Confession: I hate playgrounds.
I take my kids to them, of course. Almost every day. But I dread it.
Why? Oh, it has something to do with trying to make sure my two small, reckless kids (who are usually running in opposite directions) don't break their necks, get kidnapped, take candy from strangers, get lost, get kicked in the face, etc.
It's, um, stressful.
But the for the kids of Paris, most of the playgrounds are awesome. There's pretty much some kind of play area every few blocks. Some are so cool that I find myself wishing that I could jump and climb and swing like the kids. But these, of course, are the ones that terrify me as a mom. I tend to urge my kids toward the less fun, calm playgrounds that only have one exit.
Not that that works.
The playground we visit the most is à la limite: the Jardin de Tuileries. It’s a large playground with multiple exits, which is usually a big thumbs down for me, but it’s close to our home and the kids love it, which is a big plus. I also tolerate it because it’s in the Jardin de Tuileries, which is so splendid and gorgeous that I can forgive its other sins.
Oh, but this playground is a wicked one. There’s just no other word for a playground that is mostly composed of an enormous rope-and wood climbing structure starts with an 8-foot, almost entirely vertical ladder without open rungs.
How very wicked to tempt a child with that challenge! And how cruel to make it the main attraction of the playground, but restrict it to 6-year olds and up. (Not that anyone pays much attention to that. Just try to keep your 4-year old boy away.)
There are lily-pad like jumping platforms that are great for kids of all ages....
There’s a slide for toddlers that is difficult for to climb and has a ridiculously steep chute.....
The rope hammocks are a hit for everyone....
Then there’s this little puppy: a revolving, tilted plate-like thing that I call “The Kid-Flinger”:
My oldest kid has been flung from this menace many-a-time. He loves it.
The good thing about the Tuileries playground is that it’s relatively easy to lure them away from the playground when it’s time to go. You can tempt them with the trampolines in the park, or the carousel, or you can convince them to have a foot race in the Tuileries’ beautiful grounds.
On the whole, here’s how I grade the Tuileries playground:
For kids over 5: A-
For kids under 5: B (though I'm sure my 4-year old would rate it A-)
For Parents of kids over 5: B+
For Parents of kids over 5: B-
Maybe it’s because I have two kids with dare-devilish tendencies, but I spend an awful lot of time trying to keep my small ones away from structures that are too dangerous for them… without having a lot of interesting alternatives to offer them. Bigger kids and their parents will probably enjoy it more.
Have you been to the Tuileries playground? What do you think?