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?)
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
- 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
- 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.
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!