Category Archives: Parenting

Parenting research and personal anecdotes.

Meadow Glen Park, Boulder, CO

I signed Calvin to participate in a study on Monday at the Cognitive Development Center but we had about an hour after preschool before we needed to be there. Monday turned out to be remarkably warm, for winter, so I decided we should visit a park first. I went to City of Boulder’s playground list and decided to try out Meadow Glen Park.

01MeadowGlen

Meadow Glen Park is a neighborhood park. It’s a nice park to walk to if you live in the neighborhood. However, unless you’re specifically trying to tour all Boulder parks, it’s not a park you would normally drive out of your way for. It has all the basics but not much else. Calvin’s favorite piece of equipment was the Vertical Pipe Climbers:

02Climber

In the picture above, you’ll also see there’s a red playhouse-type structure. I’m not sure what it is suppose to be called officially. It’s bigger than the normal playground playhouses. Outside, along either side, there’s a bench that can be sat on. Inside, there’s a fair amount of space and a couple small seats that kids can perch on.

03Playhouse

One of the other unique features of this park is it has a sun dial. It seemed accurate to within a 1/2 hr or so.

04Sundial

The playground also feature several swings and traditional-style playground equipment. Unfortunately, the spiral slide was roped off with a note that it needed to be fixed.

05Playground

The park backs up to City of Boulder open space on two sides. It’s not as scenic as Foothills Community Park but is still very relaxing. In addition to playground equipment there’s a small basketball court and the park connects to a path that runs beside the Empson Ditch. Once Calvin got bored with the playground he challenged me to several “races” across the bridge that spans the ditch.

06Bridge

I don’t think we’ll go back to this park, we still have a lot of parks left to explore. However, it did provide a nice break in the day.

Summary:

Features 5-12 year old equipment, spiral slide (currently broken), playhouse, swings, bucket swing, sun dial, verticle pipe climber, horse spring riders, steering wheel, storefront panel, bubble panel, Corkscrew Climber, Loop Arch Climber, chinning bar,
Surface Material Mostly pea gravel. Some poured rubber.
Restrooms No
Water fountain No
Shade Most of the playground is unshaded. Playhouse provides shade as do some mature trees on the west side.
Picnic area picnic table (no shade)
Parking Streets parking and then a short walk
Pros
  • Peaceful, backs up to open space
  • Neighborhood park so it’s not going to be over-run with people
  • Interesting playhouse
Cons
  • No restrooms


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Wonderland Lake Park, Boulder, CO

Well . . . the weather report misled us. It said today was suppose to be sunny and 60 degrees. It actually was cloudy and in the 30s with a couple snowflakes drifting down. However, I told Calvin we would go to a park today so we went to the park after Sabbath School. This time we went to Wonderland Lake Park which was almost on the way home.

Getting there turned out to be more confusing than I expected. I had looked briefly at the map but my phone’s battery was dying and I wanted to save it for pictures so I didn’t use it for directions. I missed the turn the first time but eventually figured out that from Broadway I needed to turn west onto Poplar. It’s a “neighborhood” park which I think means there is no parking lot. We parked on Poplar street between Quince Cir and Quail Cir.

The park itself is beautifully situated. Wonderlake is fairly close and there are hills in the background.

01WonderlandPark

There’s a nice sand area with an elevated sand table and two diggers. One digger has a seat and the other one doesn’t so it can be used standing up or by someone in a wheelchair. Unfortunately, the snow had melted into the sand and frozen it into one hard mass so it was hard to do much digging.

02SandShovel

An informational sign at the park says the park was designed for ages 2-5. Though, most of the equipment seemed a bit “old” to officially be for 2-5 year olds. However, they did have an interesting caterpillar tunnel as well as a little covered house.

03CaterpillarTunnel

The main play structure is probably officially rated for 5-12 year olds but probably interests younger kids more. It’s a traditional style but looks fairly new.

04Structure

One of the panels was a double steering wheel.

05SteeringWheels

They also had a periscope panel and Calvin pretended he was on a submarine.

