We’ve just come back from a lovely week away in the Lake District, and today the geekdaddy was out working all day. I had originally planned to go with him, but decided in the end that we were all tired from the holiday (and the geekdaughter’s 5.30am wakeup) and it would be best if the kids and I had a quiet day at home instead. So I did a bit of research to see if there was anything local going on. I first discovered that there was a Morris dancing festival happening, and then I found a poster adverting the Grand Opening of the new toddler play are in Sandbach town park. I decided that would be worth checking out, so I dragged the kids and the geek-Granny with me, and off we trundled.
I have lived in Sandbach for more than 10 years now, and I love the place. I have a particular fondness for the town park – it’s about a 15 minute walk from my home, and is a lovely open green area, well maintained, with plenty of activities for kids of all ages. I have walked around the park many times, pushing a pushchair, trying to persuade one or other of the kids to sleep! It provides the perfect place for an hour or so out of the house. I particularly liked the toddler play area – a safe area with age appropriate climbing frame, swings, roundabout and little slide. I’ve spent many happy hours there with the geekdaughter, but sadly just before the geekson was born some vandals set fire to the centrepiece climbing frame of the play area, and the plastic parts of it burned so badly as to make it unusable. The Council did their best to take away the damaged parts and leave something usable, and of course the swings, slide and other activities were still there, but the shell of a climbing frame sat there, as a reminder of the damage that had been done.
We were last at the park only a month or so ago, and there was no hint of any new play area appearing, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when we arrived for the Grand Opening today. In fact our first challenge was to find the new play area – I expected that the council will simply refresh the existing playthings, but no – they’d all been taken away, and the whole area turfed, apart from a small area which was tarmacked with a refreshments van and a few tables and chairs – I hope that’s going to be a permanent fixture!
The balloons and crowds of people finally gave away the location of the new play area – the other side of the “bigger kids” play area, where the formal gardens used to be. I was immediately impressed – there’s a good selection of new climbing and activity equipment, and it’s perfectly designed for smaller people (the sign as you enter the area states that it’s suitable for ages 8 and under). Many of the pieces have a nautical theme – there’s a big rocking boat, a couple of other boat-like climbing frames, and a little sit on rocking fish!
From the minute we arrived the geekdaughter disappeared and entertained herself happily for at least an hour, dashing from plaything to plaything, testing them all out. I think her favourite piece was the large climbing frame (pictured) which has a little climbing wall, “rope” bridge and stepping stone bridge – all thoughtfully designed to suit little people. As he’s still not walking yet, the geekson was a little small for the climbing frame, but there was still plenty for him to do too, and he particularly liked the swings.
I am really impressed with this new play area. It’s colourful, bright, well-designed, and I can see we’re going to be spending a LOT of time there going forward! The thing that really sold it to me was how much the geekdaughter loved it – recently park visits have been a little traumatic as she’s wanted to play on the playthings aimed at bigger children rather than the toddler area, but this morning she didn’t try to go on anything unsuitable at all, and was perfectly happy with the toddler area.
Thanks so much to Cheshire East Council, the Friends of Sandbach Park and everyone else who’s helped to create this new play area. It’s a great addition to our wonderful park. Here are some more pictures of the geekdaughter and geekson enjoying their morning out: