ULTIMATE Guide To Fun, FREE Outdoor Playgrounds For Children In Singapore

Bring the kids to some the best and zero-cost play areas on the Red Dot.
18 February 2021
(image:123RF.com)
(image:123RF.com)

Yes, you can let your kids run wild here.

As parents in Singapore, it is a blessing that there are playgrounds in almost every neighbourhood. Although the most common neighbourhood playground is the typical set up of playhouses and slides, there are actually quite a number of outdoor ones that are constructed to give children the ultimate playtime experience. Look through this ultimate guide to 28 fun, totally free outdoor playgrounds in Singapore. Ready? Play? Go!

*Covid-19 note: some of these playgrounds may have been cordoned off in light of the pandemic. We encourage everyone to practise social distancing and to adhere to the safety measures so everyone can have fun safely.

1a. Admiralty Park: Most Number Of Slides

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After two years of redevelopment, Admiralty Park opened again in October 2017, featuring a whopping 27 hectares of nature and urban areas – that’s about a third of the size of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. In addition to being the largest park in the north of Singapore, Admiralty Park’s playground also boasts 26 slides, the most number of slides in any park in Singapore.

This playground definitely compares to the likes of the well-loved Pasir Ris Park and East Coast Park playgrounds. Here’s what you need to know before you head down with your tykes.

From slides to swings and even an outdoor flying fox, the park is certainly suitably equipped to keep your children entertained.

The Family Terracing Play area is the largest out of all three play areas. Let your children explore the different levels of terrain as they play with the engaging equipment, such as the suspension bridges and climbing ropes.

Located farther away from the other two play areas, the Junior Play area has gentle slopes and slides for little ones. A must-try is the expression swing, which allows you to face your child. It’s the first of its kind in Singapore.

For those that are more adventurous, check out the adventure roller slide and green roller slide in the Adventure Play area. The blue-hued high adventure roller slide in the Adventure Play area is approximately 32 metres long and has LED lights along its sides that light up when you slide down. Meanwhile, at approximately 34 metres with gentle curves, the green roller slide is the longest outdoor slide in a public park.

1b. Admiralty Park continued: Playground For All

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How do I get there?

The park is a 15-minute walk from Woodlands MRT Station. You can also board bus 903 from Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange and get off after two stops, at the Progen Building bus stop.

What if I’m driving? If you’re driving your kids to the playground, park at the West Entrance car park. Parking at the West Entrance car park is free from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and $0.60 per 30 minutes, daily. Make sure you’re at the correct car park because the North Entrance car park is located at the other end of Admiralty Park.

How’s the crowd?

Located right next to Republic Polytechnic, the playground is teemed with teenagers on weekdays – especially in the afternoons. The Junior Play area is separated from the other two zones for older kids, so your tots can still safely play all day. However, if your little ones want the full playground experience, it’s best to make a visit to Admiralty Park in the evenings instead, or wait for the weekends.

6A Admiralty Rd., 732006

2. West Coast Park: Adventure Time!

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West Coast Park has been the stalwart playground of the west since opening in 1999. However, it can still hold its own against newer playgrounds, thanks to its arsenal of adventurous play equipment that even teenagers find fun.

There aren’t any rare Pokemon to be found here, but the sprawling playgrounds, jungle gyms and sandpits will remind you what it was like to be a carefree child before smartphones. Or you know, take your kids to play here.

The 600-square-metre playground houses a host of obstacle courses, such as a flying fox, balancing beams and a giant rope pyramid which, at 9.3 metres, is one of the tallest in Singapore. There is an entire section for toddlers, including a mini fire engine and a Viking ship.

Children aged two to five have lower centres of gravity and are shorter, so equipment with lower heights are more suitable for them. Handrails which are within their reach are installed on these play elements and steps are less steep.

As toddlers prefer imaginative play, equipment with designs that resemble real-life vehicles, such as the fire engine, also appeal to them. Those aged five to 12 prefer more physically challenging and problem-solving tasks, hence the giant rope pyramid and balancing beams.

3. Tiong Bahru Park: Choo Choo Train

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Visitors to this playground in the hipster area of Tiong Bahru get to go on a train ride with a difference. The locomotive here features five cabins tilting at different angles, along with rope elements, climbing equipment and slides within the train.

First opened in 1967, Tiong Bahru Park was redeveloped in 2000 with the theme of “Old Frame, New Images”. The train was then built in line with a concept by a landscape consultant engaged by the National Parks Board (NParks). The final train design was also checked for playground safety compliance before being built.

