Tech Tuesday: Use Google Earth to check out playgrounds

by Whitney Moss on June 11, 2013

in Geeky

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?

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.

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