Christmas is merrily on it’s way…and so are the dark and stormy days of our wet North Shore winter!
If you’re looking for some choice indoor options for your toddler to blow off steam, check out our top 5 favorites! Our kids have tested out each one at least a dozen times 🙂
1. Ballroom at Lonsdale Quay Market
The ballroom on the second level of Lonsdale Quay is by far my toddler’s favourite weekend outing with my husband on a rainy day. We throw on her Muddy Buddy for the walk & bus ride to the Quay, and she is usually entertained for at least an hour by the stairs, slide & tons of colourful balls, as well as the rides & playhouse in the adjoining playroom. Grab yourself a coffee or hot chocolate and relax on the bench outside the ballroom where you can observe through the glass. And when your toddler is done with the ballroom & rides, the market down below provides at least another hour of entertainment & yummy food options!
2. Mickey McDougall Toddler & Me Drop-In
I discovered the Toddler & Me Drop-In at Mickey McDougall Rec Centre when my daughter was about a year & a half old, and it became one of our go-to places to burn off some steam on weekdays. It’s open to kids aged 0-5 and costs $4 for 1.5 hours of play any time between 9:15-12:30 Mon to Fri, and 4:30 to 6:30 pm on Thurs (only $2). Tickets must be purchased down the street at the Harry Jerome Rec Centre, and buying a book of tickets provides a cheaper & more convenient option if you plan to visit multiple times. The drop-in play space is a large room with many different play areas, including indoor playground toys, ride-on cars, walkers, play kitchen, story corner, craft & snack tables, music & song times and a large trampoline. Relatively healthy & inexpensive snack & drink options are also available for purchase.
3. Gymnastics Drop-In @ West Van Rec Centre
This is a fantastic 1-hour drop-in activity for kids aged 1-5 . The enormous gym is chock full of equipment for climbing, swinging, bouncing & more, including balance beams, padded blocks & mats, large & mini trampolines, and a huge foam block pit for the more adventurous kids. This is a popular activity & space is limited, so be sure to secure your spot at the front desk up to one hour in advance. $6 per child, and must be accompanied by a parent.
Drop-In Times: Monday 12:00 – 1:00 pm, Tuesday 9:45 – 10:45 a.m. & 1:30 – 2:30 p.m, Wednesday 1:30 – 2:30 p.m., Thursday 9:00 – 10:00 a.m., Friday 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Sunday: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (times vary on holidays).
4. Gymboree North Shore Play & Music
Love, love, love Gymboree on the North Shore (near Capilano Mall). The space is open & bright, the staff is always cheerful & welcoming (remembering each child’s name & making them feel special), and the padded climbing equipment & music classes provide endless entertainment for kids aged 0-5. This is certainly not a budget option ($78 per month for registered classes), but I find the price more palatable when you also make use of the open gym times that are available Tuesdays through Fridays (included in the monthly rate). Best of all, Gymboree is offering their open gym times to all families for FREE for the month of December!
5. Starbucks – Edgemont Village Location
Starbucks in Edgemont Village is our family favourite for a rainy weekend morning, as we can enjoy a coffee and newspaper while our toddler is busy playing with the pretend food in the miniature kitchen. The staff at this location is particularly used to catering to babies & toddlers (with a preschool located 1/2 a block away), and they’ve got very helpful amenities like a button-operated front door, change table, large private washroom that can fit even a large double stroller, miniature paper cups with lids & straws for toddlers, and free WiFi. I’ve even seen the staff bring out stickers on occasion to calm a tantrum or two!
Enjoy all that our lovely North Shore has to offer…rain and all!