Tufts Library Playground, Weymouth

Theo poses dramatically in front of the Tufts Library Playground landscape. "I've been here way too many times," he said, "like my whole life. One star."

Theo poses dramatically in front of the Tufts Library Playground landscape. "I've been here way too many times," he said, "like my whole life. One star."

46 Broad St, Weymouth

Ages: Younger-Medium Kids

Type of Turf: Grass and Wood chips

Fun Factor: ★★★ 
Interesting Equipment: ★★★
Swing Variety: ★★★
Uniqueness: ★★★
Shade: ★
Relaxation Potential: ★★
Friendliness of People: ★★★

 

 

 

We have visited this playground twice this summer, and both times, reviewers were underwhelmed. 

As an adult, this simply blows my mind, because the playground seems to have everything you could want- two structures, a sandbox, interesting slides, and bathrooms nearby. 

"Boring," they say. "No thank you." 

"Why?" I ask wistfully, remembering happy mornings spent here with my kids as toddlers.

"Boring, for little kids," they say. 

I don't see it, but whatever. It's not my blog. -Katy

The slides were good and fast.
— Cavan, 10
These slides are like Arlington Junior. Not as awesome as the ones at Robbins Farm Park, but pretty good for the South Shore.
— Theo, 8
Be careful on the slides. One launched me into the air and I landed sideways. It hurt. Be careful.
— Tyler, 10
 

Tufts Library Playground is located behind the public library. 

Imagination Station, Randolph

240 North Street, Randolph

Ages: Younger-Older Kids

Type of Turf: Rubber

Fun Factor: ★★★★★ 
Interesting Equipment:  ★★★★
Swing Variety: ★★★
Uniqueness: ★★★★★
Shade: ★★★
Relaxation Potential: ★★★★
Friendliness of People: n/a


The Randolph Imagination is a hidden gem, especially on a dreary day. To access the park, you cross over a wooden bridge that feels like it's out of a children's story. 

Once across, kids of all ages are met with unique, multi-sensory play opportunities. Even the teachers loved the xylophones. 

IMG_2441.JPG
I loved the xylophone more than anything.
— Jacob, 8
The slide was really fast, probably because it was wet. I launched into the air.
— Bella, 11
There is a stick next to a flower off to the side. If you push the button, something magical happens. If you’re there on a dreary day, you might be the only one to notice.
— Tyler, 10
 

Imagination Station is located at 240 North Street in Randolph, Massachusetts.

DCR Playground, Nantasket Beach, Hull

It's hard to tell from this photo, but the playground is shaped like a boat. 

It's hard to tell from this photo, but the playground is shaped like a boat. 

Nantasket Avenue, Hull MA

Ages: Younger-Medium Kids

Type of Turf: Rubber

Fun Factor: ★★★★ 
Interesting Equipment:  ★★
Swing Variety: ★
Uniqueness: ★★★
Shade: ★
Relaxation Potential: ★★★★★
Friendliness of People: ★★★★


While reviewers didn't give particularly high ratings to this playground, they saw a great deal of value in it. 

Located on Nantasket Beach, they found it to be a friendly and relaxing environment. Tyler, age 10, commented, "My friend Sam literally fell asleep under the play structure. That's how relaxed he was. That guy never slows down, either."

Reviewers noticed that this was the first playground of the summer where other random kids joined in their play. Tyler said, "I was calling for Cavan, but someone named Gavin came over. So we started to play tag and it became a whole game."

Reviewers look forward to a return trip before the summer ends. 

The inner swing is shorter on the right. Be careful. I fell off.
— Michael, 12
He did that on purpose.
— Theo, 8
The playground, situated on Nantasket Beach, had this relaxing of an effect on some usually energetic kids. 

The playground, situated on Nantasket Beach, had this relaxing of an effect on some usually energetic kids. 

This playground is designed with smaller kids in mind. Be careful not to bang your head.
— Jacob, 10
 

The Nantasket Playground is located at Nantasket Beach, adjascent to the bath house and near the carousel.

Friendship Park, West Bridgewater

80 Howard St, West Bridgewater, MA

Ages: All Ages

Type of Turf: Wood chips

Fun Factor: ★★★★★ 
Interesting Equipment:  ★★★★
Swing Variety: ★★
Uniqueness: ★★★★
Shade: ★★★
Relaxation Potential: ★★★
Friendliness of People: ★★★


It was really hot on the day we visited Friendship Park, but reviewers were very happy with  the giant, shady tree that the park seemed to be designed around. 

