Snow does not need to mean the end of playground season. For some reason, it has taken me a couple of years to realize this. The past two years, we have avoided playgrounds like the plague in the winter months. However, we have begun to venture out to them again. From the single set of adult footprints at the playground we were at on Tuesday, it appears I was not the only one afraid of snowy playgrounds. Although with a child who hated the snow, it was probably a reasonable fear.
At two, my daughter despised the snow. I bundled her up and took her out in her sled and she would start crying within 5 minutes. After the second or third attempt, I gave up. It just was not worth the hassle of getting her snow equipped for 10 minutes of misery. Last year at three, she received a child-sized snow shovel so she would last for 15 minutes helping me to shovel. But do not ask her to actually walk in the snow. This year, she has asked to go out and help my husband shovel and willingly gone out to play in the snow, but she still does not like to walk through the snow.
I credit some of her turn around to pre-school. They bundle the kids up most days and are outside on the playground even with snow. The play equipment is too big of a draw for her to stay on the small shoveled walkway. It helps that the snow is well trampled from all of the children who play there.
A key to enjoying a wintry playground is to realize you will be bundling up, and to go when it is 30 degrees and not 10 degrees. She takes snow pants, boots, hat, and mittens to school and we use the same at the playground. I also bundle up with a heavy coat, boots, hat, and gloves. Also, do not expect to stay as long as you would on a nice spring day. In the spring and summer, we will often stay for 2 hours. Today, we stayed for 45 minutes.
On Tuesday, we were only the second and third set of footprints heading to the play structure at Prairie Park at the Pittsfield Township office on Michigan Avenue. The structure itself was clear of snow and ice. She was climbing the rock wall and going down slides. We did find that mittens were not a good choice for the hanging glider and other things that required a secure hand grip. Today, we were at Marsh View Meadows Park at Pittsfield Preserve. There were a few sets of footprints around the structure, but given how long it had been since the snow came, it was clear that the park was not being heavily utilized in the snow.
So, watch the weather, bundle up, and keep enjoying the parks. Read my reviews of parks around Ann Arbor on our website.