As the temperature rises, here are our top outdoor picks for keeping cool with little ones. They all involve water, have shade and are in or near the City of Parramatta. Plus six are free to access. And there is a mix of playgrounds, beaches and pools.

After somewhere else? Check out our ultimate guide to free water fun in and around Parramatta and our best summer playgrounds list for under 5s. And if you want a cool indoor option, head to a shopping centre with free indoor play area, visit your local library or go to the museum or aquarium.

This large park has the newest water playground in the Parramatta Council area. Both the water play area and play equipment right next to it are under shade cloths. There are three sheltered picnic tables, lots of grass to sit and play on, bbqs and the toilets are about a 5min walk away. Plus the Container cafe is a short walk away, along with the Vikings Sports Club.

I think this may actually be the best summer playground for little ones, at least in Western Sydney. This large park has traditional play equipment and a water playground as well as a flying fox, nature based play elements, plenty of grass to play on and bush to explore. Thankfully most of the play equipment and water playground have shade sails over them. The park has lots of free parking available and it is within walking distance from Blacktown Transport Interchange. The Grounds Keeper Cafe also opened there last year, right next to the water playground.

Wentworthville Swimming Centre is a really wonderful place for the family to have a splash, swim and play. There is a partially shaded toddler pool, shaded fenced playground, BBQ and picnic table, 50m pool and mostly shaded program pool, plus a family change room. All pools are heated to approximately 28°C and there is a small entry fee.

Granville Park water playground in Merrylands

The shaded water playground at Granville Park is a fantastic place to go on a warm day. There are two sections, one aimed more at little ones with things to hold onto and the other for older kids with big water jets, tipping buckets and big fountains. There are toilets within the park (about 100m away) as well as sheltered picnic tables, plus a playground (only naturally shaded in the afternoon) with swings, climbing play gym and slide.

This is the largest water playground in the Parramatta Council area. The park contains seating, picnic tables and BBQ, a skate park and metered off street parking. There is also a playground (not shaded) with swings, slides, rockers and rope climbing tower. Unfortunately there are only temporary toilets set up.

With a gorgeous view over Parramatta River, Putney Park is a lovely spot. It has a great water play area suitable for young children, which is like two toddler pools. There is also two playgrounds in the park and two VERY big slides.

The picturesque Greenwich Baths on Sydney Harbour is a way to experience the beach in a safe environment. There is a shark proof net and child proof gating. Plus toys are provided on the beach for building sandcastles and playing. There is shade under a lovely huge tree, plus beach deck chairs to relax on (if you get a chance). There is a small entry fee and it isn’t pram friendly, though you can get one down with some assistance.

The Northbridge Baths is a free tidal, netted swimming area within the stunning Sydney Harbour foreshore and bushland of Middle Harbour. There is plenty of shallow water for little ones to splash in and at low tide there is also a beach to build sand castles on. There is shade on the grassed area from the surrounding trees and two small shade sails. The Baths are equipped with a BBQ, picnic area, change rooms, toilets and hot showers. There is free parking on Widgiewa Road, just above the baths. Best to check water quality and tides before heading there just to be sure.

Epping Aquatic and Leisure Centre has lovely outdoor pools in a tranquil bush setting. It is great for families with a kids pool and shaded baby pool. There is free on-site parking and a small entry fee. Note: there is no ramp down to the pools, so ask the staff for assistance in getting a pram down.

Cabarita Park is home to the beach closest to the City of Parramatta! And if that isn’t good enough, it also has outdoor swimming centre overlooking Parramatta River with a shaded toddler pool, a shallow pool for the older kids and a 50m pool as well as a fantastic shaded playground, BBQs and plenty of grass to play on. You can reach the park by Parramatta Rivercat and the only downside is that parking is metered. Note: there is a fee to enter the swimming centre.