If you’re after the best playgrounds in the Gold Coast, Brisbane, and Redland areas, look no further. Here we cover all of the top playgrounds in the region so that you can have a fun day out with your little one no matter where your adventures take you!

We think South East Queensland has really stepped up its game when it comes to offering some great play spaces for the young, and the young at heart. We like these playgrounds because of their nature themes, as well as adventurous play-designed spaces. Adventure play, also known as ‘risky’ play, is an important part of childhood, it develops physical skills, problem-solving, self-assessment, and risk detection skills, and something we encourage in our campuses and in our curriculum! So we thought we’d share our favourite playgrounds on both the southern and northern ends of the Gold Coast and Brisbane!

Southern Gold Coast

Livvi's Place at Goorimahbah - Place of Stories Playground

Straddling the border of Queensland and New South Wales at Jack Evans Boat Harbour sits an impressive new inclusive playground, Livvi’s Place at Goorimahbah – Place of Stories Playground.

This fully-fenced playground has play equipment so everyone can all play together, and includes two climbing towers with interactive play equipment, including binoculars and sound tubes, a carousel, a double flying fox, multiple swings, suspended rope bridge and an enclosed slide. There is also water and sand play, carved wooden animals, a water pump and sand table, and some accessible musical elements too!

The playground integrates stories of the Indigenous Seasons Calendar through art, colour, and storytelling. Children can wind the player up and then select a season and listen to Indigenous stories.

There are barbecues, shaded seating and shaded grass mounds to encourage social gatherings and picnics, and public toilets nearby. Parking is on the street. The second stage of development works was just completed at the end of 2023 and includes a youth recreation area, an Aboriginal Memorial Wall, as well as additional seating, picnic tables and barbeques facilities outside of the fenced play space.

Palm Beach Pirate Park

The new and improved Pirate Park at Palm Beach is finally finished, and it’s GREAT. After 12 years, this beloved southern Gold Coast playground had reached the end of its life, so the city kicked in $1.4M to revamp the space, located at Palm Beach Parklands, right on Currumbin Creek. The new design maintains the popular pirate ship theme, and provides a variety of different play opportunities and experiences for a range of ages. The new pirate ship play structure includes:

  • Climbing nets and ropes
  • Suspension bridge
  • Telescopes, cannons, interactive panels
  • Imaginary play elements
  • 7-metre-high crow’s nest towers
  • 8-metre-long tunnel slide
  • Swings
  • Flying fox
  • Spinning globe
  • Large basket swing
  • Row boats with talk tubes
  • Caves
  • Hammock
  • Sensory play elements
There are public toilets nearby, BBQs and the Dune Cafe steps away, as well as creek, which makes for a perfect day out! Just beware it’s a busy playground and parking fills quickly!

Schuster Park, Tallebudgera

Schuster Park adventure playground in Tallebudgera is not to be missed! We suggest it’s best for children ages 4+ as it’s a climber’s dream with two giant slides off the main tower, with a series of nature paths, with balance beams, jumping posts, sand paths with drums, and musical flowers, and stepping stones for your little adventurers. Plus there’s a small beach if you need to cool off, and two BBQs and a toilet block right next to the playground!

Tugun Park, Tugun

This castle-themed playground at Tugun Park is great for imaginative play, including a double Medieval Tower, a Drawbridge, a Knight and a Horse! There are arches, shields and bridges and more, all sure to inspire fun and games. Plus, there are two large tunnel slides and one open slides, all sure to delight. A swing set also entertains, with a parent and child swing alongside the traditional swings.

It’s important to note there are no shade sails over this playground, but the location is very cool and shady, with large trees and covered picnic tables. It is not fully fenced, but a fence does run along the carpark side of the playground, while the open side opens to large grassy spaces. There are also numerous picnic tables and BBQs right by the playground as well as toilets!

Galleon Park, Currumbin Waters

Nestled away on Galleon Way in Currumbin Waters, Galleon Park is a hidden gem offering a myriad of activities for families. This exceptional park boasts a variety of features including a learn-to-ride track, a playground suitable for both toddlers and older children, a basketball court, expansive grassy areas, picnic shelters, and convenient toilet facilities.

The playground received a comprehensive upgrade in late 2021, introducing an array of equipment designed to entertain children of all ages. The toddler section is thoughtfully shaded under a canopy, while the rest of the playground benefits from natural shade provided by surrounding trees. Attractions include slides, climbing ropes, a flying fox, swings, and seesaws.

Adjacent to the playground, there’s an impressive learn-to-ride track complete with roundabouts, traffic signs, and crossings, making it an ideal spot for young cyclists and skaters, including those on trikes, bikes, scooters, and skateboards. Parents will appreciate the ample seating available, offering a perfect view to oversee their little ones in action.

The park also features additional amenities such as a picnic shelter with BBQ facilities, a modern toilet block, and a basketball court. With plenty of open grassy space, it’s the perfect spot to lay down a picnic blanket and enjoy a leisurely visit.

Laguna Park, Palm Beach

The Laguna Park playground in Palm Beach is a great playground for ages 2+, check out the huge adventure playground, pirate ship, slides and rockers, a pedal power monorail, funny faces interactive boards and more. The entire playground is fenced, which is great for the little ones, and it also includes a Liberty Swing for kids in wheelchairs. Much of the playground is shaded by sails, and there are toilets nearby. The playground is surrounded by a lovely lake and a walking trail. A great bonus is that Laguna Park is steps away from Third Base coffee!

Bill Thomson Park, Elanora

Bill Thomson Park in Elanora has recently received an upgrade. Located next to Pine Lake, this medieval-themed playground has really brought the neighbourhood together like never before!

There are turrets and bridges connecting the playground together to create one large castle. A large flying fox runs along the lakeside of the playground, there are internal and external slides, a great swing set and plenty of imaginative play opportunities. This playground is more aimed at slightly older children, but agile toddlers can get around most of it as well.

In the same area, you will find basketball court, picnic shelter great for birthday parties and public toilets. Located a short walk around the lake is The Pines Shopping Centre, so you can grab everything you need for a picnic or just a coffee.

This playground is not fenced and steps away from the lake, so adult supervision is a must.

Robert Neumann Park, Currumbin

The Robert Neumann Park is smaller than some of the other playgrounds we’ve listed, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun!

This nature-based playground has two mega slides, a toddler slide, climbing opportunities and swings. Note it is not fenced and sits near a duck pond, so adult supervision is a must! However it does have shade sails, a picnic gazebo, and BBQ is available, as well as toilets onsite and big open grassy spaces to run around.

Frascott Park Safari Playground, Varsity Lakes

Frascott Park has two playgrounds!

Accessed via Yodelay Street or Mattocks Road, the most popular section of the park is the Mattocks Road entrance safari-themed playground. Here you’ll find two play structures, one for the bigger kids and one for the toddlers. A huge slide and flying fox are keen favourites, while little ones will love driving the safari jeep.

The second playground is located by Yodelay Street and is well suited for younger children. There is lots of natural shade, and easy climbing opportunities on the playground. The playground includes bridges, a slide, merry-go-round, swing set and spider net.

Ronnie Long Park, Tallebudgera

The Ronnie Long Park is a great set of two playgrounds between the Tallebudgera Surf Club and the beach. With one playground suited toward slightly bigger children, it’s partially fenced, has a big climbing tower, large nest swing, spinning frame, and rockers. This area is shaded and has a rubber floor, while the second playground is more suited to toddlers. There’s a slide, two swings and a plane to climb in and on. This area is also shaded with a sand floor. Behind the playground is the surf club’s cafe for parents. There are toilets and BBQs nearby. Just beware, because the playgrounds are steps away from Tallebudgera Creek, parking can be a challenge on nice days.

Deodar Park, Burleigh Waters

Deodar Park is home to a total of seven slides, including a mega slide (which of course means mega fun!). Partly covered by shade sails, this small but mighty playground has elements suitable for a range of ages. Here you will find climbing opportunities, a flying fox, interactive panels, swings, a seesaw, balance rope and tunnels.

Alongside the playground is a fenced BMX pump track, suited to confident young riders. There is also a concrete basketball court and a large grassed area that allows for dogs off-leash.

There’s also a drinking fountain, picnic shelter, picnic tables. Note, there aren’t toilets located near the playground.

Broadwater Parklands

The Broadwater Parklands playground is one of the most beloved play areas on the Gold Coast with several fun areas for children to explore, and recently got a $5M upgrade with a new spiral tower over four levels, with interactive play equipment like a glockenspiel, binoculars, telescopes, suspended nets, rope tunnels and an enclosed slide.

There’s also a water and sand play area with carved sandstone, bronze sea animals, water pumps, mini weirs and water gates, an elevated sand table designed as a ‘fish and chip shop’ that can accommodate wheelchairs

Play equipment including play panels, swings, slides, trampolines, diggers, stepping stones, balance beams, a carousel, climbing walls, and climbing nets

And that’s just the upgrades. Further down the park, there’s also the huge fenced bouncy pillow, as well as a popular monorail track that circles the perimeter of the playground. There’s also a zip line that runs along one side. There is also an unsheltered sand-based playground with swings, slides, and climbing equipment. A jumping pillow, seesaws, and other bouncing play equipment provide lots of play opportunities for kids of all ages.

The Rockpools water play is a sculptural water playground. The water play area is designed with cool water fountains and vibrant marine-themed equipment. It includes a creek bed and several tidal rock pools for children to splash in and explore.

The playground features a liberty swing for all abilities. There are four electric BBQs near the main playground area, and several covered table areas near the main playground, plus shady trees and umbrellas in random places on the large lawn area closest to the café. There are several toilet blocks throughout the park, including accessible toilets. There’s lots of paid parking, but know it’s well-patrolled by Gold Coast City Council.

All Abilities Playground at Kurrawa Pratten Park

While not a new playground, the Kurrawa playground has play equipment to suit the needs of children of all ages and abilities, there are plenty of opportunities for fun and imagination throughout the three play zones within this playground.

Children can enjoy sand play, flying foxes, swings, including a Liberty Swing, slides, spinners, climbing equipment, and imaginary play while safely contained within the fenced playground. Due to the fenced nature of the park, this is a popular Gold Coast Kids’ party venue.

As a bonus, the playground is located next to the Kurrawa Surf Club and beach, so when the kids (or adults) tire of the playground you can easily transition to beach play.

Playground features: Fully fenced, flying fox, swings, slides, Liberty swing, climbing equipment, sand play, near beach, BBQs and picnic tables nearby, accessible toilets.

Holly Brooke Carter Playground (Bob Huth Park)

Do you have a dinosaur lover in your family? Then Holly Brooke Carter playground is the place to be! Located in Ashmore, the playground caters for a range of ages, with both a big and small playground at Bob Huth Park. The big playground is 3-storeys high and has two slides, and there’s a fun swinging bridge for children to climb across and plenty of high climbing opportunities too. The small playground has steps that toddlers can crawl or climb up without fear of falling off. There is also a small slide to tackle, and a few interactive panels.

Other elements in the playground include the infamous dinosaur, which survived recent renovations to the playground, to climb, a see saw and a dinosaur rocker, swings and a spinning swing too. The playground is mostly covered by shade sails, and the parkland has plenty of open green spaces with shade trees. There are picnic shelters, but no toilets or BBQs.

Emerald Lakes Parklands, Carrara

Check out Emerald Lakes in Carrara! The play structure revolves around a central ramp, making it accessible for everyone! Children can climb, explore, and slide their way through the play area, with additional slides, climbing webs, interactive panels, swings, a spinner, and a see-saw for endless fun.

Safety is a top priority, as the playground is fully fenced with only one entry and exit point. Shade sails and trees offer protection from the sun, ensuring a comfortable play experience. While heavy rains can make the surrounding parklands wet, the elevated design of the playground keeps it dry.

Conveniently located within walking distance to the French Quarter, it’s the perfect spot to play while parents enjoy a cup of coffee. Please note, there are no toilets or picnic facilities. Off street parking available. There is a bike path and walking track around the lake.

Codrington Park, Pacific Pines

Codrington Park in Pacific Pines is a fantastic neighbourhood playground designed to entertain children of all ages!

This playground is perfect for climbing enthusiasts, featuring an array of climbing structures, nets, bridges, and walls that will keep older children engaged and active. There’s also an exciting flying fox that will be a hit with everyone.

For the younger children, there’s plenty to enjoy as well. The playground includes a swing set, slide, mini pirate ship, and sand play fort, all spread out over a safe sand and soft fall play area. Toddlers seem to especially love running over the boardwalks and exploring under the bridges!

While the playground utilises natural shade, there are no shade cloth coverings, so it can get quite hot in the middle of the day. It’s best to visit in the morning or afternoon to take advantage of the shady spots. Additionally, there are picnic shelters and BBQ areas, perfect for taking a break or watching the children play.

Codrington Park is a great spot for a fun and active day out, offering something for every age group. Don’t forget to bring some water and sun protection to enjoy your visit fully!

Northern Gold Coast

Bim’bimba Park, Pimpama

The Bim’bimba playground is an award-winning park with a large outdoor amphitheatre, toddler play space, playground, teen hangout, and basketball court, which are all connected by a series of entwining paths perfect for bike and scooter riding. There’s also the metal music gong, the animal sculptures, and a spinning wheel. Everything is spread out at this park, with lots of little spaces for different types of play. The park really encourages exploration and the use of imagination.

It’s a climbing-focused park, so better suited to children ages 4+. There is a toddler area separate to the big structures.

The park is partially shaded by shade sails. There are also toilets and baby change facilities, as well as picnic shelters and BBQs on site and onsite parking for 50 cars, otherwise street parking available.

Eagle Tree Park, Coomera Foreshore

Eagle Tree Park at Foreshore Coomera is one of the newest on the Northern Gold Coast. It’s packed with areas for imaginative play and sensory play, as well as more traditional play equipment. It comfortably caters for all ages, and provides a range of experiences for all ability levels.

Based around a central ‘birds nest’ structure, the playground includes a standalone toddler play space, small basketball court and swing set. There are heaps of flat pathways for bike and scooter riding, a picnic shelter with BBQ and a toilet block.

