The DC Playground Crawl

DC playground

Happiness is sliding down to open arms.

Are you yearning for your college bar crawl days? Times may have changed but your thirst for a walking challenge doesn’t have to dry up. You just have to switch your glass to a reusable bottle and your drink of choice to water for this crawl. DC is sprawling with neighborhood playgrounds to let you plan the perfect outing. So strap on your walking shoes, grab your rugged jogging stroller, and head outdoors for a day of exploring in the nation’s capitol.

I’ve used this park-hopping strategy to get through a long training run, or just to pass a few hours time on an early Saturday morning when my son has inevitably woken up way too early. He loves it because he gets to play on not only one but sometimes four or five playgrounds, and I love it because I get my miles in while seeing the city. Plus, it has the added bonus of exhausting him almost as much as a pool visit.

We usually start at our house, but there are playgrounds all across the city so the quadrants are at your disposal to make the best route to suit your needs.

DC playground map

DC has hundreds of playgrounds across the city. Pick a few and get going!

Here’s a quick check-list I do before stepping out:

  • Put dinner in crockpot (best decision you can make!);
  • Pack sunscreen, water for you both, a towel (spray parks are awesome and easily found in DC), and snacks;
  • Walk the dog, give her a bone, and fill up her water bowl;
  • Grab your phone so you can take lots of award-winning photos of your child sliding down countless slides;
  • Say goodbye to cabin fever and get outside!

Want to plan a fun themed playground crawl?

  • Birthday bash: Have parents volunteer for different parks along the route so that there’s an activity at each playground specific to your theme. The last playground can be the ultimate destination with lunch and cake for your hungry explorers.
  • Mommy fitclub workout: Jog from playground to playground. Allow kids to play for 20 minutes on each playground while you do the following workout: 1 minute jumping jacks, 1 minute squats, 1 minute lunges, 1 minute pushups, 1 minute plank, rest, repeat.
  • Catch up with family: Call one family member in between each playground. (I only recommend doing this if you start your route after 10AM.)
  • Create your own game: Eye spy, count the trucks, make animal sounds of creatures you see, you name it, there’s something for you to do with your toddler as you pass through neighborhoods.

Regardless of how you go about taking this hike—I assure you your kids will love it. So have fun!

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