In local playground news …

this!

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Work hard, play hard

The Silver Summit all-abilities playground is taking shape after three years of hard work and anticipation!

Volunteers work Thursday to install playground equipment at Silver Summit all-abilities playground.

Parent of a son with a motor disability and the driving force behind the project, Jenny Montgomery, said she can’t wait to get out and play at the new site slated to open in mid- to late-August — and neither can I!

Her excitement about a playground where all children (and adults) can play regardless of their physical capabilities was contagious as she gave me a tour Thursday.

Features include a merry-go-round, rain wheel, tunnel, climbing structure, sand box, play cabin, overlook area, and much, much more. The playground’s also spacious so that kids who get overwhelmed can take a break in the shade on the fringe and then come back to play more instead of having to go home.

Montgomery said she also hopes Silver Summit help build community and support networks.

While the play structures and features began to take shape Thursday, more volunteers to help install the playground are needed to fill 3-hour time blocks on Friday and Saturday between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Volunteers should be at least 14 years of age, and will need water, snacks, gloves and closed-toed shoes.
If you’re interested, call or email Meg Rogosienski at 552-6271 or mrogosienski@ci.missoula.mt.us.

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Pop-up Adventure Playgrounds free for summer

Remember using empty paper roll tubes as telescopes and string and cans as telephones?

Now you can pass the experience on to your kids while checking out one of Missoula’s great parks during Pop-up Adventure Playgrounds every Thursday from 1-3 p.m.

Here’s what Children’s Museum Missoula had to say about the new program and the partnership making it possible:

A free activity for families, Pop-up Adventure Playgrounds feature everyday items such as boxes, string, fabric and tape and encourage children to explore their natural play instincts. Children’s Museum Missoula encourages hands-on activities and learning through play and was inspired by the idea of Pop-up Adventure Playgrounds.

Pop-up Adventure Playgrounds, a creation of Pop-up Adventure Play, are part of a global network of organizations and individuals offering free, public events to support children’s opportunities for self-directed, open-ended play. Children’s Museum Missoula has partnered with Pop-up Adventure Play and Missoula Parks and Recreation to bring Pop-up Adventure Playgrounds to a local park every Thursday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Pop-up Adventure Playgrounds will continue through August 28. A full list of scheduled Pop-up Playgrounds is available on Children’s Museum Missoula’s website, www.childrensmuseummissoula.org, or by calling 406-541-7529.

So happy creating! (And did I mention it’s FREE?)

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Kids can spend the summer camping at Missoula parks

A note sent out by Missoula Parks and Recreation today reminds parents that the school year ends after this week – and then summer vacation begins.

Missoula Parks and Rec is offering a number of one-week day camps starting next week and running through August 19. The camps are for kids ages 6-12, and take place at Missoula’s neighborhood parks: Bonner, Westside, McCormick, Pineview, and at Playfair Park and at Currents.

There are half-day and full-day camps, and different weeks have different themes, such as Art Camp, All-Star Sports Camp, Discovery Camp, and Bowling Camp.  According to Parks and Rec, “Half-day camp options include Water World, Explorer, Nature, All-Star Sports, Eco, Western, Einstein, World Traveler and Fun and Fit camps.  The week of June 13 features All-Star Sports Camp at McCormick Park for ages 9 to 12, Discovery Camp at Bonner Park for ages 6 to 9, and World Traveler half-day camp at Westside Park for ages 6 to 12.”

The half-day camps cost $40 per week with a city resident discount. The full-day camps are $100 per week, and low-income families may be eligible for scholarships.

For more information call 721-PARK or go online to www.missoulaparks.org. Registration forms are also available at Currents (located in McCormick Park at 600 Cregg Lane).

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Playground review: Pineview

Photo by MICHAEL GALLACHER/Missoulian

Photo by MICHAEL GALLACHER/Missoulian

Praise for the long-awaited playground equipment at Pineview Park near Rattlesnake Elementary School keeps pouring in. Praise and – well, not criticisms, exactly. More like concerns.

My family recently had a chance to check out the new playground, which includes more traditional equipment like a slide and swing set in addition to the fancy space-age climbing stuff pictured in this post.

Also, the playground now has a lot of things that spin in circles, but most of them seemed aimed at kids older than my 5-year-old. The “sit-and-spins,” as I overheard one parent dub them, were certainly too intimidating for my fearless daughter, although I did see a slightly younger boy use one with no trouble.

The new playground has inspired a lot of discussion in my neighborhood. One neighbor told me that while her family really likes the new playground, it does not seem to be set up in a way that encourages group play. But all in all, the playground seems popular and Pineview is an even more fun place to hang out because of it.

Anyway, what with the ongoing discussion and comparisons of playgrounds sparked by Pineview, I’m thinking it might be a good idea to pay a visit to various playgrounds in the area and post periodic reviews of them here, on Missoulamom.com. I’m no playground expert by any means (the outdoor rec equipment of my childhood consisted of rocks, sticks and Devil’s Club), but I can tell when kids are having fun – and that’s the hallmark of any good playground, right?

– MM

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