This playground is perfect for those who love to climb! There are platforms to reach, bridges to cross and huge slides to come down again. Little ones are not forgotten, with a space that has a sandpit with hidden shells and diggers and a playhouse with interactive game and music features. There’s also a number of small slides across the park.

The bike paths allow you to link up with the Foreshore Jetty Park, which incorporates a launch pontoon for kayaks and a riverside setting for family get-togethers and barbecues.

On-site there are BBQs, toilets, and a water fountain. The area is accessible for prams, wheelchairs, bikes and scooters.

Tallowwood Park, Upper Coomera

Tallowwood Park is a fantastic spot featuring a large open green space dotted with shady trees, a beautiful lake with ducks, an adrenaline-packed bike track, and a fenced playground – it has everything you could ask for!

Pack the bikes and scooters and start with a walk along the lake, where you can spot ducks and turtles. You can do a complete lap of the lake or follow the length along the path if a full loop is too much for little legs. Then, head over to the playground area, where you’ll find picnic tables, BBQs, a nearby toilet block, a bike track, and the playground.

Children love racing around the bike track, taking on the twists, turns, and hills. Set up a picnic blanket and enjoy a morning tea break between rides. When they’re done with the bikes, it’s time for the playground. The playground is fully fenced, but be mindful of bigger children or adventurous toddlers who might try to climb the rock wall section.

Tallowwood Park offers a perfect mix of activities and facilities for a fun day out! And parents don’t worry, Cafe Two Coomera is not far away!

Parklake Park, Maudsland

The Parklake Park playground is a child’s dream! It has six different playground play spaces and a large park to explore, with a giant brightly-coloured two-level treehouse fort with two slides, several sets of swings including a nest swing, rockers, and see-saws, flying fox, suspended rope bridge, a play car, climbing dome turtle and drums!

There’s also shade sails or large established trees that provide shade over the majority of playground play space, a large sporting field, wide walking paths, one gazebo and several BBQ picnic shelters scattered throughout park, a basketball court, on-site public toilets and an off-street carpark.

Gibirrngaan Park (Black Snake Park), Maudsland

Gibirrngaan Park/Cloverside Park is a unique one! It’s centred around a huge black snake statue. There is play equipment for both young and old with a toddler cubby and slide, as well as a giant rope-climbing tower and enclosed slide for the bigger kids. There’s even a fun sandbox to dig for dinosaur fossils!

There are no toilets or cafes nearby so be prepared. There are several shaded picnic tables for snack breaks.

Lion's Park, Helensvale

Lion’s Park at Helensvale is a huge playground that caters for everyone, especially the climbers, as the only way to the fort is by climbing nets!
The main fort is pirate-themed and features a lookout, a large fort, net bridges, monkey bars, a mega slide, a parkour gym and heaps more!
For toddlers and little ones, there is a smaller playground featuring a mini fort, slide, rocker, see-saw and stepping stones.

Within close proximity are:

  • Barbecues
  • Toilets including a wheelchair-accessible toilet
  • Drinking fountain
  • Picnic shelter
  • Picnic tables

Buckler Park, The Surrounds Helensvale

The Surrounds at Helensvale boasts an innovative playground designed for children to embark on a tactile and sensory journey. It offers numerous play elements, encouraging safe risk-taking and physical and mental challenges. The standout feature for older children is a large, double climbing cube structure, with slides accessible via climbing points and rope nets, ideal for those who love a challenge. Meanwhile, trampolines, a rope swing, and a flying fox provide ample fun for all.

A separate, smaller playground caters to younger children or those less confident in climbing, featuring slides, a ride-on jeep, and a see-saw. Additionally, a sand and water play area promises heaps of messy fun.

Perfect for birthday celebrations, the site includes a large picnic shelter with BBQs, tables, and bench seats, all under shade sails for comfort. To avoid the heat, early morning or late afternoon visits are recommended. Conveniently, a café and toilets are nearby at the community centre, making it an ideal spot for families.

Celadon Park, Helensvale Surrounds

Celadon Park is located in the Helensvale Surrounds estate. This is a great play space for 0-5 year olds with its to the endless opportunities for imaginative play! This playground doesn’t feature any of your traditional play equipment pieces and allows for creative play!

The playground is surrounded by an interactive bike track designed to help kids of all ages learn how to ride a bike. Incorporating traffic signs, a petrol station for refueling, a fire station for imaginative play and a small pump track component for the children looking for a challenge, do not forget to bring the bikes or scooters on this visit!

The playground is shade-sail covered, but the bike track is not. Note there aren’t toilet facilities or BBQs. Picnic tables, rubbish bins and a water fountain are available.

Discovery Park, Helensvale

This popular Helensvale Park got an upgrade in early 2024, moved away from busy Discovery Drive, the fully fenced playground is now situated further into the parklands behind the Tennis Club. It caters to a wide range of ages with varying climbing structures. The playground features two play towers with a bridge, a small ninja climbing structure, a swing set, and a spinner, providing plenty of opportunities for engaging play.

Due to its new location, access involves a bit of a walk. The best parking spot is by the Tennis Club; from there, follow the path entrance to the right of the Tennis Club, running alongside Helensvale State School. Continue on this path, looping around beside the school and behind the Tennis Club to reach the playground. 

Toilets are available at Discovery Park, located near the skate park and close to the Discovery Drive entrance, though they are not very close to the playground itself. The playground offers natural shade from the trees, but there are no shade sales.

Country Paradise Parklands, Nerang

The centrepiece of the adventure playground at the Country Paradise Parklands is the 11.5m windmill with mega slide, accessed via a water-tank tunnel and swing bridge. Wrapping around the entire playground space is a creek bed with water play elements. There are toddler and primary schooler play spaces, as well as the central playground for everyone to enjoy. The water play area features water pumps, troughs and ramps, encouraging the kids to build natural channels for the water to flow.

This area includes BBQs, toilets including accessible ones, a drinking fountain, picnic shelter and picnic tables.

Just beware, we’ve heard magpies can get nasty during mating season.

The Backyard, Coomera Westfield

An unexpected gem at a shopping centre! The Backyard at Coomera Westfield offers a lot for children of all ages!

There’s an age one – four years play zone: a ‘fallen log’ immersive sensory zone entertaining children with tactile, auditory and visual experiences. The fallen log includes cubby and hiding spaces, sound tubes, a playful tunnel experience and slippery slide.

Then there’s an ages four – eight years play zone: a fun-filled obstacle course providing imaginative and adventure play. The space includes numerous balance and climbing experiences, trampolines, swings and a spiral slide.

The real highlight of The Backyard, particularly on hot summer days, is the water play area, which features ankle to knee-deep water, children can pump the water pumps, dodge squirting frogs, spin water wheels and explore the winding streams of water. The Backyard features big shade sails and grassy banks, and has deck chairs for the adults. There are change rooms are right beside the water area, plus toilets and BBQs. The Backyard is also conveniently located right next to the shopping centre’s fresh food Marketplace!

Green Grove Park, Pimpama

Green Grove Park in Gainsborough Greens (Pimpama) isn’t the biggest playground in the area, but the playground’s interpretive and educational play experience is why it received an Award of Excellence – Play Spaces at the 2019 Queensland Landscape Architecture Awards in recognition of the playground’s elements of exploration, discovery, role play, balance, climbing, storytelling, exhilaration, and social interaction.

Children will enjoy this award-winning adventure playground with its eight-metre-high hill slide, timber log play forts, sandstone block stair climb, and sand play at the base. The playground also includes a reclaimed fallen tree for climbing over as well as big sandstone boulders and climbing structures. The area is connected by pathways and dry creek beds.

Note, there are no toilet or BBQ facilities available.

Aquila Park, Pimpama

Aquila Park’s playground is a haven of fun, featuring a fantastic water play area with dynamic spouts and pumps, an impressive slide tower, a spinner, and various climbing and balancing equipment. Designed to keep children engaged for hours, the playground is divided into four zones, each offering activities suited to different ages and skill levels. The layout ensures all areas are visible from the surrounding seating, making it a hit with parents too.

Zone 1 offers a gentle introduction with a swing set, a small cubby house, rope balance beams, and a see-saw.

Zone 2 is a paradise for sand play enthusiasts, equipped with diggers, water play tunnels, spouts, pumps, and troughs.

Zone 3 focuses on climbing, featuring a small structure with a slide, mushrooms for hopping, colourful boulders for climbing, and a four-seater spinner.

Zone 4 boasts the slide tower, standing 9m tall with two slides catering to different confidence levels, mesh panels for peeking through at the top, and a side rock climbing wall.

Additional features include a small bike path around the playground, perfect for scooters or bike learners, and a dry creek bed for exploration. With a toilet block, BBQ, and picnic tables on site, Aquila Park promises a fun outing for families.

Hilltop Park, Ormeau

An oldie but a goodie! Hilltop Park is split into two sections, you’ll find a shady toddler play area with a car, climbing frame and mini playground with slide and swing in one area.

The main playground space is better suited for bigger children, with a larger playground and slide, large climbing net, balance beams, spinners and a swing set. Little ones can also climb the ramp up to the old water tower, which has been converted into a play structure.

Toilets, a BBQ , water bubbler and picnic shelter are right beside the playground, with additional shady seating all through the park.


Thornlands Community Park, Thornlands

Thornlands Community Park is a nature-themed playground that includes multiple nature-inspired installments. Children will be able to spot plenty of fun larger-than-life vegetables scattered around the playground too!

The park features a ‘dinosaur dig’ area where kids can uncover a large dinosaur fossil buried in a sandy pit, with excavation tools included. Alongside this is a large sandpit with diggers and the area is rimmed with large stone and wood stepping stones.

you will find a huge, three-towered climbing structure which features two giant enclosed slides, climbing nets, enclosed netted walkways and even a pirate ship crows nest.

It has large climbing mounds covered in soft matting and a delightful little farmers market cottage with slide. It has a slide, outdoor dining area and a couple of little spots to set up in.

The playground also features a two-person flying fox, ninja warrior-like climbing course, swings and includes sensory and all-abilities play too!

The park features accessible toilets, is partially shaded by shade sails, BBQs, picnic shelters with tables and benches.

Jingeri Park, Shoreline, Redland Bay

The Jingeri Park playground has been designed with climbing and sliding in mind with several options offered to scale the elevated playgrounds with two slides to come back down!
The playground at Jingeri Park was created in partnership with the traditional owners of the land. The structures within the playground have been designed to embody the local landmarks, including an 8.5m lighthouse and a jetty.
The park also has a picnic area and shaded areas to enjoy some lunch or a coffee whilst the children play.
Jingeri Park also showcases native flora, including three fig trees being relocated from the Shoreline site, chosen for their ties to First Nations culture and local plant species.

Mount Cotton Community Park, Redlands

Mount Cotton Community Park has a wonderful mix of slides, tunnels, monkey bars, balance beams, and a challenging climbing web. The main play structure has several ideal look-out posts and a bridge that invokes fantasy games of houses and ships. There’s a great toddler section too, with its own mini fort featuring low-set stairs and slides, plus musical instruments, a sand activity table, and a large plastic igloo. Both playgrounds are covered by a shade sail and surrounded by sand.

Other features include a flying fox, a basketball court, skate park, off-leash dog area and lots of green space. The parkland also has wheelchair-accessible toilets, electric BBQs, covered picnic tables, and a network of wide concrete paths.

Capalaba Regional Park, Capalaba

Capalaba Regional Park is a great all abilities playground, with a giant terraced playground for children of all ages, in which they can clamber, swing, wander, wheel, and interact with sensory installations. The climbing webs, a fortress, flying fox, built-in slides, a sandpit, and totem pole maze are supported by sensory equipment such as steel drums and an audio spinning wheel.

The playground is overlooked by BBQ and picnic pavilions and with wheelchair-accessible paths winding throughout. There’s also covered areas and accessible toilets nearby.

The park also boasts a spacious dog off-leash area, lily ponds, and a number of paths for walking or cycling.

O'Gorman Street Park, Alexandra Hills

O’Gorman Street Park received a high commendation in the recent Queensland Parks and Leisure Conference Awards of Excellence for its ‘outstanding and innovative upgrade’ just a few years ago.

The park offers swings for babies and children, musical play, a basketball court, slides, climbing ropes, and plenty of things to climb and jump over.

The accessible park also has drinking fountains, BBQs, public toilets and plenty of shade and picnic shelters.

Our Top Logan Playgrounds

Logan Village Green playground

This fantastic playground features a birds’ nest lookout, slides, trampolines, a flying fox, totem poles with ropes, a dry creek bed, and a range of swings for all ages and abilities.🌲

The highlight for us is the mega slide, with a fun and impressive climb up to the top via logs and net tunnels and through several platforms, including some that resemble a birdhouse and a birds nest. There’s also a mini slide off the bottom platform.

It also has a balancing obstacle section including natural stumps, logs and ropes to test the balance of visitors. The shaded soft play section has multiple swings for visitors of different abilities.

There are three inground trampoline pads and a ground-level round-about that is fun for all visitors and accessible for people in wheelchairs.

The area also includes covered picnic tables, park benches and sandstone blocks for seating, barbecues, accessible toilets, skate park nearby (across the oval) and wide cement paths.

Eridani Park, Logan

Located in Logan is Eridani Park! This park and playground have just had an exciting new upgrade, featuring a brand new nature play area!

This recreational space features a wide, rocky creek bed with water pumps! There are multiple opportunities for crossing the creek bed, including bridges, logs and sandstone structures. This new space is perfect for children of all ages to enhance gross motor skills and coordination.
New additions to the playground include a spinning carousel, a new set of swings including a nest swing and a flying fox!

There’s also accessible toilets, a BBQ area, basketball court and a picnic area.

Bellubera Park, Yarrabilba

 Billubera Park boasts over 5.6 hectares of parkland, the park features two multi-level play towers, a 10-metre elevated ‘maze bridge’ walkway and a 4.5-metre tube slide! 

This playground also features a ninja warrior course for those little risk-takers, as well as a basketball court, nature play areas and two large ovals. This park also has toilet facilities and plenty of seating.

