New Baldwin Park playground stimulates mind, body development

It’s summer and the kids are out of school, getting bored, and spending too much time inside playing video games and scrolling on social media. So, what is a parent to do? We recommend packing a picnic and making plans to visit the historic Elizabeth Baldwin Park in Midtown Houston. Now reopened to the public, the all-new playground equipment will keep children occupied for hours.

These are not the ordinary swings, slides, and jungle gyms of yesterday. This is a 21st-century playground built to provide an inclusive, holistic play experience for kids. 

Measurable benefits

Baldwin Park’s new playground equipment improves upon the existing learning opportunities and encourages different sets of skills, which range from physical movement to various types of sensory skills. Compared to the park’s previous playground, the new play experiences will provide a 250% increase in physical and sensory development opportunities and expand play areas for cognitive, social, and language skills development by 300%, 180%, and 11%, respectively. 

“We wanted to create an environment where children can learn and grow outside of the home and school, so we used feedback received from a community survey to select play structures which encourage creativity and imagination for a broader age range of children,” said Midtown Redevelopment Authority (MRA) Director of Engineering and Construction Marlon Marshall. “The bright colors, different textures, and sounds help develop the mind. The swings, slides, and climbing pieces stimulate the body. It all combines to increase the value of play by providing opportunities for the development of social, emotional, physical, and mental skills.”

Fun for all

MRA took great care to ensure children of all ages and abilities would be able to use the park. New surfaces make it easier for people with disabilities to get around, while a sensory wall and ADA-compliant rocker allow for inclusivity and diversity of play opportunities.

The new playground is part of $500,000 of improvements at the 4.8-acre park on Elgin Street in Midtown. The design team preserved the original fountain, one of the oldest in the city, and the stately oak trees planted in 1905 when the city of Houston built the park. The trees inspired the design and colors selected for the rubber playground surface that will cushion children when they fall. The greens and blues evoke images of the shady canopy above and the patches of sky that peek through the branches. 

The project also includes new lighting around the perimeter of the park. Supply chain issues have delayed that phase of the work until later in the summer.

Find out more about MRA’s capital improvement projects here