Kansas City’s Best Toddler Field Trips for Multi-Sensory Exploration

In several of the classes lately we’ve been talking about multi-sensory stimulation.  Basically, the more you can engage your child’s senses, the more his brain is engaged and stimulated to learn.  Sand play, water play, texture play, music, colors, new sights, new sounds – all these things are not only great for learning, but a whole lot of fun.  And there are tons of fun places in Kansas City for exploring with your senses.  Here are four of our favorites in no particular order:

  1. Paradise Park – We love Paradise Park down in Lee’s Summit.  They have huge blocks for building, a ball pit, a special kitchen with supervised cooking sessions with the kids, a craft area, a water table, a soft play area, a space for face painting, and my absolute favorite a pretend village with a grocery store, bank, pizzeria, and house.   (We could probably spend an hour just in the pretend village.)  Though I’d say the ideal age for Paradise Park is 2 years and up, they definitely have some fun things for kids under age 2.   We’ve been a few times before our youngest turned 2, and he loved it!  His favorites:  the water table, the blocks, the ball pit, the soft play area, and some of the pretend village.  Cost:  $9 per child age 2-9 years, children under 2 $4.50, children under 1 year, free, adults $3
  2. Deanna Rose Farmstead – Deanna Rose is one of the most incredible city sponsored parks I’ve ever seen.  One half is a sort of petting zoo with all kinds of farm and domestic animals including goats you can feed and horse rides.  The other half has delightful playgrounds, a tractor/trike track, fishing, a Native American tepee to explore (often with a Native American host to answer questions), a barn where you can meet and learn about cows and dairy farming, a school house, and a walking trail just to give you an idea.  One of our absolute favorite places to go in town for any age at all.  Cost:  Free, Mon.-Thurs., $2 per person Fri.-Sun.
  3. Water Parks/Spraygrounds – There are a host of fun water parks and spraygrounds (water playgrounds) throughout the city worth checking out.  We recently took our first trip to Splash Cove in Shawnee, and had a great time.  We also love the Sprayground at Loose Park, but there are tons of other very fun pools, water parks, and spraygrounds around.  In fact, I’m always interested in exploring, so let me know if you have recommendations.  Some are better for itty bitties and some better for older kiddos, and of course much depends on whether or not your kid has a fear of water.  I found Splash Cove a pretty good fit for our two ages 2 and 4.5 yrs.  They had a playground area with smaller water slides, water guns, and lots of fountains that sprayed you.  They also had a small wave pool and one area that was appropriate for practicing swimming.  In fact, we saw tons of families of very young children the day we went.  Here’s an About Guide that gives a listing of additional favorites in the area, though it seemed to me to be geared more towards older kids.  Cost:  Varies
  4. Kaleidoscope – One last place I always forget about is Kaleidoscope, which is sponsored by Hallmark and hosted at Crown Center.  Kaleidoscope is a colorful imaginative place full of every kind of craft supply you can imagine and lots of creative  ideas and suggestions for ways to explore, draw, and create.  One section even has a black-light and special materials for crafting items that then “glow”.  If your kid enjoys drawing, painting, and coloring, I can highly recommend Kaleidoscope, and for younger brothers or sisters who might not be ready yet to handle markers, the rooms themselves have tons of beautiful and interesting things to see.  Cost:  Free
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