There are some things I always loved to do as a kid in Ann Arbor...
- Work in the garden (or help out at a community garden)
- Go to Gym America preschool playtime (small charge)
- Attend a workshop or open make session at Brain Monkeys Kids Maker Space
- Leslie Science and Nature Center (great programs for toddlers and older, even in the winter)
- Washtenaw First Steps Classes (sign up and fee required)
- Erwin Orchards (especially in October for their pumpkin patch, kid area and games, apple picking, cider and doughnuts)
- Chelsea Treehouse (ok, some of these are technically not in Ann Arbor... but close enough)
- Jungle Java (in Canton only now)
- Extreme Bounce (bouncy castles)
- Urban Toddler (great classes, especially great 4-day summer camp series)
Walk through Fuller Park to Gallup Park past the great play structure.
- Don't feed the geese
- Rent one of those paddle boats
- Canoe or kayak down the Huron River (you can start at Bandemer Park or Argo Dam and go to Barton Dam).
- Go out of town to Hudson Mills Metropark and stop at the Dexter A&W on the way back
- Teach knitting
- Play at Eberwhite, it has the best playground in the city.
- Pick fruit
- Go Ice Skating on one of Ann Arbor's Six Ice Rinks
- Hike through Black Pond Woods and visit Leslie Science Center
- Visit the The Creature Conservancy.
- Visit the Hands-on Museum
- Build a sandbox
- Go to the library
- Go to Open Swim at the Indoor Pools
- Go to Ingalls Mall (not a shopping center, at the base of Burton Memorial Tower) and run around, throw pennies in the fountain, walk in front of Hill Auditorium and try not to step on red, stop at ERC and get a sprinkle donut from Washtenaw Dairy and a small milk for the kid, with a tasty caffeinated beverage for the adult.
- Go to the AADL downtown and do the current craft project. Choose some books and read them aloud, either in the comfy chairs in the picture book section, or out in the garden if weather permits.
- Wander around downtown and look for fairy doors.
- Play at the Wave Field on North Campus
- Ann Arbor Farmers' Market-- wander around, buy a fresh Mill Pond breadstick or Harvest Kitchen muffin, maybe some coffee or apple cider (in season). Enjoy occasional free music in the Kerrytown courtyard or go at a time when you can play the bells in the Kerrytown shops. Pick up some flowers or a plant and come home and let your kid plant it and watch it grow!
- The Matthaei Botanical Gardens are free and open to the public. There's a great kids garden in the back with vegetables (for picking!), a sandbox, stream, fairy garden, grapevine arches, and more.
- Go to a variety of University of Michigan athletic events. Many of them are low cost/free.
- Go to a variety of Eastern Michigan University athletic events. Many of them are low cost/free.
There's someone else's ideas of what to do with kids in Detroit you can use for more inspiration.
- UM sports (don't forget volleyball, gymnastics, baseball, soccer, and field hockey)
- Matthaei Botanical Gardens
- The Arb
- UM Saginaw Forest
- The Botsford Recreational Preserve (near Maple and Miller?)
- Ride bikes along trans-AA bike trail
- Volunteer for a Huron River Watershed Council Adopt-a-Stream event
- Any of the downtown festivals
- Fish the Huron River
- Watch the ducks at Island Park
- Watch for deer, squirrels, woodchucks, muskrats, fox, coyotes, wild turkeys, great blue herons, ducks in Scio Township (soon to be beavers and bears?)
- Domino's Petting Farm
- Earth Day events
- Huge puppets on Main Street for FestiFools
- A2 Summer Festival music and movies (mid-June to July 4th or so)
- 4-H Youth Show (fourth Sunday of July through the following Friday)--lots of animals!
- AA Art Fairs (July)
- West Park Band Shell free summer concerts
- Dexter Daze (August)
- Picking berries, apples, etc.
- Blimp spotting in the air or at Ann Arbor Airport (or a ride if you have connections) before home football weekends
- Watch the UM Marching Band practice. Check the schedule as times vary.
- Watch the planes pick up and drop off banners at the Ann Arbor Airport - best a few hours before home football games. Play at the Pittsfield Township playground just across from the airport if you need diversion between planes.
- Explore aisles at Stadium Hardware (explain what things are used for)
- the Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair
- The Scrap Box (esp. for Halloween costume materials)
- Yost skating
- All the UM museums (esp. Natural History Museum and Planetarium)
- The Michigan Theater with the pipe organ in full effect
- Michigan Firehouse Museum in Ypsi
- Grand Traverse Pie Co.
- Washtenaw Dairy ice cream or donuts
- Dairy Queen Blizzards to celebrate spring
- Zingerman's Creamery
- BD's Mongolian BBQ