Spring is Here – Trips to Park

Spring is here!  I try to get the kids to a local park at least twice a week to play.  We have a new community center in our neighborhood that has a really nice playground for the kids.  It’s all new construction and the ground around the play gym is made of squishy foam.  Oliver can run around to his hearts content and I’m not so scared of him hitting his head on the ground here.

The park has two play gyms, one for toddlers and one for kids 5 and up.  Oliver loves the older setup better.  It has bigger slides!

See the rubber ground?  No sand or wood chips to clean out of shoes and no scrapes or skinned knees.

The community center held a mini-camp for the kids who were tracked out of their year round schools.  Children in grades K-5 were all over the play area when we arrived.  Oliver had a blast “playing” with them.  A bunch of young girls took a liking to him and chased him all over the playground playing tag and peekaboo with him.  When the camp counselors called everyone in for lunch, Oliver marched right over there with them.  Since he’s so little he had to take the long way around down the ramp and the kids were calling out “Bye Oliver” to him.  It was too cute.

Thankfully, they were watering the plants that day and he got distracted from his friends by a hose.  Gotta love it!

Here’s a couple things to keep in mind when you go to public parks:

1- Don’t forget the sunscreen!
2- Don’t forget water, snacks, and wipes to clean their hands with.
3- Park equipment gets EXTREMELY hot!  Especially the slides.
4- Leave your valuables locked in your car.  Some parks are very busy and nimble fingers can pluck your wallet right out of your diaper bag when you leave it sitting on the bench while you chase your kid for just that one minute.
5- Pay attention to the age limits on the equipment.  Oliver loves the 5+ play gym, but I only let him play there when I can get up there with him.  It looks safe enough with it’s big platforms, bridges, railings, and slides, but at strategic points they have zero rails so that big kids can slide down poles and swing off onto monkey bars, etc…  A 4 ft drop for a big kid might be okay, but would be very bad for Oliver.

Lastly, use common sense and trust your instincts when it comes to your personal safety at the park.  My mom made me promise not to go to the park a few streets over from our house when it was empty.  The park is very big, secluded, and slightly run down.  If something bad were to happen to us (an injury, a dog attack, a robbery, an assault), there would be no people to flag down.  Look for parks that have wide open spaces, people visiting, have community centers, are well maintained, and easy access to parking.  Those are the places where we have the most fun!

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