I think it’s officially Spring. Hard to know when one day is 85 degrees and the next is 50. But we are going with it, and getting Ladybug outside as much as possible.
At first she was afraid of grass. Yes, grass. Which was great because she was content on the four corners of a blanket in the yard. But she’s slowly overcoming her aversion to the currently coarse, yellow stuff that is our lawn (which we are having ripped up this weekend and replaced by a seemingly-good lawn guy).
She is also afraid of flowers. Yes, flowers. Daffodils especially. But she loves eating the onion grass on our lawn. She also enjoys pickles and lemons (not growing on our property). She’s a funny one.
We took her to several parks this weekend to play, and to ease ourselves into the dirtiness that is to come as we move further into the toddler stage. I don’t so much mind that she plays with dirt, as I do her putting said dirt into her mouth. Have I mentioned before that I like to be in control of things?
If you’re looking for opportunities to encourage your child to play with dirt and/or run around, here is a list of local parks that we enjoy:
- Meadow Lane Park. This seems to be the park in Vienna. I’ve seen as many as about 50 people (adults and kids) in this park, which not only has playground equipment, tree cover and a rentable picnic area for parties, but also lots of big, plastic toys that have been seemingly donated by area parents (can anyone confirm that this is, in fact, how the toys got there? Hubby and I wondered if the Town provides some).
- Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. Not to be confused with “Meadow Lane” above, Meadowlark is a regional garden that has lovely paved trails; a wonderful pond with coy, turtles and geese; and a children’s garden. There’s a small admission fee, but if you go more than a handful of times I suggest buying a membership that pays for itself – you can bring guests each time, too. Kids under six are free.
Clemyjontri Park. This involves a drive to McLean near Langley, most likely via the Beltway, so plan your hour of driving accordingly. It’s a Fairfax County park that is a rainbow of color and rubber ground cover. Ladybug just turned one and she got something out of it – not sure if younger, less mobile kids would. It was designed to be accommodating to kids of all abilities and needs, so it really does have a lot to offer. Also has an old school carousel that runs at select times, and rentable picnic area. Watch out on weekends – it gets crowded!
- Yeonas Park. This one is like a mini Meadow Lane park, with far less people. Located at the far Southwest part of town.
Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. This one is worth the short drive to Chantilly. A Fairfax County park, you enter by crossing a pond of lily pads. Then it’s dirt nature trails throughout. If you have a rugged jogging stroller, that should make it. Otherwise, the kiddo needs to walk or be carried. There’s also a nature center and the park has lots of kids programming – including a regular stroller strides activity on Mondays and Saturdays that includes a walk and circle time for little ones (I’m going to this soon).
There are several other parks in Vienna – see the map here. If you have other favorites, jot a comment below.
Enjoy the fresh air!