In the Yugambeh language billubera means ‘a clear sky or fine day’  this name was chosen as it represents the prospect of having clear, fine and sunny days at this family orientated parkland.  The language connects the site back to country and shares culture with the wider community. 

Alexander Clark Park, Loganholme

Alexander Clark Park at Loganholme is brand new and full of fun activities for the family to enjoy! With its unique Australian animal theme and water play area, it’s the perfect spot for a weekend adventure!

The main playground features a large koala structure, providing climbing opportunities and a thrilling slide. The park also includes a bike path with two small pump tracks, a flying fox, swings, trampolines, a small slide, and a digger for added fun.

One standout feature is the engaging water play area! Children can enjoy a gentle spray of water from misters, water pumps, and a network of channels to direct water flow.

Additional amenities include toilets, shade sails, and picnic tables, making it a well-equipped destination for family outings.

Flagstone Adventure Park, Jimboomba

Located within the expansive 10-hectare Flagstone Regional Park, this adventure playground stands as one of the largest in South East Queensland, promising endless fun for children of all ages. The playground thoughtfully includes a dedicated toddler zone for younger children and those preferring to stay closer to the ground. This area boasts a low-level fort equipped with miniature firemen’s poles, tiny ladders, and slides of various heights. Little explorers can also navigate a caterpillar-themed climbing web or venture through a long tunnel that’s nestled into the ground.

For those bursting with energy, the playground offers a competition-standard skate plaza and a concrete half basketball court. There’s also a multi-purpose grass field outfitted with basketball hoops and soccer goalposts for sports enthusiasts.

The central playground section is well-shaded by sails and encircled by sandstone blocks, creating a comfortable spot for carers to relax while the children enjoy prolonged play sessions. Additional attractions within the playground include in-ground trampolines, bouncers, bike paths, merry-go-rounds, twin flying foxes, and eight swings. This selection features two all-abilities net swings and two swings for infants, ensuring enjoyment for all.

Right next to the Flagstone Adventure Park lies the equally impressive Flagstone Water Park, complete with a café for those looking to grab a coffee. There are public toilets, but no BBQs, and off-street parking.

Our Top Ipswich Playgrounds

Faye Carr Park, Ripley

Check out Faye Carr Park in Ripley, a rocket ship-themed playground designed for the whole community.

The standout feature is the impressive trio of red and green pods, which have become a landmark of the Ecco Ripley development since its opening in 2018. These custom-designed pods by Playscape Creations are a first for Australia, offering sensory delights like cogs, steering equipment, and rainbow spinning wheels, all connected by a bridge. The exterior is just as engaging with ladders, slides, staircases, and fireman poles for endless fun.

For younger children, there’s a separate toddler playground complete with a mini slide, ladder, and puzzles. The area also includes a five-person swing circle, a rotating net climber, a see-saw, and a double-track flying fox for inclusive play.

Sports enthusiasts will enjoy the middle section of the park with multipurpose fields for soccer, rugby, and basketball, as well as an outdoor workout zone. Picnic shelters and BBQs make it perfect for a family outing.

 Over 20 developmental activities between the main and toddler playgrounds promote educational play in a fun outdoor setting. The park also emphasises social play with shared swing circles, rotating net climbers, and multi-track flying foxes, encouraging greater participation.

The parklands are wheelchair and pram friendly, with accessible pathways connecting all areas. The seated playground equipment, including an adaptive swing, see-saw, and net climber, are designed for inclusivity.

Faye Carr Park Features:

  • Accessible toilets
  • Unfenced
  • Baby change table facilities
  • Playground 50% covered by shade sails
  • Rubber, bark chip, and sand base
  • Adaptive swing with harness
  • Learn-to-ride track
  • Basketball court
  • Fitness equipment
  • Open kick-around area
  • Soccer/rugby field
  • BBQs
  • Picnic shelters
  • On-street parking

Orion Mega Playground, Springfield

 A multi-million dollar playground that is accessible and engaging for all ages is the incredible result of a consultation between locals and Orion Shopping Centre.

The main attraction is a vibrant activity centre with a tower reaching 11 metres high, accessible via internal ladders or a 16-metre Sky Walk bridge offering a birds-eye view of the playground below. Two enormous tunnel slides flank the tower, perfect for young thrill-seekers. Note that the play area is not fenced from the nearby car park, so close adult supervision is necessary.

For children who prefer to stay grounded, the playground features in-built trampolines, mountaineering ropes, and a large climbing net tunnel. A wheelchair-friendly merry-go-round promotes inclusive play.

The toddler area includes slides, stairs, a rock climbing wall, a fire pole, a colourful see-saw, and a cognitive play hut with educational activities. Swings are available for both independent children and those needing assistance. Most of the playground is covered by shade sails or roofing for sun protection.

Redbank Plains Recreation Reserve Playground, Redbank Plains

Located just 15 minutes from Ipswich city, the recently upgraded Redbank Plains Recreation Reserve has become a popular community hub for gathering, playing, socialising, and relaxing.

The central playground features a 9-metre tall adventure tower made of cargo netting, platforms, and ladders, offering a vertical thrill for older children. Climbers can choose between a speedy tunnel slide and a twisty tube slide. The roped exterior allows for easy parental supervision.

The reserve also boasts a 20-metre high ropes course, challenging balance, strength, and coordination, with opportunities for adults to assist younger climbers. Additional features include a giant rotating bird’s nest swing, a multi-bay swing set, and sensory spinners.

A dedicated toddler playground caters to ages one to five with accessible platforms, ground-level activities, gentle slides, and imaginative play areas. Essentials such as swings, see-saws, bouncers, and an inclusive carousel are built on a soft base with ample shade sails. Nearby seating is available for supervision and picnics.

The reserve also includes a newly renovated skate park, suitable for skaters of all levels, adjacent to a large grassy field ideal for soccer, cricket, or kite flying.

Additional features:

  • BBQs
  • Car Parking
  • Dog Off Leash Area
  • Drinking Water
  • Gazebos/Rotunda/Shelters
  • Picnic Facilities/Seats/Benches
  • Power
  • Public Toilets

Splash n' Play Adventure Park, Ripley

The rapidly expanding Ripley Valley is home to several state-of-the-art playgrounds, and the Splash ‘n’ Play Adventure Park is a standout. Designed for all age groups, the park features towering sky cabins at 7.5 metres high, connected by enclosed rope bridges for safety. Children can exit the playground via a straight tubular slide, a twisted mega slide, or by climbing down netted ladders. This section is ideal for children over 5, though confident younger climbers can also enjoy it.

The park also includes a flying fox, a small swing set, and toddler-friendly options in the neighbouring play area.

Directly across from the playground is a shaded, multi-age Splash ’n’ Play area with water fountains, movable sprayers, button-controlled jets, and waterfall arches. This area is divided into two sections, allowing smaller children to play safely away from the larger splash zone. The non-slip rubber base and ample seating enhance safety and supervision.

For families, the Forty West Café at the top of the adventure park serves delicious coffee and food daily. A takeaway coffee is ideal, as a tall garden partially blocks the view between the café seating and the playground below.

  • Accessible toilets
  • Not fenced but set back from the road
  • Largely shaded playground and water play area
  • Zero-depth Splash ‘n’ Play area
  • Mixture of bark, artificial turf, and rubber base
  • Family-friendly café
  • Showers
  • Picnic shelters
  • BBQs
  • Open kick-around area
  • Ample on-site parking

Sunshine Park, Bellevue Ripley

As you approach the Sunshine Park playground, the central tower immediately catches the eye. Standing at 8 metres tall with three levels, it invites children to come and play. Inspired by the towering trees and creeping vines of a rainforest, the structure is both impressive and engaging.

Children can access the different levels through vertical climbing tunnels, ball pommels, and nets. The internal decks are inclined to provide an extra challenge. Once at the top, the 4.5-metre tunnel slide offers a thrilling descent back to the ground.

In the junior play area, there is a cubby-style fort with interactive elements decorating the walls. A small slide is easily accessible for little ones using stable stepping platforms.

For those who love to run or play ball sports, Sunshine Park features a basketball half-court, a handball court, and a generous kickabout area. There’s also a small pump track designed to manoeuvre around without pedalling, providing an additional challenge for competent riders and a fun spot for little ones to push their diggers down the hills.


  • 8-metre tall central tower with three levels
  • Vertical climbing tunnels, ball pommels, and nets
  • 4.5-metre tunnel slide
  • Junior play area with cubby-style fort and interactive elements
  • Basketball half-court, handball court, and kickabout area
  • Small pump track
  • No public toilets

Sunshine Park is an engaging and versatile playground, offering a variety of activities for children of all ages.

Tucker Family Park, Bellbird Park

Tucker Family Park is one of the best parks in Ipswich for children of all ages and abilities, set in a beautiful, nature-filled environment. This park offers a range of exciting features:

Key Attractions:

  • Giant Cube Tower: An impressive 11-metre structure with an 18-metre steel slide, providing plenty of thrills.
  • Toddler-Friendly Features: Includes a smaller slide from the second level of the cube and a dedicated play fort for younger children.
  • Sports Facilities: A large sporting field with goal posts and a fenced multi-purpose court for basketball and other games.
  • Nature Trails: Concrete pathways that lead around the park, through the trees, and to a dog off-leash park and separate puppy park. These paths also connect several local communities with hectares of green space.

Playground Features:

  • Fort with Mini Climbing Wall and Rope Bridge
  • Cube Tower with Giant Tube Slide
  • Musical Bar Chimes
  • Rocker and Roundabout
  • Climbing Nets
  • Sports Field and Multi-purpose Sports Court
  • Gym Equipment
  • Bike and Walking Paths
  • Picnic Tables and Shelters

Tucker Family Park is perfect for those looking to immerse themselves in nature while enjoying a variety of activities. Whether it’s exploring the extensive playground, participating in sports, or simply taking a peaceful walk, this park has something for everyone.

Whiterock Adventure Playground and Splash Pad, Ripley Valley

Whiterock Adventure Playground and Splash Pad in Ripley Valley is quickly becoming a top summer destination. The standout feature is the intriguing “play curl” structure, accompanied by water play and natural exploration zones.

Upon entering the beautifully designed space, the first thing you’ll notice is the huge and uniquely shaped “play curl,” which looks more like a sculptural masterpiece than a playground. The Australian-first design is over 16 metres long and can accommodate up to 40 children at a time with its mixture of net climbs, rock climbing holds, rubber ramps, balancing ropes, and suspended resting areas. This area is best suited for children aged 5 to 12, though confident younger climbers can also enjoy it.

Directly across from the playground is a mostly shaded, zero-depth Splash ’n’ Play area. It features water fountains, movable wiggly sprayers, button-controlled jets, and waterfall arches. Smaller children can safely enjoy water play away from the larger splash zone. The area has a non-slip rubber base for safety and ample seating for supervision.

Rounding out the play space are other playground favourites, including an embankment slide, swings, a seesaw, educational games, and an accessible carousel. The parklands are also equipped with full picnic amenities, making it an excellent choice for birthday parties and family gatherings.

The “play curl” offers a foundation for imaginative play. Its abstract design creates a sense of mystery and encourages problem-solving. Running adjacent to the curl is a dry creek bed with cylindrical stepping stones, providing a nice contrast to the metal and steel of the playground and encouraging a nature-style play. The different ground textures, equipment heights, and water play combine to form a multi-sensory experience.

Whiterock Adventure Playground is located on even terrain with connecting paths, making it easy to navigate with prams. The ground-level carousel spinner is designed for inclusive play. Disabled toilets and a baby change room are available on site.

Additional Features:

  • Unfenced playground
  • Accessible toilets
  • Mostly covered by shade sails
  • Bark chip, rubber, stone bases
  • Swings, including toddler and birds nest swings
  • Natural play elements
  • Educational games
  • Steel slide
  • Seesaw
  • Wheelchair accessible carousel
  • Short bike and scooter track
  • Picnic shelters
  • Electric BBQs
  • Bench seating
  • Kick-around area
  • Ample on and off-street parking

Whiterock Adventure Playground is perfect for families seeking fun and adventure, with diverse activities for children of all ages.

Our Top Brisbane Playgrounds

City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane

A visit to the Botanical Gardens is a must when you’re in Brisbane, but have you been to the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens playground? This play space has been designed to host a range of sensory play, musical activities, imaginative and physical play.

There are climbing objects for little ones and tall musical chimes that can have two kids at any one time playing a melody. A circle of ten speaker tubes has been set up for children to listen and speak through, and to encourage social interaction. There’s also spinning hand objects, clear shapes to look through, and a sand play area with little diggers to sit and dig in the sand. This Brisbane playground features all the standard equipment, including multiple one and two-person see-saws and spinning seats, a four swing set, including one baby swing and one for all abilities.

Located nearby are public toilets, it is partially shaded but not fenced.

Our Top Ipswich Playgrounds

Faye Carr Park, Ripley

Check out Faye Carr Park in Ripley, a rocket ship-themed playground designed for the whole community.

The standout feature is the impressive trio of red and green pods, which have become a landmark of the Ecco Ripley development since its opening in 2018. These custom-designed pods by Playscape Creations are a first for Australia, offering sensory delights like cogs, steering equipment, and rainbow spinning wheels, all connected by a bridge. The exterior is just as engaging with ladders, slides, staircases, and fireman poles for endless fun.

For younger children, there’s a separate toddler playground complete with a mini slide, ladder, and puzzles. The area also includes a five-person swing circle, a rotating net climber, a see-saw, and a double-track flying fox for inclusive play.

Sports enthusiasts will enjoy the middle section of the park with multipurpose fields for soccer, rugby, and basketball, as well as an outdoor workout zone. Picnic shelters and BBQs make it perfect for a family outing.

 Over 20 developmental activities between the main and toddler playgrounds promote educational play in a fun outdoor setting. The park also emphasises social play with shared swing circles, rotating net climbers, and multi-track flying foxes, encouraging greater participation.

The parklands are wheelchair and pram friendly, with accessible pathways connecting all areas. The seated playground equipment, including an adaptive swing, see-saw, and net climber, are designed for inclusivity.

