Preschooler Life in Grand Rapids – Where Little Kids can Find Big Fun

Preschoolers Guide to Grand Rapids feature image boy Frog Hollow

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, whether they are at half day preschool or have simply given up naps. As they’re starting to see the world differently they will enjoy more stimulating and learning-centered play.

Check out some of our favorite ways to interact with your preschoolers around Grand Rapids.

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Thanks to our sponsor, Children’s Workshop.

Children’s Workshop offers a nurturing environment for students to develop a love of learning through a balance of structure and play. A variety of class times are available for not-yet potty-trained toddlers through young fives. Options include a lunch hour and full-day classes to prepare your soon-to-be kindergartener. Contact: [email protected]

Indoor Options – Year Round Fun for Preschoolers

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!

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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 and interactive games.

Jesters Court

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.

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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 (kid-free!).

While there isn’t a lot of interaction involved, 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. 

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Outdoors Activities around Grand Rapids that Preschoolers Love

Nothing better than enjoying the outdoor fun at our fingertips in West Michigan. Getting to do so with the curiosity of a preschooler? Even better!

One of the most exciting places to take a preschooler is the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. This is a year round destination for many families!

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!

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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!

Millennium Park playground

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.

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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!

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Preschool-Friendly Restaurants Around GR

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 a toy train racing around the ceiling, Bagger Dave’s is a favorite place! And it’s a bonus 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. A 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.

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. Our pick? Always tacos, and nobody does them quite like Tacos El Cunado!

Downtown Market Tacos El Cunado

Places you can Learn While You Explore With Your Preschooler

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!

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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!

Boulder Ridge Parakeets

From storytimes to play areas, preschoolers love to learn at 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.

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