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Six Activities to Do with Your Preschooler


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As a mom, I’ve discovered that age three is my favorite age so far. Granted I have only three years from which to choose, and I’ve heard some pretty great things about ages four and five, but so far, age three has been awesome. I think the main reason three is better than the years before is that he's so portable. Our boy loves to get out and do things, plus he can express his excitement about them, which we love.

With a new baby around, I’ve had to spend the summer tied to the house for naps and feedings, so my husband has done the research and taken our preschooler out nearly every weekend afternoon. Fortunately, there’s plenty to do around town if you have a preschooler (or older kids too!) in tow. He’s loved these places so much he’s consistently asked at bedtime if we can “go back tomorrow.” Here are some of the stops they’ve made:

The beach: We go to Elm Creek Beach up in Maple Grove. The man-made lake is clean and filtered and not too deep. Plus, there are awesome playgrounds, walking paths, and picnic areas. (This past winter we took him snow tubing here for the first time. He loved it.) There are so many more beaches around town, too.

Minnesota Zoo: A great afternoon spent no matter when you go, what with the grizzlies, the splash pad, monkeys, fish, and more—but this summer has the one-two-punch of Africa and Dinosaurs. Feed the giraffes then travel up the trail a bit more and spy on the mechanical dinosaurs. For a preschooler, it’s pretty darn exciting. (For a smaller-scale experience, Como Zoo & Conservatory and Como Town in St. Paul are also great.)

Lakes: Maybe my kid is easily pleased, but he loves taking a stroller ride around one of the lakes. My husband alternates between Calhoun and Harriet in Minneapolis, and he takes in all the puppies, ducks, and low-flying airplanes. Older kids will love the beaches or canoeing and kayaking.

Mall of America: Rainy day? Nickelodeon Universe and Sea Life aquarium at Mall of America are great places to kick it indoors. The rides in the amusement park range for all ages—my kid loves the Big Rigs and Swiper’s Sweeper. At the aquarium, we spy jellyfish, sea turtles, and sharks.

Go Karts: I wasn’t sure if he’d dig it, but because he loves the rides at Nickelodeon Universe, my husband decided to try go karts with him. Success! There are several places around the state for Go Karts (though some require kids to be much older); they went to Lilli Putt.

Children’s Museum: The obvious choice, but another great option for a rainy day. Controlled chaos for the parents (as my husband and I say to each other, ‘Put on your Patience Pants’), but pure fun for the kids.

So, tell me, where do you take your preschooler?

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