It would be an understatement to say Brittany Fechko likes the outdoors.
The mom of three kids, who are all under 5, also likes a challenge.
That combination leads Fechko to do things like this: In 2020, she spent 1,000 hours outside. This year, her goal is to spend time outside every day. And she’s on track so far.
It’s also the reason she has 50 toy trucks, ranging from firetrucks to garbage trucks, in the backyard of her Fountain home.
In March, the stay-at-home mom decided to start a “truck park,” meaning an area full of donated toy vehicles for kids to play with anytime.
Fechko, who moved to Fountain in 2015 from New York, says her family came across something similar in Buffalo.
“My son could play there for hours and hours,” she said. “I thought, Colorado is cool enough. We should have one here.”
To get the ball rolling, she posted the idea on the Facebook page for the local branch of Hike It Baby, an online community for parents and caregivers who want to get their kids outside. Their mantra is “Parenthood is an adventure. Bring it outside.”
Fechko, an ambassador for Hike It Baby, says she was surprised by the “insane response” to the post.
“People were super eager to help,” she said. “They really want it to happen.”
Some people mailed her brand-new trucks or dropped off used ones. Others sent her money for the cause.
Within a week, a mini truck park filled with mini trucks appeared at Aga Park in Fountain.
Fechko’s kids, among others, loved it.
“It’s just another way to get kids together and out of the house,” she said. “That’s something I’m always looking for.”
Then, a few days later, the trucks were gone. It turned out to be a misunderstanding with the city of Fountain. The trucks were swooped up during a weekly cleanup.
So, Fechko got the trucks back. But she’s still back to square one. She’s reached out to area parks and recreation departments and homeowners associations looking for a park that will could be a permanent home for the truck play area.
“We have the trucks and we have more people who want to donate trucks,” she said. “All we need to do is find a place.”
The idea is for the trucks to always park in a certain area for kids to play with and for Fechko and other volunteers to help maintain it.
Similar setups have worked in Buffalo and Boston, where a popular “Tot Lot” has rave reviews on Yelp.
As one woman commented on the site, “The community seems to value having these items, so when some disappear after weather and children have taken their toll, new ones periodically appear. Watch your children practice sharing over the very best ones!”
That’s the kind of thing Fechko looks forward to.
It’s also just another way to get her kids outside, along with regular hikes or bike rides. She finds it beneficial for her kids, who tend to fight less with each other outside and stay entertained longer.
“They really are happier outside,” she said. “And that makes me happier and a better parent in general.”