Reviewers found the equipment interesting, and admired that designers didn't worry about safety so much that they took the fun away. "You could probably fall off something here," one reviewer said, "but it would really be your own fault."

Reviewers mentioned that there were a fair amount of smaller kids, but that their parents were "really reasonable and not all panicked about bigger kids sharing the playground."

Best of the summer.
— Theo, 8
There is plenty of shade, thanks to this big old tree.
— Jacob, 10
The slides are great, and there are plenty of fun ways to access them.
— Madison, 9
 

Friendship Park is located off of Route 106 in W Bridgewater, not far from exit 16 on Route 24. 

Cole School Playground, Norwell

Reviewers felt the play structure was "familiar, classic, and good for a school."

Reviewers felt the play structure was "familiar, classic, and good for a school."

81 High St, Norwell, MA 02061

Ages: All Ages

Type of Turf: Wood chips, rubber

Fun Factor: ★ (Because Katy made us leave)
Interesting Equipment:  ★★★
Swing Variety: ★★★★
Uniqueness: ★★★
Shade: ★
Relaxation Potential: ★ (Because Katy)
Friendliness of People: ★ (Katy was unfriendly)


We needed a quick, local playground to visit while we waited for traffic to drop off for our trip to Canobie Lake Park- so we headed over to Cole School in Norwell. 

Now I need to make three things quickly clear:

  • I am VERY comfortable with robust play. I don't mind kids climbing, jumping, or taking reasonable risks on playgrounds. 
  • My staff and I give kids space, but monitor our kids really closely as they play.
  • I love Norwell Schools. I'm not mad at them. 

But oh my Heavens, this piece of equipment at the Cole School playground was a nightmare. Before I could even get across the playground to assess it's proper use, 9 kids were on it, turning it rapidly. Tyler almost lost his head. Jennie fell off and got stepped on. Christian's foot got lodged. 

I made them all get off. I limited the amount of kids. I tried to make them sit. I banned it's use. We tried again. It was just simply impossible, so I had them all get in the van and we left. 

In full disclosure, I broke my arm on something similar as a child, so I am very wary of them and was surprised to see it. We looked into it and learned it is an adaptive piece of equipment. This STUNNED our reviewers, who have learned to notice, appreciate, and use adaptive equipment. To quote one 110-year-old reviewer, "What the heck? How is this safe for a child in a wheelchair? It would have to be turned so slowly. How is that fun?"

If you want to use the spinning thing, wear a helmet.
— Theo, 8
The spinning thing almost decapitated me.
— Tyler, 10
Reviewers were like moths to a flame for this thing before I could even get across the playground to establish common sense safety rules. 

Reviewers were like moths to a flame for this thing before I could even get across the playground to establish common sense safety rules. 

I liked the adaptive swing. The seat was like a spaceship.
— Cavan, 9
"Katy was very grumpy and anxious about the spinning thing."  Why yes, yes I was. 

"Katy was very grumpy and anxious about the spinning thing." 
Why yes, yes I was. 

 

Cole School Playground is located on High Street, off of Route 53 in Norwell. 

Johnny Kelley Recreation Area, South Dennis

Cavan thought this belonged in a gym for adults. He couldn't find the fun.

Cavan thought this belonged in a gym for adults. He couldn't find the fun.

168 Old Bass River Rd, South Dennis, MA 02660

Ages: All Ages

Type of Turf: Fresh Mulch

Fun Factor: ★★★★
Interesting Equipment:  ★★★
Swing Variety: ★★★★
Uniqueness: ★★★★
Shade: ★★★★★
Relaxation Potential: ★★★
Friendliness of People: ★★★★


We were on the Cape for the day and decided to visit the playground at the Johnny Kelley Recreation area because it is made of 100% recycled materials. Reviewers loved the shade, but found some of the equipment kind of random. We liked that equipment was spread out and there were plenty of places to play. There are plenty of benches and picnic tables, so this is a great spot for parents to relax on vacation if they trust their kids not to run away, because it's not fenced in. 

The kids really liked the old fashioned swings. Jacob said that he felt like he was flying. 

The kids really liked the old fashioned swings. Jacob said that he felt like he was flying. 

