By Emily Harrington
Immediately, you notice an easier route to the play areas. (Much better for strollers!) A sidewalk now connects the parking lot and kid spaces.
The new attractions include a Born Learning Trail—the first one in our area. The trail was in part both sponsored and installed by United Way of Champaign County. The trail goes around the existing playground. Past the existing playground, signs dot the trail in an effort to engage kids with different activities or questions.
We saw signs like these:
- “Go run up the hill, like Jack and Jill.” Side note: In the center of the circular trail, a mini version of the popular existing hill now exists.
- Find a flower or tree. Touch it. Talk about it. (Is it hard or soft? Rough or smooth?)
- “Point to the letters painted on the ground. Say the sound each letter makes.”
Brightly colored corresponding pictures are painted on the actual trail. Letters, shapes, a kite and a hopscotch board invite you to move your feet, and it makes the experience that much more engaging.
The idea is simple. Kids who can read independently can travel the trail while challenging their minds and exploring their surroundings. Littler ones can travel with their parents, and the signs act as prompts for them to have fun together while learning.
Brightly colored corresponding pictures have been painted next to some signs. Letter, shapes, a kite and a hopscotch board invite you to move your feet!
Two roundabouts on the trail include five pieces of musical equipment. The Freenotes Harmony Park was funded by the daughter of the park’s namesake, Dana Colbert, provided the funds needed to create this musical dimension to the park. The Inman family graciously donated money for the outdoor music ensemble. These four large instruments can be played standing up. Imagine huge xylophones. A set of drums in varying sizes is also included. They are all brightly colored and made to with stand time. A similar setup can be seen at AMBUCS Park in Urbana.
My baby loved playing the musical equipment (aka chewing on the attached mallet). I loved strolling the unique trail. The volunteers did such a great job making the trail eye catching, and it is so easy-to-follow.
As for my 4-year-old son, he headed straight for the “bunny hill.” He loved, loved the new hill!
The new additions are dotted with new trees, plants/flowers and plenty of seating/tables (including a pavilion next to the equipment). Oh! And why you are there, check out the two permanent cornhole or “bags” sets. Just BYOBags—unless you officially rent the largest pavilion through the Savoy Recreation Center. They will supply bags with the rental.
The Village of Savoy Operations Superintendent, Jesse Stephens, said the village will always be looking for new ways to expand and improve the park, for they own all the property back to the tree line. They have even left a little room to grow—especially with the instruments.
There is just SOOO much to do at this park. With the volleyball, the hill, the dock/lake, playground and now these new attractions—your kid will never hear the dreaded words, “I’m bored.”
Emily Harrington is a Chambana townie. She left her 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job in communications so that she could be a 24/7 mom to two busy boys. Still interested in writing, Emily uses some of naptime to practice her passion and keep her mind right. Emily is a happy wife with a happy life because she fell for a fellow townie. Emily usually finds herself engulfed in balls, blue and belly laughs.