Every kid needs outdoor playtime for a daily refresher. Even in the cold winter season of East Boston, 66.7% of parents still bring their kids to playgrounds no less than 3-5 times per month. Lots of parents underestimate the importance of outdoor activities to enhance imagination and open-ended play. Indoor play toys-for example, LEGO- let kids using blocks to construct specific objects, with step-by-step guidelines. But if kids always need directions, they start to lose their creativity. This is part of the reason why indoor toys cannot replace the importance of outdoor playgrounds. During an interview with Aldo Ghirin, Senior Planner in the Boston Parks & Recreation Department, he mentioned that the city of Boston is also trying to build more playgrounds in the edge of the larger parks to shorten the travel distance for parents and their young kids. East Boston has a higher percent of children aged from 5-14 years old compared to the rest of Boston. In order to understand what facilities in playgrounds are available for those large groups of children, I posted a survey on Facebook and Lean in Boston to learn more about the needs of parents.
When asked, "When choosing a playground what are the top 3 factors that influence your choice?" parents replied:
92% of parents think proximity to home is the most important factor when choosing a playground for their kids.
When asked, "In the Winter Vs. Summer season, how often did you go to a playground with your kid(s)?" parents replied:
Playground use varies in different seasons. In the winter, most parents bring their kids to a playground 3-5 times per month. In the summer, the frequency increases to more than 8 times per month.
I posted questions in the following Facebook groups, and got 90 responses:
East Boston Open Discussion (no racists), East Boston Open Discussion, East Boston..02128,
Boston Moms Swap/Sell Site, Eastie Village Family Association, Boston Babies! Clothing Swaps,
East Boston Environmental, Boston Parks and Recreation Department
I asked questions to better understand what amenities parents are looking for in playgrounds. Then I categorized individual responses of diverse needs into three main clusters - Play Equipment, Infrastructure and Location.
Slides & Gliders
Water Features for Summer Cooling
Small Push Toys
Imaginative + Open-ended Play Space
Open Green Spaces
Shaded Seating Areas
Clear Walking Space
Proximity to Shops
Proximity to Beach
Proximity to Cafe
Proximity to the Waterfront
Proximity to a Bike Path
Close to Everything
It is part of children’s nature to play in green space. The grid-based thematic map used open data about trees from Analyze Boston to explore the green index in East Boston.
Currently, East Boston has 13 public playgrounds, 7 school playgrounds and a total of 50 open spaces including plazas, parks, playgrounds, cemeteries, squares and greenways.