Getting out of the house with a baby or toddler is a must for us. It helps to keep the house cleaner, keeps the little one amused with new people and experiences, and gives me a chance to have conversations with other adults. (Well, as much of a “conversation” as you can have when you’re constantly dropping what you’re talking about or listening to to tend to your busy little monkey.)
There are several different playgrounds on Salt Spring Island to test and expand your young ones’ gross motor skills, and work out some of that energy. They are also a wonderful place to make connections with other families with children on Salt Spring. Try to check them all out!
As I have a toddler for the time being, I have some specific comments related to the younger age group. I’ve tried to include a photolog of each Salt Spring Island playground are available to help choose playgrounds that suit children’s interests and abilities. Hopefully this will help you find even more fun on our happy little Gulf Island!
Located in the heart of Ganges, this playground is a popular hub of activity for young families. Overlooking Ganges Harbour are plenty of trees, hills, green grass, picnic tables, and washroom facilities. Saturdays are especially busy with the Salt Spring Market happening along the park’s promenade. This makes for an ideal place to meet friends, new and old, and soak in Salt Spring Island life.
Beyond the playground, there are many a tree to rest under, with some that are popular hiding and climbing spots, and green grassy hills that practically beg to be rolled down. Being at the edge of the marina, there is a fantastic boardwalk to wander, watching for boats and seaplanes or experiment with gravity and drop sticks and leaves down into the ocean.
This beautiful park is situated on Fulford Harbour, providing beautiful shoreline scenery while playing on the swings, slides, teeter-totter and other playground equipment. Watch and listen for the ferries going by as they come in and out of Fulford Harbour from Schwartz Bay near Victoria.
In the summer, there are many little daisies to braid into crowns, and in the fall there is no shortage of fallen leaves to build giant piles to jump in. If you get bored of the playground, wander down to the beach and explore the intertidal region, or take a short walk closer up to the estuary (where the water runs into the ocean) and see all of the various birds resting, bathing and feeding in the water.
Located just up the hill from the Fernwood Dock and the Fernwood Café, this is a great place to stop before or after a stroll down the dock, with lattes or iced beverages in hand. A nice feature of this playground is the ramp onto the main structure to provide easy access for children requiring more physical support. Slides, climbing structure, paved area for games, tether ball, zip lines, swings.
Hidden away behind the school, if you were to keep walking around the building, is a smaller, sloped field and toddler playground. There is a section of tires to crawl under, over and into, and a very neat little train structure to play in. With a couple small trees to provide shade, this makes a quiet and comfortable way to spend an afternoon picnicking and playing with little ones.
This playground in the South features the all-enticing zip line, and a tunnel slide! There is also a large, covered sandbox up the hill from the playground, and a big field.
Watch for the purple popsicle sign at a driveway on your way to/from the school – the popular fruitsicles you can purchase at many places all over Salt Spring Island are made here, and you can buy them by the honour system from freezers located under the shelter at the end of the driveway.
An mostly-enclosed playground offers ease of mind for those visiting with children prone to explore a little further than caregivers might like. There is a wide variety of equipment, with some very uncommon and interesting pieces that provide a workout for young and old, and a covered picnic table area to keep out of the sun or the rain.
The playground is located next to a large field with a baseball diamond, walking loop, and tennis courts.
A favourite playground option for children, including toddlers! With so many different sections of the playground to explore, there is bound to be something to interest your young one. Different skill-levels of equipment are grouped together to provide easy boundaries for children of different ages and skills, and a large sandbox is always a hit with the tactile learners. There is a big, grassy field for running or playing ball, and the grounds are well fenced to keep little ones from running off.
Next to the sandbox is a smaller play structure that those of us with newer walkers and climbers have enjoyed. The stairs are easy to navigate for toddlers, which brings them up to a short platform, mostly walled in, with a bubble window, steering wheel and small slide. With a picnic table right beside, this makes a lovely spot to set up with a group.
This playground was a really neat find! Unlike other playgrounds, this one was unique in that it has a climbing wall. There are also swings (no baby swings here, though), a tetherball, a small boat to climb into and steer imaginations out to sea, two covered areas with a chalk board and play kitchen, and some cool bumpy slides build into a hill, with a tunnel underneath to crawl through. On the other side of the school there is a basketball court, with a soccer/hockey net, and some sidewalk games are painted onto the pavement near the playground.
Set on a beautiful piece of property at the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga, this school’s playground has two different sections: one smaller, simpler and safer (which my 1.5 year old could easily navigate herself), and the other more of a challenge for the more experienced playground go-ers.
There are slides, swings (no infant swings), monkeybars, a covered sandbox, and a metal rocket ship climber. A basketball court, big interesting trees, a picnic table and some benches surround the playground equipment. There are trails to meander down through the forest by the school.