Playground Review: Patti Mason Playground at Roudenbush in Westford

By Rachel Ward-Sullivan January 1, 2023

Thank you to reader Rachel Ward-Sullivan for submitting this review of the Patti Mason Playground at Roudenbush Community Center in Westford!  If you would like to submit a paid review of a local playground, please email for advance approval and guidelines.

The Patti Mason Playground at Roudenbush Community Center
65 Main Street, Westford, MA

Date/Time Visited: Tuesday, June 7 2016 at 1:30pm

Bathrooms: Inside Roudenbush. No porta-potty when building is closed.

Parking: Ample

Shade: None

Benches/Tables: One picnic table

Additional Features: Swings and tennis courts near the road

Does your child notice an exit and pretend to be a little convict on Orange is the New Black, fleeing prison for a chance at a few minutes of freedom? Then the newly-dedicated Patti Mason Playground at Roudenbush Community Center in Westford center is for you. This completely enclosed playground is small enough to see your child from wherever she’s engaging in mischief since there are only two structures. Since it’s located behind the Roudenbush building, can’t be seen from the street, and has signs indicating it is for preschool use from 9am-6pm Monday-Friday, you’ll have plenty of privacy. (I spoke to a Roudenbush staff member and she said it is used by the before and after school programs and occasionally by classes. If you visit during typical school hours, you should be fine since the preschool is no longer located at the main community center.) 

Attempted escapes will be thwarted by the two locking gates. Should the orange jumpsuit hopefuls sneak out with an unsuspecting adult, even the most tired of parents can catch their mini Crazy Eyes before she reaches the parking lot. However, there is a slope in the back full of plants (weeds?) that even the most watchful warden of parents could miss their child falling into. Unfortunately for us parents of tiny tot escapees, there are not any swings to keep them contained. However, this can be beneficial for those with older toddlers who insist on being on the swings yelling, “Push me! I need a push!”

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The playground has a small grassy area with a picnic table for when you need a break from the hot sand. There are few spots to find refuge from the sun: if you contort yourself, you can play restaurant and sit in the small table under the little yellow structure (do some stretching beforehand to ensure you can get out). Or you can lounge in the small house that resembles a 90’s bus stop shelter. Pretend to be the playground puppy and bask in the cool shade while barking to keep the kids at bay. They will enjoy the fun silliness while you pretend to enjoy being at the park.

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My one year old delighted in playing in the sand beneath the structure for the older kids. He was shaded and happy while getting me and my daughter to experience the feeling of a sandstorm in our hair when he gleefully pitched sand at us like a disgruntled baseball coach. Next time I will bring sand toys to engage him so we won’t be checking each other’s heads like monkeys for the next week.

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While I enjoyed the privacy, my 3 ½ year old daughter was unimpressed with more mommy time since there were not any other children to play with. Although small, the two structures and playhouse provide opportunities for gross motor and imaginative play, which would have been more engaging with other kids. I imagine these kids would have found my barking amusing but my children have become jaded and have not yet perfected the sly escape, despite their love of wearing orange. My daughter did enjoy both structures, especially the big slide on the larger of the two. This one also had a more challenging version of monkey bars that my daughter was too small to do independently.

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The smaller of the two structures is good for sturdy little kids that can climb. My one year old Goonies stunt double loved it but it required me climbing through tubes and anticipating his next move so he didn’t crawl out one of the openings and make a permanent toddler-size indent in the ground. The dinosaur shaped climbing structure that’s great for crawlers was roped off and is no longer available for use, according to the Executive Director. We can’t wait for the accessible playground to be built! Roudenbush received a generous grant and plans are underway to start building soon.

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If you’re having a tired, especially antisocial day and your cell mates need some fresh air, this is a good place to visit, particularly before or after going to the library or summer farmer’s market. If your children are under two or have some physical limitations, you may want to explore elsewhere as this is not an accessible playground (yet!).

All pictures copyright Rachel Ward-Sullivan