March is here, and with that comes some warmer weather. I don’t know about everyone else, but this winter has seemed to be exceptionally long and I am tired of being cooped up in the house all the time! What better time than now to start exploring some amazing playgrounds around the city.
I reached out to Jillian Footz, the mom behind Edmonton Playgrounds, and she shared with me her top 5 playgrounds that are great to visit if you are the parent of a toddler. I know this summer, we will have to make the drive to these parks so we can have some fun outside!
We have a saying in our family – “No Bad Parks!” And while I believe that to be true, that kids will find fun, or make their own, at any playground regardless of its size, age, or condition – we parents know that the age of the kids can make all the difference when it comes to having a good, or not-so-good, playground experience! So, for all you toddler parents out there, I give you my top 5 favourite Toddler Playgrounds in Edmonton – and why I love them.
1. Eaux Claires – 16003 – 95 St.
Toss your scooters, striders, or trikes into the car and hit the playground that is a city within our city! Eaux Claires is not only a visually stunning playground, it’s a whole lot of fun for kids of all ages. Toddlers will LOVE the little road painted in the rubber base – a perfect ring road around an adorable toddler park. Parents will love the options for kids of all ages, the huge open field surrounding the park, and the benches and covered picnic area!
2. Aurora Toddler Park – 1489 Watt Drive SW
Kids of all ages will love this space-themed playground, but it’s really built for the little ones. The look is jaw-dropping – from the space shuttle to the moon to the star-printed rubber base – and everything, from the low merry-go-round to the agility course, is made just for toddlers. Parents will love the soft surface as well as the picnic tables and benches surrounding the park.
3. Blatchford Tomato Playground – Blatchford Road
Like Aurora, this is a playground that is really designed for the little ones. It’s like stepping into “Homey, I Shrunk the Kids” – your children will trample through a garden, under a canopy of flowers, and explore the inside of 3 giant tomatoes. Parents will love the cute photo ops – kids hopping on leaves or popping out of flower pots! – as well as the ditch that separates this playground from the road and the construction in the up-and-coming Blatchford neighbourhood.
4. Clareview Jump Start Inclusive Playground – Clareview Rec Centre, 3804 – 139 Ave
This playground will probably make ANY list of favourites that I’ll ever make – it’s just incredible! There is a dedicated toddler area that has the same moon and merry-go-round as Aurora, as well as a toddler structure with a marble race track! (it’s perfect for little cars too!). The inclusive design of the big playground, will make it easier for toddlers to follow the “big kids” almost anywhere! There’s a game=-changing musical area that kids of all ages will love too – and this playground is set well off any roads, with green space all around.
5. Spruce Grove Rotary Placescape – Tri Leisure Centre, Jennifer Heil Way in Spruce Grove
If you’re not a Spruce Grove resident, this playground is worth making the trip out west! It’s a bright and colourful space and offers equipment that will challenge and delight kids of all ages – but the dedicated toddler area is really special! A stage for your performers, a musical area, a treehouse climber with slide and a perfectly-sized agility course! Parents will love that the entire park has rubber based and is fenced all around. Kids will love – well, everything!
6. Cloverdale Playground at Gallagher Park – 9411 – 97 Ave.
Okay, I lied to you – I can’t do a top 5 – are you kidding me?!? Top 10s are hard enough! – so I had to add a bonus. This one isn’t new, flashy, or fancy, but it’s special to me as it was our favourite when my twins were toddlers. The design of the Toddler structure at Cloverdale is what sets it apart. It’s circular and tiered – the perfect setting for imaginative play! Bonus – the location is fenced and the greenspace of Gallagher Park is just inches away!
Thank you, Jillian, for sharing your favourite toddler playgrounds!
You can follow along Jillian’s exploration of different playgrounds in and around Edmonton by following her on Instagram here.