06Periscope

Like Harlow Platts Park, they had a tire swing. I was expecting I would have to push him a lot. However, after the picture below, when the tire swing was practically motionless, Calvin fell off, bumped his head and didn’t want to get on after that. I’m not sure how he fell off, I was zipping my coat up and missed it. However, it seems weird he fell off this swing when I was spinning him very fast on the other without any problems. Perhaps he got overconfident.

07TireSwing

We didn’t stay very long at this park. It’s a nice park but the weather was chilly. However, before we left Calvin managed to make some sand dunes (plural, he got upset when it was implied it was only one sand dune). If you look closely at the picture you’ll see a rock on top. That is Calvin. Next to it is a stick. That is Jaeger.

08SandStructure

Summary:

Features 5-12 year old equipment, spiral slide, periscope panel, steering wheel panel, caterpillar tunnel, sand area, accessible digger, digger, elevated sand table, small playhouse, swings, bucket swing, tire swing, straight slide
Surface Material Mostly rubber squares. Sand in the sand area and pea gravel by the tire swing.
Restrooms No
Water fountain No
Shade Small shaded structure with a picic table.
Picnic area A small picnic table
Parking Streets parking and then a short walk
Pros
  • Very scenic area.
  • Neighborhood park so it’s not going to be over-run with people
  • Nice variety of equipment
  • Good sand equipment
Cons
  • No restrooms


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Harlow Platts Community Park, Boulder, CO

The past couple of weeks have been fairly snowy and cold. However, today’s weather was forecasted to be in the 50s and I decided we needed to take advantage of the weather and go to a park. After speech therapy, I took Calvin to Harlow Platts Community Park which is very close to Fairview, the high school Jaeger went to. This morning our backyard still had several inches of snow so I brought along a towel in case I needed to wipe off the slides. Viele Lake, adjacent to the park, was covered in ice. However, the playground itself was completely snow free and the slides were even dry!

The playground at the Harlow Platts park is pretty traditional and perhaps a bit on the old side. However, I don’t know if it really was old or if it was just so traditional it felt old. The equipment itself was in good shape. Calvin’s favorite feature by far was the tire swing. I probably spent 20 minutes pushing him on it and earned the honor of him telling me I made him go even faster than Kyle1 I did have some minor qualms about how fast I was spinning him but he survived without falling off ๐Ÿ™‚

01CalvinOnTireSwing

The park also had a traditional play structure which the safety experts will tell us is for kids ages 5-12. Calvin climbed up the corkscrew and slid down the covered slide once but other than that ignored it.
02CalvinCorkscrewClimber

They also had a play structure for 2-5 year olds. Calvin wandered around this a bit more because it was windy and this structure was sheltered better.

03CalvinPlays

The tunnel made a nice escape from the wind.

04CalvinTunnels

05CalvinSlides

Calvin tried the overhead glider but it’s still a bit tall for him. I lifted him up and pushed him to the other side but it was too awkward for him to really enjoy it.

06CalvinTrackRide

The park has both bucket swings for smaller children and decent sized swings for older kids. However, Calvin didn’t stay on them long because it was uncomfortable with the blowing wind.

07CalvinSwing

Calvin did enjoy playing a little bit with the pull-up bar.

08CalvinChinningBar

There was also a decently sized sand pit which looks like it could be interesting closer to summer. There’s no provided sand toys but it’s a big enough area he could bring his shovel and bucket and spread out a bit.

Overall, this was an ok park. I expected more from it since it’s close to the recreation center but it didn’t really overwhelm me. It looks like there are some nice paths around the lake that might be nice for Calvin to ride his bike around.

Summary:

Features 5-12 year old equipment, 2-5 year old equipment, covered slide, track ride, tic-tac-toe panel, corkscrew climber, swings, bucket swings, sand area, tire swing, spring riders
Surface Material Mostly pea gravel/coarse sand
Restrooms No
Water fountain No
Shade Shaded structure right next to the playground but the equipment itself isn’t shaded.
Picnic area One small, two-person picnic table and then a couple more closer to the lake
Parking Yes
Pros
  • The lake is picturesque but there’s a fence between it and the playground to keep toddlers from wandering too far.
  • Tire swing!
Cons
  • The tire swing was nice but other than that it wasn’t a particularly exciting park.