1 Henderson Rd., 159561

4. Yishun River Green: Artsy Fartsy

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Yishun residents have an art installation of a playground to let their children run around in.

The Yishun River Green playground, located at Block 330 Yishun Ring Road, features the Mini Pool, an art installation involving 16 pads on the ground that light up and change colour when they are stepped on.

The work is by Jen Lewin, a light sculptor based in the United States whose work was displayed at the 2014 edition of iLight Marina Bay, a light art festival that emphasises sustainability and energy-saving measures.

Complementing the 480-square-metre playground’s whimsical theme are three crooked houses that seem to have been plucked straight out of a children’s book by Dr Suess. There is also a kinetics hammock trellis – a swingset with nine seats installed at different heights.

5. Sembawang Park: Shipwreck

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Nestled within the coastal Sembawang Park is a life-sized shipwreck of wooden planks and galvanised steel, separated into five fractured pieces. The massive “wreck” is the centrepiece of the 900-square-metre Sembawang Park playground. The “wreck” was built in memory of two British battleships that sank north of Singapore after being attacked by the Japanese during World War II.

Complete with gun turrets, propellers, smoke stacks and even a rudder, the ship was crafted with an emphasis on detail. It opened in July 2013. In line with the naval theme, the playground in Sembawang Park uses sand as a base instead of a “unitary surface”, which is the rubber flooring seen at some other playgrounds.

Sand has long been a staple feature of playgrounds – and for good reason. According to child development experts, playing with sand brings many benefits to children, such as enhancing sensory experiences and creativity. However, according to consultants, it is also sometimes considered more difficult to maintain as it may harden or get displaced.

6. Pasir Ris Park: The Huge One

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Families are drawn to the Pasir Ris Park playground near Elias Road for its coastal view, sea breeze and welcoming 750 square metres of space. Thanks to its expanse – afforded to only a handful of playgrounds in Singapore – the playground has a collection of well-spaced-out play equipment.

The highlights of the playground include a 10-metre-long slide stemming from a rope pyramid perched atop a hill, several rock-climbing walls and a rope bridge. The playground has been built and upgraded by different companies over the years. Despite being built to withstand heavy usage, the playground requires regular inspection and maintenance for safety.

7. Bishan Street: 13 Clock Playground

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Located next to Bishan Interchange along Bishan Street 13, clocks are this playground’s dominant motif. It forms a likely unintended irony when framed against the constant threat of removal for the sake of redevelopment. Dating back to around 1988, the small playground features a house on stilts with a clock face on its facade.

Metal ladders and a bridge allow the young and young-at-heart to clamber and traverse behind the clock face, before sliding down a terrazzo slide hidden by another clock face. Quaint rocking horses atop metal springs can also be found at this playground, which is built on a sandpit that has not been replaced by the more modern rubber matting.

8. Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3: Dragon Playground

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Found in Cheng San estate, this dragon has a similar configuration to its more famous counterpart, but rubber matting has replaced what used to be a sandpit. Built around 1978, it has seen less wear and tear than its famous twin in Toa Payoh Lorong 6.

A sinuous metal skeleton forms a twisting ladder from the dragon’s “tail” at ground level to its head, where mosaic-clad slides and more conventional stepladders may be found.

9. Kim Keat Avenue: T-Rex Playground

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Dinosaurs in Singapore! Hidden in Toa Payoh, this mama T-rex guards her eggs while her baby is poised for play. While there’s only another small dinosaur-shaped play structure there, the dino-crazed little ones will love running around and under this huge sculpture.

There’s also a small food centre and neighbourhood supermarket one block away – so you can pick up drinks if your young ones wear themselves out trying to climb the dinosaur.

27 Toa Payoh E, Block 27, 310027

10. Elias Mall: Sampan Playground

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Located near Elias Mall in Pasir Ris, this playground that is shaped like a sampan (a small traditional East Asian boat) was completed around 1994. It was one of the famed former Housing and Development Board (HDB) interior designer Mr. Khor Ean Ghee’s final designs.

Split into two halves atop a sandpit, one half contains a tyre ladder for children to clamber over, while the other is built slightly higher to accommodate a wide terrazzo slide with ladders at the bow of the sampan.

Even the colour scheme of the playground reflects that of a sampan using green, red, brown, black and white tiles, right down to the painted eyes commonly seen on such boats, so your kids can really think they are sailing on seafaring vessel.

