Category Archives: Rebuilding Rounds

Rebuild Our Playground

Please RSVP for a couple of hours on August 24 to help during the second (and final) Community Build Day. Lots of jobs for all ages and abilities – and we need a lot more volunteers to make this community effort be as successful as the first Build Day in May.

Use our sign-up sheet at or email to see what needs to be done on August 24

Let’s build OUR playground!!!

This is what we will be installing:

38-76015-1A0000 copy_BE_RebuildingRound (1)August 24, 2013
Community Build Day
A.P. Rounds Playground – corner Broadway and MacArthur, Stoneham MA
RSVP: or email

Rebuilding Rounds – big grant and next build day

Jen at Rebuilt Rounds“If you build it, they will come” — Kinsella

Okay, SO cliche.  Let’s try again.

“The world is but a canvas to our imagination” — Henry David Thoreau

“A back-to-nature movement to reconnect the children with the outdoors is burgeoning nationwide” — USA Today

“IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL–I JUST LOVE IT!” — Bridget, Lindsay’s 4 year old

Okay, somewhat better, but sometimes you’ve just gotta come out and say it:

Round one for AP Rounds is done and the playground is officially open! Go and play! We’re sorry for the delay–while the first build day itself went quite smoothly, there were a few safety issues to fix, and some tricky scheduling to finalize the clean-up. But now it is good to go just in the nick of time for summer vacation.

Enjoy it as a construction-free zone all you can these couple of months, because the second and final build day is a definite for this year–late summer or early fall!

100Kfor100 logoWe have been awarded a joint grant from the Cummings Foundation and have $25,000 to finish rebuilding Rounds! Yup, there are some other things you also just have to blurt out! We submitted a grant along with 4 other Stoneham community groups (Stoneham Music Parents, Friends of the Fells, Stoneham Light It Up Blue, and the Stoneham High School community garden project) for $100,000. The grant will be divided among the groups and all will benefit Stoneham children.  Lots of thanks to you, Cummings Foundation, and to the non-profits willing to network with us.  Congrats to everyone, and we can’t wait to see what you all do!


Lindsay (left) with Joyce Calabro from Friends of the Fells at the Cummings Reception

Lindsay (right) with Joyce Calabro from Friends of the Fells at the Cummings Reception

The main focus of the second build day will be the large, fabulous big kid structure. But there are other things to think about, too, so while you’re picnicking at the new one, brainstorm and look around. Some other things we’re considering adding that day:

Plus, because this is a community build, we’ll need your help deciding again soon! Hard working and ever-helpful Town Engineer Dan is out there taking measurements, and soon we’ll have exciting proposals. Stay tuned for an important vote!

Afterwards, a local fence company has been gracious enough to donate a gate and fence extension to both increase safety and really polish the whole thing off.

We received a lot of feedback after the first build day that most of you had a lot of fun and found it really rewarding. We’re glad, because we’re asking for your expertise, muscle, and generosity one more time! We’ll likely even need more people next time due to the next structure being larger (although some parts will be simpler due to preliminary work being done and the fact we’re all old pros at playground building now and have some experience with what works and what doesn’t). So tell your friends, and we’ll let you know as soon as we have an exact date! Currently we’re thinking either August August 24 or Sep 14.

We’ll be in touch soon with more specific volunteer needs, but in the meantime, work on recruiting your friends and colleagues and let us know if you have connections for in-kind donations for food, landscaping, signage, or whatever else you think we might need.  Thank you!

It’s going to happen! So exciting!

Build Day – Rebuilding Rounds

It took over two years to raise the money, but on May 18 a whole lot of volunteers came together and rebuilt AP Rounds, a Stoneham neighborhood playground.

Tania, Lindsay and I are so happy with how everything turned out. So many people contributed to make this a true community event, that I am still slightly teary eyed. At times the last two-plus years have felt lonely and like drudgery, but our first Build Day made it all worth it. And then when my daughter rode up in the Crazy Coupe and declared the playground “Beautiful”, I don’t think anyone had a bigger grin than me.

We had 100-plus volunteers come on the day, and here are some of the organisations and people who came together. Intrepid leaders were:

  • Organizers: Angelika P., Tania W., Lindsay B.
  • Construction: Dan D. (Town Engineer), Mike S. (Team Leader),
  • Food: Tania W.
  • Childcare: Lindsay B.
  • Safety: Robert C.

