Sunday, May 30, 2021

Come On Over

It’s hard to say which creates more buzz in Columbia/HoCo: the opening of a new restaurant or a new playground.  After a year of limited recreational activities, local parents are spreading the word about the new Play for All playground in Blandair Park. When they say it’s a “Destination Playground” they are not kidding. I’d hazard a guess that my little corner of the world has hosted more new visitors in the last week or so than in the last year. This playground is a family-magnet.

If you haven’t heard, or you just haven’t made it over here yet, here’s some info:

The folks from the County kindly directed me to the Rec and Parks Flicker page for photographs and video of the opening day. What I particularly like there is the overhead view provided by drone. It gives you an idea of the scope of the facilities.

I was really looking for some kid’s-eye view photos of the equipment, so I was thrilled to discover a thorough description of the playground on a Facebook page called Kid Friendly Maryland. If you click here you will get their write-up, followed by a ton of photos that truly put you in the middle of things. Take the time to look at all of them. Then pack your kids in the car and come on over.

If you are like me and don’t have young children, you may find yourself wishing you could be a kid again and do the playing yourself!

Some highlights: 

  • The playground is completely fenced and double-gated, which is great both for parents of young children and special needs children.
  • There are quite a few areas of shade throughout the playground. Being able to take frequent breaks out of the sun makes the play experience healthier for everyone.
  • Water fountains that also allow you to fill water bottles are available.
  • Bathroom facilities on site.
  • Ample parking.
You won’t be surprised that my favorite part of the playground are the musical play structures from Freenotes Harmony Park. Having taught music to young children with special needs, I have become enamored of these interactive musical creations. They’re musical, they give a sensory experience, and they encourage creativity and collaboration. 

If you are curious as to why it is called a Play for All playground, you might want to take a glance at this blog post:

How to Make Playgrounds Accessible and Inclusive for All 

(I’m not promoting their products; I just think it’s a solid introductory look at inclusive playgrounds.)

A Play for All playground is just that. It allows children of varying ages, needs, and abilities to play in the same space. It brings together all sorts of children by creating an appealing and safe environment.  I’m thrilled that Howard County committed to providing this kind of playground for residents. I’m particularly excited that it’s in East Columbia, an area that doesn’t always get a lot of investment.

Of course it isn’t just for us - - we're looking forward to lots of visitors from all over the county. Maybe you’ll be one of them. 

Look for a “what you need to know” post about visiting the new playground in the near future.

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