11. Block 28 Toa Payoh Lorong 6: Iconic Dragon

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We couldn’t leave out the iconic dragon playground at Toa Payoh, which was thankfully left intact after the old blocks of flats around it were demolished. This one is missing its swing, but is in great condition otherwise. Find it opposite SAFRA Toa Payoh. Park in the small lot by blocks 29 and 30.

Block 28 Toa Payoh Lorong 6, 310028

12. Montreal Green: A Hidden Gem

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Hidden in the neighbourhood of Sembawang is a playground kids of all ages will love. One of the rare playgrounds with a sandpit, this is divided into two sections. A taller slide and a mini rock climbing wall are perfect for bigger kids, while the younger ones can hop aboard a seesaw or a mini merry-go-round. The playground is located at Block 589A Montreal Drive.

13. Singapore Botanic Gardens: Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden

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The Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens has always been a favourite spot for parents to take their kids on a fun day out. After its extension, the Garden has doubled in size to 4 hectares – that’s around the size of seven football fields.

It’s now the largest children’s garden in Asia, with its new attractions now accessible to children up to 14 years old; previously, it catered to those up to age 12.

With four new zones (forest, farm, stream and orchard), a café and interactive learning programmes, this garden “playground” would surely keep your children occupied all day, encouraging them to experience and learn about different ecosystems.

481 Bukit Timah Rd., 259769 (inside Singapore Botanic Gardens)

14. Block 712 Tampines Street 71: Pirates Ahoy!

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The SS Playworld, as it proudly states on its stern, may not look big, but it hides a ton of fun – a spiral slide, cannons that kids can thump on to make booming noises, and a treasure hunt game. It even has a plank that kids pretend to make unruly “pirates” walk off!

Take note though, as it’s in a HDB estate and a bit of a trek from Tampines Central, you’ll need to take water bottles along if you’re not driving.

Block 712 Tampines St. 71, 520712

15. Rumah Tinggi Eco-park: Tree House Fun

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Who knew the stretch of car dealerships along Leng Kee Road hid such a gem?

This woodland-themed playground is small, but packs a punch with its tree-stump stepping stones, kids-only treehouse, wobbly bridge and hollowed-log slide. Look out for the little squirrel and raccoon peeking out from their hidey-holes in the tree – your little ones will have fun exploring all the tiny details on this structure.

Find it at the Rumah Tinggi Eco-Park behind the dealerships.

14 Kung Chong Rd., 159150

16. Block 160, Bishan Street 13: Vertical Playground

A vertical playground? Now that’s cool. This structure at Bishan, called a wallholla, stands nearly three storeys tall and lets kids climb, crawl, jump, hang and slide on its wavy platforms. If it gets too crowded inside, there are also climbing grips on each side that let children scale the outside of the cage. There’s also a net climbing structure and metal slide nearby. Best for kindergarteners and older kids.

17. Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park: Climbing Fun

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The adventure playground here has clusters of play structures, including a pyramid climbing net, a tree-climbing structure, a rope bridge, a climbing wall and several slides.

It’s a long walk from the car park, though. If you’re planning on visiting only this part of the park, consider leaving the car at the HDB lots across the street at Block 247, Ang Mo Kio Street 21, instead.

There’s an overhead bridge nearby to cross the road safely with the kids. Best for children aged six and up.

18a. East Coast Park’s Marine Cove: Diverse Structures And Fun

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After an $18-million revamp, the recreational enclave at East Coast Park boasts new eateries and a 3,500-square-metre playground (about half the size of a football field) catering to children of different ages and diverse abilities.

An 8-metre-tall three-storey tower is the playground’s focal point. It consists of many play elements including three slides, a rope bridge and climbing net courses. Kids can climb up the tower through a funnel net in the middle.

Modelled after a lighthouse, the tower has three slides of different challenge levels. The play tower is connected to a rope bridge, that’s sturdy enough for parents to step on and enjoy with their kids.

Besides the play tower, there’s plenty more to keep older kids aged five to twelve years very busy. The swing set includes an accessible swing seat equipped with a safety harness for security. The playground has a range of equipment suitable for children aged between two and 12.

18b. East Coast Park’s Marine Cove continued: A Park For Everyone

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Wheelchair-friendly play equipment are also available at Marine Cove, such as the Neo ring, an interactive game station installed at waist-level that gives wheelchair-using children easy access to play it.

A yellow and blue Cosy Cocoon sits in a corner, serving as a space to escape from overstimulation, which some children with special needs may face after intense play.

