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.
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.
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…
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.
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.