Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why PlayMapped?

When our daughter (known here as Miss Mary Mack) was about 3 years old, we went on a family vacation to San Diego.  Our big "splurge" day was a trip to Legoland.  It was not the perfect day at a Southern California amusement park -- she cried, was a bit timid, and, well, none of us had a lot of fun.

Except at the playground.  We spent well over $100 for a day at Legoland, and all our daughter wanted to do was play at the playground.  If I had known that, I could've easily saved $100 and a day's worth of aggravation.

Ever since then, our vacations, both near and far, have tried to include at least one trip to a playground.  And we've generally found that our times at playgrounds have been among the most enjoyable parts of our trips.  Miss Mary Mack and her younger brother (Little Boy Blue) have fun, we the parents get a break, and we also get the experience of seeing what is typically a non-touristy part of a location -- we all get a better feel for the place.

And that place can even be down the street in our own hometown.  There is value in visiting playgrounds in our own spread-out city, seeing different kids and families, trying new things.

So, yeah, playgrounds = good.

The problem is trying to find good playgrounds.  There is the occasional weblink to an article listing the best playgrounds in a particular city or region, but the usefulness is mixed -- sometimes the articles are out-of-date, they often lack pictures, and for an outsider looking in, it's often impossible to figure out exactly where this awesome playground with the 3-story-tall slide is.

So this is my small attempt to solve that problem.  I want to review playgrounds, not just from my city, but from all around the country.  I want to talk about what I as a parent enjoy in playgrounds for my kids (as opposed to the viewpoint of the playground designer, which is also important, but not my focus given my total lack of formal education in the subject).  And I want this to be comprehensive, so that playgrounds from all around the country get their time in the sun.

How that's all going to work will be revealed here shortly.  For the moment, though, thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon.

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