Best Parks for Toddlers

Thank you to everyone who contributed their picks for the Best Parks for Toddlers! It’s a great list of options… why not visit them all?! We checked out all of the following playgrounds so we could give you a sneak peek of what you will find there. Have another to add? We would love to hear your picks and explore those to add them to the list!


Berens Park, Elmhurst

The photo above shows the playground right off Armitage with an adjacent sand area. Trees shade parts of the park. There is also a larger playground on the other side of the tennis courts, at the end of the large parking lot near The Hub, which has concessions, a splash pad, and miniature golf. There are fabric canopies over much of the playground equipment to create shade. Both playground areas have plenty of toddler-friendly equipment.


Seven Gables Park, Wheaton

The area to the left in the photo shows the toddler area with smaller slides, bridges, tunnels, and music making opportunities. The soft, rubbery surface also makes it a great choice, not to mention the bright colors. However there is not much shade on the playground itself, but you can take breaks and bring along sun hats.


Brancato Park, Countryside

This park is completely geared towards toddlers with a ride-on dolphin and seahorse, seesaw, multiple small slides, tunnels, and a board to touch and manipulate. There is shade from a nearby tree and benches to relax on.

Suburban Chicagoans Putting Their Christmas Lights Back Up to Spread Joy


Buttonwood Park, Naperville

A neighborhood playground with street parking, this park is peaceful and actually quite large. There are a few different areas that cater to various age groups, but there is smaller equipment for younger kids, a bank of swings with benches nearby, a covered area and shade.


Owen’s Playground (Hillcrest School), Downers Grove

It’s rare to see all age groups fully enjoying the space at the same time, but this one does it successfully. It’s a large and colorful playground with various areas to play music, jump, climb, slide, and balance. The ramps are double wide and accommodating. Please note that this is a school playground and can only be used when school is not in session.


McCollum Park, Downers Grove

Wow, this park is amazing and has something for everyone! The toddler section is in a separate mulched area, set apart from the other parts of the park by a sidewalk and is lined with benches.


Northside Park, Wheaton

Northside Park is amidst a beautiful setting with Lincoln Marsh Waterway coming through the park and the play equipment for younger children is a huge hit! The toddler area is set apart from the larger equipment and near a covered picnic area if you want to bring a lunch to eat in the shade.


Central Park, Oak Brook

There are three different playground areas at this park, but Central Park West and the playground by the Recreation Center building are the two parks that we would recommend for toddlers. The surface of Central Park West is astroturf that bounces back when you walk on it and the park is smaller with a little pond and waterfall.

Suburban Chicagoans Putting Their Christmas Lights Back Up to Spread Joy


Sensory Garden Playground, Lisle

This horse stable-themed playground is designed for 2-to-5-year-olds, where they can enjoy sound and fragrance gardens, play equipment, and take a break in the central gathering area. It is tucked in the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s Danada South Area located just northeast of Naperville and Navistar roads and provides equal access to play and recreation to children of all abilities, including those with developmental delays, physical disabilities, sensory processing disorders, and Autism.


Veteran’s Memorial Park, Westmont

This is the park with the iconic blue ship! Your toddler can explore the ship, play in the sand area, swing, and more on the first level. There is also another play area that has equipment for toddlers on one end.


Patriots Park, Downers Grove

This beautiful park is surrounded by a serene pond and walking paths. It has ample shade in the toddler area with equipment shaped like a boat, for plenty of imaginative play.


Rehm Park, Oak Park

Hand-powered trains circle this park with a variety of playground equipment geared towards toddlers. During the summer (June 19 – August 14) the trains are available on the weekends 11:00 am – 1:00 pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Wednesdays and Fridays 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, and closed Mondays.

Suburban Chicagoans Putting Their Christmas Lights Back Up to Spread Joy


Other articles you might be interested in…

Walking Playground Tour in Oak Brook
Enjoy the peaceful trails lined by trees, get some exercise, and have your kids get some play time in… all rolled into one!

Fenced-In Parks for Toddlers
Great spaces to take your little ones to play without worrying about them taking off or running into the street before you can catch them.

Splash Pads in the Near Western Suburbs
Splash around, cool off and enjoy the sun! This list has both free and fee based options.

Gyms with Child Care
Some of these gyms include child care with the membership, while others offer it for an additional fee or with an upgraded membership. Find a gym near you!

Favorite Kids Books
A list of recommended books by both readers and the Kidlist Team, organized by age group.

Playgrounds and Parks with Sand
Whether you are seeking out parks with sand to please the kiddos and let their imagination run wild, or avoiding sand like the plague, you are going to want to check out this list.

About the Author

Annie Tandy
Annie loves making great memories with her kids and started Kidlist in 2011 so she can help others do the same! Besides finding fun and exciting things to do, Annie, her husband, and their kids enjoy caring for their chickens and hanging out with them in the backyard. Click here to read about Annie's chickens and see pictures! She also finds joy in gardening, home improvement projects, knitting, soap making, and painting along with being active in her community, church, and as a board member of the Western Springs Business Association. Click here to follow Annie on Instagram.

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