Emergency “Summer Fun” Bag – Keep it at the Ready!

How many times have you gone to the playground in the summer, only to be surprised that the sprinklers are turned on (I’m looking in your direction, moms I met yesterday at Chevy Chase playground!).  It certainly happens here in DC often enough – DPR has set summer hours and dates for the spray parks, but no one seems to actually follow them.  Don’t be that mom with the toddler staring longingly at the other kids cooling off in the water – keep a bag of supplies in the trunk of your car or in the bottom of your stroller at all times.  You never know when it will be time to have some sprinkler fun!

Cameron is actually in his swimsuit and coated in sunscreen - so I must have been really on my game this day!

Here’s what I always have in my summer fun bag – keep in mind, I’ve got 2 kids, so my bag has 2x the supplies!:

2 towels for drying off after.  Even with all this heat, the water is chilly, and the kiddos can get cold at the end.

2 diapers – regular – not swim (both for Violet, Cam doesn’t wear them)  I only bother using swim diapers for actual swimming.  They are expensive, and for sprinkler play I just leave Violet in a regular diaper then change her out after.

2 Rash Guards (optional) – one for each kid.  This way you can just take off their shirts, put on the rash guards, and let them go.

2 changes of clothes – one for each kid.  If I am feeling really lazy, I’ll just let the kids go in in their existing outfits, then change them after.  There is really no need for full on swim attire – you can  skip the rash guards if you don’t have them / don’t want to bother.


It’s not exactly rocket science, I know – but so many times I hear parents saying at the park “You can’t go in because I didn’t bring your swimsuit.”  With just a little preparation – you will always be ready!  Just be sure to replenish your summer fun bag when you get home so next time it is ready with fresh supplies.

Sprayparks Are Open For Business Starting Saturday!

///UPDATE Check this post for summer hours for the DC spray parks and info on Turtle Park and Livingston Playground///

//UPDATE – I’m getting a lot of google traffic to this post so I wanted to add some more information.

First, per the official DPR press release, until June 18th, outdoor pools and spray parks are only open on the weekends (including Fridays).  The hours of operation are 12pm – 6pm. After June 18th, spray parks and pools will be open on a “summer schedule.”  I am still waiting to hear back from DPR as to what that exactly means.  And FYI, it seems like parks are basically doing whatever – I heard that Livingston was on Thursday, 5/31 even though according to the official DPR policy it wasn’t supposed to be.

Second, this weekend Turtle Park spary park (Friendship Rec) was not on.  I heard a rumor that some of the tiles needed to be replaced and they were waiting for DPW to do this.  A friend of mine was at Turtle Park Thursday 5/31 and said it was not on.

Third, this weekend Livingston playground spray park (Chevy Chase Rec) was on, but at a low level.  I talked to DPR on twitter (@DCDPR) and they said the problem had been fixed.  I have not been back to check personally.

I will continue to update with more info as I get it.//

We’ve had some hot days so far this spring here in DC, and the kids and I have been anxiously awaiting the opening of the spraygrounds for the summer season.  Well, the wait is almost over!

Cooling off at Turtle Park

As of Saturday, May 26th at 12 noon the spray parks (and outdoor pools) in DC will be open!  For me, that means I’ll be spending a lot more time at Turtle Park and Chevy Chase (aka Livingston) playgrounds.  Hope to see you there!

Click the image to see the list of pools and spray parks by DC Ward

FYI, to keep up with all the Department of Parks and Recreation news, “Like” DC DPR on Facebook, or follow them on twitter!

Looking For Sprinkler Parks in DC? Here’s a List!

///Update for Summer 2013 – the new Palisades Playground is open and has lots of sprinkler fun to offer! Check out my post on the New Palisades Spray Park!//

///UPDATE Check this post for summer hours for the DC spray parks and info on Turtle Park and Livingston Playground///

This week Cameron, Violet, and I, went to check out the sprinklers at Friendship Park (Turtle Park).  He had a blast, so I wanted to find out where we could find more “Spraygrounds.”  I contacted the DC Department of Parks and Recreation on twitter (@DCDPR) and they pointed me to a list of all the Sprinkler parks in the District. Here’s the list:

Cam cools off in the Turtle Park sprinklers

14th and Girard Street Spray Park - 14th and Girard Street, NW
14th and Park Road Spray Park - 14th Street and Park Road, NW
Benning Stoddert Spray Park - 100 Stoddert Place, SE
Columbia Heights Spray Park -  1480 Girard Street, NW
Friendship Spray Park - 4500 Van Ness St., NW
Lafayette Spray Park - 5900 33rd Street, NW
Palisades Spray Park - 5200 Sherrier Place, NW
Petworth Spray Park - 801 Taylor Street, NW
Riggs LaSalle Spray Park - 501 Riggs Road, NE

UPDATE – As of Today, 8/2/11 the sprinkler park at Chevy Chase Playground is OPEN.  For more info: http://mommyftw.com/the-sprinklers-are-on-at-chevy-chase-livingston-playground/

For more information on hours of operation and contact phone numbers for the sprinkler parks, check out the Washington DC Department of Parks and Recreation website.