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  1. Calvin’s preschool has a tire swing and Kyle is one of Calvin’s preschool teachers.

St. Mary’s Square Playground, San Francisco, CA

The last couple of weeks have been busy. Calvin and I went out to visit Nana, Jaeger’s mother, early so she could have more time with Calvin. Than the rest of the family arrived a couple of days later. After Christmas we flew to San Francisco and are decompressing from family time before going to visit Jaeger’s grandmother. This was our second full day in San Francisco. We went to Chinatown and wandered around the streets for a while. While there, we stumbled across a playground in St. Mary’s Square1. To my surprise it was mostly deserted . Maybe it was just the wrong time of day for families to be their with their children.

The playground is small but has a nice selection of equipment. The equipment seems fairly new but is showing some sign of wear and tear. The first thing Calvin tried out was the double teeter-totter-type thing.
teetertotter

Next, he played for a bit with the Playworks structure which was very similar to the one at East Boulder Community Park.
sand

They also had a train which looked like it could entertain a variety of ages.
train

The last piece of equipment was a semi-traditional playground set that is probably officially designed for 5-12 year-olds. Calvin enjoyed climbing on the rope ladder but other than that seemed to get bored of it fairly quickly.
playground

They also had some swings outside the fenced area but we didn’t get around to those. It was a nice little park and provided a great opportunity for Calvin to run around and get energy out before once again braving the Chinatown crowds.
Summary:

Features 5-12 year old equipment, 2-5 year old equipment, rope bridge, slide, new-style teeter-totter, sand play works, train, swings
Surface Material Poured Rubber and sand
Restrooms No
Water fountain No
Shade Yes, mainly provided by the tall buildings around the park.
Picnic area No.
Parking I believe it’s on top of a parking garage but we walked there.
Pros
  • Nice place to take a break in the middle of the city
  • Provides a couple of playground pieces for a variety of ages
Cons
  • Eqipment showing some wear and tear, though most is still fine.
  • It’s a city so there’s homeless people, though none were near the enclosed part of the playground.


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  1. Also yet another statue of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, they’re everywhere.

An Epic iPad Saga

A little over a year ago I bought an iPad as an experiment. We were planning to fly to Hong Kong and my main purpose for buying the iPad was to see if it’d work as an entertainment device for Calvin. Beyond that, I had no thoughts of what I would use it for. Since I wasn’t sure what my use case was, I didn’t want to spend a great deal of money on it. So, I bought a 16GB, Wifi-only, refurbished iPad2. That device was the best thing ever invented for keeping a child happy on an airplane.

<digression>
Just recently I saw an article whose author seemed to think the end of western civilization was nigh and it was the fault of lazy parents who didn’t want to entertain their kids the old-fashioned way on airplanes. I read this article in stunned disbelief. I do not view myself as an overly strict parent but we do have limits on screen time, types of snacks, etc. However, the moment we get on the plane I have one goal: survive the plane ride with Calvin and me both sane and, preferably, happy. If that means letting Calvin watch 10 hrs of video and eat the occasional piece of candy, I can live with that. When traveling to Hong Kong we were traveling for 23 hrs straight. Of that time, Calvin was grumpy for about 5 minutes. That, my friend, is priceless.
</digression>

Calvin is the main user of the iPad but I do use it for a couple of things. My biggest use is trying to learn Chinese characters via the TrainChinese app. Calvin uses the iPad to watch movies, play games, and also play some educational apps. I’ve also created some “movies” of some of Calvin’s favorite books. I scanned the pictures in the book and then synced the audio book to the pictures. Calvin seems to like these quite a bit and will listen to the audio book while working with legos and occasionally glancing at the pictures.

I’m fairly happy with the iPad but I do have two complaints. First, 16 GB is no longer big enough. I’m ripping more and more of Calvin’s movies for the iPad and it’s starting to fill up. This is a fairly minor complaint and it was self-inflicted. My biggest complaint with the iPad is it doesn’t have a lot of good parental controls. I understand iOS 7 has better parental controls than the prior version but it’s still not at the level I want. I want to be able to have different profiles such as the “airplane” profile which lets him use pretty much everything installed and then a “normal day” profile which doesn’t let him watch movies and use the “game” apps without a parental override while still allowing access to the “educational” apps.