The sea-facing playground is designed to integrate with the surrounding greenery and the beach setting within East Coast Park. To make it more accessible, a new linkway has been built to connect the dining outlets with the nearby underpass to Marine Terrace. You’ll also find a new standalone public toilet which incorporates restrooms, sinks and shower facilities tailored to children.

19. Block 221A Jurong East Street 21: Rock Star

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Reminiscent of boulders, but in more geometric form, this cool climber is one of the more unique playgrounds in Jurong West (and in SG). There’s a cool trampoline embedded in the ground, divided into four smaller jumping pads so there’s less fighting for turns.

There are also two toddler-size slides and a large net obstacle structure for those aged six and up. Find the playground right next to the open outdoor ball court at Yuhua Community Club at 90 Boon Lay Way, where you can duck in for shade.

20. Jurong Central Park: Snakes And Ladders

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Jurong Central Park brings a new twist to the board game experience. At its snakes and ladders playground, the pavement on the ground is marked with numbers and players move through the playground based on the number they “roll”.

Complete with, well, snakes and ladders. When players land on a ladder, they have to climb across an obstacle to a higher number. When they land on a “snake”, they have to go down a slide to a lower number.

Meanwhile, the Ludo Garden features a life-sized Ludo board game and players act as the “pieces” that move around on the board.

21. Gardens By The Bay: Splashing Good Time

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There’s no way you’ll make it out of this playground dry – many kids even come in their swimsuits!

Interactive play features detect the movement of children to create a corresponding sequence of water effects, while tunnels, and water jets and more complete this huge water playground.

There’s also the Rainforest tree houses located within a dense canopy of trees, that reach heights of 4 metres and 7.5 metres respectively, spanning a 130-metre-long forest trail – too bad there is no natural hot spring retreat for the adults.

22. Coney Island: Casuarina Exploratory

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Casuarina Exploratory is designed to be an environmentally friendly playground in Coney Island. By using fallen Casuarina trees and other natural materials, this area may not be quite like your average plastic and metal playground but just as much fun.

23. Tiong Bahru Plaza: Sparrow Play

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The sparrow sculpture pays homage to designs of yesteryear, while incorporating new elements such as textured ceramic tiles. Highlights of the 400-square-metre playground on level 3 of the mall include a hammock forest, a bird’s-nest swing, musical play panels, and an inclusive merry-go-round with handicap ramps.

24. VivoCity: For Every Age

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Level 2 of VivoCity is home to a recently renovated outdoor playground with play areas catered to children of various age groups. Younger ones will enjoy playing on the trampoline and the shorter slides. Those aged 6 to 12 will love the swings, climbing ropes, ladders and sliding poles.  There’s also a wet play area fitted with rhythmic water jets that light up with colour in the evenings.

25. Westgate: Westgate Wonderland

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The shopping centre’s level 4 outdoor facility boasts multiple features for active tykes. Little adventurers will take to the 10-metre-tall tree house and the mini rock-climbing wall. A nearby water play area is perfect for kids to cool off in, while a free-to-use blower room lets parents dry off wet cherubs.

26. Compass One: Ninja Power!

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Kids who love adventure will enjoy this 543.94 square-metre Ninja Trail on level 4 of Compass One mall. With a total of 17 play features – 13 wet features, two dry features and four toddler-friendly ones – kids will be well entertained as you shop.

Children will go through a series of activities such as the Jelly Jumping Pads, in which they jump onto to find bursts of water. Tip: Pack a change of clothes as there are toilets beside the playground for LOs to change out of wet attire.

27. Changi City Point: The 3 House Playground

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Perched on the third floor of the mall are merry-go-round swings, water jets and other aquatic features that spell fun at this toddler-friendly water playground. There’re also rope obstacle courses beside it at the drier part of the play area. Bonus: Score fashion bargains for you and your mini-me at the mall’s outlet stores!

28. City Square Mall: A Play Area for Everyone

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The mall recently revamped its play area on level 1 to make it more inclusive for all children. It now has two easy-to-use swings and a wheelchair accessible merry-go-round, which provides a common play area for both children with and without special needs. There are also other play features such as a climbing net, a swinging bridge and a tall green slide.

Text adapted from straitstimes.com, youngparents.com.sg and thefinder.life / Additional reporting: Christopher Ong Ujine, 5 September 2018 / Updated by Melodi Ghui, July 2019 / Updated by Willaine G. Tan, February 2021

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