Q&A: Where’s an Outdoor Place for PreK Kids to Play on Summer Days?

Question and Answer

Spray parks are great fun for kids and a terrific way to cool off during the summer months. Readers recommend spray parks in South Amherst, South Hadley and Florence for preK kids. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Any recommendations on great outdoor places to bring the preK kids to play during summer days?

  • Audrey Nystrom Anderson recommends, “Spray park in South Amherst. Wading Pool at Groff Park in Amherst, which also has a playground and picnic area.”
  • John Heffernan recommends,DAR in Goshen.”
  • Sandra Dias recommends,Musante Beach in Leeds; Look Park (Florence); Spray Park in South Hadley.”
  • Nancyjo Craig Rongner recommends, “It’s a bit of a hike depending on where you live, but we love going to Retreat Farm in Brattleboro (VT). They’ve got a great shaded corn silo to play in, animals to pet and feed, a picnic area, and a barn with riding toys to play in. There is a slight entry fee, but I’ve found it to be completely worth it!”
  • Pauline Delton recommends,Mittineague Park  in West Springfield has a small playground, large field, a stream that pools in one spot, lots of walking options, etc. Free to get in, pavilions to use, easy access off Route 20 or via Ashley Street. Great option for those who don’t want to go all the way to Northampton and beyond.”
  • Sienna Wildfield recommends, “There are several family center’s hosting informal playgroups at local parks this summer, including Pettingill Park in Cummington, Bridge Street School playground in Northampton, Nonotuck Park in Easthampton, and Look Park in Florence. Check Hilltown Families list of Weekly Suggested Events for dates and times of these informal gatherings.”

Have a playground to recommend? Leave a comment and let us know!

Buttery Brook Park: South Hadley’s Park for Families

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Butter Brook Park Summer Events Calendar is Full of Family Fun

The summer events calendar at Buttery Brook Park includes the regular weekly Friday Cruise Night car show and family cookout, a Summer Children’s Concert Series on Wednesday mornings in July, and Big Rig Day on July 15th. See the full schedule below.

The Friends and the South Hadley community supporters of Buttery Brook Park welcome families to an exciting summer of events. The season of family fun begins around 12noon on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31st, with a Picnic at the Park (following the parade in South Hadley), featuring free cake. Full calendar below.

According to Cathy Manly, a Friends of Buttery Brook Park volunteer, the picnic is a chance for families to see and play with the recent improvements to the Park. The improvements are mainly for younger children and include a giant sandbox with ride-on diggers, an outdoor drum set, a ride-on two-seater airplane, and a play structure for young children. The skate park is in the process of being moved to create a grassy picnic space that overlooks the new play equipment.

According to Manly, a Friends’ goal is to create a space where families with children can meet and play. “Some older members of the Friends remember the Park as a wonderful place to go when they had young families. Several more recent Friends volunteers have young families, and we’re striving to make this Park as accessible and exciting for local families as possible.”

Future improvements, which will be funded in part by proceeds from this season’s events, include improvements to the playground and the possibility of an exercise trail, with a wading pool and spray park being on the longer-term horizon, said Manly.

Besides funding, the Friends are also seeking volunteers to help with the season’s events. If you wish to volunteer, please contact friendsofbutterybrook@yahoo.com.

Buttery Brook Park is located on Route 33 in South Hadley, MA (on the right, just south of the Big Y, on Rte 33).

Summer 2010 Calendar of Friends’ Events

When: Memorial Day, Monday, May 31st, 2010, ~12:00pm (after the parade)

Come see the new playground! Bring a picnic lunch and join the Friends of Buttery Brook Park for free cake, to help us celebrate the opening of the season and our new playground, including a wonderful, huge new sandbox with ride-on diggers and a play structures for little and big kids. Festivities are planned to begin after the Memorial Day Parade. Information: camanly@gmail.com

When: Every Friday evening now through September 10, 2010, 5:30pm to dusk

Cruise nights are free and open to the public. Stroll through the park and enjoy classic cars (weekly and monthly trophies awarded), DJ music (enjoy those oldies!), refreshments and the company of neighbors and friends. Plan to join us for supper—the menu includes hot dogs and hamburgers, along with a variety of beverages (including beer). Proceeds from food sales help to support park improvements such as the new playground at the center of the park. Kids will also enjoy the coloring corner and animal feeding area … make it a family night! Volunteers to assist with the food concession are always appreciated. Information: kmaro68@aol.com

When: Wednesdays, July 14, 21, 28, 2010, 10-11am

The Concert series provides free entertainment for children ages 10 and under on Wednesday mornings in July. Presented by the Friends of Buttery Brook Park and the South Hadley Family Center (www.shfamilycenter.org). Information: camanly@gmail.com

  • July 14th, 2010, 10am – Aric Bieganek is known locally as “The Jack Black of Kids’ Music.” A children’s music teacher in Northampton, he performs rockin’ music for families that gets everyone dancing!
  • July 21st, 2010, 10am – Jay Mankita is an internationally acclaimed songwriter, guitarist, and recording artist from Amherst. He tours his music for children and adults in a veggie oil-powered van.
  • July 28th, 2010, 10am – Miss Leticia brings us a high energy, multi-lingual music and movement performance. A regular Amherst performer and teacher, she has played music with children of all ages for over 10 years.

When: Thursday, July 15th, 11am-1pm (July 22nd Rain date if necessary)

Come see Big Rigs of all types (fire trucks, police cars, utility trucks, ambulances, and more)… climb into the cabs, ride the aerial ladder, and meet the people who operate these fascinating vehicles. This unique, free, kid-friendly event is co-sponsored by the South Hadley Electric Department. Information: http://www.butterybrookpark.org


Buttery Brook Park was created over 25 years ago by Joseph Taylor, the then Parks Superintendent for the town of South Hadley. A new, centrally located playscape area began taking shape in 2008 thanks in part to fundraising activities by the Friends of Buttery Brook Park and many generous individual and business contributions. The park staff has made many improvements to the park in connection with this project, including a new volleyball area, and additional play equipment will continue to be added. http://www.butterybrookpark.org

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