Because of the two complaints above, I started considering whether or not it made sense to get Calvin his own tablet while letting me keep the iPad (16 GB is plenty for what I use it for). I waffled for quite a bit and finally decided I couldn’t really justify the money. So, I resigned myself to the inferior parental controls and started looking for solutions to the space issue. I investigated a couple of options, including a couple variations of wifi drives. One of the biggest problems I saw with dragging a separate drive along is power. I’m not so concerned about storage space for the iPad on domestic flights. I’m worried about international flights. The iPad has a great battery life and most of the wifi drives I looked out would die significantly before the iPad. Of course, I could bring even more batteries with me to keep the hard drives charged but it seemed like it could get clunky fast.

While looking for storage options, I stumbled across several posts detailing how to use the iPad Camera Connection Kit to provide extra video storage. It sounded very kludgy but also like it’d probably do what I needed. The camera connection kit/SD card wouldn’t require any extra power and it is also pretty small. This would also allow me to swap out movies during longer vacations (my iTunes is on my non-portable kitchen computer). I ordered the kit and a 16 GB SD card and hoped for the best.

The camera connection kit was scheduled to arrive today. I prepared supper early so as soon as the package arrived I could start fiddling and wouldn’t have to be distracted by minor things like food ๐Ÿ™‚ The package arrived and I eagerly opened up and inserted the SD card into the camera connection kit. Then, I went to find the iPad. It was sitting, ever so innocently, on the kitchen table. Calvin had been using it earlier but was now occupied playing Legos with Jaeger. Before plugging the adapter into my iPad, I turned my iPad on. That is, I tried to turn my iPad on.

When I hit the power button on my iPad, a curtain of dark gray advanced about 1/3 of the way across the screen and then retreated. The rest of the screen stayed blank. I tried again, same thing. I though that perhaps Calvin had run down the battery so I plugged it in to my computer and saw that it still claimed to be at 50%. I asked Calvin if he had dropped the iPad recently. He looked a little sheepish and noted it had only been dropped a little bit from the couch, accidentally of course.

Now, I know for a fact that this poor iPad has been dropped a fair amount by Calvin. Often at distances higher than the couch. However, I had a bad feeling that this had been one drop too many. Just to be thorough, I tried a reset and then a restart. Other than the background briefly changing to a lighter gray, nothing happened. I was able to hook the iPad up to iTunes and it appeared to transfer data fine so it just seemed to be some sort of display issue. At this point, I was pretty convinced it was broken but decided to have iTunes attempt an update and restore just to see. No luck.

Jaeger suggested I should make an appointment with the Genius bar. I was a bit dubious because I was pretty sure they would just tell me it was broken. If I was lucky, I thought they might have a way to diagnose exactly what was wrong and then give me the option of having it shipped off to be fixed for some indeterminate amount of money. The problem with this is Calvin and I are flying out on Tuesday. Yes, I’m spoiled but I did not want to fly alone with Calvin without some sort of entertainment device for him.

I made the appointment with the Genius bar for a little after supper and then set to researching my tablet options. One of the first things I looked at was how much it’d cost to get another refurbished iPad. The cost was about what I expected. However, the major sticking point was there didn’t appear to be any way for me to get one of these iPads by Tuesday. If I was going to buy a new iPad, I want the 32 GB model. Those looked like they’d cost around $600. Given recent events I was very reluctant to hand over a $600 tablet to Calvin. I turned my attention to Kindle Fires as a possible stop gap option. Best buy had several 32 GB Kindle Fires available for under $300. From what I’ve heard, the Kindle Fire has some of the best parental controls of any of the tablets. I talked to Jaeger about it but he was worried about being locked in to yet another vendor’s proprietary weirdness. His argument had merit so I checked and Best Buy also had some 7″ Nexuses. That seemed a reasonable option to get us through the Thanksgiving trip and then I could order a 16 GB refurbished iPad for myself later.

