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6 Columbus Area Parks for Toddlers

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These 6 Columbus area parks are great for toddlers!

Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes taking young kids to the park can be a frightening experience.  You look away for 5 seconds and all of a sudden your toddler is standing at the top of a climbing wall looking over a 10 foot drop off to the pavement below.  I like to take my toddlers to parks where they can roam freely without a lot of worry that their lack of impulse control (or balance) is going to send us on a trip to the ER.  But that’s just me.

I suppose I should make a disclaimer that most (all?) of the younger kids’ areas in the parks I’ve been to have signs saying the equipment is designed for ages 2-5.  I don’t know anyone who has waited until their kid was 2 to take them to a park, so that being said, I have chosen 6 parks with particularly toddler-friendly play areas:

1. Funk-ee-Town, Harrison Park, Harrison West

995 Harrison Park Pl., Columbus, OH 43201
No Restrooms Available

Harrison Park

Harrison Park

GREAT toddler area here!  No crazy heights, the small slide is enclosed at the top, and lots of opportunities for imaginative play – on the ground!  My kids love the snack shack and the house with the blue roof has drums and a xylophone to play on inside, as well as a steering wheel. While you’re in the area, check out some of these kid-friendly options in the Short North!

2.  Jeffrey Mansion and Park, Bexley

165 N. Parkview Ave, Bexley, OH 43209
Seasonal Restrooms Available

Jeffrey Mansion Park, Bexley

Jefferey Mansion Park, Bexley, Ohio

The toddler area here is fenced in, making it a perfect little play area just for the younger crowd!  There is tunnel to crawl through, a dinosaur slide and a play house.  As a bonus, the grounds here are beautiful and if you follow the path into the woods behind the park, you will encounter a boardwalk along Alum Creek! If you’re in Bexley, add a stop at Kittie’s or Gramercy Books to complete the morning!

3.  Schiller Park, German Village

1069 Jaeger St., Columbus, OH 43206
Restrooms Available

Train at Schiller Park, German Village

Slide at Schiller Park, German Village

This side of the playground at Schiller park is very toddler friendly.  Kids love these trains, and the play area behind it, seen in the picture, is specifically made for the toddler set.  It’s completely closed in, there’s a ramp and the slides are so slow my 4 year old got stuck.  😉 There are several baby/toddler swings here as well. Nearby, check out Winans for great coffee and chocolate!

4. Pingree Park, Worthington

374 Pingree Dr., Worthington, OH 43085
No Restrooms Available

Pingree Park, Worthington, OH

Pingree Park, Worthington, Ohio

Pingree Park, Worthington, Ohio

My kids had a lot of fun at this park!  There’s a toddler play set, infant/toddler swings and a small path around the park that does not cross a road or parking lot.  There are a couple of picnic tables and benches here that are convenient for snacking or eating a packed lunch.

Both of my kids, including my toddler, actually really had fun on the tunnel slide, though it specifically says for ages 5 and up.  They specifically enjoyed yelling “Paw Patrol!” from the top and then pretending to slide down into their respective vehicles.  So yes, I did basically yell out jobs for them for at least 20 minutes: “Marshall, I need you and your firetruck to go rescue a kitty from a tree . . .” and so on . . . It was fun. (Sarcasm font.)

5.  Discovery Frontier, Fryer Park, Grove City

3899 Orders Rd., Grove City, OH 43123
Restrooms Available

space themed park in Grove City, Ohio

Fryer Park, Grove City, Ohio

This park is toddler friendly because it is more about space than height.  And yes, I mean that literally and figuratively.  This space-themed park has a lot of area to run, hills to climb and also sand to play in.  My kids love running through the tunnel and up the hill that is the moon. While you’re in Grove City, check out their awesome library!

There are several toddler-sized structures to play on.  It’s hard to say exactly what space-themed things they are supposed to be, but none of them are very high off the ground, and that’s what matters.  At this park, there is also a pond with a path to walk. There are several toddler swings here and they are under umbrella cover for shade – another bonus!

6. Alum Creek Park North, Westerville

221 W. Main St., Westerville, OH 43081
Restrooms Available

Train Park, Westerville Ohio

Alum Creek Park North

Most of this park is geared toward older kids, but there are two things in particular make this park toddler-friendly and worth a visit.  One is the train, which is mainly at ground level with a tunnel to crawl through, benches to sit on inside and a small slide.  The second thing is the large sand pit.  I said it was toddler friendly, I didn’t promise your kids would stay clean.  😉 This park was one stop during our Playdate in Uptown Westerville – make sure to read to find out where we got donuts before hand! 😉

I have personally tried all of these parks with a toddler and lived to see another day!  I hope you and your little ones enjoy exploring a new park!  If you’re planning to pick up coffee on the way to the park, I featured two of these parks in my post Coffee+Park: 3 Parks Within Walking Distance of a Coffee Shop!