Faye Carr Park Features:

  • Accessible toilets
  • Unfenced
  • Baby change table facilities
  • Playground 50% covered by shade sails
  • Rubber, bark chip, and sand base
  • Adaptive swing with harness
  • Learn-to-ride track
  • Basketball court
  • Fitness equipment
  • Open kick-around area
  • Soccer/rugby field
  • BBQs
  • Picnic shelters
  • On-street parking

Orion Mega Playground, Springfield

 A multi-million dollar playground that is accessible and engaging for all ages is the incredible result of a consultation between locals and Orion Shopping Centre.

The main attraction is a vibrant activity centre with a tower reaching 11 metres high, accessible via internal ladders or a 16-metre Sky Walk bridge offering a birds-eye view of the playground below. Two enormous tunnel slides flank the tower, perfect for young thrill-seekers. Note that the play area is not fenced from the nearby car park, so close adult supervision is necessary.

For children who prefer to stay grounded, the playground features in-built trampolines, mountaineering ropes, and a large climbing net tunnel. A wheelchair-friendly merry-go-round promotes inclusive play.

The toddler area includes slides, stairs, a rock climbing wall, a fire pole, a colourful see-saw, and a cognitive play hut with educational activities. Swings are available for both independent children and those needing assistance. Most of the playground is covered by shade sails or roofing for sun protection.

Redbank Plains Recreation Reserve Playground, Redbank Plains

Located just 15 minutes from Ipswich city, the recently upgraded Redbank Plains Recreation Reserve has become a popular community hub for gathering, playing, socialising, and relaxing.

The central playground features a 9-metre tall adventure tower made of cargo netting, platforms, and ladders, offering a vertical thrill for older children. Climbers can choose between a speedy tunnel slide and a twisty tube slide. The roped exterior allows for easy parental supervision.

The reserve also boasts a 20-metre high ropes course, challenging balance, strength, and coordination, with opportunities for adults to assist younger climbers. Additional features include a giant rotating bird’s nest swing, a multi-bay swing set, and sensory spinners.

A dedicated toddler playground caters to ages one to five with accessible platforms, ground-level activities, gentle slides, and imaginative play areas. Essentials such as swings, see-saws, bouncers, and an inclusive carousel are built on a soft base with ample shade sails. Nearby seating is available for supervision and picnics.

The reserve also includes a newly renovated skate park, suitable for skaters of all levels, adjacent to a large grassy field ideal for soccer, cricket, or kite flying.

Our Top Brisbane Playgrounds

City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane

A visit to the Botanical Gardens is a must when you’re in Brisbane, but have you been to the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens playground? This play space has been designed to host a range of sensory play, musical activities, imaginative and physical play.

There are climbing objects for little ones and tall musical chimes that can have two kids at any one time playing a melody. A circle of ten speaker tubes has been set up for children to listen and speak through, and to encourage social interaction. There’s also spinning hand objects, clear shapes to look through, and a sand play area with little diggers to sit and dig in the sand. This Brisbane playground features all the standard equipment, including multiple one and two-person see-saws and spinning seats, a four swing set, including one baby swing and one for all abilities.

Located nearby are public toilets, it is partially shaded but not fenced.

Kalinga Park Playground, Clayfield

Kalinga Park Playground offers some fun timber forts, resembling trees houses, which are adorned with many opportunities to climb – nets, poles, bars, ladders, steps and a climbing wall. This Brisbane playground is suitable for children of all ages, with a separate structure, slide and swings designed for the younger children.

There’s a mini traffic track, adjacent to the playground, can be utilised to develop road safety awareness and riding skills.

The park also offers accessible toilet facilities, electric BBQs, picnic tables both sheltered and unsheltered, water fountains, walking and cycle paths and a fenced, off-leash dog area. Note the playground is not fenced.

Lower Moora Park, Shorncliffe

The Lower Moora Park seaside playground offers fantastic forts, slides and wooden carvings. Confident climbers will enjoy exploring the many levels of the playground

There is also a separate fort perfect for toddlers, which includes a slide and a place to express themselves musically via the instruments. Toddlers can also amuse themselves under the main playground in the play area underneath the fort or get busy in the sand area, where there is plenty of space for digging. They can also play on the colourful animal structures and spring rockers.

Note this park is near water and unfenced, but does offer shade sails and large trees, a variety of seating options surrounding the playground, water fountain, shaded picnic tables, BBQs, and accessible toilets.

Bray Farm Park, Griffin

Commonly known as the ‘Harry Potter’ park in Griffin, north of Brisbane, this destination blends art, culture, nature, and fun for the entire family.

Discover two whimsical ‘cottage style’ play structures, a climbing sphere, slides, swings, and charming bridges. With a magical forest backdrop, plenty of park benches, winding paths, and a large grassy area for games, this park is sure to be a fun day out for all!

Parents take note, there aren’t toilets, the park isn’t fenced and it’s close to a road, so keep an eye on your youngsters while they play!

Hidden World Playground, Fitzgibbon

Hidden World Playground is a wonderful north Brisbane playground with a series of interconnected rainbow-coloured ‘houses’ built on sand and is ideally suited to toddlers and preschoolers. Besides clambering through the houses, there are plenty of other fun activities including the sandpits surrounding, as well as an in-ground lawn maze.

Hidden World has a whole back story that you can find here!

The playground is not fenced, but it’s not close to the road. It offers accessible toilets including a baby change table
There are no shade sails over play equipment, but in the general area there are. There are water fountains, four shaded picnic areas and electric BBQs.

Rocks Riverside Park, Seventeen Mile Rocks

The popular Rocks Riverside Park offers a whole day of fun for families!

There are two playgrounds, each aimed at differing age groups. There is a giant fort aimed at bigger kids, with so many climbing and exploring options. The fort is mostly covered, so lots of shade, with additional shade sails nearby. There is also a flying fox, giant climbing net, swings, bike paths, exploration paths, and even a half basketball court. The playground for younger children is fully fenced with two smaller forts: a toddler fort and one for those slightly bigger kids. There’s also a sandpit is also within the fenced area, with a sand table and push-button water tap to help with the sand creations. Toddler swings, bouncers, and safari car seat all add to the fun to be had here.

This Brisbane playground also makes for a great summer stop, with a water play and splash zone. Children can play in the shallow water, run in and out of the fountains, relax in the man-made rock pools and more. There are multiple shade sails covering most of the water play area.

There are accessible toilet facilities, a soft-fall ground cover, BBQ and covered picnic areas.

Thrush Street Park, Inala

Thrush Street Park in Inala is a great suburban oasis that’s a must-visit for families in Brisbane! This park is fun for children of all ages, boasting an array of playful attractions. A standout feature is the misting forest, complete with interactive water sprayers, which is a crowd-pleaser during the warmer seasons.

Despite its compact size, Thrush Street Park’s playground is densely packed with engaging elements. Notable attractions include a sizable climbing structure with two thrilling slides, an extended flying fox, swings, and a merry-go-round, ensuring endless entertainment for little visitors.

The playground also houses an exciting water play area, highlighted by a hand-operated water pump that feeds into a creek leading towards the misting forest. Here, towering tree-like structures equipped with buttons unleash a refreshing shower from their branches, offering a delightful escape from the heat. It’s a good idea to bring along a change of clothes, swimwear, and towels, especially on hot days, to fully enjoy the water features. However, it’s important to note the absence of public toilets at the park, so plan your visit accordingly.

Accessibility is thoughtfully considered at Thrush Street Park. The merry-go-round is flush with the surrounding soft fall area, facilitating access for visitors with wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Additionally, interactive panels and musical features are conveniently located on this accessible surface. Wide concrete pathways meander through the playground, with one leading directly to the water play area and misting forest, both set over a sturdy concrete base.

Parking is available in an off-street lot with a gravel surface, but be prepared for a brief walk over uneven grass to reach the playground from the car park. Thrush Street Park is indeed packed with features that cater to a wide range of interests and needs, making it a fantastic destination for a family day out.

Colmslie Beach Reserve, Murarrie

Colmslie Beach Reserve, nestled along the Brisbane River, offers everything for a perfect day out. With attractions including flying foxes, slides, climbable large sculptures of sea creatures, interactive water play, and scenic picnic areas, plus a new scooter/bike track, it’s a haven for families.

This park is a paradise for children, featuring a playground with unique sculptures like a fish, octopus, crab, and submarine, designed to enhance gross motor skills. Interactive buttons activate water features for extra fun. The playground also offers a variety of activities including a dry creek bed for imaginative play, a balancing bridge, slides, a musical boat, and a flying fox.

The reserve is well-equipped for picnics and outdoor activities, with ample seating, connected pathways, and abundant shade. A highlight is the scooter/bike track complete with a maintenance pit stop, making it feel like a real road adventure with its speed bumps and road signs.

Accessible toilets are conveniently located within the playground area, which is semi-fenced for safety. The larger park area is open, inviting visitors to explore the boardwalk for stunning views of the Gateway Bridge and the Brisbane River.

Colmslie Beach Reserve encourages imaginative play, whether pretending to be a sea captain or a pirate. The playground’s design and facilities, including a partially fenced play area, accessible toilets, shaded play equipment, and ample green spaces, make it an ideal spot for family outings.

Wynnum Whale Park, Whynnum

Wynnum Whale Park is a hit with young families, featuring a unique whale pod water spray area on soft rubber matting to prevent slips. Children love climbing and jumping off water-spouting whale sculptures, with intermittent water bursts adding to the excitement. The area includes a large tipping bucket and a smaller water feature for younger children, ideal for leaf races along miniature streams.

Adjacent to this water play zone is a spacious nautical-themed playground, offering climbing structures, slides, swings, and imaginative play areas like a shop and boat. Situated near Wynnum Jetty and Pandanus Beach, it’s perfect for a calm beach day. The area also boasts bike paths and walkways along the waterfront, ideal for a family ride or stroll. Nearby fish and chip cafes provide convenient dining options.

There’s also the Wynnum Wading Pool nearby. The oceanic theme encourages imaginative play, with children pretending to be sea captains or pirates, while the anticipation of which whale will spray water next adds to the fun.

The park is accessible, with wheelchair-friendly toilets and shaded areas for setting up a day camp. Unsheltered water park sections, small gazebos, picnic tables, and well-maintained BBQs make it comfortable for families. Shops and cafes are easily reachable for refreshments, with convenient parking and public transport options nearby.

Wynnum Whale Park’s features include an unfenced playground with sand and rubber surfaces, accessible toilets, a wading pool, seasonal water play, ocean-themed play structures, climbing nets, slides, swings, and bike and walking paths. Sheltered picnic spots, BBQs, and the sight of soldier crabs at low tide enrich the visit.

Riverside Green Playground, Southbank

A visit to the Southbank isn’t complete (at least for children) without a stop to the Riverside Green Playground!

The two-level playground has an adventure zone up top, and the lower level features interactive equipment. The 7.5 metre high structure has sky cabin towers interconnected by a series of rope bridges and connecting slides.

For the smaller ones, there’s a dedicated toddler area on the upper terrace level with an all-inclusive area pirate ship-themed toddler zone with undercover areas, grasp holes, climbing ladders and ropes, slides, compass, binoculars, and interactive elements to touch and turn.

This park space also features climbing nets, slides, swings, and a giant hamster wheel!

The area, not enclosed, also features accessible toilets, including baby change table, shade sails, picnic tables, electric BBQs and water fountains.

Bradbury Park, Kedron

Check out the new and improved Bradbury Park, which received a $10m upgrade in 2023! There are comments about this park that it’s really like a ‘mini theme park’ and we can definitely see why!

It encourages adventure play with challenging towers and bridges to navigate and incorporates inspired nature play. It’s also great for keen climbers, as every surface at Bradbury Park has footholds and handgrips encouraging climbing. This playground is tailored more for children ages five and older, however, the little ones still might enjoy it with the help of a grown-up or an older sibling! Toddlers aren’t forgotten though, underneath there is a section just for little ones to explore, with a mini cliff climber and wide slide at the top of a soft fall mount.

Parents, just be warned due to its design, it might be hard to spot your child in the structure, and there is a certain amount of risk involved when playing at Bradbury Park.

The area includes picnic spots, BBQs, toilets, an impressive scooter track that includes several challenging obstacles. You’ll also find a basketball half-court and a fully fenced dog park.
The park is now equipped with all the other amenities that will keep families comfortable and entertained for hours on end. 🎉

Buxton Park, Yarrabilba

Buxton Park truly offers something for everyone! For children, there’s an 8.7-metre high tower featuring two enclosed slides set either side of an elaborate climbing web. The most unique feature is the large synthetic grass caterpillar which snakes its way around the playground precinct. Children will adore scaling the rises before rolling, running or jumping into the dips. There’s also in-ground trampolines, swings for all ages and abilities, horse bouncers and spinning poles round out the play equipment aimed at children. Grownups haven’t been left out of the design either! There’s an innovative outdoor gym featuring magnetic bells for strength training, a core twist, a bicycle, and more. The equipment even has an integrated training app to help you get the most out of a workout.

There are BBQs and a picnic area, but no public toilets.

New Farm Park Playground

Have you visited New Farm Park Playground? This enchanted forest playground in Brisbane, nestled in amongst Moreton Bay Fig trees, consists of an impressive fort-like tree-house with an expansive bridge walk that winds and promotes all kinds of imaginative play. It boasts:

  • climbing walls
  • meandering pathways
  • wobbly walkways
  • chain link bridges
  • swaying poles to
  • clamber across
  • slippery slides.

There’s also a separate playground for the littlest ones, as well as accessible play equipment. This outdoor gem is just a few minutes’ walk from the New Farm Park ferry terminal and the Powerhouse Museum. Onsite are accessible toilets, BBQs, walking and bike paths, water fountains, an onsite cafe for coffee and plenty of cafes nearby and free parking.

There you have it! We hope you enjoyed our list of the best playgrounds on the Gold Coast and in Redlands and Brisbane City. If you’re after the best childcare in the Gold Coast and Brisbane areas, look no further than Little Scholars, we’re sure to have a centre near you. Contact us or book a tour today to ensure your little one gets the best start to life that they can.