There are many trees.
— Julia, 12
I like the hamster wheel.
— Theo, 8
I like that it’s eco friendly
— Victoria, 11
No one quite knew what to do with this. They wanted to like it, but couldn't seem to squeeze the fun out of it.

No one quite knew what to do with this. They wanted to like it, but couldn't seem to squeeze the fun out of it.

 

Johnny Kelley Playground is located in South Dennis off of exit 9 on Route 6.

Everybody's Playground, Fairhaven

Tyler was impressed with the extensive ramp system.

Tyler was impressed with the extensive ramp system.

60 Sconticut Neck Rd. Fairhaven, MA 02719

Ages: All Ages, all physical abilities, too!

Type of Turf: Squishy Rubber

Fun Factor: ★★★★★
Interesting Equipment:  ★★★★★
Swing Variety: ★★★★★
Uniqueness: ★★★★
Shade: ★
Relaxation Potential: ★★★★
Friendliness of People: ★★★★

We made a trip down to the New Bedford area to check out an "adaptive," or an "inclusive" playground. The kids were surprised that at first glance, they couldn't really tell that there was anything special about this playground. As they moved through, however, they noticed that the accommodations- ramps instead of stairs, lower swings, braille, and auditory play, to name a few- made it more fun for everyone. They noticed that there were lots of interesting gathering places on the playground, and imagined that independent play- without a parent, teacher or aide nearby- was a really important opportunity. Many of the kids discussed how limiting it can be to have an aide with them at school for academic and social reasons, and mentioned that playing freely is truly a right for kids.

The variety of gathering spaces felt important to reviewers, who in this photo, were waiting for their delicious cookies. The angst is visible. 

The variety of gathering spaces felt important to reviewers, who in this photo, were waiting for their delicious cookies. The angst is visible. 

There are ramps everywhere. That makes it fun for everyone.
— Tyler, 10
Everyone can enjoy this playground whether you are in a wheelchair, have a hard time with your legs, have no eyesight, have a broken arm, or have Lyme disease.
— Jennie, 9
Michael always seeks out physical and mental play opportunities. 

Michael always seeks out physical and mental play opportunities. 

Even if you don’t need the differences on this playground, it’s still fun for all of us. Everyone can enjoy it.
— Aevelyn, 8
The fun factor is not only about fancy equipment. Reviewers loved the low-tech fun that the painted times table, measurement system, and hopscotch added. 

The fun factor is not only about fancy equipment. Reviewers loved the low-tech fun that the painted times table, measurement system, and hopscotch added. 

 

Everybody's Playground is located at the Leroy L. Wood School, Fairhaven, MA. 

Robbins Farm Park, Arlington

We drove an hour just for these slides... and every child said "worth it."

We drove an hour just for these slides... and every child said "worth it."

61 Eastern Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

Ages: Older Kids

Type of Turf: Wood chips

Fun Factor: ★★★★★
Interesting Equipment:  ★★★★★
Swing Variety: ★★★
Uniqueness: ★★★★★
Shade: ★★, but SLIDES!
Relaxation Potential: ★★- SLIDES?!
Friendliness of People: Who cares! SLIDES!

 

Admittedly, this place is miles from the South Shore... but every single kid in the van declared it worth the trip and traffic. Reviewers had never seen slides as impressive as this pair. They raced for 70 minutes while their teacher timed them on a sports watch. Madison took the grand prize with her 2.9 second run. Windbreakers helped with speed, although we all wished we had access to Clark Griswold's “noncaloric silicon-based kitchen lubricant" in Christmas Vacation. 

The slides. THE SLIDES!
— All the reviers
I also like this see saw thing, even though it’s really important to find someone who is kind of your same size.
— Sam, 9
 

Robbins Farm Park is across the street from Brackett Elementary School. Street parking is available. .

Marshfield Kids at Play Plaza

Reviewers recommend having a plan to get down before you attempt the climbing rock. It was touch-and-go for a moment there. 

Reviewers recommend having a plan to get down before you attempt the climbing rock. It was touch-and-go for a moment there. 

