School is back in session. The big kids are learning new words, standing in the lunch line, and doodling in their notebooks in the back of the room. If you have a little one at home now, it’s time to put the focus on them!
Heck, even if you ONLY have a little one, back-to-school in the city is the time of year you want to spend adventuring with your little one. The crowds are at a minimum, and there are great programs beginning in the fall. Here is a list of our favorite things to do with babies and toddler in Atlanta.
Each Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon, Central Park is completely devoted to this fun event where kids get to be kids! Parents and caregivers are encouraged to bring their pre- school aged children to Atlantic Station for a morning filled with adventure. Weekly surprises include storytellers, face painting and visitors from the local community like those hosted in past seasons: Zoo Atlanta and the Center for Puppetry Arts. Tot Spot runs April – July.
Join the High each Thursday for special programming aimed at your toddler age children. Themed activities and art projects take place from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Explore the museum through Toddler Tours and learn about the world with Story Time. All activities are FREE with museum admission. No matter when you come, the new CREATE & EXPERIENCE studios are a fun place to get the wiggles out.
Programs and Classes for Littles
Magic Mondays at Atlanta History Center -One of the best kiddo programs around in my opinion. Crafts, stories, activities, games, and more. Discounted admission or free for members.
Owl + Acorn - Art & Education classes taught by Lauren Rauch at Sis & Moon. She helps children trust in themselves, their talents, their creativity, and keeping art fun! Ages 4-12.
The Mobile Music Station - Miss Jennifer teaches (among other musical endeavors) Kindermusik toddler classes that encourage your child to be creative, to initiate their own ideas, and to respond in their own ways. You and your little one will play and explore instruments together, dance, sing, and act out simple stories and rhymes. You can find out more about The Mobile Music Studio and where Miss Jennifer will be teaching next by following the link.
Garden Stories at Smith-Gilbert Gardens – We've toured the children's garden, spied on the koi, read magical stories, and examined ladybugs. So much to do here!
Atlanta Botanical Garden – Storytime, Garden Stroller Strut, Drop-In Family Programs, Treasure Hunts, and Ampitheater Programs - What else could you desire?
Library story times - Libraries all around the city vary in the quality of their story times. If you're not happy with your closest library (raises hand) then venture out a little farther. You don't have to be a card holder to enjoy these great events.
Second Thursdays at Southeastern Railway Museum – Another superbly organized event. We've seen ice cream trucks, hot air balloons, boats, and trains galore. Play games, make crafts, read stories...and don't forget a ride on the choo choo.
Toddler Thursdays at the High Museum of Art – Expose your little one to great artists and art mediums with this fun toddler class, then head to the child's play area for tons of fun.
Toddler Time at SkyZone Indoor Trampoline Park – Jump, jump, jump, without a worry that the big guys will come crashing down on baby.
Stroller Walks – Atlanta Parent has a great list of stroller walks around town.
Stroller Cubs at Zoo Atlanta – Put baby in the stroller and explore the zoo with other kiddos and mommies.
Theatre for the Very Young – Kids as young as 18 months can experience theatre in a way that doesn't send you running to the bathroom with your screaming kiddo. Great hands-on, and wiggles and giggles are A-OK.
The Art Barn -Farmer Sue! Love her! Spend time with her animal babies on her clean farm. Pet them, feed the gentle creatures, take a hay ride, and make an art project.
TinyTots at Sparkles - Bring your kid's favorite ride-on toy for fun times with other kiddos on the rink. There is also a small climbing structure.
Mommy and Me at Southern Museum - Young kids can learn about new topics each month through hands-on play.
Grandma Snazzy - One of the best story times around...at Kroger. Seriously. Have fun with the wee ones then get some shopping done.
Mommy and Me at Purple Hippo - Enjoy making art with this fun mommy and kid class. Be sure to email the day before as registration is required.
SoccerTots – This is a super class that introduces your kiddo to soccer basics in a fun and non-threatening and non-competitive manner.
The Music Class –Introduce babies and kids to music - rhythm and dance. It's fun for baby and mom, too
Parent-Tot Gymnastics at Champion Kids – You can take classes, but my kids prefer the Open Play time, with a bounce house, swinging rope, trampoline, and much more. There is even a place for the littlest ones.
Parent-Child at The Little Gym – Get some exercise on!
