WASHINGTON — The first family spent some of Martin Luther King Jr. Day visiting a former fixture of the White House — and saw it getting some good use.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visited the Jobs Have Priority Naylor Road Family Shelter in Washington where the White House donated the Obama daughters’ backyard swing set earlier this month.
On this particular overcast afternoon, Obama, who was wearing a brown leather jacket and khakis, and the first lady, wearing a green windbreaker, walked onto the playground and greeted a group of kids who were already playing on the swings.
Obama bent down to say hello to the kids playing on the playground, who ran to greet him.
As the kids returned to the swing, Obama helped a girl who was having trouble getting going on the swing set.
“Pull your legs up!” he told her.
“It’s bringing back memories,” he said. “Pump those legs. This is about how big Sasha was when we showed up.”
At one point, the first lady mounted the green plastic ball that’s hanging from a rope. She took a few swings, smiling.
Seven or eight kids were playing on the structure at the time, which features swings, a slide, a climbing wall, a pair of binoculars, a rope ladder, a tire, and yellow parallel bars. A green canvas roof covers the upper level. It’s been set on a square patch of red mulch on the front lawn of the shelter.
The dark wood play set, which sat for eight years just outside the Oval Office, is affixed with a brass plaque that says “Malia and Sasha’s Castle.”
The Rainbow brand swing set was installed in March 2009, the family’s first spring in the White House. Daughters Sasha and Malia, 7 and 10 years old at the time, were surprised with the two-tiered, multi-swing playset when they came home from school.
It was first offered to the Trump family before being donated, the official said, but they declined.