Friday, March 09, 2007

Playland Rocks

A guest article from Karen...

I no longer have any reason to lament the loss of the mom and pop coffee shop. For I have come to truly appreciate McDonald’s Playland. What a beautiful example of our evolution as a species. Here you have a play area that is..
  • Big enough for all-out play, but entirely shielded from the elements,
  • Structured so that it is virtually impossible for any child to get hurt – the worst thing that will happen to your child here is that he will absorb the odor of French fries,
  • Complete with open access to child-sized potties and sinks,
  • Conducive to developing kid-sized friendships – fast and furious and then quickly forgotten (I think the size and enclosed nature contributes to this),
  • Flanked by tables that are just perfect for supporting an 89 cent cup of tea and a good book,
  • Sometimes a place where kind McDonald’s employees will bring you free food (I kid you not; after helping a woman with 6 kids into the area, a McDonald’s manager returned with free sample-sized cookies for all the kids at Playland),
  • Also strangely conducive to striking up conversations with other parents – Again, I think it’s the enclosed space and size that brings people together more than your average playground.

Needless to say, we’ve become regulars. It’s nice to have my children clamoring for an activity other than our much-loved children’s museum, which we’ve probably visited about 897,000 times in the last 3 years. Of course, we never buy the food. But the tea there is as good as what you’ll get at any Starbucks. i’m lovin’ it. (Okay, that was too much).

4 comments:

StuntMom said...

Sorry Karen, I can not share your enthusiasm. I find the McDonald's playland one of the most repulsive places I have ever taken my children. It reeks of fried unhealthy food, and if you have ever read the rules to your children you will find that one of the rules is that purchases are necessary. I understand you get a cup of tea, but I have trouble even drinking water in a place that smells so bad. We have hit a few on vacation and are usually so disgusted that we break the rules and leave without making a purchase.

We have seen kids eating ketchup and fries on the slide, wearing no shoes or socks,(socks are the rule) and have encountered a child peeing on the playland. At least at an outside establishment there is an occasional rain storm and fresh air to wash away pee and germs. I fear there is little washing of the playland. Oh, and did I mention we have seen rather sick looking kids playing on the inside slides? Too sick to play outside, but why not infect a bunch of healthy unsuspecting children? We have only been three times, but each time we have sworn we will never go again, vacation or not.

Thanks for the article, but I'm not in agreement. We steer clear of the place and try to visit an outside playset no matter what the weather.

Karen said...

You try to visit an outside playset no matter what the weather?? It's funny, I read that and had visions of you standing at the foot of a slide, freezing rain pelting your umbrella, one child strapped to your back and the other two crying at the top of the climbing set. "Come on you two! Enjoy the fresh air!" you are shouting. In fact, it rather reminds me of a book we just read...

Yes, it sounds like your Playland experiences would be a bit of a deterrent, but you really must try the one on Winton Rd. Haven't you ever noticed as you go across country that some McD's feel like hell-holes and others feel fresh, clean and well-managed?

Jayne said...

I'm glad that you mentioned which Playland was good-the one by our house looks a bit dodgy. I have to admit that when I took my daughter to New York City last spring, one of the only child friendly green spaces in Greenwich Village was the McDonald's Playland. I was grateful, after the very tight quarters of my nieces apartment, that she had a safe place to run and stretch while I read the Times. Sometimes you have to look at life through the eyes of a child-a slide is still a slide (germs and all).

StuntMom said...

So you are right, we don't go to a jungle gym in the rain, but we do put on our books, rain coats, and umbrella's with a baby strapped to my back, and we enjoy a good neighborhood puddle stomp. The kids are allowed to get as wet and muddy as they want, we get fresh air, although frozen air, or soaking wet air, but we enjoy nature from a playland free environment. But you are right, McDonald's can range in quality, so the next time we visit our doctor, which is right next to that McDonalds on Winton rd, we will stop in for a play and I will give you some honest feedback, who knows, maybe we will be sold on it. You can usually convince me to switch my opinion.