15 Library Plaza - Marshfield, MA 02050

Ages: Little Kids- Very Big Kids

Type of Turf: Squishy Rubber

Fun Factor: ★★★★★
Interesting Equipment:  ★★★★
Swing Variety: ★★★★★
Uniqueness: ★★★★
Shade: ★★
Relaxation Potential: ★★★
Friendliness of People: ★★★

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviewers were impressed by the sheer size of this playground. They were taken by it's "wood-like appearance," and thoughtful "hometown theme." They recommend that older children come early in the morning before the little kids arrive, because having to be told by your teacher, oh, 43 times to slow down gets old. They noticed that the entire playground is fenced in for littler kids. They recommend coming on a cloudy day, because "all of that rubber heats up quickly."

There were lots of slides, but they were a little slow. Ask your mom to bring a pillow case. It makes them go faster.
— Jennie, 9
Nothing else needs to be added. This playground has everything you need.
— Theo, 8
This is a perfect playground for hide and seek tag, but watch out for the little kids. They come out of nowhere.
— Every Kid over 10 that Katy and Greg yelled at to "Slow Down."
 

Marshfield Kids at Play Plaza is located right near the public library.

Highlands Community Playground, Braintree

Reviewers raced to the top of every available structure at Highlands Community Playground.

Reviewers raced to the top of every available structure at Highlands Community Playground.

South St, Braintree, MA 02184

Ages: Little Kids- Very Big Kids

Type of Turf: Wood chips, Squishy walkways

Fun Factor: ★★★★★
Interesting Equipment:  ★★★★★
Swing Variety: ★★★★★
Uniqueness: ★★★★★
Shade: ★★★★
Relaxation Potential: ★★★★★
Friendliness of People: Not Reviewed- We were the only people there in the pouring rain.

It was pouring rain, but reviewers couldn't stand the thought of staying in the van when we pulled up to Highlands Community Playground. They were impressed with the amount of "Big Kid Things," including many challenging climbers. They quickly figured out that slides could become an even greater adventure when paired with a wet windbreaker. They were eager to revisit this playground in the sun, and noticed that the same covers that shielded them from the rain would also provide great shade opportunities. They noticed that the entire playground is fenced in for littler kids.

Majestic.
— Jennie, 9
This playground was incredibly fun, even on a really wet, rainy day.
— Madison, 9
Jacob was mindful of his footing in the rain, but loved Highlands Community Playground. 

Jacob was mindful of his footing in the rain, but loved Highlands Community Playground. 

There is so much unique equipment to check out. I love the swings.
— Julia, 12
Always ready for an action shot, Michael shows us his happiness with this playground.

Always ready for an action shot, Michael shows us his happiness with this playground.

A line quickly formed at "this spinny thing," which was reported to be "even cooler in the rain."

A line quickly formed at "this spinny thing," which was reported to be "even cooler in the rain."

The reviewers and their drivers take cover under one of the many sun (rain!) shelters at Highlands Community Playground.

The reviewers and their drivers take cover under one of the many sun (rain!) shelters at Highlands Community Playground.

 

Highlands Community Playground is on the Braintree/Holbrook line, on the grounds of the former Norfolk County Hospital.

Ward's Berry Farm Playground, Sharon

Reviewers loved "the big old random pile of tires."

Reviewers loved "the big old random pile of tires."

614 S Main St, Sharon, MA 02067

Ages: Little Kids- Older Kids

Type of Turf: Grass, dirt, random stuff

Fun Factor: ★★★★★
Interesting Equipment:  ★★★★★
Swing Variety: ★★★
Uniqueness: ★★★★★
Shade: ★
Relaxation Potential: ★
Friendliness of People: ★★★

This playground was a surprise when we were picking blueberries! It was very different from most of the school and community playgrounds we have visited so far. It had interesting old rocking horse swings and a vintage slide. We liked the big pile of tires. Some of the swings were very squeaky which made us give the playground a lower relaxation score, but you wouldn't come here to relax anyway.

This playground looks home made. I really like that about it.
— Tyler, 10
The shade on this playground is a zero. It’s hot when it’s sunny.
— Theo, 8
While the slide "kind of burned a little," it didn't stop reviewers from enjoying several runs.

While the slide "kind of burned a little," it didn't stop reviewers from enjoying several runs.

Reviewers were delighted by this playground's old fashioned charm. 

Reviewers were delighted by this playground's old fashioned charm. 

 

The Ward's Berry Farm Playground is located behind the farm marketplace. 

Haley Field Playground, Hingham

Reviewers appreciated the "weird old aesthetics, including the models of historic Hingham locations.

Reviewers appreciated the "weird old aesthetics, including the models of historic Hingham locations.

