This week found us at Bishop Field, the playground and park behind the Bishop Elementary School.
The park has a large playing field, a baseball diamond, a basketball court, and a playground. It also has a climbing structure—great for bigger kids than Max—that looks like a love child between Buckminster Fuller and a spider: a webbed climbing dome, with another webby structure off to the side. There are swings for big kids, and tires to climb on, and lots of space to run around. In the playground proper, there's a nice climbing structure with a few slides—straight and winding—some baby swings, a bridge, and ladders.
The ladders! Today Max decided he would and could climb one by himself. He's two now, you see. It wasn't your typical straight ladder; the ladder's base is a few feet from the climbing structure, and then the ladder curves in as it rises.
It looks easy enough to climb (for a sturdy person with a solid grip) but tricky to descend. First we helped Max and his friend Sienna climb them. Then Max started climbing by himself. He made it to the top with no assistance (though my outstretched hands hovered quite close, as one slip would have led to a bloody "owie" at the very least). Success!
I convinced him to go down the slide instead of climbing back down the ladder, and then he climbed it again. He also tried a different ladder—a pole with rungs coming off of it—but quickly ditched it in preference of the first ladder.
Judging by the sheer number of children playing games in the fields—tug of war, tosses, a hoola hoop pass—it looked like it was Field Day at the school. Max and Sienna watched the bigger kids for a little bit, and when a ball rolled our way, Max picked it up and carried it over to the paved area, where older kids were playing a game resembling a mix of dodgeball and basketball.
I expected him to wander right into their play, but instead he got to the edge and then rolled the ball back into the game.
We had the playground to ourselves until the schoolchildren got a break, at which point we were surrounded by older kids sucking popsicles. They didn't seem to mind the watchful, toddlerish presence of Max and Sienna.
Behind the playground is a small grassy hill leading up to the street. Max and Sienna soon wandered over and began running up and down the hill and along the fence. Then they sat in the shade, picking clover.
When the music began, though, we all headed back to the paved area to watch the limbo contest. Max and Sienna were transfixed by the music and the limbo. Then they noticed that the hoola hoops were no longer in use, so they picked them up and "drove" them around the playground mulch for a while.
It was finally time to go—too much sun, too little time. The Bishop Field playground is a really nice playground for kids of all ages, with plenty of room to run around.