Tag Archives: swings

Hunt Park

Last time I drove by Hunt Park, huge snowbanks blocked EVERYTHING. But Jen and I got to have a good play last week. This is a nice playground almost near downtown Reading, on a quiet street with plenty of off-street parking – grin! It’s a playground for toddlers, totally fenced, wood chip surface and nice wooden climbing structures.

There’s a structure for the under-two-year-old set, and one for the two-to-five set. There’s an excellent fire truck, a three-way wobbly/bouncy sit-on, and four swings (two infant, two normal).

And dang, it was good to get out in the sun for a bit and play!

Active Kids Club: 2010-12-06

The inaugural Playground Hunt Active Kids Club outing was lovely! We went to Greenwood Park, opposite the Stone Zoo and bundled up with lots of layers and hats and mittens. It was only about about 35deg F, but the wind was blowing strongly, so that made it c-c-cold. We had a little play on the playground and then went into the forest of the Middlesex Fells. We walked about 100 yards and stopped to build a fairy house. Then we walked another 200 yards before we turned back. Not bad for a first try 😀

We had a quick turn on the swings back at the playground and were back in the car about 50 minutes after we arrived. Both Alex and Jen finished the trip smiling, so I’m calling it a success.

Thus are my outdoor adventures changed from all-day missions climbing mountains in untracked New Zealand wilderness. Ok, it usually wasn’t all that epic and I often spent long stretches of time terrified of jumping and climbing, but getting my kids outside ROCKS.

For more info about Active Kids Club check out their webpage at http://www.activekidsclub.com/blogs/stoneham-massachusetts/ and don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list. Future events will be posted on Active Kids Club, on Facebook, and on the calendar, but please RSVP to angelika [at] playgroundhunt.com.

Nothing Better

There’s nothing better than a warm, sunny fall day spent with excellent friends at a playground. We had Tuft’s Tot Lot all to ourselves and everything was perfect.

Note the glow in the photos 😉

Cambridge Common Playground

Finally we got a chance today to go to the Cambridge Common Playground today. Everyone has been raving about this playground all summer. Parking has been known to be iffy, so we just haven’t ventured that deeply into Harvardland. Today Alex helped out the lovely people at the Laboratory for Developmental Studies (a.k.a. Baby Lab) at Harvard University. We spun around in a circular room with our eyes closed and had to find stickers, if you really must know. Actually, it was very cool research and a thoroughly pleasant experience. Check them out, and help out a scientist 😉

And the Cambridge Common Playground is close by,  just north of Harvard Square. I swear it took 30 minutes to drive the couple of hundred yards – boy is that area a warren of higher intellect and one-way streets. But we had no problem finding parking spots near the playground. There were plenty of two hour metered spots. Of course as your eco-friend (conscience) I recommend taking public transport…

The playground is awesome. Well designed, well made, and all understated and natural (ish). There are hills with slides and climbing options (nets, rock holds, tree branches, palisades), there are wooden playhouses, a very cool wooden sailboat, swings, a maze, picnic table and benches, shade, water features (sprinkler shower and a water race), a shaded platform with pulleys and shakers and a conveyor belt, a very nifty seesaw, a wheelchair drive-on round-a-bout, and lots and lots of large wooden blocks. The surface is mostly sand and wood chips.

Alex made a friend and together they monopolized the conveyor belt for a good half hour, moving wood onto the platform. Then they built a bridge for their cars and trains and played with that for about a microsecond. Alex then unexpectedly got all adventurous and tried out all the different climbing options (“ALL BY MYSELF” as he said when celebrating another successful ascent).

Jen freaked me out. She wanted to try out everything – gulp. She crawled up steps and hills and through tunnels and tried out the pulleys and shakers. I’m on a learning curve with her – Alex has been cautious and timid until a couple of weeks ago, so I never got all those heart-stopping moments I seem to be heading for with Jen.

