23 Fail-Proof Adventures for Your Grand Rapids Kindergartener

Kinders guide to GR feature image 2

Celebrate your Amazing Grand Rapids Kindergartener!

Kindergarteners are so much fun. They still have a child’s sensibilities, but can do things like read, go for hours without getting cranky for a nap (most of the time), and start to understand the world around them in a way that connects with adults.

There are so many things to do with your kindergartener in Grand Rapids! Whether you’ve got a special 6 year old visiting from out of town or you’ve got your own kinder kid at home, here are some exciting ways to spice up the every day with this fun age group.

What will you do with your kindergartener today?

 OUTSIDE FUN  

Kindergarteners seem to have limitless energy (as long as those snacks keep rolling).  Anything we can do that helps harness that energy for good (“How far can we hike?”) instead of not-so-good (“How did you manage to scatter three different types of cereal across the kitchen while I was in the other room?”) is a win.

There are dozens of kindergarten activities in the great outdoors. With so many great places to go for walks, hikes, or bike rides, whether through nature or though a downtown, it’s almost a sure fire way to use up a big chunk of that energy. Added bonus for when there is a playground we encounter along the way.

Johnson Park swinging kid

Visit a Playground

Wherever you live, there’s a great playground nearby. Our map of area trails and playgrounds is a great starting point.

Millennium Park has a big playground, lots of paved trails, and in the summer, a beach and epic splash pad.

A large playground with newer equipment and bouncy turf is Cascade Township Park. Frog Hollow is a kinder parent’s dream, because it’s enclosed.

Rosewood Park, though, probably takes the cake. It has a splash pad and a 2-story slide.

summer things to do - rosewood park slide

Take a Hike

When we want more of a nature vibe, it’s a toss-up between Provin Trails and Grand Ravines.

For an urban adventure hike, nothing beats the walkways along the Grand at the heart of the city, or for a fun combo we travel to Rockford to stroll their downtown before hitting the White Pine Trails.

Rockford Dam Hunt White Pine Trail
Rockford Dam – along White Pine Trail

Sometimes a good long walk can be disguised as an outing. These destinations keep kids so enthralled, they don’t even realize how many steps they are taking. (How many times have you been tempted to stick a pedometer on your kinder out of curiosity?)

Visit a Zoo or Garden

My kinder will never say no to a visit to John Ball Zoo or Frederik Meijer Gardens. And if they’re really into animals, there are dozens of Petting Zoos and Farms around West Michigan.

John Ball Zoo JBZ tiger

Climb through the Trees

He doesn’t know it yet, but I’m also itching to let him try out a newly added Junior Course at TreeRunner Adventure Park over the summer.

TreeRunner JUnior Course

Go Ice Skating

In the cooler months, there’s nothing he likes more than completing several laps around the ice rink at Rosa Parks Circle or the wooded trail at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex.

Ice Skating Rosa Parks Circle Ward winter
Rosa Parks Circle

Take in a Sporting Event

My aspiring athlete loves all things sports so whenever we can catch a game of hockey, basketball, or especially baseball, he is as happy as can be.

Whitecaps siblings in seats

Tee Up at a Golf Course

Whenever the sun is out, he also always begs to go play a round of mini-golf and now that his motor skills are even more refined we like to tackle “big golf” (as he puts it) at kid friendly courses like Maple Hill Golf in Grandville or Summer Breeze Par-3 in Fremont.

Boy Holding Red Ball
Craig’s Cruisers

 INDOOR IDEAS  

When the weather turns less than ideal, we are more than able to take our explorations indoors and find other ways to play.

Go Bowling

He’s a big fan of bowling, so during the summer months we utilize the KidsBowlFree.com program, but during the school year our favorite place to visit is Rockford Lanes.

Kinder Bowling

Jump the Day Away at a Trampoline Park

For when he has lots of wiggles we like to visit a trampoline park (Sky Zone is where we end up most times, but other nearby locations include Altitude or Rebounderz).

Rebounderz Feature Image Hunt hanging on ninja course

Run and Play at an Indoor Playground

Other great places to get out wiggles where we can spend even more time are large scale indoor playgrounds like Jester’s Court, Catch Air, or one of our new favorites, Holland Playland.