339 Main Street, Hingham, MA, 02043

Ages: Toddlers- Little Kids

Type of Turf: Older wood chips

Fun Factor: ★★★
Interesting Equipment:  ★★★★
Swing Variety: ★★★
Uniqueness: ★★★
Shade: ★★★
Relaxation Potential: ★★★
Friendliness of People: ★★★★

 

This playground has a nice little vibe. It is a little hard to find, because it's behind a baseball field and some other buildings. Your mom or dad might get a little lost, but don't give up. It's a really great place if you have a little sibling or cousin, because they have toys and good interesting things for younger kids, like the buildings from Hingham. There is a sandbox, but that is a little risky because animals sometimes use those as bathrooms. We didn't see any evidence of that though. 

The zip line really needs some maintenance. It doesn’t go, even with momentum.
— Theo, 8
There are toys for little kids to play with. This is unique.
— Madison, 9
Theo was underwhelmed by the stuck zipline.

Theo was underwhelmed by the stuck zipline.

"High quality" Tonka trucks in the sandbox, which was free of animal evidence... although the potential concerned reviewers. 

"High quality" Tonka trucks in the sandbox, which was free of animal evidence... although the potential concerned reviewers. 

 

Haley Field Playground is located behind Haley Ballfields in HIngham. You can park near the fields, or near municipal buildings.

Mitchell Middle School Playground, East Bridgewater

Reviewers were impressed with a layer of fresh turf under all of the playground structures. 

Reviewers were impressed with a layer of fresh turf under all of the playground structures. 

435 Central Street, East Bridgewater, MA 02333

Ages: Toddlers- Bigger Kids

Type of Turf: Brand new wood chips!
Number of Benches: 4
Number of Picnic Tables: 6

Fun Factor: ★★★★★
Interesting Equipment:  ★★★★
Swing Variety: ★★
Uniqueness: ★★★★
Shade: ★
Relaxation Potential: ★★★
Friendliness of People: ★★★★

The Mitchell School Playground is a place you might never notice. You can't see it from the road. The swings were fun, even though one was squeaky and another was broken. It has a lot of interesting equipment not normally seen at typical playgrounds. You should go there if you want a chance to do an obstacle course.

This place might look boring at first, but it has more equipment than you’d expect.
— Michael, 12
Parker and Bella climb make an adventurous climb.

Parker and Bella climb make an adventurous climb.

This playground is kind of set up like an obstacle course. You can go from place to place and race your friends.
— Theo, 8
We saw Jacob’s little brother at the playground and he was having fun. When we asked him what he liked best, he said, ‘Everything.’
— Madison, 9
IMG_1548.JPG
Six friends enjoy time at the see-saws. See-saws are not commonly seen on playgrounds anymore, so that makes this place even more fun. 

Six friends enjoy time at the see-saws. See-saws are not commonly seen on playgrounds anymore, so that makes this place even more fun. 

 

Mitchell School Playground is located off the parking lot at the Gordon Mitchell Middle School in East Bridgewater.

Gaffield Park, Norwell

69-93 River St, Norwell, MA 02061

Ages: Toddlers- Bigger Kids

Type of Turf: Wood chips (older)
Number of Benches: 9
Number of Picnic Tables: 3 big, 2 little

Fun Factor: ★★★★★
Interesting Equipment:  ★★★★
Swing Variety: ★★★
Uniqueness: ★★★★
Shade: ★★★★★
Relaxation Potential: ★★★★
Friendliness of People: ★★★

 

Gaffield Park has a lot of stuff for little kids and big kids. Our group went to Gaffield Park and we played on the zip line a lot. We also enjoyed the two tire swings. On the zip line, the platforms were small, and little kids could possibly fall backwards. You should come here if you like big shady playgrounds and interesting structures.

Cavan shows the potential "chaos" on the seahorse.

Cavan shows the potential "chaos" on the seahorse.

The seahorse ride gets more fun and chaotic the bigger you are. It’s not just for toddlers.
— Nick, 11
This playground is varied in complexity levels. On one hand, there is a lot for little kids, but there are also many things for much older kids.
— Parker, 11
The older kids try out the tire swing.

The older kids try out the tire swing.

I really liked that the swings went really high easily. At my old school, the swings would take like ten minutes to go this high.
— Victoria, 11
 

Gaffield Park is in Norwell, Massachusetts, about 10 minutes from exit 13.