Do you have a playground you think should be here? Let us know on our socials @littlescholarsearlylearning!
*Images courtesy of Gold Coast, Redlands and Brisbane city councils, mrslardeedah.com, romethegnome.com, and kidsonthecoast.com.

Food ideas to get the approval and acceptance of your little food critic

We’re sure approximately 96.3 per cent of parents deal with a child who, let’s say, is choosey about what they want to eat. So choosey, in fact, they may choose to eat almost nothing you put in front of them. The amount of stress that puts on parents can be surprisingly strong. After all, as adults, we eat what we want, we understand benefits and consequences of what we put in our bodies, we understand when we’re famished and when we’re just not that hungry. But for some reason, when it comes to the little humans we’ve created, their diet can become a massive focus of parenting-what-did-we-do-wrong. You want so badly to make all the right decisions in parenting, to ensure your child is well-fed from a variety of nutritious sources so they can grow to be the healthiest, best version of themselves.

So how do we handle this picky phase – (though the term phase suggests it’s a short period of time when in fact it can be years or even a lifetime of challenging food preferences)?

We brought the village together and came up with some suggestions to ease the stress mealtime puts on everyone.

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  1. Serve veggies first. Offering vegetables before bringing out the rest of the food can be a way to get children to scarf nutrients up before filling up on pasta and bread. For example, in Italian culture, it’s common to serve four courses, the antipasti which might include cold grilled vegetables, cured meats, etc, the primi, or first course, is where starch-based meals come into play, the secondi, or main course, is normally a protein-based dish such as fish, meat, poultry or eggs, and the cortorni, or side dishes, which are usually vegetables or even salad that accompany the second course. What we like about this is that a person’s hunger is slowly reduced, which could be a neat way to adapt into your family’s meal, Italian or not!
  2. Drizzle the veggies with salted butter. Butter makes veggies yummy and the fat helps little bodies absorb many nutrients better!
  3. A fun buffet! Enter, the chicken nugget bar. So yes, there’s chicken nuggets to guarantee your child will eat something, but offer a range of healthier dips for them to try that will add nutrients to their growing bodies. Think greek yogurt, hummus, beetroot dip or more. Bonus points if you can make vegetable nuggets and get them to eat those along with the dips. Speaking of dips, don’t nix dips, yes some of them may have ingredients you might question, but if said dips get your children to eat vegetables, why not give it a try? With homemade dips, you can also control the sugar or salt in them.
  4. Make it a game! Get your child to close his or her eyes and guess the colour of the food they’re about to taste. American radio producer Hillary Frank said this is the way she got her children to eat capsicum.
  5. Taste the rainbow. Form different coloured foods into a rainbow onto the plate, or try a drop of food colouring if you think they might be adventurous!
  6. A tried and often true classic is to sneak veggies in other foods – blended into pasta sauces, baked into muffins, pancakes, smoothies, etc.
  7. Ensure children are actually hungry. Additionally, offering a smaller main dish, such as a small portion of mac ‘n’ cheese, encourages them to consume more of their side dish, like garlic broccoli, as their hunger persists. This approach is both common sense and scientific evidence.
  8. Talk about how veggies make your body strong–and then after dinner have a jumping/running/skipping/whatever contest. It’s amazing how much higher you can jump after you eat all your broccoli (wink, wink)!
  9. Include food discovery outside of meal time. One UK study investigated the impact of a non-taste sensory activity program in a nursery school setting, involving children aged 12 to 36 months. Children in the intervention group engaged in activities focusing on looking, listening, feeling, and smelling unusual fruits and vegetables every day for four weeks. The results showed that these children were more inclined to touch and taste the vegetables they had been familiarised with during playtime activities, compared to a control group that did not participate in such activities.
  10. “We also turn eating into a game,” says educator Kristen from our ____ campus. “Using utensils as characters that make funny sounds (our class favourite is the ‘forklift’). Playing these storytelling games during meals not only enriches our caregiving but takes the pressure off the child.”
  11. Use a veggie discovery chart! Studies show that it can take a child anywhere between 7 to 20 exposures to a certain ingredient before they start to feel familiar with that food, so by putting stickers every time they are exposed to a vegetable on this list, that helps their exposure. If they didn’t like it, they can put a red sticker; if they liked it so-so, they get to put a yellow sticker; and if they loved it, they get to put a green sticker. The loves can help parents put successful meals together! You can find a veggie discovery chart here.
  12. Roast vegetables with something sweeter. Children have more taste buds and a sharper sense of taste than adults, which may explain why they often find the slight bitterness in many vegetables more pronounced. Our evolutionary instincts to avoid bitter flavours, once a protection against poisonous substances, can make it challenging for little ones to appreciate these tastes. However, vegetables are incredibly beneficial and can act as a form of preventative medicine. To make veggies more appealing to children, try adding a bit of brown sugar or maple syrup to roasted vegetables. Other tasty additions could include a vinaigrette, yogurt, butter, lemon juice, or tomato sauce making the vegetables more palatable and encouraging children to try new foods.
  13. Some parents have great success with making a little plate of veggies and serve as an “appetizer” while parents finish preparing dinner. Children are usually hungry and need a distraction. This way they fill their tummies first with healthy foods. Or be playful about it and ask the children to watch the plate, but under no circumstance are they to have any. And if they take one, be dramatic with your ‘NO NO THOSE ARE MINE ONLY’ response, which will probably result in giggles and more ‘sneaking’!
  14. Healthy breakfast pancakes! Who says vegetables have to be for lunch and dinner? Check out this recipe.
  15. Reduce snacks or morning/afternoon teas. Part of the culprit might be your child is already full for the day by the time they get to dinner, so they’re selective in what they’ll eat on their plate because they’re just not very hungry.
  16. “When my cousins and I were children, our parents would try to get us to eat broccoli, they would say they were ‘little trees’ and we would all pretend we were giraffes to eat the broccoli. It worked!” Jell, social media and marketing specialist.
  17. Why stick to traditional cutlery? Try letting your child skewer bite-sized food on toothpicks or using chopsticks. Your child might have a lot of fun and actually eat the veggies, meat or whatever they don’t normally try.
  18. Re-Package, Re-Spin, Re-Brand. Think of yourself as the mastermind behind a food marketing campaign, where your toughest critics are pint-sized food connoisseurs. To make a food they’re not keen on seem more appealing, give it a humorous twist. For example, if carrots are a no-go, try calling them ‘X-Ray Vision Sticks’, suggesting they’re the secret behind superheroes’ sharp eyesight. The idea is to weave a bit of storytelling and humour into meals, transforming mundane foods into characters of a whimsical, edible tale
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19. If you have the creativity and the time, present the food into characters, scenes or animals your child likes. Search for ideas on Pinterest or Instagram!

20. Don’t answer the question ‘what’s for dinner’. Come up with a silly answer such as “bugs and onions”, or something obvious ‘food’, but don’t give them time to dread dinner.

21. In Piaget’s developmental stages, there’s a phase known as the preoperational stage, where a child’s understanding of conservation is still developing. For example, if you pour juice from a short, wide glass into a tall, narrow one, they might believe the tall glass contains more juice because it looks “bigger,” even when they see the pouring happen. This concept can be cleverly applied to serving vegetables to children. By arranging the veggies closer together, they seem “smaller” to the child, giving the impression that they’re eating less. Conversely, spreading out items like chicken nuggets can create the illusion of a larger portion, making mealtime a bit more appealing to them

22. Everyone at the table eats the same meal, but try to include one item everyone likes. No alternatives, or if you have to, make the alternative something like veggie sticks and hummus. Eating together as a family is also a great way to bond and create lasting memories.

23. The one-bite rule: say something like, “Remember the time you didn’t think you’d like cherries, but you did? Let’s try this sweet potato now, because you might like it. Once you try it you can say, “No thank you!” but you have to at least try it! Then that food is no thank you food.”

24. The ‘silver bowl snack’ to expand their palate, one tiny taste at a time. If your child doesn’t like something, say something like, “well your tastebuds must not be grown up enough for that yet, let’s see what happens next time you try it.” Since children often want to be more “grown up” they may willingly try the offending food again the next time it was offered. If the child decides to try it, make a big deal about how grown up your child is getting.

25. Keep pre-cut vegetables and fruits in a bowl or clear Tupperware container, front and centre in the fridge and — important — then place some on a platter on the kitchen counter in your child’s line of vision all afternoon.

26. Do your children like mashed potatoes? Get more veggies in there! If the mashed potatoes turn green? Well, they’re Hulk potatoes obviously. Are they orange? Then they’re Nemo or insert-your-child’s-favourite-orange-character-here.

27. “We get our children to pick a meal they want to eat for dinner for the week and we buy the ingredients then they all get a night to cook dinner for us, makes them interested in wanting to eat the meal they make for us, and they need to choose something with a minimum of two veggies.” Jess, enrolments officer.

28. Sprinkles also go a long way. Yes, actual sprinkles, or foods that they can shake on like sprinkles. Think seasonings, herbs and chia seeds. If a child doesn’t like the food presented, ask what you can add to make it more exciting. And let them do the sprinkling. Sometimes, it really is as simple as that.

29. While it’s easy to use a smartphone or TV to occupy your child’s attention and you might even see your child mindlessly eat, that’s actually not what you want. You want children to be focused on the food, but also focused on family time and conversation.

30. Relax! Try not to put pressure on them to eat. You wouldn’t want someone constantly commenting on your plate choices and habits. Mel, operations manager of Little Scholars, said her son has been picky since he was two years old. When she spoke to a nutritionist, she said “as long as he was eating 20-25 different foods throughout the week he would be OK.” While it can feel stressful, your child is likely getting the nutrients they need, whether you’re offering fresh, frozen, tinned foods, you’re trying your best, your child is flourishing, and one day, this will just be a memory!

Do you have a child who’s struggling with separation anxiety, especially at when being dropped off at school or early education? Perhaps they’re going through a developmental milestone that makes them need Mum or Dad a bit more than before. This is common starting around six months of age, peaks at 14-18 months, then can happen again when your child hits preschool and school-age. Or maybe your child is new to our service or has recently transitioned studios. The transition from home to early education is a milestone for both children and families.  Separation anxiety can even happen for children who’ve been in Little Scholars for a while. It can be hard moving into a new studio where she or he doesn’t yet know new routines, where things are kept and spending time with different educators with different ways of doing things can be overwhelming for the child. This is all normal.

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If you’re at a loss on how to make things easier on your little one, and yourself, we have some ideas.

Our tips for drop-off

  1. Don’t sneak away 🏃‍♂️ We know you’re trying to prevent tears, but sneaking away creates anxiety and mistrust for your child
  2. Keep goodbyes short 🙋‍♀️ There’s a saying that goes, ‘quick goodbyes make for dry eyes’
  3. Be aware of your own emotions 😭 🙅‍♂️ – When you’re calm and confident, that tells your child that s/he is safe. Young children rely on co-regulation to manage their emotions.

Acknowledge and validate their feelings by saying something like “I know goodbyes can be hard, but I always come back. I will see you later today. I love you.” Give a big hug, a smile and a wink.

Talk it out

Then at home, if your child is old enough, have a chat about why she/he is having a hard time at drop-off, and think about what you can do to alleviate it. Ask him or her what make things easier. Perhaps it’s including a comfort toy, blanket or family photo. Maybe you each have a special bracelet that you can touch when you’re missing each other. Make a plan for something special together when you pick him or her up, like a walk or playing a game together, which will give your child something to look forward to through the day.

Prepare in advance

If you’re preparing your child to go to early education or school, it’s best they understand what their days will look like. So the conversation could look something like ‘we’ll all have breakfast together and get ready for the day. Then we’ll get in the car and first we’ll stop at Little Scholars. I’ll walk you in, give you a big hug, and you’ll go off to have a day of play while I go to work. When I finish work, I’ll jump in the car and come right over to pick you up, then we’ll go _____” These conversations may have to happen several times for it to sink in.

Also, if you’re pondering signing your child up for early education, this is why we offer play dates to children newly enroled but yet to start – this allows them to begin to become familiar with their new educators and studios.

Remember, you can always chat with your educator or campus manager about how to help. We’re always available, and we’ve been through this before, we can offer ideas or reassurances everyone will be OK!

We also know separation anxiety can be a two-way street, especially for new parents, or returning to work after maternity leave. Don’t forget we have our Little Scholars app so you can see pictures of your child, and be reassured that if there were tears from your child, they likely didn’t last long and they’re busy having fun and learning while you’re at work.

Related links:

Teaching a small child self-respect, to find and use his or her own voice can be one of the most valuable lessons you share as a parent or special adult in that child’s life. When children can speak up for themselves, this will help them in every aspect of their lives, for the rest of their lives. Having the ability to use their voices, they’re able to command respect, protect their feelings and their bodies, and increase their confidence in their ideas, their relationships and in various social settings. There are several facets to teaching a child to use his or her voice.

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Examples of self-respect for children

Allow your child to make choices about his or her body. You can start by allowing them choices on what to wear, and checking with them if it’s ok to help them dress or undress. This is the beginning of teaching your child about consent, even if he or she is a baby. Loved ones can also model consent by asking, ‘May I pick you up?’ or ‘May I give you a hug?’ and in the bath or nappy changes, asking permission before you clean or wipe your child in private places. Those conversations can lead to discussions about appropriate versus inappropriate touching, and even little children should expect to be asked permission from anyone who comes into contact with them. Even if they’re your children and you’ve been looking after them literally since day one, you’re showing them you respect their body by asking first.

Respect for their bodies

This is the same in our campuses. It’s our policy to maintain the rights and dignity of the children, that includes in terms of nappy changing and toileting, so we try to provide privacy where possible from everyone in our campuses. Our educators are all trained in respectful care, and host not-for-profit visitors such as Bravehearts, who teach children about advocating for body safety, yes and no feelings, the difference between parents, trusted adults like doctors or educators looking after their bodies, versus strangers and unsafe adults.

