It's been a couple of years since I've had to hover over a child at the playground - worried that she might launch herself out of an opening that's a little too high or go head first down the slide.
These days, as my six-year-old practices on the monkey bars, I don't think twice when I hear the thud of her falling to the ground. She just bounces right back up and tries again.
But I have a new somebody to hover over. And that would be my 18-month-old daughter. We've had a lot more park time now that we're moving into warmer weather. And her abilities have dramatically changed in the past few months. She can walk, for starters. And she's not afraid to step perilously out of an opening to play a game of peek-a-boo. So these days, I'm much more mindful of playset openings, steep slides and fire poles.
And that's why I expect we'll be a frequent visitor of the playground at Brier Creek Community Center in north Raleigh. Great for toddlers and young preschoolers, the train-themed park features small slides, a tunnel and other smaller playsets for young children to climb on. It's a place where young children can be a little bit more independent since it's all designed just for them.
I also love that the playground sits right next to an open field. I'll bring a ball and parachute next time I go. And there are bathrooms and a covered shelter next to it. One drawback to the playground - there is no shade. It gets pretty hot when the temperatures go up, moms told me.
The park was full of little kids when I was there the other week. And several of the moms told me they often stop by the park before or after one of the toddler classes at the community center. Upcoming classes include art, dance gymnastics and sports classes for toddlers and preschoolers. Check the website for details about Brier Creek Community Center and the course offerings (click on "current center brochure" in the right hand column to learn about those).
The city built the park and community center in collaboration with Wake County schools, which built Brier Creek Elementary School on the same property. The school and community center share some spaces. And there is a playground for older kids though it's off limits during school hours.
Brier Creek Community Center is at 10810 Globe Rd. just down Brier Creek Parkway from the Brier Creek shopping area, which offers all kinds of shopping and restaurant options, and neighborhood. Watch the video to get a look at the park and playground.