Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Daniel W. Warren, Jr. Playground

Daniel W. Warren, Jr. Playground – also known as Warren Field – is actually a couple of playgrounds (plus basketball and tennis courts) strewn across a large field. If you have one kid that likes to roam, this place is fantastic; if you have a few and need to keep them roughly in the same area, it's a bit... challenging. 


Heath School Playground

Somewhat small for a school playground (at least by comparison to the others in town), Heath SchoolPlayground consists of some climbing structures out front and another, smaller structure up some stairs around the back. I suspect the school makes extensive use of Warren Field across the street.

Harry Downes Field Playground

Perched in the corner of Harry Downes Field is a small, cute, fully-enclosed playground with climbing structure, sandbox, baby swings, and lots of extra tricycles and riding toys lying around. There is an amazing old tree with extensive low-hanging branches that single-handedly provides shade for the entire playground. (I can imagine those branches providing entertainment for older kids as well, though the playground itself is clearly geared toward toddlers).

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cassidy Playground

A/k/a the non-playground: Though it’s called Cassidy Playground on the map, I’ve driven past here a few times and never noticed any playground equipment, so I figured I’d bike down and check it out before taking my kids there. Good thing I did. There is in fact no playground equipment – there’s a huge field, some baseball diamonds, and a tennis court. There are also gaggles* of your typical humongous and, presumably, aggressive Brookline geese, of which my kids are understandably terrified. It’s probably a good place for sporting events for older kids, but for younger kids there’s not much there.

*Apparently, if they’re on the ground they’re called a gaggle rather than a flock. Hey, I didn’t make up the rule. I’m just blindly following it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Driscoll School Playground

Driscoll School Playground is a compact school playground stuffed with great climbing structures. There’s something here for all ages (no spinklers or sandboxes, though). Outside the playground there’s an area with four-square and other chalk games, plus a field. This playground’s main downside is the complete lack of shade; it’s still popular during the summer, but far more comfortable in cooler weather.

Dean Playground

UPDATE: This park was renovated after I moved from Brookline, but a friend took pictures of the new playground for me (thank you, Aliza!)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Runkle School Playground

My latest playground excursion was to Runkle School Playground, which is pretty amazing (and I have to thank my friend Reyna Simnegar for the tip). It has two toddler-type areas and, around back, a fantastic area for older kids, with different-from-the-usual structures.

(In the face of all this fabulous equipment, of course, my toddler spent half an hour running up and down the stairs between the two toddler areas.)

The morning I was there (granted, in the middle of a heat wave), most of the equipment was in direct sunlight and too hot to touch. However, friends who live closer assure me that in the late afternoon, most of it is in shade and cool. Which means I am planning a return trip here as soon as I can find a late afternoon to do it in.

Update: We returned here at 4 pm one day and it was beautifully shaded and pleasant - and lots of fun. For once, I wasn't even the only adult in the playground pulling the "let's pretend our kids need us to play with them" routine so I could climb on the equipment myself...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Longwood Playground

Longwood Playground, right near Lawrence School, is a playground I know well; I just hadn't managed to make it there with a camera until now. It's one of my favorites. There are two separate playground areas at the two ends of the park - one geared toward toddlers at the Longwood Avenue entrance, one geared toward older kids at the Francis Street entrance - and between them, a very large sprinkler that can become a bit of a wading pool in spots. (I believe they don't turn the sprinkler on until the school year ends.) Then there is a large field with a circular path around it that is perfect for kids who want to bike/scooter etc. The playground is also full of unexpected side diversions that often take up more of my kids' time than the actual equipment - ledges to walk on, stones to climb on, a shady wooded slope near the Longwood entrance that my kids love.

