First 5 Contra Costa’s parent led East County Regional Group, along with folks from the Healthy and Active Before 5 collaborative, set out to answer this question by visiting every park in the city. Armed with a check list and rating system, and their children to “test drive” the park, the group came up with their top three play spaces: Mariner, Stoneman, and Highlands Ranch.
Rating criteria included the type of amenities available (e.g., restrooms, seating, shade, water fountain), the condition of the play equipment and park grounds, safety concerns, creativity of play environment, and accommodations for children with special needs. Parents also rated how well their children liked the park and playground.
Findings from the project were entered into Kaboom’s “Map of Play,” an online database of parks throughout the country providing ratings, comments, and photos to help parents find places to take their kids outside to play. Results will also be shared with the City of Pittsburg.
“Experts say children should get at least one hour of active play every day,” said Tonya Love, project coordinator for Healthy and Active Before 5. “The large spaces in parks and playgrounds also help children to develop large motor skills like running and jumping – great activities for burning calories and helping children to maintain a healthy weight.”
The Regional Group and Healthy and Active Before 5 are making plans to map more parks in East County. Until then, you can learn more about the project by visiting Healthy and Active Before 5’s Web site. You can also learn more about all Pittsburg Parks on Kaboom’s “Map of Play,” or check out the top-rated parks by downloading this flyer in English and Spanish, which will be distributed at Pittsburg-based family child care programs and health clinics.
To join the East County Regional Group on more park-mapping projects, contact Rhea Laughlin (925) 771-7312.