After supper our whole family piled ourselves into Motoko to go visit the Genius bar. We got there, they checked us in, and settled in to wait our turn. They had a cute kids table with 4 tethered ipads on it loaded with kids games. I thought Calvin would be fascinated but instead he wanted to sit in my lap and listen to me read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Eventually a tech came up, took a look at my iPad and proclaimed it dead, as expected. What was completely unexpected to me was he then offered to sell me a replacement 16 GB iPad 2 for $250. That was a better price than I’d seen online so I figured it was worth it to go ahead and order my replacement iPad now, even if it wouldn’t arrive in time. To my astonishment, he told us he’d be right back with it. I hadn’t realized he’d been talking about getting me a replacement immediately. That’s probably the best customer service I’ve ever had from an electronics manufacturer. Once the tech came back with the “new” iPad he poked a couple of buttons, we handed over our credit card, and then were on our way once again with a fully-fuctional iPad.

Given we once more had a working tablet, I decided it did not make sense to follow our original plan and buy a Nexus for Calvin at Best Buy. So, we went home and I synced it and everything appeared to be back to normal.

I was delighted that the experience turned out to be so cheap. However, I still had only a 16GB tablet. So, my purchase of the camera connection kit wasn’t going to be wasted after all. Following the Lifehacker directions, I created the DCIM folder and 100DICAM subfolder. Then I moved a test video file over and renamed it DCM_0001. It was a mp4 file which I had been led to believe should work fine. I plugged it into the iPad and was happy to see the iPad recognized the file and seemed quite happy to give me the option to import it. I imported it and then clicked on the Camera app to try to find it. Based on the instructions, I was let to believe it would appear in my camera roll. I didn’t see it. I tried several other things and tried to figure out where I went wrong. I tried different file extensions and still couldn’t find the videos. The iPad definitely thought it was transferring the files, it would ask me for confirmation when I requested it import something it thought it already had, but I couldn’t find them. Finally, I figured out my mistake (which you may have already noticed). I had been looking in the Camera app, not the Photo app. On my iPad I only use 2 of the 4 statically placed apps: Safari and Mail. As a result, I apparently have developed a blind spot in actually seeing the Photos and Music Apps. Now that I’m finally looking in the right app, everything is working perfectly.

Of course, the biggest problem with this scheme is that all the videos are going to have really bizarre names: DCM_0001, DCM_0002, etc. I need to come up with some sort of index option that is relatively easy to use. That’s probably a project for tomorrow.

Foothills Community Park, Boulder, CO

Tuesday we took an unplanned visit to Dakota Ridge Park because the weather was so nice it seemed wrong not to go to the park. While there, I talked to another mother who said that the Foothills Park was very nice. She inspired me to go check it out.

This is a “community park”, versus a “neighborhood park”, so it covers a fairly large area. I looked at it on Google maps and was able to guess where I thought the playground equipment would be. However, I wasn’t sure how to get to it. We entered the park but I decided to turn south which took us past a play structure by the community garden. However, it didn’t look large enough to be the playground equipment I had seen on the map. So, we retraced our steps and went to the north side of the park. Once we got there, it was obvious that the north side was suppose to be the main playground area.

CalvinFoothilsRock

The view is pretty impressive. As the name suggests, it hugs the foothills. It also looks like it has a lot of paved paths so it might a good place to take Calvin to ride his bike.

The playground area is divided into two sections. The bottom section contains fairly traditional playground equipment that contain hints of boatness.

lowerplayground

Among other things, they had a periscope.

periscope

They also had ladders which Calvin thought were like the ladders on the fireboat we saw in Hong Kong.

ladders

In addition to the periscope, they had a lot of other panels on the equipment: several different wheels, “fan” panel 1, gears, and a “spelling panel”.

steeringwheel1

steeringwheel2

fan

fan2

spelling

There were a lot of different climbing options to get into the structure including several rope ladder variations.

ladder

Calvin had fun playing on the lower structure but I think he would have had even more fun with a group of kids where they could have play-acted being on a ship. After a bit, we went around to the upper playground equipment.

upperplayground

This equipment was more contemporary, the same sort of things that the Dakota Ridge Playground has. I was initially skeptical of how non-traditional this style is. However, after watching kids play on it, it obviously offers a lot of upper body exercise. There was a little girl playing and it was amazing how, using just her arms, she was able to hoist herself all around the ropes and “hammocks.” Like the little girl, Calvin enjoyed scrambling all over the equipment.

