Declan in a Krakow Playground

Playgrounds are important in your round-the-world-travel with kids. And they are surprisingly difficult to track down.

If your kids are of a pre-school age it’s not so tough. Small parks will have the occasional little climbing frame and backyard-scale slide. But with seven and nine-year olds it’s a bit harder to find an appropriate playground they can run around in.

There are two basic methods we’ve found. The first is the obvious one of doing an internet search. That can work, but you get a lot of false positives. Some are the aforementioned too-small playgrounds. Some are just people using the word for other purposes – it’s surprising how many hotels use the word ‘playground’ in their description and so get hits in Google.

Callum and Declan trying out knight helmets in the Krakow Museum

The second that is generally quite fruitful, but has one acting like some WW2 intelligence-gathering spook, is to examine Google Earth. Looking for parks and then zooming in until you find the distinctive shapes of big playgrounds has worked well. We used this method today to find a great playground about 2km away from our apartment where the kids spent a much-needed hour or so running around like lunatics.

We have learnt some interesting things about playgrounds in the cold. Your playground experience is different when you resemble a well-wrapped ball of insulation as you run around. And it’s especially different when you can’t touch anything without gloves. None of that lessens the potential for enjoyment and it is possible the additional padding balances out the lack of firm grip.

Declan shooting in the trenches

Of course kids can find a playground in many places. After our official playground visit, we went to the National Museum down the road. This largely covers art and design but also has a great display of weapons through the ages. The kids were much taken with the armour, swords and guns especially as they had the opportunity to try some of them on.

The fact that the Museum was both free and warm meant it endeared itself to all the family. But the kids having a great time while exploring the exhibits was certainly a bonus.