What Preschoolers Love to do in Grand Rapids
Preschoolers are starting to enter into the world of school, but are not quite ready for all-day learning. That leaves a lot of partial days to fill up-considering they probably are moving out of nap time soon! As they’re starting to see the world differently they will enjoy more stimulating and learning-centered play.
Check out some of my favorite ways to interact and play with your preschoolers around the Grand Rapids area.
Perfect Spots to Play Indoors
When the rain comes or it feels like it has been winter for 8 months, indoor play places are where to go. Littles (and parents!) sometimes just need to get out and run off some steam!
Some of our favorites are Sky Zone, Rebounderz and Catch Air. Jumping on trampolines is always a good time, especially during the Toddler Time for little ones 5 years old and younger at Sky Zone. This kind of movement is great for them, and these are enclosed facilities where you don’t worry about them wandering off.
Another fun spot is Jester’s Court. This is an exciting place for preschoolers to get their wiggles out while they play on the enclosed jungle gym, inflatable slides, obstacle courses, jumps, interactive games and more.
The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is an amazing museum to let imaginations run wild. The Children’s Museum is a fun-filled place for preschoolers to play indoors and really get involved in active learning. Here they start to see the interactive exhibits as more than just toys. With so much to see and touch, you can’t lose.
Gymnastic places are fun spots to visit to jump, tumble, and roll! R-Athletics, GR Gymnastics, and GR Gymnastics are all places we have visited for their open gyms or lunch drop-offs. This is a helpful way for the kiddos to run off some steam and get socialization while you run to the grocery store.
Well, this isn’t so much “playing,” but catching a flick at Celebration Cinema Woodland is a great (cheap) option for your preschooler when it’s raining outside. Celebration! Cinemas also periodically offers free kids movies – see their lineup here. No one wants to pay full price for a kid’s movie, especially if there’s a chance they can’t sit still through the entire show.
Wonderful Places to Play Outdoors
Nothing better than enjoying the great outdoors at our fingertips in West Michigan. And, getting to do so with the curiosity of a preschooler? Even better!
My most favorite place to take a preschooler is the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. I love to visit here all year round! Winter is the best time to check out the log cabin with the warm fire. Summer doesn’t get any better than exploring the Great Lakes water feature. Spring and Fall are perfect times to play in the tree house!
West Michigan has many beautiful parks & playgrounds but here are a few of our favorites.
Ada Township Park has so much to do beyond play equipment. Trails that wind through the trees lead to a fishing pond that is restricted to those 12 and younger.
Millennium Park boasts trails, ponds, 4 playgrounds, and tons of picnic pavilions. In the summer, for a fee, there is also a sandy beach and splash pad. We love to go here to feed the fish and then hit up all the playgrounds!
Frog Hollow Park is one of the safest playgrounds we have ever visited. The soft ground coverings and fenced in area are a great way to just let the kids play and many of the play structures are suited for the preschooler size.
If you can’t make it to the beach, MVP Outdoor Pools is the place to be in the summer! Although this requires a membership, the whole family loves to swim and play at both the Crahen and Burton locations. Each has a separate, shallower area to allow the little kids to play in the water safely.
My son loves to visit the GRR Airport Viewing Area and watch the planes land and take off. The new viewing area is great spot for a picnic too!
Great Places to Eat
Taking preschoolers out to eat can be a real challenge but these restaurants help make it easier! With kid-friendly meals, entertainment, and meal deals, these places create the best experience possible.
Please check with the individual restaurant before visiting as meal deals change often.
With toy train racing around the ceiling, Bagger Dave’s is my son’s favorite place! And it’s a bonus for me that kids meals are only $2.95 on Wednesdays and Sundays!
On The Border is a great place to take the kids during their Happy Hour. Sometimes kids meals are huge and this is a great way to give your preschooler just the right amount. As a family of five, we can eat out for under $20!
At Steak N Shake kids eat free on the weekends! For every $9 spent, you get a free kids plate…and the shakes are delicious! Be sure to request the paper cars for the kids to put together while you wait for your food.
Although a bit pricier, Panera is always a great healthy option for preschoolers. Kid’s meals come with a organic squeezable yogurt or apple. Mine love the Mac n’ Cheese!
Applebees knows that sometimes you don’t want to spend $5 on a meal for a preschooler. On Tuesdays, kids can get a meal for $1.99 or 2.99 depending on their choice.
Eating in the greenhouse at the Downtown Market is always a blast for the kids. Add to that the many different food and dessert options and this place is ideal for kids.
Amazing Places to Learn
Preschoolers are at the prime age to soak up any and all learning opportunities! Luckily, we have so many unique options nearby.
Grand Rapids Public Museum is a must! The Spillman Carousel makes this place a win-win for your active preschooler. Take some time in the Chaffee Planetarium and then stroll the many floors of this amazing public museum. My daughter loves the nature exhibit and hearing all the different bird calls!
Tots Classes is a great place for preschoolers to take tumbling classes, art classes, and even cooking classes for only a few dollars a class!
Yoga with your littles is a blast! At Renew Mama Studio you can join your preschooler through yoga animal postures, breathing/stretching with props, movement and stillness, as well as relaxation at their own pace throughout the 45 minute class. Toddler Yoga is for kids aged 2-4 years old and Kids Yoga is for kids 3-8 years old.
Riding the safari bus around Boulder Ridge is an absolute riot with kids. It feels like a real safari! An up-close-and-personal approach to learning about animals, your preschooler will love this wild animal park. Don’t miss the opportunity to feed the giraffes or the parakeets!
From storytimes to play areas, preschoolers love to learn at the KDL Library. Librarians use large books and animated voices to get your preschooler to love reading. The play areas have some of the best toys to get your child’s imagination going!
At the Downtown Grand Rapids Public Library there are several play areas with a range of fun things and ideas with books galore right at the center. From the aesthetics of the building to the mounds of fun the kids have this is a spot for both kids and parents.