Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pierpont Park, Peabody

So in my previous post of Cove Playground, we showed what a little, insignificant playground can be transformed into (of course with proper funding and finances). Sadly, here's what happens when a small insignificant playground is updated without proper funding and finances (or without care, I don't know).

Here's what Pierpont used to look like.

And here's what they have done. Not that much. And definitely the design of the playground is still as rudimentary as before. Random pieces of structures disjointedly sitting in a woodchip covered space. Really?

The only thing we liked about this update was the colorful new spring riders. Although there was still something nostalgic about the older, wooden horse spring rider.

Pierpont is upgraded from a one-star playground to a two-star. And that's ONLY because the equipment is newer and the woodchips are fresh.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cove Playground (Kimball-Haskell)

In the previous post, I had mentioned several playground updates. Let's start with the most exciting: Cove Playground, sometimes call Kimball-Haskell, located in Beverly.

Here's the playground before renovation.

And here's the new playground. This is just about at the same angle. AND, this photo is only highlighting the 5-12 year old set up. They have another toddler set up as well as you can see below with the cool ladybug spring rider.

This is a shot from the opposite side of the playground.

Some people would find this upgrade a disappointment as the classic, unique, wooden structure with real tires are on the verge of safety extinction. They would be right of course, but this upgrade is such a drastic change it really does make it better. Cove Playground is used by the Beverly Park and Rec as a summer play program destination. Now the kids at the program will have much more fun and have shade as the previous structure had none! In addition, those counselor's jobs will be much more exciting as now the campers are going to be EVERYWHERE as the playground just quadrupled in size!

The structure is essentially built by Little Tykes (Little Tykes and Miracle Recreation are now owned by the same company, PowerPlay) and has their Infinity Loop component as seen in the upper photo on the left side. My 11-year old (WHAT?! HE'S ELEVEN?) really enjoyed this as it is a new design.

With all the new equipment, quadruple the previous playground, some shade, and new wood chips, the playground has moved up from a two-star playground to a FOUR-STAR!

Although sad to see another classic playground disappear no matter how much it needed maintenance, luckily North Shore photographer Tracy Milkay has captured the old Cove Playground in her book, Child's Play: Vanishing Vintage Playgrounds.

You can see and order her book here.

There are some great photos of vintage equipment and structures in this beautiful book.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Looong time

No excuse. Weather is getting nice. Summer is coming, and it is time to get outside and enjoy the playgrounds without snow in your boots.

Stay tuned as there are some changes to some playgrounds on the North Shore including:
Pierpont Park, Peabody
DiBiasse, Salem
Cove/Kimball-Haskell, Beverly
Endicott, Danvers

I'll be trying to get to some of them this weekend with the boys.
A cool water table set up at Harriet Bishop Playground at Harriet Island in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Eagle Nest, Essex

I was invited to speak to the Essex Elementary PTO about playgrounds today. NOT to replace the BEAUTIFUL, 5 start Eagle Nest Playground but to supplement it and make it even better. Thank goodness. A discussion of making the addition a Natural Playground developed and it was very well received!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Third Edition is DONE

The third edition is done and in your independently owned bookstores and toy stores.

Book Shop of Beverly Farms, Beverly
Silly Goose, Essex
Toodeloos!, Gloucester
Banbury Cross Children's Bookstore, Wenham
Zak's Handcraft and gifts, Manchester-by-the-Sea
Marblehead Toy Shop, Marblehead
Mud Puddle Toys, Marblehead AND SALEM
Toad Hall Bookstore, Rockport
Cornerstone Books, Salem
Crunchy Granola Baby, Salem

Mud Puddle will be caring them for the first time in their Marblehead store as well as in their NEW Salem store. In addition the NEW toy store in Gloucester, Toodeloos! will be caring them as well. Both GREAT stores with friendly people!

You can see the updated list of where you can buy the books at the web site:

Thanks to all for being so patient.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Radio Show about Natural Playgrounds

Public Radio station WBUR just did a broadcast on their show Radio Boston about the trend to create "Natural Playgrounds." The concept to these playgrounds is open ended play using natural environments: plants, rocks, sand, wood, logs. Children get back to basics with the natural world while helping their cognitive development.

Hear it here:

They speak of two playgrounds to look at if you are interested, but I believe they are both private.
The Sparks Center in Mattapan and Au Co Preschool at Viet AID in Dorchester. Both were designed by architects at Studio G.

Sadly I have no photos . . . yet.

Third Edition is at the printers


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Third Edition STILL to come!

Ok. So it has been awhile. I apologize.

As summer approaches . . . oops, it's here already? . . . I have been getting calls for the third edition of the book. I said, "I am hoping to get it done in the beginning of June." Then I said, "I am hoping to get it done sometime in June." Now I am saying, "LEAVE ME ALONE. I'M WORKING ON IT!!!" No no, actually I am close. We are in the copy editing phase. Write ups are done. Photos are done. Just Gloucester's map needs to be updated and I'm done. Give another week for editing. And another for printing. That means . . . end of July probably. Maybe it can be earlier. I'm sorry.

Third Edition due sometime in July.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rockport Elementary School

A representative of a playground design and installation company (Site Specifics) has informed me that Rockport Elementary School had installed a new FULLY accessible playground. This makes it the fourth fully accessible playground on the North Shore. 

Here are some photos from Cindy Maak, the Site Specifics representative. The photos are of the playground during construction. I have yet to make it out to the playground. I would go now even though there is 7" of snow on the ground currently, but the photos wouldn't be as good as I would want them. So we shall go visit it when the snow melts.

The four fully accessible playgrounds are:

1. Touch the Sky Playground (Beverly School for the Deaf)
2. Ross Memorial Park in Peabody
3. Abbot Park, Swampscott (only partially, but not bad)
4. and now Rockport Elementary

North Beverly Elementary School will have the FIFTH fully accessible playground sometime in the summer of 2009.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Forest River Park

It's been quite some time since I have entered a post, but I got something now.

The Friends of Forest River Park is holding an "Inaugural Ball" in commemoration of Obama's presidential inauguration. The ball is to raise money to rebuild the playground for children ages 5 to 12 at Forest River.

The even will be held Saturday, January 17, 2008, at 7:30 pm at the "grand ballroom" in the Salem YMCA on Essex Street.

Tickets are $25 per person and $40 per couple. They can be purchased at my favorite baby store, Crunchy Granola Baby, 72 Washington St.

For more information, catact Holly Grose at