The older kids might be back in school, but for now, your toddler is at home and in need of a little stimulation. Our advice? Switch things up by heading somewhere new and exciting during the day.
Here are 12 activities around Ann Arbor that you can enjoy with your toddler, from library story times to museums, playgrounds and even country fairs. And yes, there really is something to do every day of the week.
There’s always something happening at the Downtown Library, and on Tuesdays at 11 a.m, it’s Preschool Storytime. Show your child around the shelves, then head to the Youth Story Corner for age-appropriate stories, songs and fingerplay. And if Tuesdays don’t work for you? You can always attend another Preschool Storytime at one of the library’s branches. There’s an event every day of the week.
343 S. 5th Ave, Ann Arbor. 734-327-4200.
Hours: Mon – Sun, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Give your little one permission to touch absolutely everything at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. Here, you’ll find 10 galleries – including one specifically designed for preschool-aged children – that foster imagination, curiosity and the exploration of the STEM fields. Prepare to chase your toddler through the exhibits and join in as they play on a child-sized engine, experiment with simple machines, and even use a giant toothbrush to clean oversized teeth!
220 E. Ann St, Ann Arbor. 734-995-5439.
Hours: Tues – Sun, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Mondays.
If there’s one thing that toddlers love, it’s seeing barnyard animals up-close. So why not throw on your comfiest closed-toed shoes and take a family field trip to Domino’s Farms? Here, your little one can interact with cows, pigs, chickens, goats, horses and other favorites – all in a clean, safe, and educational environment. Once you’ve gotten the lay of the land, be sure to check out the on-site playground.
3001 Earhart Rd, Ann Arbor. 734-998-0182.
Hours: Thurs – Tues, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Closed Wednesdays.
When in doubt, visit one of the most popular accessible playgrounds in town. You and your toddler will love the inclusive design at Gallup Park Rotary Playground, and how the outdoor space is divided into three themed zones to accommodate children of all ages and abilities. The first section – The Woodland Region – is perfect for tots and features a Mushroom House, OmniSpin Spinner and sand area at their level. The park is enclosed with safety fencing, too, so your child can run around while remaining in view at all times.
3000 Fuller Rd, Ann Arbor. 734-794-6230.
Hours: Mon – Sun, 6 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Let your inner artists shine (and enjoy some serious quality time) by painting your own pottery at Glaze. We suggest finding a piece that speaks to you both – like a mermaid box or a retro owl bank – and working on it together. You can paint your pottery in the comfort of your own home or book a table for two at the studio.
54 N. Huron St, Ypsilanti. 734-600-8486.
Hours: Wed – Fri, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday 12 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
If your little one loves to splash in the tub, then consider making swimming part of your weekly routine at Goldfish Swim School. Every Wednesday and Thursday at noon, you and your toddler can participate in Family Swim, which is the perfect place to introduce them to water, practice skills, and get some energy out. Best of all? The indoor pool is heated to pleasant 90 degrees. You can also sign your child up for weekly swim lessons.
2107 W. Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor. 734-849-2038.
Hours: Wed – Thurs, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
It’s never too early to practice being kind to animals. Visit the Humane Society of Huron Valley on Thursdays to do just that through their “Little Paws Story Time” program. Each session lasts approximately one hour and includes stories, fingerplays, crafts, and – of course – interactions with adorable, adoptable animals. A sensory story time program is available once a month, too, for neurodivergent and autistic children. Pre-registration and a $5 fee is required to attend.
3100 Cherry Hill Rd, Ann Arbor. 734-662-5585.
Hours: Thursday, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
There’s so much to see and do in Kerrytown! Take your toddler on a mid-morning date by first stopping at Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea for pastries. Then meander through shops like 16 Hands, Found, The Kitchen Loft, and of course, Mudpuddles Toy Store. Since Kerrytown is only a few blocks away from downtown Ann Arbor, you could also look for murals or fairy doors while you’re out and about.
407 N. 5th Avenue, Ann Arbor. 734-662-5008.
Hours: Mon – Fri, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Reach your goal of spending 1,000 hours outside together by exploring the trails at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Tucked among the well-tended plants, you’ll find the Gaffield Children’s Garden, a natural playscape that includes boulders, branches and stumps for adventurous toddlers to climb on. (With a helping hand, of course.) And when you both need a break from the sun? Follow the Rustic Habitat Trail to find a shady spot for reading nature and gardening books.
1800 N. Dixboro Road, Ann Arbor. 734-647-7600.
Hours: Tues – Sun, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Wed. 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Closed Mondays.
Music definitely has a way of bringing people together. Nurture an early love of music and bond with your toddler in one fell swoop by signing up for a class at Robinsongs for Kids. Each week, you’ll drum, sing, dance, play instruments, and create music-based games alongside other kids and their parents. Fall registration is now open, and there are still plenty of spots available for morning weekday classes.
1526 N. Maple Rd, Ann Arbor. 734-929-2133.
Hours: Mon – Sat, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Closed Sundays.
Celebrate all things fall with your toddler by visiting Wiard’s Orchard & Country Fair. From September 9 to October 29, you can enjoy an animal petting farm, a corn maze, wagon rides, themed playgrounds, and even pick your own apples and pumpkins for an additional fee. (Not to mention delicious cider mill treats.)
5565 Merritt Rd, Ypsilanti. 734-390-9211.
Hours: Wed – Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sat – Sun, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Walking through Zingerman’s Delicatessen is an experience in and of itself. Guide your toddler through the nationally recognized shop – stopping to admire the mouthwatering displays of bread, cheese, jam, and more along the way – and up to the counter, where you can order a sandwich and chips to share. If the weather’s nice, take your meal outside to the enclosed patio.
422 Detroit St, Ann Arbor. 734-663-3354.
Hours: Mon – Sun, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
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