Bluegrass, books, and building monster forts

Fun For Ages 0-3

The activity plan for the toddler tykes is made up of a nature hike, a restaurant with a grandmother's feel, a playhouse for the wee ones, and storytime to enhance literary skills, among other enterprises.

Edited by Kasey Cordell By Rachel Ritchie April 19, 2010 Published in the May 2010 issue of Portland Monthly

05 040 kids trail d55gs4

Running wild on a Honeybee Hike

Honeybee Hikes

One day you’ll tackle the Pacific Crest Trail together. But until then, you can nurture a love for the great outdoors with your sidekick—one tiny step at a time—at Leach Botanical Garden. Each week, trained naturalists lead hour-long Honeybee Hikes, where you’ll explore some 1,000 native plant species while taking breaks for story time. The sweetest moment? Watching honey being made at the garden’s resident beehive. —Brian M. Barker

The Mississippi Pizza Pub

Stroll by the Mississippi Pizza Pub on a Saturday afternoon between 4 and 6 p.m., when foot-stomping strains of banjo, cello, and violin fill the air outside the pizza joint’s stained-glass windows, and you might think you were missing the hottest bluegrass show in town. And you are—if you’re a toddler. That boisterous thrumming is the sound of the weekly kids’ concerts, where live acts like Professor Banjo’s Old-Time Play Party and Lorna Miller’s Little Kids’ Jamboree riff for young ’uns who effortlessly prove that they are the real lords of the dance. —RR

Play Boutique

If day care had an Ivy League, Lake Oswego’s Play Boutique would surely be in it. The cheerful staff not only placates your rug rats with their 5,000-square-foot indoor play space, but also edifies him or her with “edutainment”—exposure to Spanish, art, music, and even karate. Most important, they recognize that parents often need a break. So for $25, you can drop your kid off and scram for two hours, or seek solace in the parents’ lounge, where current magazines, Internet access, and a beverage bar earn the Play Boutique straight As among adults, too. —Bart W. Blasengame


Remember the days of building forts in the living room? Relive the fun (but improve the construction) with locally crafted large wooden play clips from Milagros. The oversize clothespins make it easy for small hands to grip and clip their way to a sturdy fortress. Toss in a bedsheet—plus whatever else you and your young Frank Lloyd Wright dream up—and spend the day playing “Alamo” (although you might want to revise the ending of that particular game). —Martha Calhoon

Green Frog Toys

It would be easy to lose your-self—or your 3-year-old—in the aisles of colorful, creative toys in this Pearl District shop. Don’t. Head straight for the bath toys section and grab a few rubber duckies (they come in three different sizes). Mark each with a number, then hit up somewhere like Tanner Springs Park for an afternoon of fowl play with Rubber Ducky Derby Races. Here’s how it works: pick start and finish lines, dump your duckies in the water, and follow along with them to see which quacker’s faster. —KC

Story Time

There’s more to story time than just flipping open the latest Eric Carle picture book and hoping for the best. Which is part of why the Multnomah County Library’s reading programs are so focused: Book Babies, for brand-new babies to 12-month-olds, centers on movement and exposure to language; Toddler Storytime, for 2-year-olds, relies on interactive stories and songs; and Preschool Storytime helps your 3-year-old build early literacy skills. By kindergarten, they’ll be ready to tackle Ulysses. BWB

Academy Theater

It’s an age-old conundrum: you want to see the latest Wes Anderson flick, but your caterwauling bundle of joy isn’t likely to make it through the opening credits without earning you the evil eye from the crowd. Nobody’s got your back quite like the Academy Theater, where ticket prices ($4) are cheaper than the in-house babysitting service ($7.50 per child). With the help of a play loft, story time, and crafting, the Academy sitters are masters of keeping you sane—and your kiddo entertained—for 90 minutes at a time. BWB

Zenana Spa and Wellness Center

In Persian, zenana means, roughly, “for women.” But every Tuesday and Thursday, this family-focused Southeast spa becomes a place for women and their babies at morning Mamalates, a Pilates class that invites moms to stretch and tone with their infants at their side. And should your baby-lifting biceps need a little more than stretching, the staff in the center’s children’s room will watch your precious cargo while you get the kinks worked out with a Swedish massage. —MC

Explorers Program at the Playground Gym

05 042 kids play gym i88ppz

Opened by Brazilian jujitsu coaches, the Playground Gym is an adrenaline-pumping paradise for lilliputian acrobats. The gym’s Explorers Program invites parents to direct their toddler’s wobbles and crawls toward a smorgasbord of padded gym mats, stairs, ramps, and even gymnast rings to help fine-tune those motor skills. And thanks to adult classes in circus stunts and swing dancing, you can drop by for a recess of your own. BMB

Filed under
Show Comments