I remember growing up leaving my house in the morning only to return in the evening for dinner. We would play in the woods and make forts or go swimming in the nearby river. My mom never really knew where we were, nor did she worry. She always knew that we would be home for dinner. And if we weren't, then we would never hear the end of it...
That was then, this is now. First of all the world has changed and its just not possible to let your kids run free and secondly I now live in a city and have no woods or even a backyard. In our first house we had a small garden but once our family expanded we had t make the decision on whether or not to stay in the city, which meant having a backyard or not. We chose to stay in the city and have the city as our backyard (or this was my partner's argument to stay in the city).
Well, he was actually right. After just a month in our new first floor backyardless apartment, I set out to find the perfect backyard in the neighborhood. We are quite lucky because we live close by to Vondelpark which I call the Central Park of Amsterdam. In Vondelpark you can find several playgrounds for kids. Two very large ones, The Melkhuis and The Vondeltuin are very popular. Actually too popular and I often "lose" my kids for those few panic ridden seconds. Both have sandboxes but the Melkhuis has more swings, slides and other climbing things. Not to mention both have nice terraces for mama and papa to sit on and enjoy a drink.
Yet, now that my baby is mobile and all over the place these two major playgrounds are not a good option on a nice sunny day. So I have had to explore the Hood again and I have found the most amazing discovery. In the small playgrounds nestled deep into each section of my Hood lies the most amazing playgrounds. These are not playgrounds, these are backyards including yard chairs, yard toys, sand toys, bikes, trikes, swings, slides and secret hiding places in the bushes. These playgrounds are what every backyard should have and the kids go wild. It seems that people have just brought their old toys to these playgrounds and left them and there is an honor system to keep them there. It has changed my life! Now I just load the kids up on the bike and go. We dont have to pack up the sand toys or bikes or scooters. Everything is there! And the best part is that I dont hae to clean it up when we are done...I love my new backyard!!