We recommend teaching children young the proper names for their body parts and use them any time you are talking about them. When they’re first learning to speak, this can be a great bathtime conversation as you point out the names of various body parts. Keep any cringing when talking about body parts to yourself. The sexualised nature of private body parts — giggling or shame when talking about them — that’s adult stuff that we don’t need to put onto children.

“I teach my children “Your body belongs to you and you only” as well as naming their correct private parts which are theirs only,” says Holly, a lead educator in the Senior Kindy studio at our Staplyton campus. “Children really need to be educated about body awareness/safety.”

Why is teaching them proper names so important? Getting used to these conversations young can reduce embarrassment, something unnecessarily expressed by many adults and in previous generations, and establish ongoing communications with children about sex/sexuality. But most importantly, this educates and empowers little ones about their body safety, and research shows this could protect them from predators.

Explain to your child that nobody is allowed to touch our private parts unless it’s for hygiene or medical reasons and that people who have to come in contact with your child’s private areas have to ask permission first. But while there’s no shame in their bodies, they should also know there are parts of the body that are private and have it explained to them those parts are just for them.

Holly says additionally, they have conversations with the children with scenarios about stranger danger and the steps they need to remember in case anything like that happens. They also have conversations about who the children name as their ‘safe people’.

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Respect for children in public

There are lots of ways to show children respect, and it’s important when you expect them to respect others. Try to refrain from talking about your child, especially in front of them, to others, or be mindful of what you do share. This shows your child you respect his or her privacy. You may remember a time when you were younger when a parent or someone you loved shared a story that embarrassed you – even as an adult, you remember. Your child could too. Before you tell a story, ask yourself how they’d feel about you telling it.

In our increasingly digital world, this also goes for sharing everything about them on social media. Once it’s online, it’s there forever. Even if it in theory disappears after 24 hours, screenshots can be taken. That also goes for other people’s children – other parents may not want them on social media, so keep online sharing to your own children. Consider what you are posting, would your child want to have a picture for the world to see of themselves on the potty or with a bare bottom when they’re older? Keep in mind others may Google them in the future; potential and current employers, associates, and most scarily, predators.

Another way you can show your child respect is by discussing inappropriate behaviour away from public settings. Keep important conversations for a time when you can discuss them privately. You may think embarrassing them by calling their actions out in public might stop them from doing it again, but this will likely backfire. You can say in public something like ‘We will have an important talk about this later.’ and stick to that. But highlighting negative behaviours in public only causes humiliation and shame, and no one needs to feel that way.

Respect for their physical boundaries

Don’t force children to hug or kiss anyone, even family. You could ask, for example, how they’d like to say greet people in each social situation.

“I offer children the choice of a hug, holding hands or sitting together as an alternative to allow them to make the choice. When saying hello or goodbye they can say just the words, high five, fist bump or hug, but it is always up to them,” says Claire, an educator from our Nerang campus. These options still teach them to be polite if that’s important to you, but shows them how they can do it within their comfort level and respects their physical boundaries.

Respect by owning up to mistakes

Parents often focus on teaching children to be respectful, such as learning to apologise when in the wrong, but teaching children to just say ‘sorry’ versus understanding how their actions actually affect others and learning to own their actions is a better way to develop their emotional maturity. By asking the children questions such as ‘how do you think your sister felt when you hit her?’ or ‘how were you feeling when you broke that toy?’ and ‘what would you like people to do if they recognise they made you feel sad?’ will get them to begin to understand owning up to their mistakes and learning to say sorry meaningfully.

This is also where modelling comes in. It’s important to apologise to your child when you make a mistake. They learn from you, and by saying you’re sorry sincerely shows children that no one is perfect, that everyone makes mistakes, but it’s how we respond to them that counts. This could be done in other ways, rather than an adult yelling when angry, but by speaking kindly and respectfully to them, even when it’s difficult to, or if you’re setting a limit, children begin to understand their actions have consequences and can respond to situations differently in future.

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Respect their voice

Let your child answer for themselves. Refrain from answering questions directed at them. If they don’t want to answer, don’t make a big deal about it.

“We use language to acknowledge how children feel for example, ‘I can see that you are upset, how can I help you?’” says Claire. “We use this language to help children to speak for themselves every day so it becomes second nature to them.”

We guide our educators to tune in to the behaviours, actions and emotions of the child to identify what they may be trying to communicate.

“Through listening to gestures cues, along with words, shows respect and ensures we are responsive to children and value their rights,” says Susan Cooper, group pedagogical leader for Little Scholars. “It is important for early childhood educators to validate what the children may be feeling and this is done by our educators asking the child about their emotions and setting spaces and environments where the children feel safe and secure to express their feelings comfortably.”

Tell them it’s OK to say ‘no’ if they feel unsafe or unsure. This teaches children and young people that it is OK to stand up for themselves and to be assertive if something doesn’t feel right. Following this, they should know that nothing is so ‘yucky’ that they can’t tell someone they trust about it. Hopefully, this is something your child never has to deal with, but if they’re asked to keep something secret that hurts them or makes them uncomfortable, then by talking to them about situations like this, they’ll speak up straight away and not worry about getting in trouble by breaking a ‘secret’. Teach them the difference between secrets, privacy, and surprises.

Here’s an explanation of the differences. A surprise is something that should be fun, happy, and temporary. Secrets that are meant to be kept for a long time are usually meant to protect someone or keep someone from getting in trouble. Although we want children to be wary of secrets (therefore, keep language in mind) —and especially to come to us when they have an unsafe secret—they also need to learn that some things should be kept private. Privacy isn’t about keeping someone from getting in trouble; it’s about respecting a person’s personal information.

Finally, please feel free to talk to your educators or campus managers about how they manage any of these conversations and talk to them about how you prefer it handled. We want your children and your family to feel respected and heard, safe and happy in our care, and if we can help with those conversations, we’d like to. These are also conversations you should have with extended family or people who will be in your child’s life.

Most importantly, model the person you want them to become. Children will remember their biggest role models their entire lives, so being a respectful, caring, supportive, confident adult influence will teach children the best person he or she can become. By showing them the respect they deserve and teaching them about self-respect, we’re setting them up for their future. Self-respecting and resilient children who spend time in positive, affectionate and supportive environments, led by clear and reasonable guidelines, and have healthy connections to parents and other adults, grow to be adults with the ability to bounce back from challenging situations their entire lives. And, all of the ways you show respect for children teaches them how they should show respect for others.

Do your children play with dolls? There have been some fascinating research findings that highlight the advantages of dolls as a tool for nurturing social and emotional skills in children. Recent studies have shown that doll play provides children with opportunities to engage in imaginative role-playing, develop empathy, and enhance their communication about others’ thoughts and feelings. There’s also been some research that looks at traditional notions of gender preferences in toy choices, emphasising the importance of providing children with diverse play experiences, all of which we’ll explore here.

Research challenges the notion of innate gender preferences in toy choices. Studies have found that even baby boys can and will show a preference for dolls over trucks, indicating that toy preferences may be influenced by environmental factors rather than biological predispositions. By encouraging children to play with dolls, we can help them develop a broader understanding of the world, challenge gender stereotypes, and promote equality.

Doll play provides opportunities for children to practice social and emotional skills by creating imaginary worlds, taking others’ perspectives, and talking about others’ thoughts and feelings, according to 2020 research titled Exploring the Benefits of Doll Play Through Neuroscience. The study, conducted by researchers from Cardiff University and King’s College London, saw 33 children between the ages of four and eight freely play with Barbie dolls and accessories, or tablet games with a social partner or by themselves.

The children were left to play spontaneously, but their chat was monitored and they were also fitted with a specialised cap containing state-of-the-art, functional near-infrared spectroscopy equipment – a form of brain imaging technology, making it possible to track brain activity while the child freely moved around.

The study found that the children talked more about others’ thoughts and emotions when playing with the dolls, compared with playing creative games on a computer tablet, such as a hairdressing game or a city-building game with characters.

Social play also activated the right prefrontal regions in the brain more than solo play, researchers found. These areas of the brain are responsible for regulating thoughts, actions and emotions.

The children in the study were also more likely to talk to the dolls versus characters in the digital games, which showed they were developing important social and emotional skills, according to the lead researcher.

“When children create imaginary worlds and role play with dolls, they communicate at first out loud and then internalise the message about others’ thoughts, emotions and feelings,” says lead researcher Dr. Sarah Gerson in the university release. “This can have positive long-lasting effects on children, such as driving higher rates of social and emotional processing and building social skills like empathy that can become internalised to build and form lifelong habits.”

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Boys and dolls

Closer to home, research conducted at the University of Western Sydney in 2013 found young baby boys seemed to prefer dolls to trucks, challenging the theory of an innate preference among babies for typical feminine or masculine toys. Researchers gauged the preferences of four and five-month-old babies by showing them pictures of male and female humans and dolls, as well as cars and other items.

Researchers then measured how long their gaze lingered on the objects, and calculated their preferences based on that length of time. Researchers found there was a general looking preference for dolls or doll faces over cars or trucks for both the male and female babies observed at five months old.

Other studies conducted at U of WS have found as babies age, there are sometimes preferences toward toys marketed at their own gender, but those preferences, researchers hypothesised,  could be environmental or a result of nurturing, so if they’ve been given more opportunities to play with toy trucks than dolls, they may show a preference for toy trucks.

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Babies don’t typically show gender preference until at least their second year, according to some studies, indicating that preference later may be the result of their physiological changes, cognitive development or social pressure.

Making sense of the world through play

Playing with dolls is a version of role-playing, and that’s a great thing in child development. Dolls are used them to create narratives while playing. When children do this, they’re learning to make sense of the world and helps them see things more broadly.

Other research has looked at how gendered toys are approached by each sex. One study in the 1980s had a few dozen girls and boys (aged four to nine years) presented with toys in three sex-labeled boxes and were given six minutes to explore the objects. The children’s memory for information about the toys was tested one week later. Results show that the children tactually explored toys labeled for their own sex more than similar objects labeled for the other sex, and remembered more detailed information about own-sex than other-sex objects. Between ages three to five, gender is very important to children, according to an an associate professor at the University of Kentucky. So when children are presented with very specifically-marketed gendered toys, they pay careful attention.

This is a time we should encourage children to play with all kinds of toys, as it sets the foundations for free thinking, creative play and removes the constraints of gender.

The benefits for children, regardless of their sex, of playing with dolls are numerous and supported by research. Doll play provides opportunities for children to practice social and emotional skills, develop empathy, and engage in imaginative play. Studies have shown that doll play leads to increased communication about others’ thoughts and emotions, activating important brain regions responsible for regulating thoughts, actions, and emotions.

At Little Scholars, we recognise the importance of supporting children’s interests and providing them with a diverse range of toys and play opportunities. Our home corner, which includes dolls and role-playing materials, encourages children to explore, imagine, and develop important skills and dispositions for learning. By embracing doll play and role-playing activities, we foster autonomy, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and a sense of agency in our children.


  • Exploring the Benefits of Doll Play Through Neuroscience (2020). Cardiff University and King’s College London.
  • Study on baby boys’ preferences for dolls (2013). University of Western Sydney.
  • Gendered toy exploration and play: Sequelae of the gender identity interview (1986). University of Kentucky.

Are you planning a family camping trip near Brisbane? Camping with children can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it requires some extra planning and preparation. From choosing the right campsite to packing the essentials, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure a successful and enjoyable trip.

They say that there are two types of people. Those who love camping and those who don’t know they love it yet. If you fall into the first camp, you’ll be well aware of the incredible impact that camping can have on you. It’s a time to emotionally and spiritually recharge. You’re disconnected from the minutiae of urban and suburban life and immersed in a setting where all of your modern day needs and concerns are stripped away.

And if you’re planning a family camping trip near Brisbane, there’s no better time to experience the joys of camping with your loved ones. Camping is bliss. If you don’t know that yet, you’re about to. Let’s take a look at what to pack for your family camping trip and offer some suggestions for the best camping spots near Brisbane. We’ll also provide tips for choosing a family-friendly campsite, so you can relax and enjoy the great outdoors with your loved ones. So, grab your tent, pack your bags, and get ready for an adventure!

If you’re looking for childcare centres in Brisbane or the Gold Coast, look no further. At Little Scholars, our goal is to be an extension of your family. Our first priority is the growth and development of your child; we nurture, teach and guide your child to developing all the skills that will allow them to succeed in life. Find a campus near you today. 

Finding a home in nature: the joys of family camping

Camping can be a magical experience, regardless of the season. In winter, watching your children marvel at the way their breath forms shapes in front of their faces as you pitch your tent can be truly delightful (if a little cold). And during the summer, camping is a great way for children to spend their childhood, despite the heat and humidity.

More than just a fun activity, camping can also teach our children valuable life skills. Through camping, they can learn to appreciate nature, become more responsible and mature, develop a strong work ethic, and understand the importance of safety and getting along with others. Along the way, you might even meet fascinating characters and make lifelong friends.

Camping is truly what childhood memories are made of. If you think you can do without the conveniences of the big city for a couple of nights, pack up your tent, hit the road, and say a cheerful “coo-ee” to your fellow campers. You might just find a home away from home in nature.

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What to take camping with children

If you’re planning a family camping trip near Brisbane, there are a few essential items that you’ll want to make sure you take camping for you and your little ones.

Sleeping Gear

First and foremost, you’ll need a safe and sturdy tent. Look for a tent that’s appropriate for the size of your family and that has enough room for everyone to sleep comfortably. You’ll also want to invest in quality sleeping bags and mats to ensure that everyone gets a good night’s sleep. When camping with children, it’s important to prioritise comfort to avoid any meltdowns or sleepless nights. 

Shoes and spare clothing

Appropriate shoes and clothes are also vital when camping. Well gripped shoes are a must when using communal toilets and showers to avoid any slips or falls. During the day, sturdy closed-toe shoes will also protect your child’s feet from rocks and other hazards when adventuring. Pack clothes that are suitable for the weather conditions, including rain gear and warm layers for cooler evenings.

