8 playgrounds perfect for kids of different ages

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Any parent of multiple-aged kids knows that playgrounds must be chosen with care. Too simple and the kids will be bored in minutes. Too big and elaborate and you have trouble keeping track of them. Luckily there are plenty of great playgrounds in Maryland that have something for all ages and abilities.

playground Hallowing Point Playground 3As a mom of three, I’ve often found myself struggling at some of the bigger playgrounds. Seconds after arrival I’m frantically wondering, “Was that fleeting red shirt my fourth grader? How long has it been since I saw my preschooler?”

Not only do multiple ages need to be entertained and kept track of on the playground, but bathrooms need to be accessible and shade needs to be an option. Over the years, I’ve developed a database of trusty playgrounds in the Baltimore-Annapolis area. Some are safe anytime, while others are only visited during non-peak hours or when my husband can come along as back up.

Kat Savoy of Columbia knows just what to look for to keep her 3-year-old twins safe and entertained: fences and structures for differing interests.

“Some of the playgrounds for little kids are kind of boring,” says Savoy, who is co-president of Columbia Area Mothers of Multiples. Other playgrounds, like those with huge rock climbing walls, can be a bit daunting for the younger ages. But Savoy says she likes to challenge her twins to try new things at the playground.

“It stretches their abilities,” she says. “It’s good to expand their comfort level.”

Parents should be aware, however, that features for big kids may be dangerous for wandering tykes who could make their way to an opening with a steep drop. On the flip side, big kids can easily trample little ones while running around a smaller-sized tot lot.

When I’m with my kids, I accept that playgrounds are meant for a bit of boundary stretching and free-for-all fun, so I don’t sweat it too much if they play on structures not quite meant for their age. The playgrounds I tend to like the best, however, are those that offer a clear line of sight from one end to the other.

If you are looking to find a playground perfect for multiple-aged kids, check the selection below to help you decide what might work best for your family.

Click next below for 8 playgrounds for multiple ages


8 playgrounds for multiple ages

Playground Airport

1. BWI Trail playground at the Thomas A. Dixon Observation Area, Glen Burnie

This playground was just completely replaced. Although there is just one structure, the playground packs in a lot of fun with a big rock-climbing wall, challenging vertical bars to climb, tree stumps for toddlers to jump across and a little window to play store. Rubber tire chips make for a soft landing. Plus, it has the added value of airplanes taking off or landing just overhead every few minutes — making for an unforgettable playground experience for the whole family. Portable potties are nearby.
1911 Dorsey Road
aacounty.org/locations-and-directions/bwi-trail

2. Meadowbrook Park playground, Ellicott City

A large structure full of ramps, tubes, slides, rock walls and monkey bars, this playground is tempting for just about any child. Kids can even hang onto a bar and glide a few feet. Nearby there is a smaller-scale tot lot, which can be great for the younger set while the big kids run rampant. The structures are big enough for even parents to climb and follow behind.
Bathrooms, benches and water fountains are on site. Keep in mind this playground can be tough if little kids want to play on the big structure. If it is crowded, young ones can quickly become lost in the different levels of equipment.
5001 Meadowbrook Lane
howardcountymd.gov/MeadowbrookPark

 

playground Hallowing Point 2

3. Hallowing Point Park playground, Prince Frederick

This new playground is amazing for kids of all ages. Older kids will appreciate 30-foot-high tube slides, rope pyramids, rope bridges, climbing structures and even a spinner that kids can push and jump on for a ride. For the tots there is a separate structure shaped like a boat with slides, bridges and baby swings all on a soft rubber surface. Gigantic umbrellas and other built-in features provide shade. Bathrooms and picnic areas are nearby.
4755 Hollowing Point Road
co.cal.md.us/Facilities/Facility/Details/4

4. North Laurel Community Center

Lots of fenced-in room to run makes this playground a favorite for many families. There are two large climbing structures with a variety of features plus a swing set, so parents can push one child on the swing while keeping an eye on the others. One of the swings is accessible for kids with disabilities. Bathrooms are in the community center nearby.
9411 Whiskey Bottom Road
howardcountymd.gov/nlcc

 

Playground Fairwood

5. Orchard Imagination Playground at Fairwood Park, Bowie

In addition to whizzing down tube slides and climbing across netting structures high off the ground, Fairwood Park offers something new in the world of playgrounds: a NEOS gaming system. The electronic structure gets kids of all ages (and maybe even adults) to leap between various game towers and hit buttons in specific ways. Bathrooms and picnic tables are close.
12390 Fairwood Parkway
pgparks.com/Your_Parks/Imagination_Playgrounds.htm

6. Blandair Park, Columbia

Two big play structures at Blandair challenge kids of all ages, including suspended triangular boards to climb through. Older kids can climb across monkey bars, up a big rock wall and down a big slide, while tots enjoy their own version of the same features. Swings (including one for those with disabilities) are also on site for those who need a break from climbing. Portable bathrooms are available.
5750 Oakland Mills Road
howardcountymd.gov/BlandairPark

 

playground Mowbray

7. Mowbray Park playground, Stevensville

Older kids will love the climbing features, younger kids will appreciate all the ramps to run on, and parents keeping an eye on them will like the fact that it is all fenced in. There are also trees that provide shade, picnic tables, and bathrooms that are close by.
629 Romancoke Road
parksnrec.org/hiker-biker-trails/parks-and-maps

8. Dunkirk District Park playground, Dunkirk

This playground is great for kids of all ages and has everything from toddler-sized slides and baby swings to climbing walls and even and zipline type thing a big spinner, that kids can push and jump on for a ride. You can even bring your teenagers along since there is a skate park on the premises. Picnic pavilions and bathrooms are nearby.
10750 Southern Maryland Blvd.
co.cal.md.us/Facilities/Facility/Details/2

by Karen Stysley

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