13 Easy Outings for Tired Moms and Dads

Activities by AgeIndoor Play

Are you looking for an easy outing that doesn’t require a change of clothes, snacks, packing a bag, reserving tickets, and setting expectations? We feel you. You can turn regular places into something fun (and maybe even run some errands while you’re at it)!

We have a secret for you: Toddlers and preschoolers don’t care about fancy. Sure, taking your little ones to an Instagram famous location can make for some amazing photos, but sometimes places that adults think of as pretty standard are super fun for kids.

Honestly, my kids have had just as much fun at the easy outings below as an amusement park!

Marvel at the Bass Pro Shops Fish Tank

709 Janes Ave
Bolingbrook, IL 60440

The 14,000 gallon aquarium which hosts over 200 species of salt water fish, and plenty of equipment for kids to try out for size is a great free attraction.

Be Entertained at Abt Electronics

1200 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Glenview, IL 60025

Walk through the appliances and electronics departments to the atrium where you will find water fountains, a huge fish tank, candy store, light wall, big bubble machine, perpetual motion ball machine, and LEGO table.

Play and Grab a Meal at Ikea

750 E. Boughton Road
Bolingbrook, IL 60440

Ikea isn’t just for meatballs and furniture! My kids all have a good time at Ikea, they have a play area with toys and the kids meals are so affordable.

Ride the Moving Walkway at Menards

The moving walkway is the key feature here. My kids love riding up and down, which makes running errands fun. They also create a courtyard each season with displays and decorations that are fun to walk through.

unlikely places for fun

Grocery Shops at Stores with Toddler Carts

Just simply letting your kids push the cart and giving them the responsibility of arranging the food in their cart can be an activity in itself!

Go Through a Car Wash

Car washes can be magical, plus you can also get a super clean car out of the deal.

Watch Fish at Aquarium Adventure at Petland

744 E. Boughton Road
Bolingbrook, IL 60440

11 Golf Center
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169

You are going to be blown away by how many fish tanks they have at this store! The Bolingbrook location is right down the street from IKEA, so you can make it a combo trip too.

Shop and Eat at Costco

Yep! Costco because they have an inexpensive food court with $1.50 hot dogs along with ice cream and churros.

Get Spooked at Spirit Halloween

Look out for these pop-up stores around late August through the end of October if your kids like decorations and animatronic monsters.

Exchange Books at Little Free Libraries

Click here for a map

Take a walk and stop at a little free library to look for books to read when you get home. You can also bring some books from home to donate.

Shop and Play Video Games at Best Buy

Did you know that you can play Nintendo Switch at Best Buy? I didn’t either! But Kaitlyn’s boys call it the “tv shop” and they like to look at all of the electronics too.

Watch Trains Near a Train Station

Packing a picnic with lunch or snacks and watching the trains is entertaining and relaxing.

Play at the Library

Hanging out at a new-to-you library is an easy outing and tons of fun. Click here for the list of reader-voted best libraries for kids.

Did we miss an unlikely spot where your kids enjoy playing? Let us know in the comments!

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Libraries all over have incorporated children’s play spaces. We go to Chicago Public Library in Jefferson Park

  • Kristen Ward
    June 23, 2023 9:36 pm

    Which menards have the moving walkway? My kids would love it!

  • I feel so seen! With a 1 and 2 year old, these are really the only outings we do. They’re very picky eaters and Costco is a weekly trip just to find samples they like. We got to Petco to look at the fish and kittens multiple times a week, too.


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