I need to preface this by saying that these are old photographs from before playgrounds were closed in our area due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s strange to think that something that had quickly become such an integral part of our day could just be taken away. As a mum, I find it hard to see all those playgrounds in the parks around our home empty, with signs driven around the edge proclaiming them to be closed by threat of fines, or entirely roped off by warning tape. Oscar is always pointing to them when we walk past now on our short daily outings in the neighbourhood, which straight up hurts my heart. I know this is only a temporary situation, but it’s amazing how quickly the things we once took for granted become magic to us.
This year I had hoped to run a series reviewing the playgrounds we loved in Melbourne, but with no idea when restrictions will end, I figured I might as well get on with sharing these photos instead. One day we’ll all be out in the sunshine again, and this playground might be our first stop!
The playground I’m talking about is De Chene Reserve Playground, hidden away just off of Bell Street. We’d driven past it a bunch of times when Oscar was very little, and always promised ourselves we would check it out once he was walking and looking for adventure. One very fine cool but sunny day we did just that, tacking a little playground trip on to a walk along the Merri Creek trail which runs right by De Chene Reserve.
Made of wood and castle-themed, De Chene Reserve Playground is a real gem among playgrounds. There are so many delightful little details here, and so much for Oscar to explore and enjoy. The favourite for him was the enormous wide silver slide, which he had as much fun climbing up as he did sliding down on his belly.
Oscar still isn’t quite at the point where he can explore a playground like this one on his own, so Dean and I did a fair bit of clambering around after him, helping him up and down. The playground is just a bit small for adults to help out, particularly tall adults like us, but it’s probably the perfect size for kids of about 3 onward, who are more independent and only need help from the sidelines in the form of the occasional hand and motivational word.
Still, it was great fun and I think we enjoyed it almost as much as Oscar did.
It’s nice to write about playgrounds again, and remember what it was like to head out with a day of sunshine ahead and nothing to do or think about except having a wander and exploring the world around us. In the middle of this pandemic, things feel small, closer together, and not quite so hopeful or exciting. Luckily it won’t be forever, and I know that we are definitely going to be boots on and straight out the door the second we are able.
Until then, we can only dream.