Holland playland boy playing 1
Holland Playland

Take a Dip in the Pool

To warm up on a dreary, winter day, we like to pretend we’re hitting the beach and go to an open swim at Goldfish Swim School.

Goldfish Review Burgin boys feature image

Create a Masterpiece

For kinders who love creating, other popular options to visit are the drop-in art studios at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, UICA, or ACT.

Artists Creating Together Monster Truck Painting
ACT – Artists Creating Together

 LEARNING OPPS  

What I love about my kinder is the new approach to learning. Sure, hands-on learning is still very relevant, but now they can start to understand themes and ideas.

Going to the library used to mean just story time and play areas, and now it means searching the stacks for beginning reader books. The museum takes on new meaning and they can sit for musicals and other performances. Three cheers for big kid learning! These places are so much fun to visit and play at, but they also offer a whole host of teachable moments as well.

Make Discoveries at a Museum

Our go-to spot almost anytime we are close to downtown Grand Rapids is to stop by the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. With perennial favorite exhibits like Little GR, bubbles, legos, and music exploration, as well as rotating exhibits like Kidstruction, Diagnosis Fun!, Just Fort Fun, and Aunt Daisy’s Farm, we always have hours of fun when we visit.

GRCM Hendrikse girl paleontologist exploring Niles

Continuing with the museums, he’s beginning to appreciate more of the Grand Rapids Public Museum other than going on carousel rides now too, and we are always excited to see what sort of special visiting exhibits are in town.

GRPM Whale Mural Brooks
Grand Rapids Public Museum

Soar to New Heights at the Air Zoo

If your kinder doesn’t mind a car ride, they will go gaga over the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo.  My guy loves it there, and despite his obsession with riding on the ferris wheel, he’s also happy to engage in some of the hands-on learning exhibits that revolve around physics and engineering.

AirZoo View from Balcony Looking West Feature image

Find a New Favorite at the Library

We can’t get enough of our local library these days. It’s a magical place where we can play and try so many new and exciting things. Whether it’s participating in a reading program like Summer Reading or 1KB4K, sampling musical instruments, or learning a new board game, or the art of getting lost in a good book.

Grand Rapids kindergartener

  EATS AND TREATS  

Grand Rapids isn’t just for the craft beer crowd– there are plenty of tasty restaurants that know what kids like. Try one of these, or if you want a deal, use our Where Kids Eat Free guide.

Got allergies? We’ve got a list of allergy friendly restaurants for kids, too which is perfect when our older cousins go exploring with us.

Chick-Fil-A

My kid is pretty predictable when it comes to letting him choose where to eat out: Chick-fil-A (a Grandtastic winner for 2018). He loves their nuggets and lemonade, playing in their play area, and of course finishing off his meal with an Ice Dream cone (you can trade your unopened toy back in exchange for a cone or cup!). Several of the locations also offer kid friendly events like Touch-a-Truck, Bingo, and Family Game Night.

CFA

Downtown Market

When we’re near Heartside, we like to stop by the Downtown Market where we can choose from all sorts of fare. Whether we want tacos or sushi or all-American favorites, we know we can find something tasty to eat while we are there. Also, who wouldn’t love an ice cream flight from Love’s?

kindergartener in grand rapids
Love’s Ice Cream – Downtown Market

Food Trucks

There are also several local food trucks we like to visit and thankfully there are almost always events going on where we can stop by to grab some pizza, tacos or nachos, or even donuts!

sleeping bear burrito food truck grand rapids

Ice Cream

Really, most kindergarteners are only interested in one thing: sweet treats. There are plenty of great ice cream shops and candy stores around Grand Rapids. A new favorite is Underground Cookie Club, with stores in Kentwood and Rockford. Their colorful concoctions are sure to delight the younger crowd.

Chubby Unicorn

Where Will You Adventure to With Your Kindergartener?

With so many possibilities, I’m sure we’ve missed something. Where do you like to explore and take your tag-a-long to? Let us know in the comments!

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