We had food donations from ZuZu’s CafeHoney Dew DonutsSal’s PizzaSubwayStop & Shop, and a whole lot of neighbors who baked and brought water. We had paint and brushes donated byRound’s Hardware, play sand by Reading Home Depot.

St Patrick’s members of the National Honors Society and the 4th Grade Girl Scout Troup came and helped with childcare and made a documentary for Stoneham TV, and the Stoneham High School Band came and performed. On Sunday, a whole baseball team showed up from Stoneham Baseballto help spread some mulch.

We have a long list of sponsors and donors on our website (, and we ask you to support these local businesses as a sign of your appreciation of their contribution to Stoneham children. They made it possible for us to buy the structures and amenities on the playground.

Next: Big Kid Play Structure

So now that we have put in the monkey bars and the climbing structure for the 2-5 year olds, it’s time to raise the remaining $15,000 or so, to purchase the climbing structure for 5-12 year olds. We have two big grants out and have our fingers crossed that one of them will come through.

If we get a grant, we will then have our second build day at the end of summer 2013. At this second Build Day we would like to install the big kid structure, memorial benches and planters, flower beds, art, a donor sign. So get your thinking caps on what you would like to do.

We have heard that most of the people from the first Build Day enjoyed it so much that they would like to come back, but we are already collecting names of others who would like to come to our second Build Day, or at least stay informed of progress. Please sign up to our email list at and tell Angelika ( you would like to come

We will be looking for sponsors, food and drink donors, building material donors, landscapers (bobcats are good), landscaping materials, musical entertainment, art installations, gardeners, plant donations, … So we will be looking for folks who can help us find all that during the build up. It takes a bunch of people to get ready, so we want to encourage everyone to get in touch and volunteer an hour to make phone calls.

This press release has also been posted at

Rebuilding Rounds Newsletter Feb 2012

Project Update

Thanks to your support and enthusiasm we have made some great strides in our fundraising. We are quickly approaching 20% of funds to rebuild AP Rounds Playground! We have several large donations from neighbors in the bank and local businesses have signed letters of pledged moneys and in-kind donations. It has been an excellent start to the 2012!

Please send in a donation or a pledge if and when you can.

Rachel, Tania and I appeared in front of the Stoneham Selectmen and requested to become anofficial committee of the town. This was accepted, and we now have the resources of the town at hand to handle our accounting, not to mention significant tax implications for us and our supporters. 🙂

We will open the bidding on equipment purchases through the official channels, but luckily we have several members experienced with such requests for proposals (mainly co-chair Rachel, who has managed large real estate preservation and development projects). We worked out that with her experience, and the town’s support with this process, we would gain a lot and complete the project faster.


Current Fundraisers

Our Silent Auction ends 2/25/12, and has raised close to $800 so far. Please check out the auction website and pass it on to friends.

The online auction event is ending tomorrow, so if you can throw the text just below into your email signature or put on Facebook until the weekend, it could be an easy way to get eyeballs on the auction & help raise $$$:

“Visit and bid on a range of donated products and services. Help us buy playground equipment

for your children!”


An online Avon Fundraiser is starting next week.  The event will go from 2.28-3.13 and an Avon invite a link to the Rebuilding Rounds page will be available then. Folks can also get there by going to and clicking the Online Events tab. When they check out they will need to submit the code ROUNDS. Using this code will keep track of all orders for the fundraiser. Rebuilding Rounds will keep 15% of everything you spend

Flower Power Click this link and go to our special home page on the Flower Power Fundraising site where you can purchase top-size flower bulbs and perennials to support Rebuilding Rounds. We keep 50% of everything you spend, Flower Power ships directly to you and gives a 100% money-back guarantee.

Flower Power makes it very easy to share the link, so please take advantage and post to Facebook, your Emails or your websites.



Easter Egg Hunt 2012

Saturday April 7, 2012 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM EDT

Second Annual Easter Egg Hunt at AP Rounds Playground – FREE, but accepting donations to rebuild this Stoneham playground

AP Rounds Playground


We are opening up the event to sponsors. If you would like to participate please e-mail me




Again, Thank YOU for all your support – please continue to check for updates.

