We are park junkies.

It doesn’t matter where we go, or what we are doing, we almost always factor playgrounds into our outings. And they all have nicknames. Mouse Cheese Park. Beehive Park. Colour Park. The Really Big Park. Not the most clever names, to be sure, but my girls always know exactly what I’m talking about.

Three year old twins have a remarkable capacity to remember the tiniest detail of every park trip. The time A found the little horse in the wood chips. (If this is your lost horse, please know it’s been in the best of hands for the past 15 months or so!) E’s favourite ultra-bouncy teeter-totter. (It’s in a top-secret Sherwood Park park, if you’re wondering.) And the mystery of the park that had a slide one week, and a boarded up hole the next week. (apparently a number of city parks were going through slide replacements last year.)

The anti-social me loves it when we pull up to a park with not a soul in sight. A whole park to ourselves – the ultimate in freedom! The worried mother me usually jumps in at some point and frets about the need for socialization – maybe I should look for busier parks? And the fitness fanatic me shakes my head at the wasted opportunity abandoned parks represents. Kids need parks, and kids need play. We are so fortunate to live in a place that understands the value of playgrounds for children, and provides these incredible play spaces.

Snow and rain don’t stop us – they add to the fun. There’s nothing better than Mother Nature leaving a giant pile of fresh, fluffy snow for the softest slide landings. Or the excitement of the first giant park puddle of spring, that completely distracts us from playground equipment altogether.

I’ve been taking the girls to parks since they were 6 months old. I’d settle them into a baby swing with blankets for support and give them little pushes. They loved it! When they started crawling, I’d spread a blanket on the ground and listen to them giggle as the grass tickled their fingers and toes. We lived walking distance from our grocery store, so most afternoons, we’d set off on a familiar trip – grocery store, park, home. I imagine the clerks thought I was a complete scatterbrain, shopping every day, but it was a great way to get out and explore our neighbourhood.

I distinctly remember the cardio workouts I’d get taking the girls to the park when they were about 14 months old. They were old enough to climb up stairs and clamber across park equipment, but too young to understand that holes meant danger. And I’m sure all my fellow twin parents will tell you that two toddlers at that age NEVER venture in the same direction.

My husband received countless texts, photos and videos documenting many of the girls’ firsts achieved at parks. Climbing ladders! Jumping off things! Jumping on! Falling off things! (Mom should’ve put the camera down sometimes…)

Now, at 3, my girls take as much delight as I do in exploring new parks. They relish the treasure-hunt moment of discovering the one we’re looking for, (“Hang on, mommy thinks we need to turn here…”) and eagerly report to daddy all the highlights of our adventure. And I absolutely love that when I pick them up from school, or we finish our morning outing and get back in the car, they always ask me “Mommy, what park are we going to today?”

I hope they never stop asking.