Anyhow, here are my pictures. The official playground webpage has lots of good ones too…

Clara Steele/Munchkin Park

We spent yesterday morning dodging acorns.  I coaxed Alex to the Stoneham Town Hall by bribing him with the playground just behind the offices. It’s surprising how long he’s willing to play along. I had to find one office, and probably explained my issue (starting a home-based organic baby food business) three times, but Alex was a trooper and hung on with the promise of the playground.

Munchkin Park, a.k.a. Clara Steele Park is very shady and has been a favorite over the hot summer. It has one of the death defying vintage metal structures, complete with rusted bolts (though still very safe). Some wood planks have been added to plug some of the major gaps where kids could fall through. I remember playing on those kind of structures as a wee one, and am now wondering how many head injuries I got…

It’s actually a really large playground with grass for running, four infant swings, four big kid swings, a tire swing, and a younger toddler structure connected to a larger toddler/big kid structure, depending on how willing the parents are. Alex particularly likes the sand pit, which is liberally sprinkled with donated trucks. My favorite was the roofed picnic area to avoid the tremendously large acorns falling.

I looked into the acorn thing when I got home. Turns out that acorns are masting this year (which turns out to be a cyclical variation in acorn abundance). Some other people have been getting clonked on the head too, and I found this at a local news station: Acorn News. And that’s our educational fun fact for the day.

Trucks, Playground, Forest

Yesterday was a full day. Within four hours we saw trucks, played on a playground, and went for a walk in the Fells, but still no nap from Alex – pffft.
We went to the (apparently) annual Touch-a-Truck event in Burlington. This was by far the biggest and loudest truck event we have ever been to. It was held on the Burlington Common, just in front of the firestation. Parking was across the road on the Simonds Park parking lot. Note to self that going cross country with the stroller can leave you a couple of feet above the footpath at the wrong side of a wall. And we could see and hear the trucks the whole time, so Alex was pretty much frothing at the mouth by the time we got to touch our first truck. There were lots of cranes, lots of fuel trucks, lots of police and fire trucks, lots of diggers, and generally lots of truck. Two highlights for us were visiting the fire station and the landscaping company that was letting kids lay bricks with real mortar.  Personally what I found most amusing was the REALLY large truck with the really tiny, little horn sound. That made me grin, and probably made whoever was driving it quite embarrassed.

Alex lasted almost an hour with all horns going. Mind you, he had his hands over his ears for much of that. But I thought it was time to leave when it looked like he was getting close to tears. We went to the playground where we parked and hung out there for a while. Simonds Park Playground is very nice. There is a large shaded picnic area outside the fenced playground and a wading pool in summer. I’m assuming in summer the concession stand and restrooms are open, and that the lit tennis courts, baseball fields, basketball courts, the skate park, the half pipe, and the street hockey are well used.

The playground is large and has three sections. One is for ages up to two years old, one for the two to five year old set, and one for ages five to twelve. Alex liked all three structures , but was particularly taken with the digger and the roller slide. Check out the photos below, because this playground has everything and it really would take a thousand words to describe the fun to be had.

After the playground we went to join Bay State Kids Outdoors for a hike in the Middlesex Fells. This didn’t go so well since Alex wanted to be carried, as did Jen. Ooof! We’ll try another walk with them soon though. They seemed like really nice people. This is a picture from another hike, but this is what we looked like. I also have to get another map for the Fells. For some reason my car eats them.

Thanks for reading 🙂 It was a long day and a long post.

Hayden Recreation Area

Josh is an avid soccer fan and has been playing in the New England Over The Hill Soccer League. Turns out that a lot of the soccer fields are near playgrounds, so Alex, Jen, and I have gone to support Josh’s soccer games and check out the playgrounds.

Hayden Playground is in the middle of three soccer fields and one baseball pitch. The playground itself is fenced, there are port-a-potties, and water fountains. There is a pretty safe toddler structure with two slides and a tunnel, and a very cool slightly-bigger-kid structure. Somehow they managed to squeeze four slides onto that structure, and it also seemed very safe. There is no shade, so we were glad that we were there on a lovely late summer morning with some clouds.

