Things to Do with Preschoolers: Local Activities for Kids 3–5 Years Old

Preschoolers are lots of fun, lots of energy, and nonstop questions! Looking over the things to do with preschoolers I wrote about last year, I have to admit I felt a bit sad about everything we can’t do right now — but then again, we have discovered some amazing new places over the past few months as we ventured beyond our usual favorites. We’ve gotten outside so much more, embraced getting a little muddy, and basically moved to the backyard. Read on for some fresh inspiration!

Things to Do with Preschoolers in the Western Suburbs

Outdoor Activities for Preschoolers

  • Nature centers and are a great starting point for an outdoor adventure with preschoolers. You can get advice on kid-friendly trails and take a potty break before heading out! Hidden Oaks Nature Center in Bolingbrook is a great choice for preschoolers with an age-appropriate outdoor play area.
  • Splash pads and spray parks are great choices for kids who can’t swim solo just yet. Some are even fenced in (such as the splash park at Maryknoll Park in Glen Ellyn and the Ty Warner Park Spray Park in Westmont). Make sure to make reservations if you need to!
  • Check out Nicole’s idea of boat rentals for a day on the water!
  • Explore the 10 best parks and playgrounds on Kidlist. The Sensory Garden Playground in Lisle, Harvester Park in Burr Ridge, and Darien Community Playground are all crowd favorites for 3- to 5-year-olds.
  • Bounce houses are a huge hit with this age range! Local bounce house rentals are the ultimate way to mix up backyard fun right now.
  • My husband recently took our 4-year-old out to paddleboat at the Naperville quarry, and they had a blast. Next time, they’ll try a kayak! Check out our list of local paddleboat, kayak, and canoe rentals for more inspiration.
  • Farmers markets make for a great family outing with preschoolers. While the weekend markets can be quite crowded right now, the weekday markets tend to be much more open. Remember to grab a mask and remind kids about not touching.

    Go early to avoid the crowds and heat. My little one feels especially proud when he gets to help pick out a funny-looking new veggie or handle ordering the donuts!
  • In the fall, a trip to pick apples or choose a prize from the pumpkin patch is a fun outing for preschoolers. Many spots have activities, too. (They’re also less spooky than some of the other seasonal goings-on!)
  • Brookfield Zoo is a huge local attraction and offers tons of fun for kids. It’s definitely an outing! Brookfield Zoo requires reservations. Check out Annie’s recent Brookfield Zoo trip for tips.
  • Cosley Zoo in Wheaton is another smaller zoo with Illinois wildlife. Reservations are required. Kids are free; if you don’t live in Wheaton, you’ll pay $7 per adult. It’s my personal favorite for little kids; check out tips from my recent trip with my family.
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Classes for Preschoolers

We’ve got a whole guide to classes for little kids 5 and under! It’s full of great options for young kids, and each class option lists the starting age, too. Handy, right? And it’s been recently updated with online, outdoor, and socially distanced options.

Your local park district is another great resource for classes. Often, park district classes give kids a taste of a new activity or sport for just the season — which is great for fickle preschoolers.

Need More Fun Ideas for Preschoolers?

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Let’s keep the ideas rolling in the comments! Let us know your favorite spot for the preschool-age crowd below.

Looking for ideas for another age group?

We have a main page that has all of our articles about Activities by Age so you can find local places to go for every age range.

About the Author

Rachel Matuch
Rachel is a mom to two boys (ages 2 and 4) who "certainly has her hands full," as strangers in grocery stores tell her. She's doing her best to keep up and get comfortable with the mud pies and tree-climbing her kids love. In addition to writing and editing, Rachel frequently pillages the Naperville library, plays nerdy board games with her husband, and collapses into a tired heap at 8:30 p.m.

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