The first problem is what to call them. Before having Little Bear, a park was a park – an open space, football pitches, maybe a pond, some trees, etc, and a playground was the place, sometimes within the park, that housed the swings and slide. Somewhere in the last two years, “park” has come to mean the whole thing. The question “Shall we go to the park?”, will almost always mean “Shall we go to the playground?”…but I digress, semantics aren’t really the issue here
So what is the issue? My issue is that before Little Bear came along I thought that one park/playground was very much the same as any other. I knew of several near to me so that was a bonus, we would become park pros! And then he started to explore…
The older and more independent he got, the more parks infuriated me. At just shy of 2, Little Bear is developing his strength, co-ordination, and skills, so it won’t be long before nothing is off limits…but the months we’ve endured so far have sometimes been a struggle.
So many parks just don’t consider the needs of their youngest users. Why, for example, put a vertical climbing wall or a ladder as the access to the smallest slide? Why make it almost impossible for small tots to independently navigate? And whatever happened to the roundabout? I only know of one locally that vaguely resembles what I had as a child, the rest don’t have seats and have bars too high for very little people to hold. See-saws? Very rare, there’s a new-fandangled version at most but again, generally not suitable for under 2s.
I’m lucky. Little Bear is quite strong and very resilient, but many children under 2 aren’t, and they still want to explore and have fun on more than just the swings! This afternoon we’re off to try somewhere different, unchartered territory…I hope it pleases both of us!
The Day Dreaming Mummy