climbingwall

hanging

climbing

hamock

While Calvin was enjoying the equipment, I wandered around to see what else was on the top level. There were a couple of swings including regular swings, bucket swings, and a molded bucket seat. Then I went over to where there appeared to be a covered slide that went from the top area down the bottom area. However, it was completely fenced in with no gate. Eventually, I realized that you were suppose to climb the rock wall to get into the enclosure and slide down. The slide was interesting in that it was a tube but had clear pieces interspersed so it wasn’t too dark inside. I called Calvin over and he got a kick out of climbing up the rock and then going down the slide. The sun was in a bad position so I was only able to get a picture of Calvin climbing up.

rockclimbing

It’s a nice playground and fairly close to Calvin’s preschool so I expect we’ll visit this one again.

Summary:

Features 5-12 year old equipment, covered slide, bridges, track ride, periscope panel, gear panel, spelling panel, chimney climber, corkscrew climber, wavy web climber, vertical climbers, sky rail climber, small climbing wall, climbing cables with orbs, “playshell” seat, “rocking tube”, twisted ladder, small rock climbing wall, swings, bucket swings, molder plastic bucket swing
Surface Material Poured Rubber
Restrooms Yes!
Water fountain Not sure
Shade There are quite a few shaded picnic shelters.
Picnic area Yes, quite a few. Some are available for renting.
Parking Good sized parking lot
Pros
  • Good variety of equipment
  • Provides both traditional and modern playground eqipment
  • Restrooms!
Cons
  • No sand but you can’t have everything.


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  1. After looking it up, it was apparently suppose to be an hourglass panel except there was no sand.

Firefighter Storytime

When Jaeger’s mom came out to visit we went to the Erie library and noticed signs on the door stating there was to be a Firefighter Storytime in a couple of weeks. Oddly enough, it wasn’t during times that I normally work1. I filed it away and meant to look up more information about it later but then forgot. Monday, we went to the Erie library again. Unfortunately, in my rush to get out of the house, I had neglected to pick up the bag with our items that needed to be returned. Normally, this wouldn’t be a huge problem but I had a member video checked out that I couldn’t renew2. I glumly resigned myself to revisiting the library again that week3. However, as we entered the library, I saw the flyer again for the firefighters and realized they would be visiting Tuesday and Thursday of this week. Since I had been thinking of taking Calvin anyway, this worked out well for returning the video.

Tuesday we visited the library again for the storytime. This time I remembered the bag and successfully returned our books and videos. Calvin was very excited by the prospect of the Firefighter Storytime. We got there early to stake out our seat on the floor. To my surprise, there were hardly any kids there. However, Calvin enjoyed listening to the stories and watching the fireman put on his gear. They were hoping that the firetruck would be free but it ended up being out on a call. The children’s librarian hinted that perhaps we’d have better luck if we came back for the Thursday storytime.

I was a bit ambivalent about taking Calvin back to the library yet again. However, I eventually decided firefighter storytimes were rare enough that it’d be worth it. It was a good choice. There were different firefighters this time and probably four times the number of kids there had been on Tuesday.. They read the obligatory firefighter books4. However, in addition to the firefighter showing off his gear, they had a little “hot or not” game to indoctrinate kids of the types of things they need to be careful of. In addition, the kids all practiced dropping to the ground and crawling when the smoke detector went off. I was fascinated that in both of the storytimes once the firefighter had his gear on, he requested the kids come and give him a high-five or a hug. They were trying to show the kids that firefighters aren’t scary so the kids wouldn’t hide from the firefighters in case of a real fire (which makes me wonder how often that happens).

We were lucky and after the second story time we were able to go outside and see a fire truck. I hadn’t brought Calvin’s fleece in, because the building was warm, but it was a bit nippy outside so he wore mine. Naturally, Calvin had a blast.

