Playground Junkie

By: Martianne Stanger

“Hi.  I’m Martianne, and I’m a Playground Junkie.”

There.  I said it.  I admitted it.  In the past six years since I became a mother, I have also become addicted to playgrounds.  I am a confirmed addict, who almost never leaves the house without a bag packed with snacks, drinks, extra clothes, diapers and a blanket, just in case we spy a good playground that we might stop at to share food, fun and swinging high on adrenaline.

Rain.  Shine.  Snow.  Sun.  Wind.  It doesn’t matter to me and my kids.  Any day can be a playground day if you know the right playground to go to, and every day can be a better day for having stopped at one, even if for only a few minutes.

Now, I am not saying our family goes to playgrounds every day.  That pleasure would only be ours if I were better at balancing all life’s commitments.  I am, however, confessing that I have been known to plan errands and appointments with nearby playgrounds in mind, even when there are other things I should be considering

What time would I like to schedule the kids’ next well-child appointment?  If we plan it for the morning, we can have a picnic at the playground afterwards.  (Who cares if there’s a house that needs cleaning, work that needs prepping and sundry other tasks that we move through best when we attend to them first thing in the morning?)

We need groceries and must “waste” some weekend time to go get them?  No problem.  We’ll use a little extra gas to shop a few towns over so the kids can enjoy the playground near the beach while we’re out.  (So much for the other weekend to-do’s!)

Only an hour between a pre-scheduled commitment and me heading off to work?  That’s just enough time for a fifteen-minute stretch at the tot lot near our house before throwing dinner on.  (Who cares if it will now be a “quick dinner” instead of the healthier or more economic one I had planned for the night?)

Yep, I’m a junkie.  I think playgrounds are great!   They combine the best of both kid and adult worlds:  exercise, community, outdoor time, even time to share meals with a little prior planning…

Truly, I think there should be a website dedicated to simply sharing WHERE playgrounds are and WHAT they have to offer in every nook and cranny of our country.  Since I haven’t found one yet, I thought I might at least get the ball rolling here at Signature Moms so we can share about each and every playground in our area.  Yep, I am putting the challenge out there:

Please leave a comment (or two, or ten!) with the name, location and a brief description of any playground you know about.  Big or small, in back of a school or tucked into a cul de sac on some little-known street, every playground in our area has something to offer families.  So, do share a few words about the ones you know!

I’ll start off with a detailed description of one of our favorites.  (No need for your additions to be as detailed!)

Assawompset Elementary School
232 Main Street Lakeville, MA 02347

Basics

  • It is a school playground, open to the public after school hours and during vacations.
  • It is marked for ages 5-12.
  • There are picnic tables (sometimes covered with a canopy) and benches for resting and snacking, plus an adjacent field for really running off steam.
  • The “floor” is woodchips and gravel.
  • The entire thing is fenced in.
  • There is a decent amount of free, paved parking.
  • Equipment includes
    • climbers
    • slides
    • a “pirate ship” structure
    • a bank of swings (including handicap ones)
    • a playhouse
    • plastic animal figurines
    • a musical instrument built in under a slide
    • a spider-man type climbing net
    • a pathway of stepping stones, hanging bars, etc. that allows kids to travel around a large portion of the playground without ever touching the ground.

Benefits: Kids of all ages love this playground – even adult ones.  On a recent excursion there, we overheard a man speaking on his cell phone, commenting that he had driven over an hour to the playground and would do it again because it was one of the coolest places he’d ever been to.  While I would not necessarily go that far, I will attest that it is a playground for the entire family – with climb-on figures and a playhouse for the youngest set and enough challenging equipment that even teens and adults can often be found literally hanging out there on any given day.  Assawompset is fairly new, very inviting and big enough to keep families entertained for hours on end.

Drawbacks:  A popular playground, it can get quite crowded sometimes.  Also, there are no bathroom facilities, save for one lone port-a-potty set across the field next to the playground.

Nearby Perks:  The old Lakeville Library turned oh-so-cute Somethin’s Brewin’ Book Café is across the street, should anyone need a drink or snack.

The new Lakeville Library is also nearby for those who want to make a stop to return or take books out on their SAILS Network card.

For “green” families, there are Paper Retriever bins in the parking lot, so drop off your recyclable paper as a donation to the school that hosts such a great playground!

Now, it’s your turn to share!

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9 thoughts on “Playground Junkie

  1. Oh yay! We are just as obsessed with playgrounds as you are!

    Two of our current favorites are the New Friends of the Playground in Sharon and the WWI Memorial Park in North Attleboro.

    The New Friends has a little bit of everything-sand, climbing structures, swings, etc…

    The WWI park has a petting zoo, a huge slide, water fountains, and a playground. Plus, there are areas to walk and picnic. We can spend an entire day there easily.

    1. I forgot to add that the WWI park has a sand area that is set up to look like a beach. The kids love it!

  2. Norton’s Community Playground is located off Rte 123 (across from the Catholic Church and between the street and the middle school). It’s a small playground but right off the main street and they just broke ground last week for Norton’s Tricentennial Park which will be adjacent and a play for relaxation and reflection so I expect benches and plantings etc. The Middle School has tennis courts, basketball courts and soccer fields surrounding it and a long driveway that loops all the way around the school that makes for a nice walking “path” if you are pushing a stroller or something and want to get in some exercise. No bathroom facilities.

  3. Two other faves of ours are:

    Nelson Park in Plymouth, MA, newly revamped with splashpad (pic here – http://www.wickedlocal.com/plymouth/features/x2135341337/2010-A-LOOK-BACK-Life-in-Plymouth#axzz1LRY55Kzq) Other pics of the actual playground (though not mine) can be found here – http://www.flickr.com/photos/21274446@N05/3545741973/in/photostream/

    Kids at Play Playground in Marshfield (pics at this online post – http://www.mysouthshorehouse.com/2010/10/marshfields-newest-eco-friendly.html)

  4. Our family loves playgrounds as well. We generally go to the ones close to home, but we happened to stop by the Frolio school in Abington the other night and they have an amazing playground, they have sections for young children as well as the older group as well. My husband and I brought our two boys ages 4 1/2 and almost 2 and they both had a blast.

  5. My children and I enjoy Dean Park in Shrewsbury, MA. There is a large, fenced in play area with swings, two large climbing structures with multiple slides, one smaller climbing structure for the little ones, two large sandboxes and various random little things to climb and play on. The town provides plenty of sand toys to use while you are there. There are plenty of benches for Mom to sit on and supervise while the kids run around and have fun. Several bathrooms are located throughout the park.

    Another one is West Hill Park in Uxbridge. This is my all-time summer favorite! There is a swimming hole, beach, beautiful hiking trails, and large playground on these quiet and clean park grounds. My husband and I go very early on hot days and spend the entire day swimming, playing, hiking and grilling with the kids! It is a very small area so it can get crowded at times, but it is so worth it!

  6. Some local playgrounds is Pope’s Park in Acushnet , MA. Fenced in, few picnic tables under tree and benches . There is a walk path that kids can also ride bikes, roller skate or blade. Acushnet elementary school, Wood elementary school in Fairhaven, MA. Buttonwood park playground in New Bedford , MA. Fort Taber in New Bedford , MA.

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