Spring! Let’s go to the playground!

Could it be true?  Has Spring finally arrived? I think it’s safe to say that in fact, Spring is here.

You’ve all been cooped up much of the winter, and UGH that snow.  Even when it was a “nice” day – there were puddles and potholes and frost heaves, etc.  Not to mention the germs and flu that lurked in every destination.  BLECH. Better to just stay put. Let’s face it this Winter kinda sucked here in Massachusetts!

But now the weather is fairly mild and dare I say:  Pleasant even! Spring is a great time to get out and explore with your baby. Playgrounds are finally clear of snow (albeit somewhat muddy still) – try your little one on the swing, get a little exercise, bring a blanket and some bubbles, or just sit on a bench and observe the big kids running and playing.

At a loss for ideas?  Here are a few of The Baby Mavens favorite playgrounds:

Endicott Park in Danvers – barnyard animals, a nice playground with several play structures for all ages, picnic tables, walking trails through the woods (not for strollers, sadly), plenty of grassy areas to run around and, this is important – a bathroom! Free parking weekdays, $3 for non-residents on weekends ($1 for Danvers residents).

Lt. Ross Park in Peabody (also known as Cy Tenney Park!)- nice handicapped-accessible play structure with rubber ground cover as well as sandboxes and older wooden structures which offer creative ways to play. Plenty of free parking.  This park has baseball fields so it can be busy in the evenings and weekends. And, there are some of the nicest porta-potties I have ever seen. It’s adjacent to the bike path, which offers a great (stroller-friendly) opportunity to stretch your legs and take in a little scenery.  There are ponds along the path, and many types of animals may be observed such as turtles basking on logs, birds, frogs, caterpillars and even an occasional snake!

Another great spot is Ipswich River Park in North Reading!  In addition to a grassy area with walking trails, there is a small play area with a sandbox, swings, climbing structure, and a big track you can walk around, a skateboard park for your older children, plenty of picnic tables (many in the shade!) and lots of open space to run.  Also – they’ve got bathrooms there as well!

Lynch Park in Beverly is a beautiful waterfront park with a NEW play structure and a NEW splash pad! There are also plenty of picnic tables, two beaches, lots of grassy areas to roam about in, and a beautiful Rose Garden. Non-Residents of Beverly pay a parking fee of $8 on weekdays and $20 on weekends (yikes!) but this park is worth it.  The downside?  The public restrooms don’t open until Memorial Day. {You used to be able to use the restroom in the Beverly Recreation office building [first floor, to the right inside the door], but I don’t know if that is still an option!}

There’s also a great toddler playground on the North Side of Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield, across from the Gingerbread Construction Company.  This small, fully fenced park has nice baby swings as well as a structure geared for younger kids. After you push your little one for a bit, you may want to tighten up your sneakers and take a lap around the lake (3.25 miles) or maybe you’re more interested in getting some muffins across the street – either way, this is a great spot to stop!

So, why not pack up your baby and head outside to enjoy the season? A good dose of Vitamin D will feel great, and the fresh air will do wonders for you and baby, too!

If you’ve got a brand-new baby at home and an active toddler, consider taking your postpartum doula with you to the park. She can help with the baby while you spend some much-needed playtime with older brother or sister.  When baby is ready to nurse, we will hand him/her over to you and keep an eye on your older child.  Yes, The Baby Mavens can help in this way, too! We can even drive your car if you’ve had a C-Section and haven’t been cleared to drive yet!

*Lauren

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