Firetruck1

Firetruck2

Firetruck3

  1. Most library storytimes are not designed for working parents. I complained about this once or twice but was told that non-morning storytimes are not attended well. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see this storytime was running from 4:15-5. It still wouldn’t work for someone working full-time but was perfect for me.
  2. Branch items will renew up to 15 times unless someone puts a hold on it. However, member items only renew 1-2 times, depending on the type of item. I’m employed by the district and the relationship between the district and member libraries can be heated so I try very hard to return all member items on time religiously.
  3. Don’t get me wrong, I love libraries but it’s not the most convenient location for us to visit since we live in Boulder. Once a week visits fill our need for books and movies without monopolizing all of our afternoons.
  4. I think it’s a requirement that every firefighter storytime include Curious George and the Firefighters.

East Boulder Community Park, Boulder, CO

The weather has calmed down a bit, at least for the moment. Boulder has great parks but, sadly, they don’t have water features nor a lot of shade. Thus, most summer days I was unwilling to drag myself to the park. Then, we had a lot of lovely rain that turned into flooding. Even I must admit we got too much rain. Several days after the flood the weather was in the lower 70s and sunny, perfect park weather. Unfortunately, every park we tried was closed due to flooding or the roads to the park were closed.

Today, we tried another excursion, this time to East Boulder Community Park. I also made sure to check ahead of time that it wasn’t on the closed park list and all the roads to it were open.

playground5-12

This playground is in a large park complex that includes a rec center, lake, dog park, tennis courts, handball courts, and squash courts (we have these in the US?). The playground itself is very nicely designed. Most of it is fenced in, probably to prevent the ducks from getting in, but it also nicely corrals the children. In addition, there’s a very wide variety of playground equipment for all ages as well as shaded picnic tables.

Before we entered the playground area, Calvin got distracted by the lake and the ducks. However, Calvin lost interest fairly quickly.

communityparklake

As soon as we entered, Calvin headed straight for the prominent reptile. He was going to climb up on it but the sun had made its surface fairly hot.

alligator

After the reptile, Calvin headed straight for the play area designed for 5-12 year olds.

playground5-12

This play equipment had a couple of unique features. One of them was the rollerslide.

rollerslide

Calvin managed to do fairly well on the roller log. He keeps getting bigger . . .

logroll

The equipment also had three different types of bridges: an arch bridge, belt bridge (basically reinforced rubber), and a “clatter” bridge.

archbridge

beltbridge

clatterbridge

It also had “enrichment” options such as the maze panel, tic-tac-toe, and bubble panel.

mazepanel

tictactoe

bubblepanel

I was fascinated by the “spiral climber.” They were pretty big steps but Calvin managed.

spiralclimber

Also, Calvin is hanging on better to overhead equipment. This is the trapeze horizontal ladder. He couldn’t manage to get to the next trapeze bar but hung on this one for a fairly long time.

TrapezeHorizontalLadder

Calvin briefly went over and explored the equipment designed for 2-5 year olds but found it fairly uninteresting.

playground2-5

There is also a “club house” and a contraption that looked like it was suppose to be hooked up to water. However, it wasn’t turned on.

clubhouse

Most of the surface material was sand. However, they had an official sandbox as well as a digger.

sandbox

However, the highlight of the visit was probably the discovery of the “playworks” structure. At first it looks like just another piece of playground equipment. However, if you look closer, you can see it has various tubes running through the structure as well as tethered shovels to pour sand into the tops of the tubes.

sandplayworks0

sandplayworks1

The tethered shovels were good in that they wouldn’t walk away. However, they are a bit awkward to use. Fortunately, I had brought along Calvin’s shovel, pail, and dump truck just in case we discovered sand. This allowed Calvin to put sand in his bucket and lug it up, and then use his shovel to move the sand down to his dump truck at the bottom of the tube.

sandplayworks2

This is a very nice playground. I’ll definitely plan to visit it again in the future.