Please get in touch if you have any ideas for raising funds and increasing awareness you are willing to run with. We are looking for neighbors, guides, scouts, artists, musicians, restaurants, gardeners, and anyone willing to run an event.

No bake sale is too small 🙂

We hope to see you all at the Easter Egg Hunt.

Best, Angelika

Second Playground Design Day

Yikes, it’s been a long time between posts! Will you accept non-napping children and my visiting mother as excuses?

Actually, in the background all of us on the committee to rebuilding AP Rounds Playground at Broadway and MacArthur have been busy connecting with the very supportive and enthusiastic folks at Stoneham Town Hall, the Stoneham Board of Selectmen, the Stoneham Theater, the North Shore Family Network, the organizers of the Winchester FANSplash projectand of the Moulton Playground rebuilding project.

We had the second design day last week, this time at the Stoneham Senior Center. Thank you to all who came and sent in suggestions by email. It isn’t too late to put in your two cents (though we’d prefer a few dollars – ha!) and you can send suggestions to me at

I’ll let the pictures do the talking about the actual design evening. It was very successful with input from parents, children, and the Stoneham Little League.

The next step is that our very lovely and competent landscape designer from Garden Simplicity will draw up plans. In early July, we will then go before the Selectmen’s Open Space and Recreation Committee in the hopes that they will be just as enthusiastic as us in supporting this project.

As a parting shot I would just like to say that even though my family has lived in Stoneham for only 5 1/2 years, we think this community is awesome. It may start with a playground, but it takes the proverbial village to raise a family, build resources and strengthen the community.

If you would like to become involved with the playground project (or just to send in your support), email me at, “like” us on Facebook, “follow” us on Twitter, and read the blog.

This blog post first appeared in the Stoneham Patch:






Have you rebuilt a playground? No, me neither. That’s why I’m still so thankful and in awe of the wonderful women who have joined in the Project to Rebuilding AP Rounds Playground. Rachel is experienced in property development and preservation and has managed projects worth 10s of million of dollars. Jessie is an experienced landscape designer. And both have led and facilitated design charrettes.

We had the first (of two) design charrettes this week on Tuesday, and I have to admit, I was very impressed with how it went. I made some cookies and muffins and brought two kids – that was pretty much the extent of my contribution to this event. So here is a quick write-up of what went on, and we hope to see even more people at the next Design-a-Playground Event on Thursday, June 23 at 6pm at the Stoneham Senior Center.

Posterboard of existing structures and snacks

Tania made a beautiful poster board with photos her son took of the existing playground structures at AP Rounds. And to keep the conversation going… do you have any thoughts on the equipment that is currently there? Please add comments to the -er- comments section below 😉

We did a short round of introductions and broke out the crayons, pencils and paper. The first break-out session task was to draw or write down what you would like to see at the new AP Rounds playground.

Alex drew a lot of circles. Jen added little squiggles. Yes, it’s a bit tricky to understand what a 20month old is saying, but Alex assured me that Jen would also like some monkey bars, a tire swing, a slide, and a sprinkler area. Good to know what the large number of circles meant. HA!

The second break-out session was supposed to be about figuring out what we should keep of the current playground equipment, but that was short and sweet, since everyone agreed that none of it should really stay.

Rachel, Tania, and Jessie did an excellent job getting the kids to stand up in front and explain their drawings. A picture says a thousand words, right? Well, sometimes you need some words, but here are some pictures of the pictures. It will be Jessie’s job as our volunteer landscape designer to integrate all of those thoughts into a coherent plan to present to the town Selectmen.

Tania, Rachel, Jessie and I brought various snacks and utensils (all paid for out of our own money, like everything else we have bought so far). Henry’s Catering in Malden donated a huge tray of very delicious stuffed shells. And we are also sending a big thank you to Stoneham Town, for letting us use the Town Hall banquet hall and their projector.

Hope you can come to the next design session – we really want to hear from you! And while we could just get everyone to send in their pictures, it is a special time for the community to share, and the kids think it’s the best party ever to plan a playground.

This blog post first appeared on the Stoneham Patch HERE.

My favorite Playgrounds

I had the Julie Andrew’s song “These are a few of my favorite things” stuck in my head for the last couple of days. I’m hoping writing about my three most favorite playgrounds. And maybe it will help solidify ideas for the Design-a-Playground session we have coming up on Tuesday (Stoneham Town Hall, 3:30pm for those that are interested).

