Earlier in the summer, we paid a visit to the playgrounds of Dorothy Lynas Elementary in North Vancouver, up towards Mt. Seymour. One of the more impressive school playgrounds, there are several separate play areas for kids to explore in amidst several natural elements in the landscaping. The playground offers ample area to run around, some paths to explore, some trees to navigate and build fantasy worlds around as well as several play structures.
One of the newer areas is a more abstract climbing play area that was far too old for Aiden and a little baffling as to how it ‘works’, so it’d be interesting to see what kids make of it. The standard playground featured a great ‘circuit’ design that must be popular with kids (I love playgrounds that let children play tag without having to get off the structures). The slides are not very big, which was the only downside for my slide-loving toddler.
See all photos here.
We recently purchased a Strider bike for Aiden. He was a pro at his Wishbone Bike in the 2-wheel combination, but never seemed to get the hang of two wheels. He said it was “tippy.” Since there were a couple of instances when he got on other bikes at stores, while refusing his own bike at home, we wondered if it was too heavy for him.
Since Aiden can be rather temperamental about these things, and we wanted to encourage him to at least try to ride a bike, we opted for the Strider. Damien will be on the Wishbone by next summer (yikes), so we would be looking for a new bike anyway. We loved that the Strider offered tool-free height adjustment.
Aiden took to his Strider right away. Although he has little patience for any activity, he has taken some longer bike rides. He mostly walks his bike, not trusting himself to ‘glide’, but his skill level is improving. He doesn’t usually ask to ride his bike, so I know he’s not in love with it (perhaps because it’s basically just sitting and walking not gliding), but it’s been a good step towards him using the bike.
Did your kids enjoy the run bike concept?
During the summer months, West Vancouver converts its Ice Arena into a Ride&Slide PlayZone! Running 4 days a week until August 17, 2012, the PlayZone features a 20′ slide, a toddler play zone, a bouncy castle, an inflated obstacle course, a plasma car racetrack as well as other sports equipment available to play with.
Since Aiden is always super hesitant with bouncy castles, I really didn’t think he’d go for this. Wow, I was wrong. Initially he kind of balked at the idea of any of the bouncy castles, but after playing in the plasma car racetrack for a while, his adrenaline was up – and so was his courage! Before I knew it, he was in the obstacle course (going up ladders, down slides, over and through things), the toddler zone (with bouncing and slides) and finally on the giant slide! I thought for sure he would freak out half way up the ladder and want to come down… but he went up! And then down!
He had a look of “oh crap” coming down the slide that first time, but Aiden loves slides and split into a huge grin, clapping and shouting “yay” for his own achievement. Each and every time he went down (which he did over and over and over again!)
Aiden had almost no interest in the sports equipment at the PlayZone. He was able to go in all the bouncy castles except the standard one with the slide inside (the ladder in that one was less firm / harder to climb).
For toddlers, the PlayZone opens at 9:30 – after 10:30, older kids are invited in and the place gets much busier. We stayed and played until close to 12 – what a day! We go back tomorrow :)
One of the newest playgrounds in North Vancouver was built in the 16-acre Heywood Park. The new playground is touted as an “adventure play park” complete with a zip line, a stilt walk, king of the castle hill and play structures that incorporate both nature and whimsy. It’s probably one of the most creative parks I’ve seen in the lower mainland.
The zip line was missing the handle / seat when we were there, disappointing almost every kid that came during our stay. That aside, there was still a lot to play with. There are 2 play structures: one for younger toddlers and one for older toddlers, young kids. The elder play structure uses wood-like building materials with animals hidden in hide holes at the bottom level. Similarly, the sand play area incorporates swimming fish into its theme.
The park includes washroom facilities and hiking trails as well as a stream.
Accessible from MacKay Ave or Hamilton Ave (parking lot) off W 16th St / Marine Drive in North Vancouver.
The playground at Grand Boulevard Park was recently re-launched earlier this Spring. The playground now features a large play structure good for older toddlers and young children, skewing a little older for some of the play features. In addition to the play structure, there is a swing set and swing seat and a special toddler area.
The toddler area features a sand box with sand exploration table and a very small play structure. Unfortunately, the exploration table was made too high, making it inaccessible for toddlers (kind of missing the point). The large climbing structure only really offered a slide to the younger toddlers with the rest being too advanced.
This isn’t my favourite park for this age-range, but I can see that it is going to be a popular play area. Since the park is attached to well-used fields, there is a lot of greenspace to run around in and a full washroom. This park is great for families with kids of varying ages.
E 13th St between Moody Ave and W Grand Boulevard (parking lot accessible off 13th)