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Tot Parks Are the Way to Play This Summer

Keeping little kids active in the summer can be tricky when school's out. Staying around the house provides too many sedentary temptations. Even preschoolers have been known to stake out a spot on the couch in front of the television or become mesmerized with the games on a smartphone.

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.

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