Archive for September, 2010

Downes Playground

Overall Impression

Downes Playground, part of the Kraft Family Athletic Facility in Brookline, is a terrific play spot for those little ones out there.  The playground is situated at the corner of Pond Avenue and Jamaica Road.  Aside from the playground,  there are also soccer, football, and softball fields and a very nice running track.  My son enjoyed running around in all the open space and kicking a ball I brought from home.  There is a dog park at the end of the park opposite the playground but no dogs are allowed inside the fence of the playground.  The playground itself is home to a structure perfect for those beginning climbers and sliders. The structure included a few ladders, a curved bridge, and multiple slides. The ground cover around the structure included mulch and foam at the base of the slides.  Next to the structure is a large sand box with numerous donated pails, shovels, and dump trucks.  There is also a small swing set with two infant swings.  Lastly, there is a massive tree along the fence which provides some shade cover and lots of nooks and crannies for budding arborists to explore.  Between the open fields, the sand, the tree, the structure, and the water fountain, my little guy found plenty to keep busy!

Nitty Gritty

Climb, Climb, Climb: There is one structure that is just right for toddlers.  Older climbers may get bored.

“All Done”: The sand box and open fields provide lots of extra entertainment.

Afraid of Heights: There is a large sand box and a small swing set with two infant swings.

The Escape Factor: The entire playground section is fenced in!!!

Hit the Ground Running: The ground under the structure is covered in mulch with foam at the base of the slides.  There is cement around the sandbox and a few grassy spots for relaxing.

Braving the Elements: There is a huge tree which luckily provides lots of shade cover.  Some of the structure is however exposed to direct sunlight.

Snack Time: There are no picnic tables but there are several benches and a small grassy area (pack a blanket).  There is also a water faucet at this playground.

“Potty Please”: There are public restrooms at the park but I did not get to check them out.

Parking: There is a parking lot located on Pond Avenue directly across from the playground.

Water, Water Everywhere: There are no sprinklers at this playground.

Donations: This park does accept donated toys. Most of the toys were in decent shape!

The Others: This playground was not crowded.  I found a few other families at the playground with their children but most kept to themselves.  The remainder of the park is often filled with runners and dog lovers.

319 Pond Avenue Brookline, MA

Climbing structure

Climbing structure

Large sand box

Swing set

Massive tree provides shade cover and peaks curiosity

Track and football field

My very own shady fort!

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Larz Anderson Park

Overall Impression

Larz Anderson Park is a secret jewel in Brookline, MA.  The park is a 64 acre estate that includes scenic walking paths, baseball fields, a playground, and many spots to picnic.  In the winter, there is even a skating rink!  The park as a whole is wonderful.  My son really enjoyed walking the paths picking up treasures along the way (rocks, sticks, and acorns).  There is even a water feature which includes a giant fountain and some photogenic Canadian Geese that swim at their leisure.  Nestled in the park are numerous picnic tables and benches for relaxing.  There is also a covered picnic area that includes charcoal  grills available to rent with a permit.  The playground is best accessed by the entrance on Goddard Street.  The playground is heavily shaded and fenced in.  Be aware however that one of the gates does not latch properly and I find this playground to be infamous for people not closing the gates which do latch behind them.  With regard to the structures, there are many.  Though there is a small structure perfect for toddlers, I find the other structures are geared more toward school aged children or toddlers ( and their caregivers) with no fear. The playground also includes a large swing set which includes belt swings, infant swings, and one adaptive swing.  I find this playground to be a bustling play spot for area children but due to its large size, it doesn’t feel crowded.  My best advice would be to gather up the kids, a picnic lunch, and a large blanket and make a day of it.  There is a lot more than just a playground here!

Nitty Gritty

Climb, Climb, Climb: There are multiple structures.  Though there is a small structure for toddlers, the majority of the structures are geared toward older climbers or those little ones with no fear!

“All Done”: Don’t worry if your little one tires of the structures…the walking paths and large fields provide an alternative outlet to release some energy.

Afraid of Heights: There is no sandbox but there is a swing set.

The Escape Factor: This is my biggest pet peeve about this playground.  It is completely fenced in but I often find the gates to be left open and there is one that does not latch properly.

Hit the Ground Running: The ground here is covered by mulch.  There is also a cement pathway that encircles the playground which often harbors kids on scooters or rollerblades.

Braving the Elements: This playground is very shady, perfect for those hot summer days.  This may seem like a strange tip but I would advise dressing your child in a brightly colored shirt because I find when I dress mine in more natural colors, they blend with all the shade and trees.

Snack Time: There are numerous picnic tables throughout the park (both covered and exposed).

“Potty Please”: There are public restrooms at the park but I did not get to check them out.

Parking: There is a small parking lot and on street parking spots as well.  The lot can get crowded during baseball games but I have never had a problem finding a spot.

Water, Water Everywhere: There are no sprinklers at this playground.

Donations: This park does not accept donated toys.

The Others: This playground is quite busy with very active children.  I find the caregivers to be friendly and often busy chasing their children. As for the rest of the park, there are often runners, dog walkers, nature lovers, etc taking in the views.

23 Newton Street Brookline, MA

Small structure great for toddlers

Larger structure

Larger structure

Swing set

Watch out for gates left open!

This gate does not latch completely

Covered picnic area

Charcoal grills available for rent

Scenic walking path and fountain

Check out the Canadian Geese!

Baseball field

Peek-a-boo, mommy!

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Skyline Park

Overall Impression

Skyline Park is tucked away off Newton Street in Brookline, MA.  After driving up a short curvy hill, the park appears before you.  There are meticulous soccer fields, paved walkways, and a large playground area.  The playground area has two sections, one for older children and one for toddler aged kids.  The structures were new and well maintained.  In addition to the traditional slides, ladders, and swings, there is also a unique merry-go-round type apparatus, a circle swing to promote balance, and a covered area with picnic tables.  The entire playground area is fenced in which is a big plus and all the fences actually latch tightly which is lacking at some other playgrounds.  The ground is peppered with mulch and the playground was very clean.  Overall, this playground earns a big thumbs up on the mommy and kid front!

Nitty Gritty

Climb, Climb, Climb: Two separate sections appropriate for both toddlers and school aged children

“All Done”: My son never uttered the words “all done”.  This playground had a lot of unique structures and elements that kept the interest high.

Afraid of Heights: There is no sandbox but there is a swing set.  The swing set has 4 regular swings, 1 infant swing, and 1 swing that is handicap accessible.  The numerous walking paths also provide a great alternative to the playground space.

The Escape Factor: There will be no escaping from this spot.  The whole playground area is well fenced in with latches that close tightly!

Hit the Ground Running: The ground here is covered in a thick layer of mulch…great for runners, not great for crawlers.

Braving the Elements: Pack the sunscreen and caps because the structures are not covered by shade.

Snack Time: There is a shaded/covered area with several picnic tables.  There are no outside water faucets so bring along those sippy cups.

“Potty Please”: There are public restrooms at the park but I did not get to check them out.

Parking: There is plenty of parking…no worries!

Water, Water Everywhere: There are no water features or sprinklers at this park.

Donations: This park does not accept donated toys.

The Others: During my two hour visit, only four other children and their caregivers were at the park.  The caregivers were attentive but kept to      themselves.  This is probably not the best playground to score a future playdate.

815 Newton Street in Brookline, MA

Toddler climbing structure

School-aged climbing structure

Swings and covered picnic area

Awesome climbing wall

Unique circle balancing swing

Roped in merry-go-round

Two thumbs up, mommy!

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