Playground Leaders in the Park

Playground Leader in Heywood Park

Join our playground leaders this summer for some FREE fun in select North Vancouver parks! 

We have activities for everyone!

A day at the park may include tag, painting, and water play or Man Hunt, a forest scavenger hunt and card games.  Our friendly leaders are on hand to lend out equipment and share fun ideas.  Activities are unstructured and self-served. Please ask your park leader for more information.

Play Gear

  •  Sports equipment
  • Craft supplies
  • Cards & board games
  • Summer toys
  • Water play & more

Playground Leaders

Our staff are safe, caring adults who are trained in First Aid and Healthy Child Development (High Five).  Their role is to be a host, facilitate play and help neighbours connect.  

What should I bring to the park?

Here are some ideas to help with your planning:

  • Bring a water bottle and a healthy snack 
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen
  • Swim Suit, towel and water shoes if you are using the water park
  • A healthy snack
  • A blanket for sitting on and a beach umbrella for shade

Service runs rain or shine

Participants drop-in and may come and go as they please. Young children should be accompanied by a caregiver. Daycare groups are welcome!

2022 Summer Schedule, July 11th – August 27th
Garibaldi Park

Monday & Wednesday 10:30am - 2:30pm
Garibaldi Drive
Amenities: Playground, tennis courts.

Heywood Park

Tuesdays 10:30am - 3:00pm
Saturday 10:30am - 2:00pm
Marine Drive & MacKay Avenue
Amenities: Playground, forested area, fields, washrooms, walking trails.

Ray Perrault Park

Tuesday and Thursdays 10:30am - 2:30pm (relocated to Viewlynn Park July 26 and 28 due to hot weather warning)
1310 E Grand Blvd
Amenities: Playbox, playground, tennis courts, fields, washroom

Viewlynn Park

Wednesdays & Fridays 10:30am - 2:30pm 
2600 Block of Viewlynn Drive
Amenities: Playground, spray park, baseball field, forest and washrooms.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve collected the most frequently asked questions about the Playground Leaders In The Park Service and answered them below.  If you have a question we haven’t answered, please call us at 604-987-Play(7529) and we would be happy to answer your question.

At what age can children attend the park on their own?
There are no hard and fast rules to determine if your child is ready to play independently at the park.  There are a lot of factors: your child’s character and maturity, distance from the park to your home, if your child has a friend or sibling with them, familiarity with the park and walking route. 

Below are five things to think about when deciding if your child has the skills to play by themselves at the park:
1) Does your child know when to ask the park leader for help?
2) Can your child independently manage their personal needs? (bathroom, lunch, sunscreen, belongings)
3) Does your child know his/her full name, phone number, address and parent’s/caregiver’s cell number?
4) Does your child know how, when and with whom they are going home?
5) Does your child know and respect the rules established by your family/caregivers? (For example: don’t cross any streets, stay at the park, don’t go to a friend’s house without calling to ask.)

What if my child is not ready to go to the park on their own?  Can my child still participate?
We welcome children of all ages and their parents and caregivers.  Children are free to initiate and participate in whatever activities they want to.  Young children may need their parent or caregiver to stay close by.  As children mature they will naturally branch out and explore the play space and their independence.  When children distance themselves from their parent or caregiver they test their abilities, problem solve and discover new things.  It’s up to you to decide what you and your child are ready for.  We encourage you to trust your child and allow them a taste of independence this summer.

My child has a disability.  Can they attend the program?
Absolutely!  The same guidelines for participation apply to all children.

Why is play important?
At the NVRC we are big fans of play!  That’s because, play promotes healthy child development.  During play, the child is ‘in charge’ of what they are thinking and doing.  This allows children to think critically and creatively, test and explore boundaries and ideas, negotiate with peers, and make decisions.  These are all important life skills.  Children benefit most from play that is child-directed or ‘unstructured’.  It’s no coincidence that this is our philosophy for the Playground Leaders In The Park service.

I’ve heard the NVRC is promoting Risky and Adventurous Play.  Should I really let my child participate?  Will they get hurt?
Yes, it’s true.  The NVRC is promoting risky and adventurous play.  Don’t panic, this type of play is critical for healthy child development and might not be exactly what you imagine.  We think this quote sums things up nicely:
It is “play [that] brings the world to life for children.  It provides for an exploration and understanding of their abilities; helps them to learn and develop; and exposes them to the realities of the world in which they will live, which is not free from risk but rather one where risk is ever present.  The opportunity for play develops a child’s risk awareness and prepares them for their future lives."

So while we expect to see a few more scraped knees this summer, we’re also hoping to see a lot more children who are: a healthy weight, getting quality rest/sleep, physically literate and free of stress and anxiety.  If you’d like to find out more visit: Participaction.

My child finds unstructured play boring.  Will staff also lead games?
We prefer when kids make their own fun.  That’s because we don’t think being bored is such a bad thing.  When kids get bored of being bored – great things can happen.  They develop their creativity and imagination, they engage in new activities and discover that they have control over how much fun they have.  In today’s rushed and highly structured world, children don’t have much time to ‘just play’ and develop these great skills.  That’s why we’re so excited about the Playground Leaders In The Park service!

What do the park leaders do if they aren’t responsible for children?
The park is a place where children can take responsibility for themselves in a safe environment.  Our goal is to support play and independence by offering guidance and ensuring the environment is child friendly.  Our hope is that children will be empowered to direct their own play, explore their abilities, solve their own problems and explore the park.  Staff are caring adults who will step in if they notice a child is in distress or if there is an emergency or hazardous situation.

What is the NVRC guidance policy?
Summer is a time for learning and developing confidence.  Park leaders know that children don’t have it all figured out yet, that’s why we try to help children solve their own problems by providing guidance.  We encourage children to be respectful, responsible, honest and safe.  Occasionally children need quiet time to collect their thoughts and relax their body, so they can calmly think about the situation that is upsetting them.  Park leaders will help your child identify how they feel, how the other participants are feeling, possible solutions and how to prevent the problem from occurring in the future.  At times, Park Leaders will have firm rules to keep kids safe.  The Park Leader will explain why the rules exist and ask for your child’s cooperation.  By the way, we do have an official policy that protects children from abuse and inappropriate discipline.  Just ask us if you’d like to read it.


Contact Information

Customer Service: 604-987-7529
Supervisor: Stacy Yeats, Recreation Programmer 2, 604-983-6349 or email 

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