Discovering the tot lots

Everywhere you turn in Columbia, there is a tot lot. It’s fantastic for kids and parents. Take a stroll along a path and you are bound to hit several tot lots. Go to a pool, and you’ll find a tot lot nearby. In fact, there are 167 tot lots in Columbia.

Want to find them? Go to the Welcome Center or your village community association to purchase a pathways map or click on the link for a free electronic version.

Got the electronic version open? See all those red squares? Those are all tot lots! I just thought of something while looking at this map. Wouldn’t finding all the tot lots on the map and then discovering them in real life be a fun summer thing to do with kids? They can learn map skills as well as play at the various tot lots.

Every tot lot is a bit different too, which is great for kids that get bored easily or want to try something different. You can see some photos of some area tot lots taken by Columbia Area Moms of Multiples listed here. In the neighborhood tot lot near me, kids have left their sand toys to share with other kids who might happen by and want to dig in the sand. And best of all, most of the tot lots are in the shade, which is something I really appreciate. Who wants to slide down a scorching hot slide? Or sit in the sun while watching your kids play? Not me!

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Melissa Sinclair works in the Communications & Engagement Division at Columbia Association (CA). Melissa recently moved to Columbia with her three-generation family. She has lived in more than a dozen cities and is looking forward to making Columbia, Md., her permanent home! Over the past year she has worked on losing weight, getting fit and doing volunteer work; she is now looking forward to working for CA after staying home with her family for the last several years. Melissa has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a master’s degree in educational administration. Click here to read more of Melissa’s Getting to Know CA series.

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2 Comments

Filed under Age-related, Columbia's Villages, Getting to Know CA, Kids, Pathways, Recreation

2 responses to “Discovering the tot lots

  1. Megan Barnes

    When we first moved here, we only knew about the tot lot near our swimming pool. Then we found “the secret playground”, followed by “the even secreter playground”. Of course they’re all on the map, but its a delight discovering them on our rambles.

  2. The tot-lots are great but I can’t help thinking there are some missed opportunities here for both CA and for the community.

    1. It would be great if there were more interactive versions of the maps or if the tot-lots were linked to other platforms that added value or functionality. For example, it would be great to be able to see pictures of all of the tot-lots and maybe even “check-in” to them. What about a game for CA residents to see how many they can visit in a month, a year? Potentially a great opportunity to increase use of the facilities, involve both parents and kids in something interesting and provide data back to CA about how frequently they are being used.

    2. I can imagine that a considerable amount of resources (mostly staff time) are required to keep these in good shape and well-maintained. How about thinking about ways to enlist community support for this effort? For example, something along the lines of the SeeClickFix (http://seeclickfix.com/citizens) model where CA residents are able to take pictures of issues and submit directly to CA to address?

    These are just a few quick ideas but there are probably many more ways to leverage technology to strengthen our community. Look forward to see what ideas spring forth!

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