The best playgrounds near me: Chicago’s North Side 2

My son Isaiah is an extremely curious and active little guy, so I take him to a park pretty much every nice day. Sometimes we even go twice a day, because getting outdoors and getting all of his wiggles out keeps both of us happy. Most days we go to Indian Boundary, a place that I totally heart, but today I’d like to highlight two other playgrounds that I hope parents, especially one with toddlers will appreciate. 

Lunt Playlot Park

2239 W. Lunt Ave. Chicago

Best for: Toddlers, preschoolers

Why kids love it: This pint-sized park packs a ton of play punch for younger kiddos. Toddlers joyfully run from one eye level feature to the next. Preschoolers dart back and forth on the bridge and down the big swirl slide. Speaking of slides, there are several options, including a very small double slide that is ideal for toddlers. Swings anchor the back of the park and little ones seem to enjoy taking an occasional breather from the play-a-thon in that area. 

Why parents love it: It feels like a secret hideaway, as it’s tucked away within a lot of a residential street. Parents who corral kiddos around all day will appreciate the single entrance and exit to this fenced in play lot. The playground offers more bonuses for parents: It was renovated in 2014, so it is looks extremely well maintained and safe. Also, it’s made of engineered wood fiber, which means you do not have to worry about your little one getting a splinter on the playground structure. This park is often empty, but even on days when a daycare group is there, it does not feel overly crowded. 

Good to know: There is no bathroom. Yikes, I know that is serious! Being that it is a very small park, you won’t want to stay for a really long time anyway. The bathrooms at Indian Boundary are a couple of blocks west down Lunt. It is not a bad walk if your little ones are in strollers, but you will have to cross busy Western Avenue. 

The Lunt Playlot is also home to a community garden, and I noticed beautiful purple flowers swaying in the breeze there. The blooms gave me some much-needed peace of mind, and, really, what parent couldn’t use a little peace of mind. 

Sauganash Park

5861 N. Kostner Ave. Chicago

Best for: The actual playground seems to be geared toward younger children, but the park has everything from basketball and tennis courts to an outdoor fitness station. There is really something for kids of all ages and even adults!

Why kids love it: Toddlers can waddle around the main play structure fairly easily with some parent spotting. Little ones light up as they play with the eye level features like tic tac toe. The small double slide (Clearly, I love these things!) is great for the park’s petite patrons and helps with that whole one kid is trying to go down and another one trying to go up dilemma. Older kiddos and (fun parents) enjoy the seesaw! 

Why parents love it: Sauganash Park is much larger than Lunt Playlot Park, but still manages to have that tucked away hideout feel. The rubberized ground helps with the whole cement meets knees thing and the “No, don’t eat the wood chips!” situation. There is also a shaded picnic table right by the playground, so if your kiddos are old enough for some independent play, you could set up shop and keep an eye on your crew.  

Good to know: Yes, there is a field house, i.e. bathrooms. Beyond the bathrooms, this structure has great features like a gym and a large space for parties. Biking aficionados can get excited about arriving sans car via the Valley Line Trail.

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