Yummy snacks

Pack some favourite snacks. Camping can be an active and adventurous experience, so you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of snacks on hand to keep your little ones fueled up. Pack some of their easy ready-to-go favourite treats, such as granola bars, trail mix, or fruit snacks. And don’t forget the marshmallows for roasting over the campfire!

Reading material

Pack one of their books. Camping can be a great opportunity to unplug and enjoy the natural world around you, but it’s also nice to have some quiet downtime. Bring along a book that your child loves or pick up a new one before you leave. Reading can be a great way to wind down before bed or to relax in a hammock during the day.


Camping is all about spending time outdoors and having fun, so make sure you bring along some activities to keep your children entertained. Outdoor games like frisbee, catch, or a soccer ball can be a great way to burn off some energy and get active. Board games or a deck of cards are also great for rainy days or quiet evenings around the campfire. And if you’re looking for a more immersive experience, try bringing a scavenger hunt or nature bingo game to help your children explore the natural world around them

Other key items

In addition to the above essentials, you’ll want to bring along a few other key items. Torches will be essential for nighttime bathroom trips and navigating around the campsite in the dark. A first aid kit is also a must-have in case of any minor injuries or accidents. And don’t forget your sunscreen and bug spray!

Lastly, make sure you have food storage containers and a rubbish bin to keep your campsite clean and free of any critters.

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How to choose family camping sites

Your family will have a set of criteria when it comes to selecting the best possible campsite for your holiday. This will depend on the number of children you have with you, their ages, their physical abilities and your attachment to modern conveniences.

Here are some important factors to consider when selecting a family-friendly campsite:

Toilets and Shower Facilities:
When camping with little ones, it’s important to have access to clean and convenient toilet and shower facilities. Look for campsites that offer modern amenities such as flushing toilets and hot showers. It’s also worth checking whether there are family-friendly facilities like baby changing stations or accessible bathrooms for those with special needs.

Popularity of the Campsite:
Consider the popularity of the campsite you’re considering, especially if you’re camping during peak season. If the campsite is known for being a party spot or a popular destination for rowdy groups, it might not be the peaceful retreat you’re looking for. Look for quieter campsites that cater to families with young children.

Items of Interest for Young Children:

Choose a campsite that has nearby attractions that your small humans will enjoy, such as beaches, parksbush walks, or open spaces. This will give your children the opportunity to explore and play, and will help keep them entertained throughout the trip.

Family-Friendly Facilities:
Make sure the campsite has family-friendly facilities like playgrounds, BBQs, and picnic tables. These amenities will help make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable for everyone. If your family likes to fish, look for a campsite with fishing spots or other outdoor activities.

Proximity to Unfenced Potential Hazards:
Be aware of any unfenced potential hazards like bodies of water near your campsite. This is especially important if you have young children who may be at risk of wandering off. Look for campsites that are fenced or have safety measures in place to ensure that your family stays safe.

Reputation and Rating of the Campsite:
Do some research on the campsite’s reputation and rating before booking your trip. Check online reviews on sites like Tripadvisor or Google to get an idea of what other families have experienced at the campsite. This will help you make an informed decision and choose a campsite that meets your family’s needs.

By considering these factors when choosing a family-friendly campsite, you’ll be able to find the perfect spot for your family to enjoy the great outdoors

The best camping near Brisbane – where to go?

Now that you’re in the mood to spread out a swag, here are some of the best campground spots near Brisbane to go camping with children.

Camping Bigriggen with the family

The scenic rim is one of the most spectacular places in South-East Queensland. The gorgeous, untouched hinterlands blend seamlessly into picturesque, quaint farm lands. The camping opportunities at Bigriggen mean that families can easily access this hidden wonderland. Powered or non-powered sites mean you can choose the level of comfort you desire.

There is opportunity to go fishing and bushwalking, 4WD tracks, bike riding and swimming. Amenities are plentiful with showers, bathrooms and drinkable water all available onsite. You can even bring the dog! A perfect first-time experience for camping with the whole family.

Visit the Bigriggen Campground website today!

Camping Hastings Point

Heading about 30 km south of the Tweed will bring you to the beautiful Hastings Point area. There are lots of different campsites around here – some of them even offering Surfari (glamping) tents for the travellers who enjoy the finer things in life! There are lots of things to see and do in the township and the winding river tributaries are perfect for exploration and kayaking.

Check out Hastings Point campsites.

Elanda Point Camping

This is a camping-with-children hotspot and for good reason. Toddlers and young children NEED space to get physical and run around. These camp sites are grassy and spacious. There is plenty of room to ride bikes and climb trees. The nearby water is peaceful and calm and perfect for a splash about. Gentle walking trails pepper the nearby areas offering plenty of opportunities for exercise and stretching the old (and young!) legs.

Visit Habitat Noosa’s website today!

Camping Borumba Deer Park

Borumba Deer Park camping is about two hours from Brisbane. It offers creek side camping with the promise of swimming, fishing and kayaking. This is a peaceful spot for reflection and contemplation. It is well appointed for families with facilities like toilets, kitchens, laundries and a little shop (with coffee!).

Visit Borumba Deer Park website today!

Other camping spots near Brisbane

The above listed sites are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to idyllic camping spots near Brisbane. There are fabulous spots for families throughout the Gold Coast region, Toowoomba, Ipswich and further afield.

Now that you’ve discovered the best spots for camping near Brisbane, it’s time to discover how nature play can bring out the best in your child. Find out at Little Scholars.

Reading with children is transformational – it helps with communication and language development, cognitive skills, inspires imagination and creativity, serve as conversation starters, we could go on and on. It’s also fantastic bonding time that will create memories to last a lifetime. You probably know all about Little Scholars approach to reading, and that it’s a big part of our educational programming. Lately, we’ve been thinking about books that have really stuck with families and educators and of course, children! We thought we’d share some of our favourites, and they’re linked to Gold Coast and/or Brisbane libraries so you don’t have to spend a dime if you need some new reads!

Piranhas don’t eat bananas

This is one of my favourite books to read with children. It’s great for when you have a picky eater or when trying to introduce new foods that children are hesitant to try. – Claire, lead educator, Little Scholars Nerang

By Aaron Blabey, published 2017

Reading ages: ‎ 3 – 6 years

Synopsis: ‘Hey there, guys. Would you like a banana?’ ‘What’s wrong with you. Brian? You’re a piranha.’ Brian loves bananas. Trouble is, Brian’s a piranha. And his friends aren’t happy about his fondness for fruit. No, they’re not happy at all

City of Gold Coast Libraries

Stop the Clock

I recently checked this book out of my local library and read it with my three-year-old daughter. It resonated with me as mornings to get ready with drop-off at Little Scholars Burleigh and get to myself work are so rushed. In this story, I got a better understanding of what that constant hurrying might be like for my toddler, who just wants to start her day by enjoying some time at home, and with her parents.

Since we read this book, I’ve intentionally slowed down, calmed my typical encouragements to move faster and try to find time ways for more connection, with a quick story before we leave or we make up stories in the car. The point in the book of slowing down has even helped with hard moments my daughter might be having by stopping together, going or looking outside and starting to point out all the things we see. – Christina, social media and marketing specialist.

Author: Pippa Goodhart, published 2022

Reading ages: 4-7

Synopsis: Life is so busy! On his way to school, Joe is missing all the exciting things happening around him – he is in such a rush, he doesn’t even notice his little sister crying! Given a task to draw what he saw on his way to school, Joe decides to stop time to appreciate all the little details that make life meaningful, and find out why Poppy was crying.

City of Gold Coast Libraries & Brisbane Library

This is a ball

My favourite book to read to the children is This is a Ball. I recommend it for the kindergarten-aged children. It’s a crowd favourite and allows everyone to be a little bit silly! – Hayley, lead educator, Little Scholars Yatala

Author: Beck and Matt Stanton, published 2017
Reading ages: 4-8

Synopsis: For the Grown-Ups: You know how you’re right all the time? All. The. Time. Yes, well, it’s time to give the kids a turn. Which is why everything you read in this book is going to be wrong. But that’s ok, because the kids are going to correct you. And they’re going to love it!

City of Gold Coast Libraries & Brisbane Library

I wanna be a Great Big Dinosaur

This is one of my favourites from a while ago. It’s really fun to read and get children involved in, as you can make actions to the words and change your tone to match the images. It’s light reading and a feel good ending. – Yvette, educational lead, Little Scholars Burleigh

By Heath McKenzie, published 2016

Reading ages:4-8

Synopsis: More than anything in the world, one little boy wants to be a great big dinosaur. And he’s in luck! A great big T. Rex shows up to teach him how to stomp and roar just like a dinosaur. But dinosaurs aren’t so great at soccer or video games… Maybe being a little boy isn’t all bad? A story about being whoever (or whatever) you want!

City of Gold Coast Libraries

Pig the Pug

I love reading the Pig the Pug series. All the different stories are such a fun, playful rhyming with lively pictures that always capture the children’s eyes and thoughts leading to conversations and their interpretations of the pictures/story.  I also love that in every book, Pig the Pug comes to see the value of honesty, friendship, sportsmanship and gratitude. -Skye, lead educator, Little Scholars Pacific Pines

By Aaron Blabey, published 2014
Reading ages: 3-5

Synopsis: Pig is a greedy and selfish Pug. He has all the bouncy balls, bones, and chew toys a dog could ever want, yet he refuses to share with his poor friend, Trevor.

City of Gold Coast Libraries & Brisbane Library 

Rainbow Fish

In our kindergarten room we absolutely love to read the Rainbow Fish, it is an important story to us as it shows the importance of friendships and how to make friendships, which as we enter our final year of pre schooling before big school is so important and timely! As well as this we love learning and reading The Colour Monster daily, this book teaches us to identify our emotions and how each one may make us feel. – Ella, educator, Little Scholars Deception Bay

By Marcus Pfister, published 1995
Reading ages: 4-8

Synopsis: The Rainbow Fish learns that being the most beautiful fish in the sea can be lonely. Ultimately he learns that there is more to be gained by sharing his special qualities than by keeping them all to himself.

City of Gold Coast Libraries & Brisbane Library

Going on a Bear Hunt

I love Going on a Bear Hunt (and even better, Going on a Croc Hunt) because it’s predictable and repetitive, which supports the children in recounting the story and their comprehension skills. It’s also super fun because it can be used in combination with actions to make it a physical retelling! – Jaidyn, lead educator, Little Scholars Ormeau 2

By Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, published 1993

Reading ages: 3-7

Synopsis: For brave hunters and bear-lovers, the classic chant-aloud by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.Follow and join in the family’s excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of a bear. What a surprise awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest!

City of Gold Coast Libraries & Brisbane Library

The Elves and the Shoemaker

One I always remember! As a child my Nanna would read this to me when we visited, and I loved the magic it brought to my imagination. As a adult I love the storyline behind it and how amazing the message is, how important it is for children to learn. Helping others in need also looks at if you help someone, the good karma will always come back to you. – Sarah, educator at Little Scholars Deception Bay.

Retold by various authors
Reading ages: 2-5
Synopsis: A classic fairy tale about two selfless shoemaking elves shows the joy that comes from giving–and receiving–generosity and kindness.

Babies are a mysterious bunch. For many months, their main forms of communication are cries, squeaks, gestures and coos. Parents fall madly in love with these little humans without knowing what they’re thinking and feeling, often just guessing at best.

How babies play, how and what they’re learning, and what they’re interested in can be a mystery to many. Many parents have seen their baby pull out every book off a shelf, for example, watch it fall, then grab another, while that parent scratches his or her head and says ‘why?’

Babies are a mysterious bunch. For many months, their main forms of communication are cries, squeaks, gestures and coos. Parents fall madly in love with these little humans without knowing what they’re thinking and feeling, often just guessing at best.

How babies play, how and what they’re learning, and what they’re interested in can be a mystery to many. Many parents have seen their baby pull out every book off a shelf, for example, watch it fall, then grab another, while that parent scratches his or her head and says ‘why?’

There’s an answer. It’s a schema. A schema is both a category of knowledge as well as the process of acquiring that knowledge. In play, babies are often involved in repeated actions or certain behaviours as they explore the world around them and try to find out how things work. Those repetitive actions, such as a baby pulling out book after book, allows a child to practice and construct meaning to something, until they’ve understood that schema. Then they find something else to focus on and lather, rinse, repeat!

As Yvette, educational lead from our Burleigh campus says, it’s children’s development making sense.

“All of those little things that you see children do that seem a bit cute, or frustrating even, like throwing, it’s a schema, a child’s pathway of development for making sense of the world,” Yvette says.

The repetitive action of a schema allows a child to practice and construct meaning until they have mastered the understanding of the schema. Being aware of play schemas helps in two ways:

  1. It helps parents and educators to differentiate between ‘behaviour’ vs ‘natural urges’ which move past the belief that a child is just being ‘difficult’
  2. It helps parents and educators to plan learning environments that support the development and mastery of schemas

There are a number of types of schemas when it comes to babies.

Trajectory schema – The trajectory schema is one of the earliest schemas observed in babies. They are fascinated with how they, and objects move. Children will often throw objects or food from their pram or highchair. They climb and jump in puddles and enjoy exploring running water.

Transporting schema – Little ones enjoy repeatedly moving resources around, from one place to another. They will carry many items at a time using their hands, pockets, containers,
baskets, bags, or anything else that will hold their newfound treasures.

Enclosing schema – Children show an interest in enclosed spaces. They may want to sit (and hide in) boxes or laundry baskets. Or they may show interest constructing fences and barricades to enclose toy animals or themselves.

Rotational schema – Children showing a rotational schema may display a preference for turning taps on and off, winding and unwinding string, and playing with
hoops. They may also be fascinated with the physical experience of twirling and twisting their body, spinning around on the spot, or rolling themselves down a hill. They have an interest in things that turn, such as wheels and windmills. They enjoy rolling tyres around, turning lids and watching the washing machine on a spin cycle.

Enveloping schema – Children with an enveloping schema are interested in covering and hiding items, including themselves. They will enjoy dressing up, and filling and emptying bags and containers with different objects.

Connecting schema – Children displaying the connecting schema want to join items together. They find resources like string to tie things. They connect and disconnect toys such as rail tracks.
They enjoy construction toys, and doing arts and crafts where they can glue and stick pieces together.

