It’s Free. It’s Fun. It’s a Great Place to Run.
If you have young kids, the first place you should find when PCSing to a new home is your local playground!
By Amy Roland, founder of Play Across America
If there is any certainty with a PCS, it’s that everything will rapidly become unfamiliar. New faces, new towns, new neighborhoods, schools, and jobs. As an Army brat, I moved every one to two years. I had constant knots in my stomach, every PCS, until I grew accustomed to my new surroundings.
As an adult, I still feel uncertain in unfamiliar, new surroundings. It’s exhausting trying to adjust to all the changes and make the new duty station feel like home.
One way I’ve combatted this anxiety and started to feel more like a local is to go on an adventure to discover our family’s new favorite spot. Parks with playgrounds are usually where we find our happy again.
They are great places to quickly acquaint ourselves to our new home and surrounding community. Parks, especially in the summer, are hubs of activity with movies in the park, camps, festivals, and lots and lots of families. It’s a great place to meet new people and have some fun.
Below are some of our family’s favorite spots that we discovered upon PCSing to a new location.
JBLM, Fort Lewis, Washington:
With a great, all inclusive playground, a fun splash park, and a skate park for older kids, this playground on main post, JBLM, was a gathering place for lots of families. It’s also conveniently located close to the commissary!
Wilson Park, Fort Bragg, NC:
When we first arrived to Fort Bragg, we spent several hours playing at this great, accessible playground. With two playgrounds, a pond, and lots of space to run, this has become one of our favorite spots to play. There are actually several fantastic playgrounds on Fort Bragg, so we hop between them all.
Wizard of Oz playground, Upper Marlboro, MD:
Regardless of where you find yourself stationed in the DC area, the Wizard of Oz playground is what I call a “destination” playground. It’s well worth going out of your way to visit! You could literally spend the whole day at this park. There’s honestly nothing else quite like it. We actually discovered it while visiting last fall and my children were sad we didn’t live within driving distance.
I know it may sound too simplistic that playgrounds and parks can help a family feel more settled in their new home but they are a reflection of the local community and a great way to get connected!
VISIT Play Across America and find out about the awesome playgrounds near you (or on your way to someplace new!).