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

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