I’d like to welcome my good friend, Carolyn, as a contributor to my series, A Postcard From…Awesome Places Around The World! If you’d like to share your area of the world, please contact me. Today’s postcard is from Carolyn, of The Wise Owl Factory coming to you from …Minneapolis, Minnesota! Click through the links and you’ll find out more information about Minnesota, as well as some great free printables!
The Mall of America (MOA) alone has at least ten wonderful things to do with children including activities, eating out, rides, and shopping. However, we are going to mention two preschool opportunities at MOA especially lovely for toddlers. The first is Toddler Tuesdays at MOA; a special day set aside for those not yet in school to enjoy an uncrowded and less busy time for rides perfect for their ages. Parents are allowed to accompany children, too, to help them become comfortable with amusement park rides. There are about 15 restaurants where children may eat free on these days, and we took advantage of one such deal. The website says Toddler Tuesdays are free, but we did buy a low-cost wristband to enjoy some additional rides.
Also located at Mall of America is Crayola World. An entire “world” of imagination and fun including writing with chalk on the floor. Creative hands-on fun with 25 different attractions; color and adventure await children lucky enough to spend some time there. There are special events, a shop with the largest collection of Crayola products, and a crayonologist to show how crayons are made.
Be sure to check the hours as once in a while the restaurant, Café Crayola, is closed, although there are dozens more throughout MOA. There is even augmented reality which can enhance your child’s drawing. Drip art, melted crayons, modelling clay and more are all part of the experience. Some activities require an additional cost, but much fun can be had for the basic ticket price.
Eidem Homestead is a historical farm owned or operated by the City of Brooklyn Park since 1976. It is historically accurate and has 19 acres, two farmsteads, and activities for children. There is a story time on the front porch summer evenings. School and group field trips are possible, as are family visits. Watch their events calendar to be sure they are open and to see what is going on.
This farm hopes to educate visitors about a way of life through a living history experience. We saw an actual icebox (yes, with ice) in the kitchen, learned how to crack corn, and used the water pump. Children can pump water into a tin bucket and water the garden. There was a little tractor to pedal, as well. Everything is set in the 1900s and represents actual farm life.
The People’s House is an experience in huge buildings and architecture, and while more educational than active, it is a memorable experience for children. The golden horses at the top of the building used to be available for the public to touch after climbing many stairs, and I remember doing that when I was young. Now, though, they are to be admired from outside the building. People do talk inside as lawmakers are perhaps running back and forth from meetings to offices. There are many stairs to climb, and elevators are available. The huge pictures and the golden décor are sure to amaze the children. Tours are available, as well. You may be able to arrange a very short visit to your state’s representative’s or senator’s office.
In the summer, Maple Grove Days are always the week after the 4th of July. There is so much to do, and this is a 5-day event. There are bands at the bandshell in town, games for teens, a mediation hunt, a parade to watch. Children can participate in a kiddie parade, and there are rides, a diaper derby (cute, cute), outdoor movies, and a tennis tournament. They teach the children to fish over at Weaver Lake and provide fishing poles, bait, and advice. Eating contests, a corn feed, and food vendors make this almost a fair. Did you want to be in a duct tape fashion show? They have one! The emergency vehicles and large trucks are on display, too.
Of course, there are many other things to do in this area as well. Those are some of our favorites!
Thank you for reading,
Carolyn Wilhelm, Wise Owl Factory
Carolyn Wilhelm is the author of The Wise Owl Factory site and blog. She has an MS in Gifted Education, a MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12, and has finished the KHT Montessori 12 month program. She makes mostly free resources for teachers and parents.