They're too young to send to camp, while the park down the street is filled with older kids - and oversized playground equipment - that show little regard for your young child's developing motor skills.
So where do you go to give your little ones some age-appropriate exercise?
Try a tot park.
From the Antelope Valley to South Los Angeles, First 5 LA has recently funded the opening of several tot parks and trails projects sized for small hands and feet. Last month, three new tot parks opened: at Maywood Riverfront Park at 5000 Slauson Ave. in the city of Maywood; at Jackie Robinson Park at 8773 E. Avenue R in Sun Village in the Antelope Valley; and a tot park with a splash pad at Mason Park at 10500 Mason Ave. in Chatsworth.
Each tot park features a variety of playground equipment designed for children 0-5 to develop motor skills, encourage sensory and tactile exploration, and spur social interaction.
The Tot Parks and Trails program is part of a collaborative effort with a variety of government, private and community-based organizations. The initiative represents a $10 million investment by First 5 LA to create sustainable change by increasing physical activity and promoting healthy lifestyles for children 0-5 and their families. Covering 23 cities and neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles County, First 5 LA funds will support 29 projects, many of which will be located in Best Start communities.
Since December 2012, numerous tot parks have opened at the following locations throughout L.A. County:
- Baber Park, 17189 Baber Ave., Artesia
- El Sereno, 4721 Klamath St., Los Angeles
- Evergreen Park, 2844 E 2nd St., Los Angeles
- Howard Finn Park, 7747 Foothill Blvd., Sunland-Tujunga
- Jamie Beth Slavin Park, 12500 Strathern St., North Hollywood
- Mini Center/Mary Van Dyke Park, 1819 Central Ave., South El Monte
- AJ Padelford Park, 11870 169th St., Artesia
- Ritchie Valens Park, 10731 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Pacoima
- Pixley Park, 3626 56th St., Maywood
- Spane Park, 14400 Gundry Ave., Paramount
- T. Mayne Thompson Park, 14001 Bellflower Blvd., Bellflower
- Toberman Park, 1725 Toberman St., Los Angeles
Don't live near any of these areas? Don't worry. More new tot parks will open soon. Summer 2014 park openings include:
- June 28 - East Rancho Dominguez Park, 15116 S. Atlantic Ave., Compton
- June 30 - Athens Tot Park, 12603 S. Broadway Ave., Los Angeles
- July 11 - Hubert Humphrey Park, 12560 Fillmore St., Pacoima
- July 19 - Brookshire Park, 12400 Columbia Way, Downey
For more information on First 5 LA's Tot Parks and Trails Initiative, click here.