This playground is at the north end of the Cambridge Common, which is just north of Harvard Square. Our last visit had been in fall, after all the water sprinklers were turned off. So we went again recently:
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…
Alex has been carting around his toy tools in various baskets and boxes, but on the weekend he found a super nice one in the new toy section at Barnes and Nobel. Daddy had come to the bookstore so I suggested making a wooden tool box as a father-son bonding session (also known as giving mama a break).
Josh and Alex spent a couple of hours in the basement sawing and sanding some thin plywood. Alex ran out of steam that day, so Alex and I got to put it together the next day. Josh had done an excellent job designing and cutting and the toolbox came together very easily with a few lines of glue. We let it dry on the kitchen table until Daddy came home and noticed that gravity works on glue and that the migrating glue had glued the toolbox to the table. Oops.
We met some friends at Skyline Playground this morning. It was hot enough for the big long slide to get too hot for this mama’s behind, but there was plenty of shade. The sandbox on toddler structure were especially nicely shaded and well stocked with donated sand toys. We sat on swings, we rode on the wooden car, the wooden train, the see-saw, climbed the toddler structure and slid down the super long slide built into the hill a couple of times. We played lots in the surprisingly clean and friendly circular sandbox, where Alex somehow managed to convince a much bigger boy to push the very, very big dump truck to where he wanted it.
We didn’t even get a chance to play in the bigger kids area. There’s a whole other enormous structure to explore there and another 6 swings. If you go up the hill, into which the slides are build, you get to a large number of every conceivable court and field. There is a port-a-potty and lots of parking on the street. This playground truly has something for everyone.
The other day Alex was bored by 7:30am. Boredom means he starts getting destructive. I thought it time to come up with a bunch of creative, educational, fun activities that don’t involved hitting his sister. So here’s my blog on what I’m planning, and hopefully a lovely record (with pictures, links, recipes, etc.) of what my children create.
Gulp – I think I’m about to get a whole lot busier.