relax and chat with your neighbors while your kids play and meet new friends. If you’re lucky, you might come across something very rare…ART IN THE PARK! In our search for more art, we uncovered IconParks right here in MA that designs wonderful playgrounds. Like Dorothy following the yellow brick road, we will hop along to every playground designed by IconParks. Below is some of their work, in addition to wonderful artwork we’ve discovered in Boston and Cambridge.

Dorothy Curran Playground – Dorchester, MA
http://www.iconparks.com/
Alexander Kemp Playground – Cambridge, MA
http://ericpowell.com/
The Esplanade Playspace – Boston, MA
Created by artist and poet Mitch Ryerson
http://www.foresthillstrust.org/path/ryerson.html
Julia’s Playground – WWI Memorial Park – North Attleboro, MA
Creekside Commons Park – Chelsea, MA
Julia’s Garden – WWI Memorial Park – North Attleboro, MA
Playground Hunt map of playgrounds near Boston

Sprinkler Parks near Boston

Playground Hunt map of playgrounds near BostonNorth Point Playground (Cambridge – map) – big water feature, superb playgroundS near Museum of Science (read my review at this LINK)

Springs Brook Park (Bedford – map) – man-made lake with sandy beach, playground, and huge sprinkler park, concessions (read my review at this LINK)

Grimmons Playground (East Somerville – map) – separate fenced toddler area, big kid playground, sprinklers – beautifully designed (read my review at this LINK)

Cedar St Playground (Cambridge – map) – shady playground with sprinklers (read my review at this LINK)

Simond’s Park Playground (Burlington – map) – large playground with structures for all age groups, wading pool (read my review at this link)

Fort Point Playground  (South Boston – map) – large park by harbor with beach and well designed playground (not sure where my review went)

Lederman Park (Boston – map) – by MGH/Museum of Science – never made it but it looks awesome from Storrow Drive.

Bradley Palmer Wading Pool and Playground (Topsfield – map) – wading and sprinkler park – this will be the summer we make it!

Spy Pond (Arlington – map) – large fenced playground with structures for toddlers and older kids, sandbox, and by a couple of little beaches for wading in Spy Pond (read my review at this LINK)

Albion St Playground (Somerville – map) pleasant playground with a fun sprinkler/water feature – not sure why I never wrote a review, but this playground made for a nice couple of days last year

Playground Hunt offspring at Springs Brook Park

Bedford Water Park – Springs Brook Park

Since the couple of photos I posted on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/PlaygroundHunt) got so many questions about the where, what, and when, I figured I better write a slightly longer post about the awesomeness that is Springs Brook Park, or possibly Spring Brooks Park. Who knows? The GPS address is 171 Springs Rd, Bedford MA 01730

Ignoring various spelling on various locations, all I can say is that Alex, Jen and I have thoroughly enjoyed this place for the last three summers.

It is a public, man-made beach with sprinkler park, lake, playground, and a very reasonable concession stand. It costs money to get in, but the maximum per day per family is $25. Bedford residents can get a season pass cheaply. They only take cash.

The staff are superb, there are lots of very attentive lifesavers, the place is clean, the people are friendly.

We bring a picnic blanket, snacks, lots of sunscreen, and swim stuff. I’m looking into buying a beach shelter thing, just because the trees shade the side of the lake away from the sprinkler park, and I like to plop down in between.

Stoneham Family Fair – thoughts

I’m starting to recover, about a week after the big event. For those who missed the whole thing, I organized a family day to benefit rebuilding AP Rounds Playground with two of the most awesome partners imaginable: Tania and Lindsay.

We had 80+ish craft and food vendors, 11 sponsors, a train ride, a golf game, face-painting, balloon animals, soccer, and great music.  We had a dumpster, port-a-potties, police, a dedicated ambulance, the Stoneham Health Inspector, trash cans, and a DPW worker.

We had lots of people, and lots of great comments of how much our visitors enjoyed the event. We raised over $7000 towards rebuilding our neighborhood playground.

This is what three moms can accomplish.

We’re proud of what we did, but will we do it again? I’m not sure. I didn’t look after my two children as well as I would have liked and feel guilty. I didn’t look after my two chronic illnesses, and almost ended up in hospital. I got abused by two vendors on the phone, and answered emails and phone calls to the detriment of my business making websites.

Now it is time to recover, spend the rest of the summer playing with my children, and publish this cathartic blog post.

But then I’ll have to pick up signs, write “thank-you” letters, get receipts for the tax-deductible booth spot “fee”,  bank all the checks with the Town of Stoneham, work on some press releases,…

 

Playground Summer Challenge

What happened to playgrounds as neighborhood hubs? – a guest post by Jean Oram

HomeAs the national nonprofit KaBOOM! kicks off its 2012 Summer Playground Challenge — which challenges families to explore as many playgrounds as you can this summer and offers prizes for your playground visits —  playground lover Jean Oram shares how people can revitalize playgrounds and bring them back as neighborhood hubs.