Russel Field Playground

Russel Field Playground was Saturday’s field trip. It was a mission because Alex, Jen and I were super tired. Josh had gone away for the night and, to put it mildly, bed time did not go smoothly. A highlight was an overtired,  sobbing Alex screaming that he needed to hold JenJen’s hand. Sigh. It’s a good thing I can drink lots of coffee :-). And why is it that no matter what, my kids are up at sparrow’s fart?

But we went to our weekly calisthenics at The Little Gym and then to Russel Field Playground in Cambridge. This playground is just by the Alewife T stop, so there are lots of public transport options. It is also right on the Minute Man Bike Path for even more access options. We ended up driving and parking at the Public Swimming pool nearby – there were multiple games happening and the various baseball/football/basketball fields and the pool was already closed. I’m guessing that normally the parking lot by the playground has a spot or two for playground users.

The playground itself is fenced, has a sandbox (no donated toys and diggers so BYO), a cool fish climbing structure, a structure with slide for REALLY little toddlers and a nice structure for bigger kids made out of rope. There are two infant swings, two big kid swings, and one bucket swing. There are several benches and picnic tables, but there is little shade. Alex almost fell asleep on the swing so we didn’t stay for very long, but it was fun.

Grimmons Playground

Ever since my friend April sent in pictures of Grimmons Playground a couple of months ago, I’ve been wanting to check out this all-new, sprinkly playground in the Ten Hills section of Somerville. It’s been getting noticeably less summery, so I’ve been posting several Playground Hunt field trips on both the Bitchin Mamas Meetup.com group and the Playground Hunt facebook page. Just in case summer doesn’t come back, I’ve got to get all those playground trips in somehow. Trust me when I say that playing in frozen sand is not so much fun for the kids 😉

So this playground is brand new in 2010 and has that spongy recycled rubber surface everywhere. There is a big kid structure, a couple of swings, a half tennis court, two sprinkler areas and a separately fenced toddler area. The whole big playground is also fenced with latched gates, so the little ones are doubly contained – until someone turns on the sprinkler. Then everyone wants to play in the water of course. The sprinklers are controlled by pushing down on two poles and last for three or four minutes. Water pressure is good and didn’t blow anyone off their feet. The surface in the center is a bit slippery though and Alex cracked his head, even though he was in bare feet (which I think tends to give a lot of grip).

The trees are still growing, so it’s a bit warm when the sun is out in full force. Margo had the brilliant idea of bringing her beach shade tent to the park, so we were all lovingly cared for. The other thing to note is that access from Puritan Road is down a long set of stairs. The gate on Governor Winthrop Road is at street level. Almost all parking in Somerville is for residents only, including Governor Winthrop Rd. I got lucky today in that the meter maid asked if the car belonged to someone on the playground. :-).  There is parking for non-residents on Shore Dr.

Cedar St Playground

Yesterday was a day for sitting by the pool and drinking margaritas, or failing that, running through the water at a shady sprinkler park. JenJen and Alex don’t drink margaritas, so we opted for Cedar Street Playground in Cambridge with its lovely sprinkler area. This playground is one of the shadiest we’ve seen, but some thoughtful person has equipped the picnic tables with extra shade umbrellas. The playground is double fenced. There is a gate to Dudley street, and a gate to the tot lot. The tot lot has four swings and an excellent climbing structure with a large sandpit, liberally sprinkled with donated toys. The big kid structure is a fun structure made out of rope and provides lots of 3D climbing and play. There is also quite a bit of shaded grass, though dogs tend to frequent that, a little basketball court, and the sprinklers. The sprinklers are activated by holding onto the top of the green column and then there are a few minutes of various sprinklers providing splashes and mist.

Note that all the parking on the side streets require a resident permit, but there are 2hr parking meters on Massachusetts Ave as well as a several buslines.