Ready, Set, Play Outside!

It took a while, but finally it’s here  — perfect weather to visit area playgrounds.  Researchers have found that being outside is important for developing and keeping eyesight keen, so get ready for some outdoor time!

Parent Talk members can access a helpful list of local playgrounds on the PT websiteParent Talk Matters Blog has also posted recommendations worth a revisit:   It’s Playground Time! and Local Playgrounds for the Littles.  These are mainly for offerings in Dedham, Dover, Needham, Natick, Newton, and Wellesley.

I’m adding info for a couple of my favorites to the list of recommendations.  Two are local in Westwood, and one is a little off the beaten path.

Playing in Westwood’s Tot Lot is fun when dressed for cooler weather, too!

AGE 3 AND UNDER

Westwood Tot Lot
This quiet, small playground on Nahatan Street is ideal for the littlest ones.  Swings are tot-sized buckets, and the slides on two climbing structures are a few feet above ground.  There are toys scattered about that usually include shovels, trucks, and ride-on cars.  The lot is well shaded for hot days.  One con is limited parking.  A handful of spaces can be accessed by driving through the adjacent Westwood Council on Aging parking lot (where no playground parking is allowed), to the back side of the playground.  But I have used parking in the front of the adjacent EW Thurston Middle School when it’s not too busy at the school.

AGE 3 AND OLDER

School Street Playground
This Westwood playground is great for a wide age range, and could be ideal for family outings with kids who are not very close in age.  It includes a climbing wall and a tall, rope-web climbing structure for the older kids (that could be challenging even for adults!).  For tots, there is small climbing structure with a slide and tot-sized swings.  For a wide range of ages, there are spinning tulip cups, see saw, tire swing, elevated roundabout, and 15 foot tall slides, among other things.  The caveat is that almost the entire playground  is open to the sun.  Plan to visit a few hours before or after the hottest part of the day, to avoid arriving when the play structures are too hot.

This is the Dragon Boat at Alexander Kemp Playground.  “Figurehead” by Andrew Watson

Alexander Kemp Playground
If you have the chance to trek to Cambridge, the Alexander Kemp playground is well worth a visit for its unique offerings.  Highlights include a water pump with a series of descending trays, allowing for play with cascading water and pools.  It also has a roundabout and various types of pulleys and bucket apparatuses.  There is a real sandbox (not just wood chips, here!) of decent size, with a good mix of sun and shade.  A caveat is that water features are turned off when the weather gets cold, so be sure to visit before October rolls around.  Parking along the adjacent streets can be challenging and limited to residents, but is not impossible to find.

READY, SET, PLAY OUTSIDE!

Armed with all of these playground options, hopefully you can rest assured that you won’t ever hear your kids complain about “visiting the same, old playground again!”

About the Author
Darlene W. Cancell is an attorney turned stay-at-home mom, and most recently, blog coordinator for Parent Talk.

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