Summer seems to have ended. The busy crowds are gone. Children are tucked back into school. This is my favorite time of year though. It’s still warm and I don’t have to worry about showing up some place wonderful and being unable to find a parking spot, or feeling cramped because too many people had the same great idea.
My children really enjoy Live Oak Park in Berkeley because of the stream that runs though it, the bridges, and the bushes they can play in.
Here they are yesterday, walking around in the water, collecting sticks and inspecting rocks and bugs.
And earlier this year.
It’s definitely a wonderful park to put on the rotation. There is a grassy field for running and a playground area for those that want that. I generally try to avoid the playground areas because, while the kids have a blast, I think they’re just mentally draining for me. I can’t be at them for as long as I can be in natural areas. I start feeling restless or stressed or just exhausted. Someone always wants me to push them on the swing or I have to help them work through some sharing issues with another kid, always something, you know? But being under the trees, barefoot in the water calms me, relaxes me and the kids are much more self-sufficient. They do play pretend for hours, collect little things here and there, and just explore to their heart’s content. They don’t need me much.
The only downside to this stream is that it’s in the city and I think some people like to drink and throw their trash under one of the bridges. The more accessible areas are pretty clean but if your kids push the limits and go farther than others, be sure to teach them how to watch where they step and you might want to do a quick glass and trash pick up with them. I think we’re just going to start bringing a spare bucket to clean up the water areas we play in when we arrive. It’s a shame people feel the need to litter.
Have you been to Live Oak Park? Where is your favorite stream or creek?
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