Gifts for Preschoolers That Aren’t Toys

In suburban America, most kids have enough toys to keep five families occupied. Parents are constantly purging the closets and taking toys to Goodwill as their children outgrow them. The shelf life of many toys is limited.

So when a preschooler’s birthday rolls around, many parents, grandparents, aunties, and uncles are looking beyond the toy aisle at Meijer for the best birthday gift for their little loved one. Check out our list for great birthday gift experiences inspiration!

Tasked with throwing the perfect pint-size party? Our West Michigan Birthday Party Guide can help you find the perfect venue.

Explore at John Ball Zoo

John Ball has everything you’d expect in a zoo and more. Offering camel rides, a funicular, lions, tigers & bears, monkeys, and a petting zoo, John Ball Zoo keeps the whole family entertained for hours. A membership is the perfect gift idea for your adventurous preschooler.

3707 Northridge Dr NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49544 | 616-336-4301


Clever Birthday Gift Ideas for a Preschooler

Get Them a Membership to a Museum or Other Attraction

A museum membership doesn’t take up a lot of space at home, but it sure does take a lot of energy out of that busy kid! Many local museums or attractions are either catered to kids or have kid-friendly aspects to them, and they offer different membership plans. If a family membership isn’t in your budget, simply giving them a one-day pass for their family would be fun.

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

My kids have an uncle who always gifts them a membership to the John Ball Zoo! Having a membership means we don’t stress if we only play at the playground by the tigers or if a little sibling has a meltdown–we can always come back again soon and see more.

You can check out our Big List of Zoo, Museum and Nature Center Memberships for more ideas and a breakdown on costs.

Plan an Activity for the Two of You

My daughters love their Aunt Annie weekends, where they are whisked away to their cool auntie’s apartment and do fun things like go to movies and do nails. Chances are, that special kid in your life would also enjoy an outing with you. And the fun part? You can pick something that you would both enjoy together!

If you’re into creating, try a class together at The Mud Room. If your preschooler likes glam, you could get manicures or pedicures together.

Love the theatre? CARE ballet is a great stage idea, as these 1-hour shows are specially geared toward little kids. Musicals are great fun at The Civic Theatre.

Active kids will enjoy an afternoon at an indoor trampoline park like Catch Air or Rebounderz or Sky Zone.

Help Them Watch or Play Their Favorite Sports

Following on the heels of “activity with you” are sporting events. Get a set of tickets for them to see the West Michigan Whitecaps in action. The Grand Rapids Griffins and Grand Rapids Drive are also great adventures. Be sure to give them vouchers for snacks, too!

Would your preschooler rather be part of the action? Sign them up for their favorite sport!

What’s your favorite non-toy gift that you’ve given to a preschooler?

11 Ways Goldfish Swim School is a Hit with Local Families

Goldfish Swim School is Simply the Best

You could say we are a Goldfish family. We’ve had three kids learn to swim there and now have two adult daughters who are Goldfish teachers. My young swimmers, one of whom was pretty terrified at his first lesson, went from not being able to swim at all to learning how to swim like…  well, fish. They became strong swimmers right before my eyes in a rather short amount of time.

That being said, each swimmer is unique, and Goldfish is up to the challenge of making sure each child has a great experience learning to swim.


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