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Play gym in Downtown Duluth helps keep children warm and beat the winter blues

DULUTH, MN-Even though the first day of Winter isn’t for a couple of weeks, the weather lately would say otherwise, which is prompting some parents to keep their kids inside.

In this week’s Eye on Parenting with Lyanne Valdez, she takes a look at how the city of Duluth is helping provide a warmer option for children to play in.


Judy Swedberg a Duluth Preschool and Early Childhood Teacher knows how important it is for children to meet their daily exercise requirements.

“In order to learn and develop they need to move they need to move their bodies every day,”  “Ideally kids need to be outside in nature but there are times in Duluth when of course they cannot,” said Swedberg.

That’s why Duluth Parks and Recreation decided to collaborate with the Early Childhood Program at Washington Center to give families a warmer alternative.

“It offers kids a chance to actively choose their play, gain independence, parents to help them organize their feelings around negotiating and turn-taking and all of their social skills they need to develop,” said Swedberg.


Along with a chance for active play it also creates relationships between parents who some are yearning for.

“One of the issues is isolation. You know being alone with your child all the time is not an easy thing and it can be really hard and this offers a chance to be out in the community,” said Swedberg.

The play gym does come with a fee, $1 per person.

Parks and Rec Manager, Jessica Peterson says their team helps fund the equipment used at the gym and the money collected goes back to the city to help with other programs.


Both the Duluth Parks and Recreation and the Early Childhood Program want to make sure everyone can afford the safe space so there is a general assistance fee program families can apply to.


“We are always happy to talk to residents and answer questions that they have if and when the cost is ever a barrier to their participation so we can continue to be as equitable and accessible to the community,” said Peterson.


If you’d like to check-out the play gym this winter they’re open on Wednesday and Friday’s from 9-11 a.m.


Lyanne Valdez

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