Over the past few months we have featured several boundless playgrounds in our bi-weekly posts. I’m sure we mentioned this before, but a boundless playground is one where children and adults of all abilities can play together.
The idea of a boundless playground began right here in Connecticut with Jonathan’s Dream in West Hartford. Now there are over 214 of these playgrounds in the United States!
Shawna and I both really enjoy visiting these playgrounds with the kids. We find that they are more than just play structures, they also have unique and engaging areas of play for the children that you don’t find in a typical playground. Through our travels, we are trying to visit as many of these playgrounds as we can.
So for today’s post, I have a tour of My Friend’s Place in South Windsor, Connecticut for another dose of boundless playground fun.
This was my first time visiting this playground, but I had been to Nevers Park before and knew this was in the same area. I decided to “wing it” (a very technical term) and didn’t figure out directions before I headed out of the house. That ended up being a mistake.
The park complex is rather large and I had guessed incorrectly as to where this was located. So, I pulled over the car and got online to figure out where I needed to go (no driving and using your phone, right!)
It ends up that the park is located right next to the Community Center which is situated at 150 Nevers Road. I plugged that into my GPS and away we went.
We arrived and saw that there was plenty of parking available. The parking lot is shared by the playground, some baseball fields and the community center. I’m sure when the weather gets really nice, this area can become a little crowded, but today it was easy as pie to find a place to park.
We made our way up to the playground and peered around for Shawna, Boo and some other friends we were meeting there.
There’s Boo chill-in on one of the many benches located in the park.
The playground is set up with a few areas.
There is an area with baby swings and handicap accessible swings located near the entrance. Sparkles is taking her swinging session very seriously.
Nearby there is a playscape that is perfect for the toddler crowd.
It had a few slides and plenty of places for the kids to crawl up and down and explore. For my 15 month-olds, I did need to stand nearby and monitor them. There were some openings with big drops and they seemed to enjoy scaring their mommy by hanging around those areas. But Boo certainly got around with ease and the kids in the 2 and up age group seemed to have no problems.
The playground also had a sandbox with a shaded hut for the kids to play in. Probably a great hang out spot on really sunny days.
Bruiser kept taking off with the sandbox toys.
Speaking of Bruiser taking off, he kept trying to escape in general. The one challenge with this playground is that there is no fence surrounding the area. That seems to be typical for many playgrounds and probably isn’t a big deal for many kids. However, I don’t know if it has something to do with being 15 months, but my kids, especially Bruiser, like to wait until I’m not looking and then take off towards the parking lot. Because of that, this isn’t a playground where I can relax while they play. I’m certainly chasing after little ones most of the time. It is fine. The exercise is good for me. I may change my tune a little when I hit my third trimester, though!
Back to the park description . . . there was a musical instruments section.
And a peaceful garden for the kids to explore.
There was also a section that was currently under construction. Nothing about it seemed dangerous, we just needed to keep moving the kids away from that area. I guess those bright yellow signs seemed inviting.
So the baby swings, toddler playscape, sand box, musical instruments, and sensory garden covered the upper area of this playground. Beyond that, there was a lower area with a much larger play structure and swings for the older kids.
On the edge of the playground, there was also a covered area with picnic tables where we saw many moms hanging out and feeding their kids. It would be a perfect spot for lunch or a snack after a long morning of playing.
If you live near this playground, you could also ride your bike here and make use of the bike stands available at the front.
After exploring My Friend’s Place for a few hours, my kids gave me the universal sign that it was time to head home.
Before we packed up, though, I needed to finish my Out and About Mom scouting with a hunt for a restroom. I did not see any restrooms in the playground area. I will note, however, that many park facilities place port-a-potties near the playground during the spring and summer. It could be that they normally have restrooms, but it was still early in the season. As a back-up plan, however, we ventured over to the Community Center to see if their facilities were easy to access.
As I mentioned before, the Center is located right across the parking lot from the playground. We went inside and found restrooms (with a counter that could be used for a baby changing area), water fountains and vending machines. All of these amenities may come in handy for a mom or dad visiting this park.
After our tour of the Community Center, my kids were definitely making it known that the fun was over. I got them back in the car, tried to fill them up with some snacks, and began our trip back home. I knew my kids would fall asleep, so I was hoping that the snacks would support a few hours of uninterrupted napping. Fortunately, the combination of snacking and playground playing, worked well and they gave me a little peace and quiet time that afternoon.
Just like the many boundless playgrounds we visit, this one turned out to be a hit!
Do you have a favorite park that you frequent? Let us know! Share your comments below.
My Friend’s Place – Boundless Playground
150 Nevers Road, South Windsor, Connecticut
Information on the park, South Windsor Town site: http://www.southwindsor.org/Pages/swindsorct_it/swoutdoors/swoutdoors
Get directions here:
Sunrise to Sunset
- Handicap Accessible
- Baby swings
- Regular swings
- Playscape for children ages 2-5
- Playscape for children ages 5-12
- Several slides
- Groundcover of sand, bark chips and rubber padding
- Musical instruments
- Sensory garden
- Picnic tables
- Covered picnic area
Hints & Tips:
- Playground is designed for children ages 2-12
- The playscape for the younger kids is a good distance away from the playground for the older kids. If you have kids in both age groups, it can be challenging to keep an eye on both areas at once.
- Playground would be enjoyable for children younger than 2, but extra supervision would be required, especially on the playscape.
- The playground is not fenced in. If you have a kid that is a runner, make sure you wear your workout gear that day.
- For pre-walkers, bring a push toy for them to enjoy.
- Restrooms can be accessed in the Community Center located in the same area
- Vending machines and water fountains are also available in the Community Center
Coming up: We continue our playground adventures at two new sites next week. With the weather slowly starting to turn towards spring, these will certainly be the hot spots in the near future.