Lawrence Memorial Playground (a.k.a. Groton Playground, a.k.a. Groton Library Playground)- Groton, MA

20140514_154030Accidental playground finds are the best! The plan was to go to the Groton Public Library, but as we pull in to the parking lot I see a playground that looks perfect for my second playground post. I gave the boys the choice and while those kids love libraries and books, the playground won! This playground was pretty fantastic. Something for everyone without being too big. Plenty of kids, but not too crowded. Huge fields if your kid happens to just want to run in circles. All next to a library! Win, win, win.


 

This was where we spent most of our time:

20140514_151929This was a separate, smaller, geared-to-2-to-5-year-olds structure. Perfect for us because my toddler doesn’t believe he can’t do everything his brother can do (which he’s right about most of the time) and his brother falls right smack dab in the middle of that range.20140514_151922 It was a pretty basic setup. Stairs, ladder, or “stepping stone” pieces all leading from different sides to the spiral slide. My toddler (I need to come up with code names for these kids) only had trouble in two areas: 1) getting off the slide- it was a good foot and a half or so off the ground at the bottom 2) climbing the ladder. The rungs were a good distance apart and he could just manage. He could manage the first two by himself but needed a boost for the final push to the platform. My 3 yr old needed no help or spotting for any part of it.


Other cool stuff:


20140514_15440920140514_154359Who doesn’t love a tire swing?! (even if it’s a fake plastic tire.) Eventually my older son did come over to join and then another boy saw us and asked if he could join too. Sadly it’s hard to make out my second picture but it’s very obstacle-course-like. There’s a rope bridge, followed by dangling “stepping stone” pieces, followed by a shaky balance beam. I was shocked when my 3 year old tackled the whole trio. He usually hates not having solid footing. I was so impressed! The one thing that I wanted to include that I didn’t get a chance to get a picture of was the sandbox area. Neither of my kids played in it and I’m finding it’s a bit awkward to go take pictures of other people’s children playing. Imagine that. However, the sandbox is what makes the playground good for all ages. If your child can sit, then they can be plopped down to play with the trucks, shovels, diggers, etc. It’s shaded and you can (mostly) comfortably sit on the edge.


Extra stuff not mentioned: The usual set of swings. Two infant, 2 or 3 regular, and one handicap accessible. I mentioned the large fields at the beginning of my post. I imagine they are used by teams at certain times, but you’re probably safe during school hours. There is also a large gazebo that, while we were there, some high schoolers were sitting in doing homework. My 3 yr old decided to plop down next to one of them to say hi and take a glance at some advanced geometry 🙂


Summary

Age Range: All ages- even the broody teenagers can go sit in the gazebo or even in the middle of the field by themselves 🙂

Seating: Several benches surrounding the perimeter, though I did not see any picnic tables so a regular old picnic on the grass would be your best bet if wanting more than a few finger snacks.

Crowd: Just right. We went at 3:00, which is right after school. There were lots of kids there but it never felt crowded.

Fenced In: Partially, but not really. However, it’s surrounded mostly by fields, so not a worry of a main street.

Bathroom: One decent sized porta-potty in the parking lot and the library is just a short walk down the driveway if they can hold it that long 🙂

Shade: Some, but not much. The sandbox is shaded. None of the main playground is. A couple of the benches are in shade at different times of day.

VisibilityFor the most part you can see every part of the playground no matter where you are with just a few blind spots.

Overall: A really great playground. We will definitely be visiting again anytime I don’t feel like taking a risk on a new one.

 

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Sterling Greenery Community Park- Sterling, MA

 20140512_153506Finally! After some rainy days and a busy weekend we got to our first playground of the season. I was meeting someone in Sterling to try to sell an old car seat base so I did a quick search for playgrounds in the area and found this: Sterling Greenery Community Park. I will say that from the website I expected it to be bigger or have more, but it ended up being plenty for the kids. The playground is definitely geared towards older kids. My 3 year old was struggling with a lot so my toddler needed help with pretty much everything there. I’d say ideally 5+ or overly-ambitious 3-4 year olds.  



                This was where we spent most of our time:

20140512_14592920140512_15382420140512_153828

When we first got there, the only thing either of them could do by themselves on this structure was to go down the slide. By the end, my 3 year old had figured out how to maneuver his way along the whole thing by himself (albeit slowly.) This progression was really cool to watch. My toddler still needed help with everything except climbing up the rope grid (which still had to be closely supervised) and going down the slide.


Other cool stuff:

20140512_155512

This large circular swing was really cool, but like a lot of other stuff there, was black and therefore really hot in the sun. It’s hard to see, but they were both actively trying to touch it as little as possible.

Centrifugal or centripetal force?

The teacher in me really loved this (though it’s hard to make out what you’re looking at here.) You can sit or stand on it and it will spin you around. Side note: I believe the sign says it uses centrifugal force, but I though this would be an example of centripetal. Bonus points to anyone who can explain to me why I’m right or wrong.

20140512_152007Finally, this thing. If I were here without kids, I’d be climbing to the top of this. My 3 year old actually went over to it and stood on one of the ropes coming up from the bottom which was more than I expected from him. He’s my super-cautious-would-much-prefer-my-feet-firmly-on-something-solid-thank-you child. My husband appreciates that greatly 🙂 My youngest on the other hand…well, I imagine that within a couple of years the two of us will be giving my husband a heart attack as we climb this monstrosity together. This, along with a few other pieces on the playground, had signs that gave suggested ages. I liked it, but it also made me feel a little uncomfortable letting my 3 year old go over and look and stand on a rope. I felt like I was breaking the rules a bit- and I’m not a rule breaker. Either way, I’m still very excited for my kids to get older and tackle this.

 

Extra stuff not mentioned: There were two regular swings, an infant swing, a handicap accessible swing, and a separate see-saw/swing combo that was for older kids so we didn’t get to try that either. There is a pond right next to the playground with a path if you wanted to go for a walk.


Summary

Age range: 5-12

Seating: Several benches and picnic tables.

Crowd: Not very busy, but a small parking lot so you might have to get creative with parking.

Fenced in: Yes (though there didn’t seem to be a latch on the gate)

Bathroom: One fairly spacious porta-potty right outside the gate.

Shade: Hardly. There is a grassy hill on one side that did have some shade if you wanted to climb to the top and sit on the grass.

Visibility: Can pretty much see the whole playground from any of the benches/tables.

Overall: I think it would be a great small playground for older kids. I love the dome rope climber. However, there was a lot of black/metal material used that made for a lot of hot surfaces in the sun. We probably won’t be back this season (or even next) but I will be keeping it in mind down the road.

 

DId I miss anything that you’d be interested in knowing? Leave a question or comment!

Getting Started

It’s been a long winter. Playground weather is back though and it’s time to get out and play! My goal is to try as many different playgrounds as we can by the fall and compile them here along with reviews and helpful information about them (bathrooms? shade? place to eat? anything nearby? etc.) If you have a favorite playground that you’d like me to include or you want me to do some exploring in your area for the best, just leave a comment and let me know!