Playgrounds used to be a social hub for neighbourhoods, particularly in the summer, but are less so nowadays. However, you could argue that playgrounds are even more important now when it comes to building healthy, playful neighbourhoods. With tall backyard fences and attached garages, neighbours are less likely to meet each other or their kids. Do your neighbours look out for your kids? For your house when you are away? Are they someone you know well enough to call on in an emergency? Playgrounds can serve as a way for neighbours to meet each other, unwind, and socialize. Not to mention all the great benefits to the kids playing in them! Below are some ideas for ways to revitalize playgrounds as neighbourhood hubs:

How Can We Revitalize Playgrounds and Bring Them Back as Neighbourhood Hubs?

  • By visiting playgrounds with our kids this summer we can make others feel safer about sending their kids out to play (safety in numbers). This relates to Lenore Skenazy’s, author of “Free Range Kids”, idea of reseeding playgrounds with kids.


  • Use KaBOOM’s free Playgrounds and Tag! apps, and the Map of Play to find local playgrounds wherever you are and keep your kids  playing all summer. You can also use these tools to set up playground playdates, and even rate playgrounds.


  • Spend time at playgrounds to show your local town or city that they are valued spaces worthy of maintaining. It also reduces the chance of vandalism and deters people from using them for reasons other than play.


  • KaBOOM!’s Summer Playground Challenge is a great way to motivate and inspire your kids to visit as many playgrounds as possible during the summer and win some cool prizes. Maybe you could even start a friendly neighbourhood competition!


  • We can show our kids that we value outdoor play and that we, as citizens, can take action and responsibility for our playgrounds by doing as Angelika Paul of Playground Hunt did – revitalizing, updating, and fixing up a local playground. Your kids will feel an accomplished sense of ownership for the playspace like you wouldn’t believe! My daughter asked the city for a garbage can at her local playground and feels pride and ownership in keeping it clean. It’s also one of the least vandalized playgrounds in town!


But the biggest thing we can do for playgrounds and our kids is to use local playgrounds this summer. So, let’s get out there! I’m the one inventing playground fun such as Under Whales (Under Ducks on the swings, only more swooshy). Come say hi. I’m always looking to meet other moms and dads.

Jean Oram is a mom, writer, skier, hiker, and playground lover. Her daughter loves the more challenging playgrounds while her son is most content in the baby swing. You can find her playing on her blog at www.itsallkidsplay.ca as well as pinning fun and games (literally) on Pinterest, sharing fun stuff on Twitter as @KidsPlay, and on Facebook. Let’s play! Get motivated to visit more playgrounds with your kids this summer by joining the 2012 Playground Challenge! The three top Challengers will win a trip for two to DC and all participants can win great prizes throughout the summer.

Summer To-Do List

Playgrounds:

North Point Playground (Cambridge – map) – big water feature, superb playgroundS near Museum of Science (read my review at this LINK)

Sgt Connelly Playground (Wakefield – map) – by Lake Quannapowit beach (wading, no swimming) (read my review at this LINK)

Spring Brook Park (Bedford – map) – man-made lake with sandy beach, playground, and huge sprinkler park, concessions (read my review at this LINK)

Grimmons Playground (East Somerville – map) – separate fenced toddler area, big kid playground, sprinklers – beautifully designed (read my review at this LINK)

Cedar St Playground (Cambridge – map) – shady playground with sprinklers (read my review at this LINK)

Simond’s Park Playground (Burlington – map) – large playground with structures for all age groups (read my review at this link)

Fort Point Playground  (South Boston – map) – large park by harbor with beach and well designed playground (not sure where my review went)

Lederman Park (Boston – map) – by MGH/Museum of Science – never made it but it looks awesome from Storrow Drive.

Bradley Palmer Wading Pool and Playground (Topsfield – map) – wading and sprinkler park – this will be the summer we make it!

 

Events

4th July Fireworks – Lake Quannapowit

 

Things to Do

Harbor Island boat trip

Camping

Ocean Beach – Nahant Beach, Wingaersheek Beach,…

Boating Wakefield – kayak rental

Mass Audubon Drumlin Farm – Friday Evening Hayride and Campfire

Mass Audubon Ipswich Family Campout

Mass Audubon Joppa Flats exploration

 

Places

New England Aquarium

Discovery Museums

USS Constitution

Museum of Science

Franklin Park Zoo – Zoorassic Park and Wild Adventures Class

Stone Zoo – Birds of Prey and Wild Adventures Class

 

Things to Make

Follow Me on Pinterest <– where I post all the crafty stuff I plan to make

Some recent pins: