This post is written by Rachael Schmidt
Centennial Park is located off Fite Road and McLean, in Pearland, Texas. This park is well maintained, spacious, and fun! It has park areas sized for big and smaller kids, swings, as well as basketball, tennis, and baseball facilities, and a lot of green areas for chasing, hide and seek, and other games. There are walking trails by the creek, and a bridge connects the main park to a splash pad area that is open during the summer. You can rent the large pavilions for events.
This park has a lot to offer for kiddos’ gross motor, fine motor, and sensory needs. I’ll list a few here. The parking area is about 50 yards away, so I try to make Leila walk over the grass to the play area. This helps with gait training. Aside from the slides and swings which provide vestibular stimulation as well as (if your child can pump his/her legs) muscle strengthening, there are 3 spinning seats for a true blackout experience. One is about the size of a hot tub, and can get pretty crazy with a lot of kids. Two others hold one kid only, for those that are either smaller, or not used to noisy groups. If your kid is spinning others in the big one, they will also work on upper body strength and hand-eye coordination.
Visual and auditory stimulation is provided by the neat little double-sided wall that includes a rotating color wheel, spinning optical illusions, and kaleidoscopes. One sounds like a rainstick as it spins. Tactile stimulation is provided by the raised letters and shapes on this wall.
Leila likes the modified rock wall. Other playground rock walls have knobs or narrow ledges. She likes to climb, but her right-side weakness make her hand and foot slip. The open holes on this one give her better grip with her hands and feet. It’s good for gross motor and motor planning (which hand/foot comes next?). Also, it goes higher up, and sideways, to work a kid’s lateral coordination.
Bilateral coordination is worked with the play car wheels, which provide a push/pull experience. Sit-to-stands for leg strengthening can be done on the little disks which are of various heights. Balance training can be done by stepping from one to the other. Going in and out of the monkey bars works coordination and gross motor, as she has to shift her body weight and lift her legs high to clear the bar.
This is a fun park and we go at least once a week. Cons – go pee before you leave the house. The bathroom is a good hundred yards away from the play area.
Leila gives it 4 (out of 5) Leila likes! Hope to see you there!