The first week of Aiden’s summer vacation, after he finished preschool, we registered him for a Pedalheads camp. Pedalheads is a local bike program for kids age 2-12.
Last year we considered putting Aiden in Pedalheads to give him more confidence on his Strider balance bike, since he didn’t really get it for a long time, but thankfully he progressed and became more confident. Thanks to that confidence, when we gave him a bike at Christmas, it really wasn’t a major challenge to teach him to ride it. The bike was a little too big at the time, but he picked up his skills very quickly and by the time his Pedalheads class came around, he was already far past the level 2 I had registered him for.
Thankfully, Aiden was in a split class, with level 2/3 together, and he quickly showed he was the most advanced of the group there. In the class, which was held in a gravel field, the kids were taught how to start and stop safely, how to navigate obstacles, how to ride in single file, and even some basic hand signals. Aiden’s confidence grew a lot during the week, with his starts getting faster, his steering tighter, but mostly his confidence was where we saw the improvement. And he loved the class.
When he finished the Level 3 class, his instructor said he was for sure ready for Level 4, which focuses on road safety. Unfortunately, Level 4 requires that children be turning 6 by the end of the calendar year, so he’s not able to register until next summer. Huge bummer there, and a bit of a programming oversight. That said, I walked away from that last class with some tips on how we can teach Aiden road safety.
This past weekend, I purchased a bike of my own, allowing us to ride as a family. For years, I thought I would never be able to bike again (thanks to many injuries), but I am happy with my Brodie Pax bike, which is super comfortable for me. So, while I would have happily put Aiden into a second Pedalheads class this summer to teach him road safety, I am happy with our new family riding solution and feel more confident that with a parent in front and in back, we’ll be able to teach him to ride the busy streets around us safely!
Last Saturday kicked off the first of the Saturday Summer Sessions art & music festival at The Shipyards at the foot of Lonsdale. For those of you (like me) who love the outdoor concert scene, but not the time at which most of the concerts take place, this is a great alternative. We got there so early on Saturday, the kids actually got to help test out the drum sets (translation: Damien was in heaven).
Right now, there are Summer Concert Series taking place all over North Vancouver, most of which are held on Fridays from 7-9pm. The concerts at Cates Park are the exception, but I’ve had too many bad parking experiences there for me to consider this a regular option.
The new Summer Sessions concert series runs from 3-10pm, offering children’s art and activities and sometimes music and shows in the earlier hours, with adult-focused concerts starting after 7pm. So, YAY!
Last week, we sat in for some of the Celtic Ensemble and Irish Dancers as the Summer Sessions kicked off and had a great time. Don’t expect it to be as busy as the Friday Night Market, or have as many booths or food trucks, but come check it out if you’re looking to add some more music to your family lives!
After writing up my review of the Spray Parks in North Vancouver, I knew I had to revisit Myrtle Park to get a better feel for it (and some photos). The park features 3 main areas: the spray park, a toddler play structure and an older-child play structure. The spray park is currently the same as it was since I was a child in Deep Cove, but according to a sign on hand, is set to be revised (along with the toddler area).
Current Spray Park
Proposed Spray Park
According to the proposed plans, which were set to begin this June (but obviously have not begun), the new splash pad and “rain garden” (no idea what this is) will feature more typical spray park features. I’m kind of sad the unique mist coil is leaving, but it will be nice to have a different flooring material. The new toddler play area will be moved closer to the existing playground, so it should be easier overall for parents to observe children of multiple ages.
One of the unique features of Myrtle Park is the extensive natural areas that border the playground. There were more children running around in the trees than there were playing on the playground, and that should tell you something. My memories of Myrtle Park growing up were similar, I mostly recall playing in some large stumps and eating from the huckleberry bushes (which were still there, yum!).
If you’re planning a visit to Myrtle Park, I would suggest going soon, since I don’t know when the park may be shut down to undergo renovations.
Following up with my favourite North Vancouver Playgrounds, I wanted to share with you a review of all the water parks available in North Vancouver. We are lucky that North Vancouver offers so many spray park options that really do cater to all the different ages. There are a total of 5 water parks to choose from in North Vancouver, which you can see on this map.
Water Parks in North Vancouver
Eldon Park is a lovely tame water park that you could easily spend hours at. The water park is great for more hesitant kids, while the play structure is very toddler friendly. Though I wish they had a larger play structure close to the water park as well, the kids always seem to enjoy the time spent running in the tennis courts, over the grassy fields, or on the old concrete sculptures. An easily accessible washroom is a bonus. Read my review of Eldon Park here.
When most people consider spray parks in North Vancouver, they list Mahon Park. As the most central “City” park, it can get quite busy here. The water park features many moving spray pieces and some smaller spray features, but can get overrun by older kids running around. I know my kids have always found it intimidating. For parents of younger kids, beware the stairs, as they aren’t clearly marked and I’ve seen many kids fall down them. Read my review of Mahon Park here.
Kilmer Park is high up in Lynn Valley and was my favourite water park when Aiden was little. As a kid more tentative with spray parks, he enjoyed a couple of the features here that allowed him to splash or fill buckets without getting sprayed in the face. The playground and surrounding forest areas offer great exploration options for kids who need to run off some steam. Read my review of Kilmer Park here.
Viewlynn Park is the community favourite as far as spray parks go. With less older kids taking over the show, and fewer moving spray options, kids of all ages can get in and splash while there are plenty of shaded areas for parents to set up blankets. Read my review of Viewlynn Park here.
Myrtle Park was the water park I grew up knowing, as well as my preferred playground. As a ‘Deep Cove girl’, it was my favourite place to play. The park was recently upgraded with a new splash pad, sings and a large play structure. The wooded areas are great to explore and continue to be the main draw for most kids. Read my review of Myrtle Park here.
North Vancouver Playgrounds with Water Features
There are also water features in several other playgrounds, including small fountain at St. Andrews Park and at Grand Boulevard Park. If you know of other parks that have water features, leave a comment so I can add it to the list!
Spray Parks Further Afield
John Lawson Park: A West Vancouver Gem
Although this is in West Vancouver, John Lawson Park is an amazing playground with one of the most substantive water parks. Featuring major spray elements, along with gentle rivers and pumps and water / sand combinations, there really is something for every kid here.
If you want to go further afield, popular water parks include Granville Island, Rocky Point Park and the newly renovated Confederation Park. For a more comprehensive list of family favourites, check out VancouverMom.ca’s Top Vancouver Area Spray Parks.
Though many people name Mahon Park when they talk about North Vancouver spray parks, Viewlynn Park is often the favourite for families who have tried several water parks.The spray elements are not as aggressive, and there are great areas for families to set up blankets close by in shady areas under the trees. The playground, though older, has a lot of options for kids of all ages.
Oddly enough, it’s the unexpected areas of Viewlynn Park that attract the kids. This decorative garden area is always a fort for several kids. The water fountain also makes for a fun play area for kids who don’t want to be sprayed with water, but who still want to play in the water. My kids also spend time running around in the forested areas, which is rare to find in a City park these days.
Though it doesn’t look like much, I think your kids will find this a great park for a sunny afternoon!