Tech Tuesday: Use Google Earth to check out playgrounds

This tech tip comes from my husband, Ryan, who is a great optimizer of all of life’s tasks, including his parenting pursuits. Case in point, I just received an email from him letting me know he had been alerted that a kid’s bike sized for our son came up for sale on Craig’s List in our neighborhood. (He sets up these alerts all the time. Years ago, I explained how, but I need to update that post since technology has improved.)

When we’re in a different town, visiting family, for example, Ryan uses the aerial views of locations provided by Google to select outdoor play destinations.

I wish I could tell you that the photos are detailed enough to determine if there’s a fenced-in toddler playground or monkey bars at a certain park. Alas, it is more helpful to get a general sense of a place like the amount of greenery vs. blacktop.

Some questions you may be able to answer by looking at a Google Maps view of a new destination:

  1. Does this destination look good for one of the parents to go running while the other watches over the playground, ie is it a large park with paths versus a corner playground.
  2. Is there a parking lot? (There are very few parking lots where we live.)
  3. Where is there a baseball diamond near my parents house? (Important to our 8-year old son.)
  4. Where should we tell our friends to meet us? Pick a landmark.

I have found that we have a totally different relationship with many towns we traveled to before having kids.

Check out a park before you drive there

Note to self: Hey, this park near my in-law’s house has a swimming pool! Second note to self: Call ahead to find out if there’s water in the pool!

Have you discovered anything in your own parents’ neighborhood that you weren’t aware of before becoming a parent?