With a world-class city at our doorstep, there are so many things to do with preschoolers in Boston. And that's saying a lot. Preschoolers can be a finicky bunch. Maybe that's partly because they are straddling the fine line between little kid and big kid status: too old for some things, but too young for many others.
Fortunately, from museums in the Fenway to outdoor activities on Boston's waterfront (not to mention tons of free stuff), Boston is filled with family fun that'll have your 3 to 5-year old jumping for joy. Here are 25 wonderful ways to enjoy Boston with a preschooler.
Things to Do With Preschoolers in Boston Before They Turn 5
South Boston's Fort Point Channel is home to preschool-approved fun at the Children's Museum. Have fun preparing your preschooler for the next step at the Countdown to Kindergarten exhibit.
2. Spin on Rose Kennedy Greenway
This wonderful urban greenspace runs right past some of the city's top attractions. Take a ride on the carousel on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
3. Take a Boston Duck Tour
It's not just for tourists! Quack your way down the streets of Boston on a Duck Tour.
4. Go for a Trolley Ride
Ride the trolley to a specific destination or nowhere at all!
Make way for Boston preschoolers having fun! Duckling Day photo courtesy of Friends of the Public Garden
5. Make Way for Ducklings!
Visit the Make Way for Ducklings sculptures in the Public Garden and then hop on the Swan Boats.
6. Frolic on Boston Common
In the warmer months, splash in the Frog Pond Spray Pool on Boston Common; skate under the stars on the Frog Pond's refrigerated ice in winter.
Get some energy out at one or all of the best tot lots and toddler playgrounds around the city, from the North End to the South End!
8. Hit the Boston Public Library
Get your preschooler excited about books and reading by visiting the awesomely renovated children's space at the Boston Public Library.
9. Shop at Faneuil Hall
You can also visit two really cool stores. The Build-A-Bear store and the Dino Safari Gift Shop are both located in Faneuil Hall.
10. Head to the Franklin Park Zoo
Check out one of the many kid-friendly programs at Franklin Park Zoo, where kids can visit with the animals all year long. And plan a visit some of the other preschooler-friendly zoos around Boston too!
11. Explore Castle Island
Grab a hot dog or ice cream at Sullivan's on Castle Island, fly a kite, collect shells and rocks on the beach, and watch the planes from Logan Airport fly overhead.
12. Visit the New England Aquarium.
Play with the penguins or check out one of the kid programs at the New England Aquarium on Boston's waterfront.
See toddler-friendly shows at Brookline's Puppet Showplace Theater. Photo courtesy of the theater
13. Take in a (Puppet) Show!
For over 40 years, Puppet Showplace Theater has been presenting engaging puppet plays to Boston area kids. Check out a show and introduce your preschooler to the theater arts.
14. Swing by Boston's Museum of Science
The Museum of Science is not just for the big kids. There are plenty of things for preschoolers to enjoy as well, like the Discovery Center and Butterfly Garden.
15. Stroll through the Arnold Arboretum.
Play a game of Wildlife Bingo at the Arnold Arboretum, a 281-acre living collection of trees, shrubs and vines.
16. Get 'em Revved Up!
Bring your preschooler to see a cool collection of historic cars at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. And check their website for a calendar of family-friendly events.
17. Have a Jam Session
Find a variety of music classes for you and your preschooler with Groovy Baby Music, with classes taught by professional musicians throughout the Greater Boston area.
18. Have a Family Day at Boston's MFA
Check out the Family Art Cart at the Museum of Fine Arts for activities for children ages 4 and up.
19. Get a Bird's Eye View
Your preschooler will feel on top of the world when you take the elevator to the top of the Prudential Tower and get a bird's eye view of Boston at View Boston.
Boston has plenty of hands-on fun for preschoolers. Boston Nature Center photo courtesy of Mass Audubon
20. Enjoy the Boston Nature Center
Sign up for an Early Explorers session at the Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary in Mattapan. Here, your preschooler can learn about the outdoor world through games, stories, art and outdoor time.
21. See a Show
Check out a kids' show at the historic Coolidge Corner Theater.
Sign up for one of the Play Date programs at the Institute for Contemporary Art where children participate in age-appropriate activities surrounding one of the exhibits.
23. Voyage to Boston Harbor Islands.
Take the ferry to the Boston Harbor Islands and explore old forts, picnic on the beach or take a dip in the ocean.
24. See history at the Boston Fire Museum
Check out the antique fire equipment or celebrate a birthday at the Boston Fire Museum.
Tiny hands make big fun with these bricks! Photo courtesy of the Legoland Discovery Center in Somerville
25. Build at the LEGOLAND Discovery Center
Visit the LEGO® DUPLO® Farm (and lots of other attractions) at the LEGOLAND Discovery Center and introduce your preschooler to the wonderful world of brick-building.