What’s your favorite color? Chances are, it’s blue: the most popular favorite color in the world is blue. In this new inclusive playground at Lynnwood’s Meadowdale Playfields, we found a blue play structure on blue rubber surfacing under clear blue skies. Blue, blue and more blue — it’s a blue-ribbon combination!
The playground opened in June, and when we visited earlier this month, it was so new you could still smell the rubber. The renovation was paid for by the Cities of Edmonds and Lynnwood, Snohomish County and the Lynnwood Parks and Recreation Foundation.
All-inclusive fun for everyone
This new inclusive playground in Lynnwood is one large play structure, flanked by a bank of swings on one side and a merry-go-round set into the ground on the other. A sign at the entrance says it’s designed for kids 5 to 12, and that it promotes inclusive play.
What does it mean for a playground to be inclusive? An inclusive playground is designed so kids of all abilities can play and interact with their peers. It’s safe for kids with special needs, and fun for everyone to play together.
The features: on the ground
Part of being an inclusive playground is making sure it’s accessible, meaning everyone can navigate the space. I’m a huge fan of the ground-level entry of the Inclusive Whirl. Kids in chairs can wheel right onto the platform, and it’s safer for all kids. We love the spongy rubber surfacing too. It costs more than wood chips but is wheelchair- and stroller-friendly. Plus, you don’t wind up getting splinters during sandal season.
Ground-level play opportunities are another important element of this new inclusive playground in Lynnwood. There are kids who love the thrill of climbing high forts, and there are kids who don’t. Maybe they’re too young, maybe they’re physically unable. The main play structure here is long and low, with fun surprises on the sensory wave ramp. Our favorites were the maze game and the spinning cog, both at kid-height so no one gets left out.
For all your senses
Lynnwood’s new inclusive playground features lots of fun sensory elements too. There’s a music section, with drums, rattles and spinners. The roller slide, which looks like what you see at the airport’s baggage claim, was a big hit with all the kids we saw. Another fun sensory experience is the expression swing, which lets two people swing in tandem, facing each other.
Speaking of swings, there is a whole buffet of swings at this playground: the expression swing, a toddler bucket swing, belt swings and an accessible swing for kids who need support sitting. We saw an empty frame for a saucer swing, but no saucer swing yet (still on backorder?).
Climbing, sliding and the pond
The playground at Meadowdale Playfields is also monkey bar heaven. If your kids are part orangutan, they will love it here. My kids are slide fanatics, so they went down the tall slide over and over again. There are also two toddler-sized slides, all part of the same fort.
Parents should know there is a pond just down the hill from the playground. It’s very pretty, with dragonflies skimming the surface and birch trees all around. Apparently, it also is irresistible to toddlers. I saw more than one little take off toward the water, with their parent calling out, “Do not get in. DO NOT GET IN.”
Before you go: playfields and amenities
- The inclusive playground is part of a large athletic complex. Its neighbors include five softball/baseball fields, and two regulation-sized fields for soccer, football, rugby, and lacrosse. It’s the perfect place to hang out with your toddler while the big siblings are at practice. There are lots of picnic tables, so bring all the snacks and you can stretch out your visit.
- Parents with freshly potty-trained littles should know the restroom is in a gray building next to the softball fields, all the way at the far end of the athletic complex. Do not try to hold it until the last minute.
- There was plenty of parking in the lot when we visited on a weekday but be prepared for a crowd on weekends.
- The Meadowdale Playfields sit next to Meadowdale Elementary and Meadowdale Middle School, and the nearby high school is named — you guessed it — Meadowdale High. Within a stone’s throw of Meadowdale Playfields, there’s also Meadowdale Park and Meadowdale Beach Park. To be clear, the blue playground is located at 16700 66th Avenue West in Lynnwood.