Summer is back and it's time to get outside and play! After a year of being cooped up, kids and parents are eager to get back to some normalcy. Even though many things were shut down for some time, we still had lots of playground installations happening. Some new playgrounds weren't able to open with the normal fan-fare but most are open for business now. Playgrounds are ready for kids to explore, imagine and play! Summer is here so LET'S PLAY!
New Playgrounds to Visit this Summer
We thought we'd showcase some of our favorite NEW playgrounds all around California to get you excited to get outside and play with your kids!
Moss Beach Park playground was originally built by a community-led non-profit and local residents in 2004 and came under the stewardship of San Mateo County Parks in 2014. For over 15 years it provided a unique and fun play space for children in the community. However, 15 years after its initial construction, the playground has begun to show age and wear. In keeping with the original coastal theme the community loved, San Mateo County Parks decided to make improvements that will maintain the original custom charm of the playground while enhancing play value, safety and accessibility.
The new playground looks like something out of a storybook. The Elephant Play Crow’s Nest Lookout Tower, and the huge Hags castle-like play structure takes kids back to adventures in Middle Age times. UPC Parks concrete cast shipwrecks, and sea animals swimming throughout the park add to the coastal charm. NORNA Robinia wood structures added nature play value and natural elements. The custom coastal themed playground is truly a designation park worthy of a visit for all ages.
Alameda Point is a $1 billion waterfront development on the former Alameda Naval Air Station. The playground is situated in the middle of 800 residential units, commercial and retail spaces, 15 acres of parks, and new transit facilities, including a ferry terminal to get commuters to or from San Francisco in 20 minutes. Working with the developer, Trammel Crow Residential we designed this intricate, marine-themed playground with inspiration from Allie the Wayward Whale, who was first spotted by the Alameda shoreline in the summer of 2019. After spending several weeks in these shallow, protected waters and gaining attention from locals and tourists alike, Allie seemed to recover from her poor health and embarked on her journey back into the open sea. This playground will ensure Allie’s legendary legacy remains in the place she - for a brief moment in time - called home.
This inclusive playground features a custom, one of a kind, humpback whale climber from Elephant Play, swings, an imaginative area, and accessible fitness equipment for all to enjoy. The playground is situated in a high density, high traffic area so the play area has clear site lines for safety and lots of room for open play.
Developer: Trammell Crow Residential
Labyrinth Community Park is a 7-acre neighborhood park for residents in the dense Sequoia at Cypress neighborhood to find fun and relaxation. The park is the District's first zipline play equipment, first children's demonstration garden, and one of the region's only labyrinths. It also has meandering pathways, native plants and a multi-use turf area.
Working together with Callander Associates, we designed an eye catching playground with a cool playstructure tower with a long slide coming down. Kids can climb the rope climber or walk across the bridge to get to the top. There are so many fun net play options that kids won't know what to play with first! The Rocks and Ropes elements make climbing and balancing a fun element. The most exciting feature of the park has to be the Mantis Cableway Zipline. The first in the community, it always has a line to use. Kids just love it!
Landscape Architect: Callander Associates
820 Lazy Trail Dr., Rocklin
The City of Rocklin wanted their newest park to be designed specifically for the inclusion of participants of all ages and abilities. Willard Park is the first park of it's kind in the City. It features multiple inclusive elements such as rubberized surfacing, ramped entry, musical elements and other sensory rich pieces of equipment. There is tactile components with the Roller Slide and sand pit. Interactive Play Panels are just the right height for children of all abilities to experience tactile play as well. The Pull Along is wheelchair accessible and allows children to use their upper body to pull them along the equipment. The Accelerator Swing is built with a large disk and protective rubber bumper and made for groups of kids to use together. It helps activate and integrate the important sense of movement and gravity. The Ten Spin allows children of all abilities to join in the fun by either sitting, kneeling, or standing.