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Orientation schema – Children like to turn objects and themselves around and upside down, to get a view from under the table or from the branch of a tree. They may bend over and look at the world backwards through their legs. They enjoy seeing things from a different view when exploring using cardboard tubes, binoculars or a magnifying glass.

By adapting this theory, we have been able to slow down and become more in tune to the children and noticing their behaviour patterns in play. It is now so important to us that we allow our babies and young children the time to explore the repetitive actions of schematic play.

-Jodie, lead educator

Theory of Cognitive Development

Jean Piaget was one of the first to use the term “schema” back in 1923. Piaget was an important child development theorist and his Theory of Cognitive Development was and still is read and followed today by early childhood specialists. He was one of the first who believed children think differently than adults and that they have an innate desire to learn and actively build up their knowledge about the world. They are not passive creatures waiting for someone to teach them.

Susan, our group pedagogical leader, is bringing her schema knowledge across our campuses to the lead educators in the nursery and toddler studios in 2023. Learn a bit more below about how we use schema theory, and how one educator has taken it on in her nursery.

Schematic Pedagogy

Through our collective curriculum, our educators are guided through a ‘schematic lens’, meaning they can plan for children’s thinking, not just activities. This has a strong link to our Collective Curriculum, our educational program for children.

The learning environment

Our educators apply teaching methodologies to design their play spaces and are intentional in the resources offered.

Observing and planning for children’s thinking

Through our collective curriculum, our educators observe the children through their play, to determine schemas explored through the children’s engagement to an activity or resource. Through observing patterns of learning, our trained educators can plan forward to scaffold their cognitive capabilities.

Partnering with children in play

Through ongoing mentoring and coaching, our educators are able use their knowledge of schemas and plan effectively. Our educators are encouraged to partner with children in their play and observe behaviours explored through schemas.

“Schemas are an intrinsic part of child development, knowledge to schemas provide our team of educators an opportunity to identify and encourage independence in children as they explore patterns of movement, often related to schemas,” Susan says. “Supporting assessing through a schematic lens, provides our educators with a framework which can be used to analyse children’s learning, supporting the planning process within our curriculum.”

Educator Q&A

You may be wondering if you have a baby or a small toddler in one of our campuses, how we use schemas to help their development. We talked to one of the educators at our Deception Bay campus about using schemas for educational programming. Deception Bay Little Scholars was recently rated as Exceeding the National Quality Standard (NQS) after it was assessed by the Department of Education. The NQS sets a high national benchmark for early childhood education and care in Australia. Jodie, lead educator in the nursery studio, says learning about schemas was a game-changer.

  • Q: When did you first learn about schemas?
    A: I first heard about schematic play by attending a professional development webinar with Semann & Slattery. It resonated with me as I had observed children engage in the different schemas, but didn’t know about schematic play. I found it so intriguing and needed to do more research. I found Jean Piaget’s psychology theory; “while a schema in psychology still refers to how information is organized, it focuses on how the human mind does it”. I have now learnt the what, why and how children learn through repeated patterns of behaviour.
  • Q: How long have you worked with nursery children? What were your interactions like before?
    A: I have worked in the industry coming up to 14 years and only in the past four years, I have engaged in a more full-time educating role with the nursery and toddler-aged children. Prior to this, I struggled with understanding this age group on the emphasis of what, why and how this age group do things so differently, developmentally, and emotionally. Especially toddlers as they are so spontaneous and busy, and how I could best support them as an educator. It wasn’t until I had my second child, who was so vastly different to my first child! She was much more inquisitive, very busy and just like a little tornado ripping through the house. She was never content until she had everything out on the floor! For the most part she never sat and engaged with her toys, (like my first child did). However, could sit very quietly and go unnoticed at times, especially when she would discover the creams on the change table, or the dirt and mud in the backyard while I hung out the washing.
    [After learning about schema theory] I was able to resonate with this from my daughter’s tornado toddler years. That it seemed she wasn’t content until she had gone around and pulled everything out, to not even play with any of it, but just move it from place to place. When in fact she was learning! She was learning about horizontal trajectory (dropping objects), vertical trajectory (throwing, pulling, pushing, pointing, climbing) and transporting (moving objects from place to place).
  • Q: How has your knowledge of schemas adjusted how you spend time with babies and toddlers?
    A: With the support and guidance from Susan, I have since adapted Jean Piaget’s schema theory into our collective educational program. By adapting this theory, we have been able to slow down and become more in tune to the children and noticing their behaviour patterns in play. It is now so important to us that we allow our babies and young children the time to explore the repetitive actions of schematic play. Allowing our babies to construct meaning in what they are doing, as babies and young children learn best through, opportunities to engage in active learning through hands on experiences. These opportunities allow babies and children to problem solve, question, predict, imagine, speculate, and develop independent choices as they make decisions in an area, they are familiar with.
  • Q: How do you see schema theory in action in your nursery?
    A: Our younger babies spend a lot of their time engaging in trajectory play. They can be observed doing tummy time, reaching out for objects, kicking their legs, opening and closing their hands, grasping objects, waving arms up and down or side to side. Then onto rolling, sitting, and crawling where their patterns of movement emerge to larger body movements in horizontal and vertical lines e.g., pushing, kicking pointing, rocking, climbing, or stepping up and down as they work towards their important milestone of walking (horizontal trajectory).

Both our younger babies and older babies really enjoy dropping objects or putting things in and out of containers (vertical trajectory). Using old formula tins and cutting an opening in the top with lids from jar foods a milk bottle lids, is a big favourite.

Our older babies are seen continuing with trajectory and begin to start exploring other forms of schematic play like, transporting, rotation, connecting  and this can lead to a disconnecting schema where the child builds something that they can demolish or through [activities like] untying knots, as well as enclosing, positioning, enveloping and orientation, such as looking at things from different viewpoints like hanging upside down, looking through their legs, looking at things upside down. No wonder our little people are so busy and on the go all the time!

Thanks, Jodie!


Pedagogical Practices: Bringing new learning techniques to Little Scholars

Our days seem to be getting more and more hectic. There’s the 9-5 slog, rushing to and from work, drop-offs and pick-ups at daycare and school, running to appointments, weekends are for relaxing, or are they actually for rushing to children’s sports, house and yard maintenance? Even being more connected to devices means we might be losing connections with each other. We always seem to be busy, finishing one task or appointment so we can cross it off the endless list.

If we reflect on our own childhoods, do our children’s developing years look like ours? Maybe not. We likely (and hopefully) have memories of aimless play, exploration and time to dream.

Even going on family walks may come with encouragements of ‘c’mon Freddy, let’s go!’ or ‘keep walking’, but why? Challenge yourself not to give your children any instructions for the next minute the next time you’re out for a walk. Was 60 seconds hard to get through? The funny thing is, on walks, you’re probably not even in a rush.

Your children may constantly feeling hurried, rushed, pushed to keep moving. This can create feelings of anxiety, stress and resentment.

There’s a movement brewing the last few years, called Slow Parenting. Have you heard of it, or pondered it yourself?

According to a 2015 article in the Boston Globe, slow parenting ‘cherishes quality over quantity, being in the moment, and making meaningful connections with your family.’

In the article, Carrie Contey, a prenatal and perinatal psychologist, says young children need a balance of activity and down time.

“In early development, children are still wiring. They need to have moments of doing and moments of being for integration to happen,” says Contey. “If they don’t take space for integration that leads to meltdowns and overtiredness.”

Need some ideas on how you can slow down your parenting, and in a way, time?

  • Picnics! Children love picnics. Instead of family dinner at the table, why not take it outside? Head to the beach, go out to your backyard, or heck, lay a blanket in the living room. Children will love the special change in a daily event, and it’s a time for everyone to connect in a different way
  • Drink in your child/children. In the article, clinical psychologist John Duffy suggests that “parents just take time to watch their children, whether they are playing, doing homework, or eating a snack. Take a moment to drink them in. Remember and remind yourself how remarkable your children are. That pause alone, even if momentary, can drive a shift in the pace.”
  • Go for a walk with no intentions – no length of time or distance goals, just walk. Let your child slow down to observe something, or stop and encourage them to look at something. Get your child to point out everything they see at one point during the walk
  • Give children space to play independently. Unstructured play is so good for little ones—helping them build creativity, imagination, problem solving, and resilience
  • Stop glorifying being busy. Find ways as a family you can take back that time you give to everything else; don’t sign up for so many extra-curriculars you spend your only time as a family in the car ferrying to events, don’t agree to every birthday party or invite, decide as a family what’s important on the calendar that month and what isn’t
  • Throw a ball around, plant some seeds together, play a game (not on a screen) together – the singular focus of activities like these, and the conversations that will come up, will be memory-making
  • Read together. At Little Scholars we embrace the Abecedarian Approach Australia, which brings conversation in to time together between child and adult when reading books. Research proves there’s a multitude of benefits for children who are read to daily
  • Just cuddle together. The effect of physical affection in childhood is lifelong, with health and well-being benefits proven in science. Several studies have related the happiness of adults to how affectionate their parents were with them when they were babies.  This was a result of oxytocin, according to researchers, the natural chemical released when you feel love and affection, being produced more in children with affectionate parents
  • If you are the parent of more than one child, make time to do something special one-on-one with each child. They’ll appreciate being the sole focus of Mum or Dad for a little while, and you’ll appreciate getting to bond.

Next time you’re about to hurry your child, take a moment to think about why, and how you can approach it differently. If it’s about being late for something say bed time, will an extra 15 minutes affect them adversely once and a while? What about what they stand to gain from the extra time? If it’s getting to school and work on time, reflect on how you can alter your routine to allow for a bit of flexibility. You never know what small moments will make up lifetime memories for your child.

We live in a digital world, and for many of us, our small children are quicker to learn and use technology than we are. For a parent, letting your child use technology can be a bit of a break, so you can have a few minutes to work, cook, tidy up or even just have some peace. And increasingly, children are required to have their own devices for their education once they get to big school. Technology allows them to learn things in ways a book or even a television show can’t teach them, but it also comes with risk of which parents need to be aware.

Here are our top tips on how to keep your child safe while using devices.

1. Conversations about what your child does online

Engage with your child on their digital experiences. Parents often talk about what a child does during their day – how school or daycare was, what they had for lunch, what they’re reading, but do you talk to them about what they’re doing online or on devices? We recommend being an active participant with your child while on the phone, iPad or computer and watch, read or do online activities with them. Be curious about what interests them and ask questions — at the same time, you can gently introduce online safety tips, such as not clicking on pop-ups, or question links coming from sources they don’t know before they click. Remind your child to always talk to you about anything, and to come to you if they find something online that makes them feel uncomfortable or if someone outside their immediate trust circle contacts them online. Make those conversations commonplace, because the more you interact with your children during and about screen time, the better.

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2. Your child's digital footprints

Digital footprints can last for a long time. Talk with your children about what the internet is, and how (when they’re older) what they post can influence people’s opinions of them—good or bad. This is also a reminder to you about considering what you post, especially when it comes to your child.  Asking them early if you may take their photo, and if you plan to share it on social media, let them know who will see it, why you want to share it, and respect their decision if they don’t want to share it. This shows respect for your child, models consent and respectful data sharing practices. The more they know about this, the better off they’ll be when it comes to making decisions about their online presence when they’re older.

3. Age-appropriate screen time

Children under two years of age are not recommended to have any screen time outside of occasional video calls, according to national and international guidelines, such as from Early Childhood Australia and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children younger than age two are more likely to learn when they interact and play with parents, siblings, and other children and adults. After age two and until at least age five, it’s suggested that little eyes only be exposed to one to two hours of high quality programming per day.

Too much screen time and regular exposure to poor-quality programming has been linked to:

  • Obesity
  • Delays in language and social skill development
  • Insufficient sleep
  • Behaviour problems
  • Violence
  • Attention problems
  • Less time spent learning.

Unstructured playtime is more valuable for a young child’s developing brain than is electronic media, but not all screen time is ‘bad’ and can even be beneficial.

Sites such as Children and Media Australia and Common Sense Media can help parents understand the quality of the media and apps that their children are using with programming ratings and reviews.

4. Parental controls

Parental controls are software tools that allow you to monitor and limit what your child sees and does online.

They can be set up to do things like:

  • Block your child from accessing specific websites, apps or functions (like using a device’s camera or the ability to buy things)
  • Filter different kinds of inappropriate content — such as ‘adult’ or sexual content, content that may promote self-harm, eating disorders, violence, drugs, gambling, racism and terrorism
  • Allow you to monitor your child’s use of connected devices, with reports on the sites they visit and the apps they use, how often and for how long
  • Set time limits that block access after a set time.

The Australian government’s eSafety Commissioner is a great resource with important information on how to protect children of all ages when they spend time online.

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5. Device-free time and zones

Obviously, with the recommended screen time guidelines for small children to be somewhere between zero to two hours daily depending on age, your child’s time should be mostly device-free, but this is a great idea for all family members to carve out some time each day without devices to focus on other interests and each other. Your children are always watching what you’re doing, and seeing you keep the phone or iPad away so you can read or play with them, or even focus on other passions or hobbies of your own, models healthy behaviour when it comes to devices. As mentioned above, you can set time limits on devices, with both Apple and Android, and switch things up so that when the limit is up, go do something outside.

Maybe as a family everyone can agree to device-free time together, such as at meals or weekend mornings – whatever works for you. Research shows that devices shouldn’t be used for at least an hour before bedtime to ensure your child has the best quality sleep.

You could also agree to areas in which devices are to be used such as living rooms or the study. If you keep mobile phones and other devices out of your child’s bedroom at night, your child won’t be able to play games or potentially wander into online territory you don’t want them to see. This can also stop your child being disturbed in the night by messages and notifications. Reducing the areas in which devices may be used also allows other areas for connection – like car rides and restaurants, as a family.


Come and see the Little Scholars difference

Let us hold your hand and help looking for a child care centre. Leave your details with us and we’ll be in contact to arrange a time for a ‘Campus Tour’ and we will answer any questions you might have!