This playground gets a LOT of sun, and much of it isn't shaded. This can be a disadvantage in the summer (though the large sprinklers help a lot), but during in-between weather, it makes a big difference - it feels about 5 degrees warmer here than in any of the other playgrounds. (Also during colder weather, the tennis courts tend to be empty, making them a whole new play area.)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Brookline Avenue Playground

Brookline Avenue Playground is a large, fully-enclosed playground with two sets of climbing structures, a sandbox, and a large field. It’s right next to one of the BEEP programs, which is presumably why it's stocked with riding toys/balls, not to mention kiddie pools in the summer. (One of the BEEP teachers told me my child couldn't play in the kiddie pool - which had several inches of water in it - "for legality reasons"; but since this is a public playground, they couldn't kick me out altogether, though I kind of got the sense they wanted to.)

Cypress Street (Brookline High) Playground

Cypress Street Playground, near Brookline High, is a nice playground with climbing structures, swings, and sprinklers, adjacent to a huge field. My kids are often able to spend hours here, perhaps because they consider the bleachers overlooking the field a fascinating piece of playground equipment. This playground also tends to be breezy, so it's a good choice for hot days.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Murphy Playground

The John E. Murphy Playground is the kind of playground that explains (partly) why I started this project - within easy walking distance of my home, great place to take my kids, yet I never knew it was there. This is a fully-enclosed park with two separate playground areas, a sprinkler, a basketball court, and a large grassy area. Like the Rose Garden, it appears to be a playground where people will leave used toys, so there are a bunch of riding toys for kids to use, and even a water table in the sprinkler - which, based on my kids' reaction, is an unexpectedly brilliant idea.

Pierce School Playground

Pierce School Playground is another nice, medium-sized school playground, with a fully-enclosed toddler area + several sandboxes, a larger play structure, a sprinkler, and a field. There's also a fairly steep hill that proactive kids might make good use of. Despite being adjacent to two very busy streets (one entrance is from School Street, another from Harvard Ave right off Harvard St), this is a quiet, pleasant oasis, at least when school is not in session. There are lots of trees, some older-growth, which both provide shade and make this playground very peaceful and pretty.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Clark Playground

Clark is a super-cool playground; every structure in it is different from the usual - from the inground sprinklers with fancy water tables to the spiderwebby climbing structure for older kids to the multi-kid seesaw. It's not huge, but it's interesting enough to be worth a special trip. (I walked, but it looked like there was plenty of parking on the two side streets that lead into the playground off Cypress St.) Decently well-shaded in the afternoon, but almost no shade in the morning.

Margaret E Robinson Playground

Margaret E Robinson Playground is a small, pretty playground perched at the edge of a huge field/dog park. There's no fence between the field and playground, which can be either a plus or minus depending on your children's feelings about dogs. (My toddler was so busy running after dogs he couldn't be bothered with any of the playground equipment.) The playground itself has a toddler-sized climbing structure, swings, and sprinklers. There's also an enclosed concrete area off to the side that, when I was there, was being used by kids for skateboard and scooter practice.

Lincoln School Playground

Lincoln School Playground is another school playground I've only visited during the summer. It has an upper playground that, as far as I can tell, is accessible only via a set of steep stairs, and a lower playground (right inside the entrance to the Brookline Music School) that is geared toward older kids, with several interesting types of monkey bars. There’s also a sprawling field and a basketball court. Almost no shade, especially in the lower playground, but otherwise very enjoyable.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Coolidge Playground

Coolidge Park, an easy walk from Harvard Street, has a great playground with a "volcano sprinkler" (my kids inform me that's what it's called), a toddler section with a sandbox, and an older-kid section with some cool and unusual equipment. Kind of free-range with the different areas separated from each other by trees. Also has a field, tennis court, and basketball court.

Peterborough Street Playground

Today we trekked out to Peterborough Street Playground, near the Landmark Center. It's cute, well-kept, and tiny - my toddler had a great time but my older kids needed jump ropes and chalk pretty fast. It's down the street from Ramler Park (also pictured) - not a playground, but very pretty, with paths and a fountain my kids enjoyed exploring.