Some of my readers have been with me since the beginning way back in 2008. Their kids are now school age and we’re still finding places to play outdoors. Others are new to the blog with infants who are barely ready for the baby swings. I appreciate all of you and try to keep this resource up-to-date.
- This is a completely volunteer project. For the most part, it’s me doing all the site design, social media, PR, playground scouting, and writing. Lisa is my volunteer “North County parks reporter” who contributes whenever she has time – which is usually precisely when I need some new content! Need to know: Anyone can contribute a park review — see Be a Park Scout! for the how-to. Check to make sure I don’t already have it on the site — then just send me an email with at least 5 horizontal photos of the park (no identifiable people in the photo please). I will even link back to your business or website in the bio section.
- The playground map links to the blog posts. Go to the playground map and click on any marker. You’ll see the park name hyperlinked in blue. Clicking on it will take you back to the blog post about that park. Need to know: The yellow markers link to Farmer’s Markets. Then you can plan park trips along with Farmer’s Market shopping. For summer, I’m about to change the marker colors for parks with splash play or water components — so they are easier to find.
- Play is essential to development. The main goal of this site is to promote play. You won’t find many lectures, but you will find lots of posts sharing ideas. Adults need to get outdoors, too. I know I feel better when I take the time to stroll the beach or watch the waves. Kids need the outdoors for so many reasons. Need to know: Watch this video called Prescription for Play and then read How to Make Playing Outside a Habit in 30 Days.
- I like lists and I’m a bit obsessive about organizing. Some of my favorite “list posts” are: Top 10 Playgrounds with Shade Covers, Sand-Free Parks, How to Find Parks with Baby Swings, 10 Parks for Homeschooling Groups (also good for meeting LA or San Diego friends), and Play Places for Train Lovers.
- You won’t find lists of outdoor events, instead you’ll learn a strategy. I get tons of requests to post outdoor events from organizations, but writing those posts is extremely time-consuming and they don’t stay current for long. Need to know: You know what your family likes and you should take the time once a month to plan out your play calendar (leaving time for FREE play, of course!). All the tools you’ll need are in this post entitled: How to Plan Your OC Play Calendar which includes links to all the organizations offering events, plus the city recreation departments.
Here are a few more “Things to Know” based on the daily emails I receive — just for laughs:
- I am not in charge of park reservations (see #1 above). I can, however, point you in the right direction of the city or the entity that governs the parks. Sometimes, you can even read the reservation phone number from the photos. Reservation instructions are something I’ll try to add as a I update parks.
- I love emails (LOVE THEM!) but sometimes it takes me weeks to get back to you. Don’t take it personally – there’s only so much time in my day and most of it is spent playing with my kids!
- If you write asking me certain details about a park, like “Does it have a barbecue?” — just make sure you include the name of the park.
- I appreciate corrections to the park posts. If you go to a park and it doesn’t match what I’ve written — please put that info in the comment section under the park or email me. So many readers help by being “scouts” and reporting their findings. I love it!