Aqua-Tots -Swim lessons - with mom - as young as six months.
Preschool Adventures at Autrey Mill Nature Center -With fall approaching, the nature center is gearing up for several fun adventures for preschoolers.
Playgrounds for Wee Ones
Morgan Falls Overlook Park - Imagine a fabulous playground on a grassy surface overlooking the Chattahoochee. Yup, that's here. There is even an easy hiking trail for those more adventurous mommies.
Playable Art Park - The city's newest playground features a handful of art structures perfect for climbing and imagining. My youngest liked it even more than the big kid.
Haw Creek - More climbing structures situated in the shade. Structures look like leaves and bugs and logs; great for imaginations.
Wills Park - This massive playground has a special section for the younger set. It's a great place to meet new mommy friends.
Old Fourth Ward - Walk the beltline with kiddo in a stroller and make a stop at this fabulous playground and splashpad. There is something for everyone here.
Peachtree Dekalb Airport - A great playground next to the airport runway. Kids can enjoy swinging and climbing while watching airplanes take off and land.
Little Mulberry Park - Play on the playground structures, check out the lake, or walk the hiking trails.
Places to Bring the Bitty Kids
Legoland Discovery Center – Little kids can enjoy the Duplo area with large building blocks and a slide.
Chattahoochee Nature Center – We love it here, and we’ve been visiting since before the oldest could walk. There are plenty of sidewalks if you have a stroller, and the nature paths are short for little legs.
Noah’s Ark -Get closer to the animals that you would at the zoo. Enjoy strolling along under the shade on walking paths perfect for strollers.
Indoor Water Parks – Get wet, even in winter. These indoor water parks are great places to get refreshed.
Yellow River Game Ranch – The animals here are gentle and passive. Toddlers can seek out deer and farm animals, and offer them a nibble.
Paint Your Own Pottery – No, I’m not kidding. Offer your little one a flat piece of ceramic and let them at it. Makes great tree ornaments, trivets, and presents for loved ones.
Center for Puppetry Arts – Often CPA will have shows for young children. Coming soon is Shake a Tail Feather with Mother Goose. Excited to be taking my two-year old.
Tot Spot at Atlantic Station – Every Tuesday at Atlantic Station there are special guest and special activities for your little ones. Great time for meeting and chatting with other moms.
Tellus Science Museum – The space and mineral exhibits might be over their heads, but kids love Big Backyard, with hands-on activities for children. There is also a gem mining area and dino dig. Perfect for a rainy day!
NatureQuest at Fernbank – This play escape feels like a mini Disneyland. Each section is designed like a Georgia habitat, ensuring your little ones are learning while they are playing.
Tanglewood Farm Petting Zoo – Meet miniature lambs, horses, cows, and more. Weave your way through the petting zoo of miniature animals.
Little Shop of Stories – This is a fabulous book store in Decatur that offers kiddo books (tons!) story times, a reading area with a train table, and more.
TinyTowne – This new attraction north of the city is a miniature town, complete with cars that kids can drive.
North Point Mall – If I have to do a mall trip, I head here. There is a carousel, a soft play area, and a train for the kids to ride on around the mall. Annie’s pretzels is by the play area and train – a special treat for all of us.
Best Hikes for Small Kiddos
Dunwoody Nature Center – Short hikes, a tree house, playground, boardwalk, and creek make this ideal for kiddos.
Piedmont Park – Feed the ducks at the pond, play on one of several playgrounds, or stroll around on the paved streets.
Big Tree Forest Preserve – Head left on the trail and hit the creek faster. This is perfect shallow water with (almost) no slippery rocks. A great place to picnic and play in the water all afternoon.
Songbird Trail – Peaceful, quiet, tranquil. I head here when I want baby to sleep as I roam the trails.
Reynolds Nature Preserve – Enjoy the ponds with turtles, and short easy hikes.
Rolater Park – There is a playground on one end and a creek on the other. You can splash in the downstream area or taste the water from the spring. The hike is less than a mile.
Olde Rope Mill – Creek play, a bridge to run over, and flat paved areas for playing with push toys.
Sawnee Nature Preserve – Play in the large treehouse, see the fairy houses, or play on the playground. The boys love the in-ground slide and natural building area.
Island Ford – Flat easy trails with trees to climb, and ducks to watch.
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After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.