Summary:

Features 5-12 year old equipment, 2-5 year old equipment, club house, sand box, sand play works (tubes and shovels), sand digger, roller slide, covered slide, bridges, tic-tac-toe, maze panel, bubble panel, spiral steps, trapeze horizontal ladder, log roll, regular swings, bucket swings, track ride, spring riders
Surface Material Mostly sand but some poured rubber
Restrooms I assume there are restrooms in the rec center but didn’t see anything obvious near the playground
Water fountain Not sure
Shade Shaded shelter with picnic tables. The 5-12 year old play equipment does get some shade from trees but the rest is un-shaded.
Picnic area There are two small covered shelter with picnic tables.
Parking Parking lot for both the playground, community center, and everything else in the area.
Pros
  • Amazing variety of equipment for a fairly small area
  • Has a nice variety of things for children to play on regardless of age.
  • Lots of nice sand play options
Cons
  • Nothing obvious


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Scot Carpenter Park, Boulder, CO

One Sunday, a couple of weeks back, the weather went from being oppressively hot to comfortable temperatures with a slight drizzle. I jumped at the opportunity to go outside in reasonably nice weather and decided to take Calvin to the park.

Calvin had asked me the previous day if we could go to the “rocket park”. He meant the Scott Carpenter Park which is probably most famous for the 4-story rocket. When he was younger Calvin had to be coached up by daddy. However, now he blithely scrambles to the top by himself.

01rocket

Upon first entering the park, there are two large metal discs that allow you to make echoes.

07rocket

The rocket is the most prominent feature in the playground. However, it has quite a few different play areas.

02rocket

There’s a sand area that I think is suppose to be moon-crater-like.

03rocket

Calvin enjoyed scrambling up the rock.

04rocket

Even though Calvin is comfortable with the biggest structures now, he still likes scrambling through the little toddler tunnels.

05rocket

There’s also a couple of space-themed spring riders. This one is a two-seater that he convinced me to hop on with him after the picture.

06rocket

All-in-all, it’s a very nice park. The only slight downside is it’s so popular it can become mobbed.

Summary:

Features 4-story rocket!, sand pit, playground equipment for everyone from toddlers to older children, swings, bucket swings, spring riders, slides, spiral slide, covered slide, double slide, echo panels, ladders, climbing nets, fireman poles
Surface Material Mostly pea gravel but some poured rubber
Restrooms I think there are restrooms, or at least a porta-potty but I forget to check for sure. The Scott Carpenter pool is right next to the playground and they must have restrooms there.
Water fountain Not sure
Shade Shaded shelter with picnic tables. However, none of the playground equipment is shaded and it’s of older materials and may get hot.
Picnic area There is one covered shelter with picnic tables.
Parking Parking lot for both the park, the pool, and everything else in the area.
Pros
  • Rocket!
  • Has a nice variety of things for children to play on regardless of age.
Cons
  • Can be very crowded at times.


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Holiday Park, Boulder, CO

While visiting the Reading in Spires Little Library, Calvin wandered over to play at the playground equipment. This park had almost nothing indicating its name or purpose. However, based on the a sign advertising “movies in the park”, I eventually decided it must be a Holiday HOA created park. Unlike our HOA, there were no nasty signs telling non-residents to leave immediately1.

moviesinthepark

The playground isn’t large but has a nice selection of things to climb.

Kompan "Triple Shifter"

Kompan “Triple Shifter”

They had several large rock-like sculptures that I thought Calvin would enjoy climbing. However, we mostly hid under the larger one avoiding the rain.

The plaque on one of the rocks says it's by Monolithic Sculpture Inc.  This appears to have been a Boulder company at one point.

The plaque on one of the rocks says it’s by Monolithic Sculpture Inc. This appears to have been a Boulder company at one point.

Landscape Structures "SpringRing Bouncer"

Landscape Structures “SpringRing Bouncer”

We didn’t spend a huge amount of time at this park. However, that was mainly because I wanted to go see the next little library. Calvin probably would have had fun for another half hour if I had let him.

As we were walking back to the car, I noticed one of the surrounding buildings is guarded by gargoyles.
gargoyle

Summary:

Features climbing structures, ring bouncer, pretend megaphone, pretend binoculars, stairs to nowhere
Surface Material poured rubber
Restrooms No restrooms ๐Ÿ™
Water fountain None
Shade Very little. Eventually some of the trees may grow tall enough to provide shade. The largest rock allows some huddling under.
Picnic area There are a couple of picnic tables
Pros
  • Interesting things to climb on
Cons
  • No bathrooms of any kind.


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  1. Our HOA probably does it for safety reasons . . . or something. Personally, the more kids there are in the park, the happier I am because Calvin will play with them instead of asking me to play with him.