By the way, if your toddler is a little water shy, check out an earlier post I wrote about helping your toddler warm up to going in the sprinklers.

UPDATE – Yesterday we went to check out the Palisades Spray Park and the water was NOT on. I talked to some people at the park and they said it is usually NOT on – so if you are looking for some sprinkler fun, I wouldn’t bother heading over there!  Check out Friendship Park instead.

Chevy Chase Playground (aka Livingston Playground) – Open for Business!

///UPDATE Check this post for summer hours for the DC spray parks and info on Turtle Park and Livingston Playground///

I was pretty bummed last fall when I learned that Chevy Chase Playground (Livingston Playground) was closed for renovation.  But, now that the playground has re opened and everything is brand new (and totally awesome!) I’ve decided it was worth the wait!

One of the big draws of the new space is the water feature (sprayground / sprinklers), but unfortunately, we will all have to wait a little longer for this to open – there seems to be a drainage issue that is still being worked on.  But from what I saw of the water area it looks pretty great.  All the kids were staring at it longingly!  The DPR employee I talked to said he thought it would be ready to go in about a week.  UPDATE – as of 8/2/11 the sprinkler park is open!!

But, let’s cover what is there – There are 4 play structures of various sizes which are perfect for the toddler set. Cameron, at 2.5 could navigate pretty much all of them on his own.  Certainly some of them are made for the littler kids (but he had just as much fun on these).  I tried to include lots of pictures so you could get a feel for the place.

I think his favorite thing was the climbing wall / mountain which after a few attempts he was able to do on his own.  The whole playground surface is covered in soft rubber, which makes for easy falls.  There’s plenty of space to run in between each play area, and lots of trees around (to be fair it was a cloudy day so it was hard for me to really evaluate the amount of shade).  There are a few benches for sitting, although more would be nice.  I didn’t see many trash cans, though there are some.  There are 2 toddler swings and 2 big kid swings.  The toddler swings were in high demand.  There is also another separate playground area for bigger kids which I didn’t check out yet.

If you’re near by, its definitely worth a trip!  There’s plenty of street parking, and once those sprinklers are fully operational I think this will be a favorite summer spot for us (and lots of others too!)

Chevy Chase Playground (often called Livingston Playground because of its location) is located at 4101 Livingston Street Northwest, Washington D.C. It is within walking distance from the Friendship Heights Metro Station (on the Red Line) and, as I said, there is also plenty of street parking.

Getting Your Toddler Into the Sprinkler

It’s hot and the sprinklers are on at the local parks – But I some toddlers (including Cameron) are a bit water shy. If your little one is a little nervous about getting wet – here’s a few things you can try.

Cameron stages a ball rescue at Camel Park

I will often take one of Cameron’s favorite toys (his blue car, a ball, or doll stroller usually work well) and throw it in the sprinkler. Most of the time he will go and get it. Once he’s been in the sprinkler once, he seems to get over his fear (at least for the day). Warning – if your child is stubborn you might end up having to retrieve the toy yourself… or you can try and convince another kid to get it for you.

Another method I use is to hold Cameron and we run through the edge of the sprinkler together. Be sure to take your cell phone out of your pocket before you do this! Again, once Cam has gotten wet he seems to get over his fear.

This last method I saw a dad use with great success. He dared his 2.5 year old to run into the Camel Park sprinkler and tag the center of it. Who can resist a dare? After his first trip in, the little boy was soaking wet in 2 minutes.

Posted from New York, New York, United States.

Baby It’s Hot Outside – Where’s the Water?!

During our last little heat wave I called 311 to find out when the sprinklers and water fountains would be turned on at the local parks. According to them, sprinklers are on from 10am – dusk once the weather reaches above 80 degrees for three consecutive days between Memorial Day and Labor Day (but not before, no matter the temperature). So, unfortunately we’ve still got about a month to wait.

Last summer, the Camel Park Sprinkler in all it's glory

Strangely, (but thankfully) the water fountains at Greene Playground (near PS11) and at Edmonds Playground (aka Camel Park) are already on. I wish they would get the sprinklers going as well! Both Cameron and I could use a little cooling off!

I also did a little checking to find out when my beloved Clermont Pool will reopen (Cameron and I spent many days there last summer!) According to this page at nycgovparks.org NYC pools won’t open for the 2010 summer season until “Late June.”

For more NYC info, you can call 311 (they were very nice and informative,) you can check the 311 website, and you can even follow 311 on twitter!

Swings? Check. Shade? Check. Camel Park!

My favorite park in the Fort Greene neighborhood is “Camel Park” on Dekalb between Carlton and Adelphi.  It’s got great baby swings in the shade, and a nice sprinkler.  Cameron loves it!

Posted from New York, New York, United States.