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ICYMI: 6 Free or Cheap Indoor Places for Kids to Run Wild in Columbus

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Your Kid’s First Swim Lesson at Goldfish Swim School: What to Expect

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This post was sponsored by Goldfish Swim School.

We started swimming lessons at Goldfish Swim School in Dublin this summer! So far I have nothing but good things to say about the experience! But if you’re like us on the first day, you might not know what to expect and your kids might be a little bit nervous. Here are 10 things you can expect to make your first lesson go as smoothly as possible!

1. Key Tag Check-In

When you arrive and sign in at the front desk, you will be given a key tag for your key ring. At subsequent lessons, just check in by scanning your key tag!

2. Goggles and Swim Gear

Kids are encouraged to wear goggles for the lessons (I say encouraged because my kids are a little skittish about this, and the teachers don’t push it when they are.) Kids who aren’t potty trained must wear a reusable swim diaper. I neglected to read this fine print until the morning of our first lesson, but luckily both of these items are available for purchase and you will receive a discount on your first purchase!

3. Family Friendly Changing Rooms

Lots of space is available in the changing rooms – all three of us fit in to one in order to get suits on and everyone ready to go! There always seems to be enough changing rooms – we’ve never had to wait!

4. Easy Viewing Area

To view the lessons there is a large seating area with a glass wall separating you from the pool. It’s easy to find a seat to watch your child closely. One of the teachers suggested that I try different things with my youngest who is having a harder time being separated from me, so being poolside is an option, too, if that helps your child adjust.

5. Play Area for Little Sibs

Got a little one in tow? Books, coloring sheets and some toys are available in the viewing area!

6. Hair Dryers

There are hair dryers available to dry hair if needed before you leave. This will be especially handy in the winter! (Forgive me for mentioning the “W” word in August . . . )

7. Swim Suit Dryer

After your kid’s lesson, you can put your suit in a dryer for a quick spin to get out the extra water!

8. Snacks

Snacks, drinks and coffee are available for purchase. $.25 candy is available as well – just drop a quarter in the money box and take a candy!

9. Tears

I’m not saying there will be – but there might be – tears. There have been for my kids and several moms have come up to me and said, “we’ve been there, it will get better!” A big thanks to those moms for having my back. 🙂 And also a big thanks for #10:

10. Caring Teachers

I knew my kids were going to be stand offish about swimming lessons. They haven’t had a ton of experience in the water and they’re generally cautious kids. The teachers have been nothing but supportive, encouraging and non-judegemental. We’ve had 4 lessons and their comfort level has improved each time. By lesson 4, my oldest got in without any tears and my youngest didn’t cry through the WHOLE lesson, so there’s improvement! 😉


Thanks to Goldfish Swim School for sponsoring this post!

Goldfish Swim School offers perpetual, year-round swim lessons for kids ages 4 months to 12 years old. Our pools are warm and inviting (90 degrees) and our class sizes are small (4:1) so kids receive the personalized attention from our Ellis-trained swim instructors. Our curriculum focuses on water safety so we teach kids at all levels how to be safe in and around water. Goldfish Swim School has two Central Ohio locations, in Dublin and Westerville, and for more information, visit http://westerville.goldfishswimschool.com and http://dublin.goldfishswimschool.com.


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ICYMI: Kid Friendly Put-in-Bay: 11 Things to do with Your Kids


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Two MORE Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids

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As I promised a few weeks ago, when I shared Two Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids, I’m sharing two MORE fun local libraries with you this week! If you’re tired of the same old, same old, these are some great options for a new outing with the kids!

1. Westerville Public Library

126 S. State St., Westerville, OH 43081, 614-882-7277

I love the trees in the Children’s Place!

The little kid’s area has a school bus . . .

a kitchen, puzzles . . .

a police car . . .

and a great view of the new Northstar! A visit to the library and a double chocolate cookie from Northstar sounds like a fun outing we need to put on the calendar! 😉

The Westerville Library has Drop-In Preschool Storytime, Rhyme Time, Yoga Tales and more! See the whole list of events for kids and families here!

2. Worthington Libraries, Northwest Library

2280 Hard Rd., Columbus, OH 43235, 614-807-2626

Northwest Library offers a unique area for kids called Story Garden! Around the children’s area, well known children’s stories are depicted in 3D!

It’s worth a trip to this library just to view this amazing artwork! Their website lists all of the stories depicted, including the author and a brief description of each story! Looking at the website, I see so many I missed on our visit!

Inside an area called Three Bears Cottage, there is a space for play for young children with lots of toys and seating!

Northwest Library currently has some kind of programming for children every weekday and at least one night a week! See the full calendar here.

What’s your favorite local library?

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ICYMI: 5 on Friday: Columbus Donuts


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