These playgrounds are in no particular order, but they are my go-to spots. Yes, I would rather drive into Boston than play at my neighborhood playground. And that’s what I want to change with the Rebuilding Rounds project.

Playground One: North Point

Pro: Huge playground with seperate fenced area for toddlers. A couple of weeks ago this area was perfect for Jen at 20months. The toddler area is friendly, colorful, has a sun shelter (there are no mature trees) and some water play areas. The adjoining “big kid” structure made out of wood was also partially playable by Jen and Alex. It is also very friendly and easily to supervise even though there are lots of nooks and crannies. The big hit for us last summer was the water sprinkler play area, and the excellent view of the trains, boats, and bridges.

Con: Parking. Exposed and windy

JenJen and the tot lot JenJen in the tot lot Shaded picnic area Big kid structure
Big toddler structure in the tot lot Alex on the big toddler structure Elinor and Lucy playing with the rope bridge in the tot lot Big kid structure
Big kid structure Alex on big kid structure Tot lot from spray deck Elinor on spinny pole

Playground Two: Cambridge Common/Harvard

Pro: The Cambridge Common playground is beautiful and very playable. Lots of imaginative structures and really nice use of natural components. Alex played with the pulley platform for about an hour – there are a basic pulley and conveyor belt, lots of large wooden block to move around, and some interesting experiments to do with sand. There are no defined big kid/little kid structures, but the elements are used to whatever level each child is comfortable with.

Con: Much of playground is covered in sand, which is probably not accessible. The playground is fenced, but it is not possible to supervise the entire playground from any one location.


Playground Three: Grimmons Park

Pro: Fenced with extra fence around toddler section. We mostly liked the water feature and played there for a good hour. The toddler area was also good for Alex (Jen wasn’t walking when we came here). There was an excellent looking big-kid structure that we didn’t venture near. The playground is bright, cheery, colorful, has grass for picnics, a water feature, and rubbery-cement surface throughout. (Note to self: must research this material).

Con: Recently redone and the trees are very small still (little shade), and all the parking nearby is resident-only.

It would be great if you could go to these playgrounds too. There are about 400 other playgrounds on the Playground Hunt MAP, but most of them are pretty average. These three stand out to me. But, please let me know if you know of any other super playgrounds (near Boston) the design team and I should check out as we rebuild AP Rounds Playground in Stoneham.

This post first appeared in the Stoneham Patch

Play Deficit

We’ve got the first design day coming up for the AP Rounds project, so I’ve been thinking hard about what makes a playground great. For Us. Of course every child plays differently, and of course every caregiver has different needs, but we really want to build playground up there on the hill that will fight the “Play Deficit” researched and explained by Kaboom:

How the Play Deficit is harming our children

The lack of play is causing physical, intellectual, social, and emotional harm to our children.

Physical harm:

In neighborhoods without a park or playground, the incidence of childhood obesity increases 29%.  In fact, children with a park or playground within half-a-mile are almost five times more likely to be a healthy weight than children without playgrounds or parks nearby.

Intellectual harm:

Without ample play, we will continue to see a decrease in creativity and imagination, as well as vital skills including curiosity, social skills, resiliency, and the ability to assess risk. Children in China, Korea, Finland, Singapore, and Japan are provided with playful schooling opportunities prior to second grade and have among the highest scores on international PISA exam for 15 year olds, ranked (1, 2, 3, 5, 8) respectively. The U.S. was ranked at #13.

Social harm:

Children who don’t play don’t learn how to work in groups, share, negotiate, resolve conflicts, and advocate for themselves.  The lack of these skills has dramatic long-term effects. Children deprived of play show increased problems with social integration, including greater likelihood of felony arrests by young adulthood.

Emotional harm:

Studies have shown that schools without recess face increased incidence in classroom behavioral problems, including violence, emotional outbursts, and their students show a lack of ability to interact with peers and authority figures.  Outside the school, play deprivation can have serious long-term consequences. Physician, psychiatrist, and clinical researcher Stuart Brown, studied more than 6,000 felons and found that 90% of convicted murderers lacked “play features” in their childhoods.

So, it starts with a playground, but hopefully we are also building the community