Top 8 Places to Play with Toddlers in Champaign-Urbana
The best places to take your toddler to play in Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities
Ask any parent with kids of any age and they’ll remind you that toddlerhood is just a unique time in the life of a parent. Finding places and spaces to be safe and enjoy fun with toddlers is helpful to navigating this season in parenting, and especially so if you are also caring for more than one child (such as a young infant), too.
chambanamoms thanks I-Power School of Gymnastics for presenting this list of ideas
I–Power offers preschool open gym for ages infant – 5 years, as well as their popular Gymbears gymnastics classes (parent/child classes for ages 15 months – 3 years). Get out of the house and enjoy some active time with your little one while meeting other families with young children. Open gym is free under age 2. Registration is required for classes and open gyms, see website for details.
Some general ideas
All of our local libraries are great spaces for toddlers. The Champaign Public Library and Urbana Free Library have the largest play areas around our community and even if these are not your usual library, we know they would welcome you to visit to play with your toddlers any time.
The posts we link below have some great ideas, too. Indoor play areas are often constructed with young children, such as toddlers and preschoolers, in mind. Peruse the list below to see what you’re looking for, depending on the time of year and stage your child is currently.
Top 10 Places To Take Baby in Champaign-Urbana | 8 Free Air-Conditioned Indoor Family Outings in Champaign-Urbana | Best Places to Play Indoors in Champaign-Urbana | Readers Recommend: The Best Parks for Toddlers in Champaign-Urbana | Champaign-Urbana Area Parks and Playgrounds
Top eight places to take toddlers to play in Champaign-Urbana
In Champaign-Urbana, we are not lacking for options when it comes to enjoyable toddler play. We’ve talked to our toddler moms and put together a list of our top places to take your toddler in C-U.
- Another mom-of-toddler’s house
This one seems like it should be obvious but may often get overlooked. Going to another house means the space is already childproofed and they have toys your kids will love but may never have seen before. Find other toddler moms you enjoy hanging out with and take turns visiting each other’s houses (back yards work, too!) when you get together.
- Windsor Road Christian Church
This play area features a race-car themed, indoor playground. Toddlers love building with the large lego-type blocks and sliding down the big yellow slide. This playground is a nice contained area in which you can see the entire space at all times, making it a great places for a toddler parent to meet up with other parents. Bonus: This play space is open on Sunday (just for an hour). Info on hours and more here.
- Colbert Park
Colbert Park is one of our favorite parks in Champaign-Urbana and especially so for toddlers! Check out the parent-child swing, the fun walking musical path, and climb up the huge hill to run or roll down.
- McDonald’s PlayPlace
Kids love the slides and tunnels at McDonald’s! The two McDonald’s locations in Champaign-Urbana that have PlayPlaces are the one on North Neil Street (near the mall) and on Kirby Avenue near the Duncan Avenue intersection (NOTE: This location is closed due to remodeling as of August 2021.)
- Toddler time at Sholem Aquatic Center
We like toddler time at Sholem. It starts early in the morning (because toddlers get up early, right!?) and is a perfectly toddler sized pool that is gated off so they can’t leave without a parent. There are no deep water areas here and it is just a spot to splash around and stay cool with other families. Held most mornings all summer long. Check their website to confirm times each season. Looking for swimming fun in the fall? This article can help.
- First Christian Church Indoor Playground
This playground is a bit larger than the one at Windsor Road and while that means it will have you dodging some things you might not want your toddler playing on (we’re looking at you, spinning “carousel”), this is still a great pick for places to play with toddlers. You might want to put your infant in a carrier and wear them around the play area, versus pushing a stroller around the perimeter, if you are bringing a toddler and a baby with you. More info on hours here.
- Hessel Park
Another one of our top favorite playgrounds for all ages, Hessel Park has incredible playgrounds and a great splash pad. Be aware that the play areas aren’t gated off but we think you (and your toddler) will enjoy this expansive playground so much it’ll be worth all the steps chasing after them during your visit!
- Marketplace Mall Play Place
Another year-round, open any time option, Marketplace Mall has lots of padded equipment to climb and jump on. Parents can sit on benches around the play area and watch their toddlers run and play. We know this is a favorite for parents that have a toddler and an infant, as this is a great spot to take a break from pushing the stroller around the mall, as well as a chance to feed the baby while the older child plays. (COVID has impacted this location, so we welcome it reopening!)