Landscape Architect: Furhman Leamy Land Group
The City of Woodland wanted to revamp this community park which sits in the heart of this charming small town. The park is surrounded by other amenities which are very well used by the community such as a tennis court and city pool. Updating this park was a welcome addition to this central gathering spot for the community. The look of the park is modern and fun with the stone grey colors mixed in with tan and brown, it looks different than any other park in the community. The park features lots of cool elements for kids to have fun with including a Gravity Cube and Wavy Wedge Wall Walker for climbing fun, Pirouette to hop and jump on and Concerto Vibes musical instrument so children can make their own music. There are two playstructures so children of all ages can play together. The toddler playstructure has lots of fun activities like a 360 degree Typhoon slide and tot rock climber. The older kids playstructure has multi-level decks, a 855 degree Typhoon slide, 2 other slides, 270 degree Try Rings, Fossil Bluff Climber and Dome Climber.
The Red Tail Play Area at Taylor Mountain Regional Park is a nature-inspired playground that opened in December 2020. The accessible play area includes an embankment slide which is easily the most popular feature of the park. UPC Parks Embankment Slides are fast, cool, cost effective and virtually indestructible! The concrete can be polished to an incredibly smooth finish, making for a fast and consistent sliding surface. Concrete doesn’t heat up the way steel and plastic does, which can become unusable in direct sunlight. This slide was one of the first of it's kind to be installed in northern California and we expect it to be an inspiration for more concrete embankment slides throughout California and beyond!
We can't wait to see what new projects the rest of 2021 brings us!
Playground Safety and Etiquette
Many kids weren't able to play at their local playground during the beginning of the pandemic for some time so we thought we'd post a reminder about playground safety and etiquette. Practicing good manners at the playground can be difficult for kids and parents alike, and there is plenty of gray area when it comes to playground etiquette. Here is a list of some of the most common points of playground etiquette parents and kids will face at the park, as well as how to handle them with grace.
Sharing - We’ve all heard that sharing is caring, but how far is too far? Is everything meant to be shared, or are there limits to what should be up for grabs? Here are some tips for different types of sharing situations:
Playground Equipment: Be respectful of those in line when using equipment. You don't need to immediately stop swinging your child if a line forms, but make sure you give up the swing in a timely fashion so everyone gets a chance to play.
Food: This is pretty obvious, don't ever take food from a stranger or offer food to another child without the caretaker's permission. You never know what allergies or dietary restrictions a child might have. Better to be safe than sorry.
Taking Turns - Like sharing, taking turns can be tricky. It is easy for kids to get overly excited about the fun, fast zipline on the playground and become too impatient to wait for their turn. Taking turns is a vital life skill, and the playground presents the perfect opportunity to put it in action. Teaching your child to take turns with others on the playground can help them learn fairness, discipline, self-control and how to compromise, negotiate with others and manage disappointment. Help your child build these good habits by encouraging them to wait politely for their turn in line and rewarding good turn-taking behavior when you see it with positive reinforcement.
Age Appropriateness - Age-appropriateness on the playground is a matter of safety and injury prevention. There are distinct areas provided for different age groups that are designated by age group signs. Here are some guidelines by age group.
Kids 2 years old or younger: Kids under 2 years old likely should not be on public playgrounds without constant supervision. Instead of going to a busy big-kid park, try to find a local playground specially designed for young kids with infant-safe swings.
Ages 2 to 5: Toddlers are a bit stronger than younger kids but still have a high center of gravity, which makes them prone to toppling over. Stick to playground equipment with short railings and smaller steps, such as crawl tunnels, short slides and small swings, for this age group.
Kids older than 5: Older kids have developed the muscle coordination and arm strength to play safely on climbing equipment, monkey bars, large slides, seesaws and tall swings with adult supervision.
Keep an eye out for these informative signs to help you decide whether a specific piece of equipment would be safe for your kids to play on.
Packing for the Playground - Be conscientious of what you pack when getting a bag ready for the playground. Don't forget to pack snacks and drinks for the playground. Playing takes a lot of energy, so always have plenty of water on hand to keep your kids hydrated. Also don't forget to bring a mini first aid kit with you to the playground. Kids can easily get a cut or scrape and will benefit from some first aid. Lastly, don't forget hand sanitizer to keep germs at bay.
Let's Play Fair and Safe! See you on the playground!