Happy Monday everyone, I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend!
I know I’ve complained about it before, but it’s been really rainy in Portland this winter. Like really really rainy. And when you have a busy toddler that you’re trying to entertain all day, it can be a little challenging when you can’t get outside to go for walks or go to the park for days on end. Luckily, Portland has lots of great indoor activities that are perfect for little ones and so I thought I’d share a few of my favorites that Henry and I have discovered so far!
(And yes, I realize it’s a little ironic I’m posting this now considering it’s supposed to be in the 70’s and sunny for the rest of the week. But it looks like the rain is going to be back the following week so I thought I’d just go ahead and share this today for future reference!)
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry has this kids’ Science Playground that’s perfect for toddlers! There’s a water play area, a sand play area, blocks, a woodland area, and lots of other fun areas that are great for littles to explore. The nice thing is that it’s all in one room, but that’s also the downfall because it can get really crowded! (Especially on a rainy day!) Kids under 3 are free which is nice, but adult tickets + parking can add up after a few visits so a membership is a great idea if you’re planning on going more than a few times.
The Children’s Museum is a quite a bit larger than OMSI and things are spread out over a variety of different rooms, which can be a nice in helping it feel less cramped. However, it does get really crowded on the weekends so be warned! Some of the stuff here is a little beyond what Henry’s into at the moment, but there are all sorts of different activities so it’s great for him to be able to try different things. They do charge for children over age 1 though, so a membership can be a good way to go!
Portland has lots of great cafes where you can get a coffee or lunch and your toddler can play, making them great spots for play dates! In Northeast, Roseway Play Cafe is awesome! (It’s actually where we had Henry’s birthday party!) The owners are really nice, it’s super cute and clean, and there are lots of fun toys. The set up is great because the play area is separated from the cafe, but there is a big cutout where you can sit and easily watch your kids play, which is nice. The only thing I don’t like about Roseway (at least right now) is there is this play structure with a slide and Henry doesn’t really get that he’s not supposed to climb up the bottom of the slide…ha. So if there are older kids trying to slide down, I feel like I have to constantly monitor him which is a little annoying…but I’m sure he’ll grow out of this phase eventually. Another cute place in North Portland is POA Cafe; it’s a little more “fancy hipster” and super Instagram-able. The play area is smaller and it’s not gated off so it can be a little challenging to actually keep adventurous toddlers from running through the cafe. But they’ve got lots of books and magnets and other fun toys, and the food is great!
Henry seems to really enjoy music and there are a number of musicians here in Portland specifically geared towards kids. However, the only one we’ve had a chance to see so far is Mr. Ben, but he’s great and perfect for the toddler set! He plays at various restaurants and cafes around Portland, and it’s a perfect thing to do when the weather is not so hot.
I just checked this out for the first time last week after hearing about it from a few different people, and Henry really liked it! It’s held out in their soccer dome and there aren’t really that many toys or things for the kids to play with. But there is a big padded floor that kids can play on, as well as a trampoline, and it’s just a nice place for toddlers to have open space to run around! Plus, it’s only $5 and it’s a good place to go if you just want a change of scenery and a space where your kiddo can run without having to stand out in the rain.
I just checked out this toy store on N. Williams for the first time the other day and it’s so neat! They carry lots of high-quality toys, primarily from Europe that are more old fashioned, not battery powered, with lots made out of wood. But the best part is they have this super-cute play area! Henry has had a blast playing here whenever we’ve stopped in and he usually has the play area to himself. Plus, the toy store is right near one of my favorite coffee shops, Ristretto Roasters, so grabbing a coffee and letting your toddler play here is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. (And it’s actually just down the street from POA Cafe too!)
I’d seen this on Facebook for awhile now, but finally checked it out for the first time. It’s held at Thunder Elite All-Star Cheerleading in Clackamas, so it’s a little bit of a hike from Portland, but it’s a lot of fun for toddlers! They had a parachute, blocks, and lots of fun other toys perfect for young kids. The floors are padded and there is a trampoline and some squishy mats the kids can jump on. The space is pretty open so it’s a good place to let them run around, and it wasn’t too crowded the day I went. It’s only once a week, but for only $5, it’s a fun thing to do on a gloomy day.
Only in Portland would a brewery be a good place to toddlers….but it really is! Hopworks Urban Brewery has two locations and they do a Tot Tuesday (or Thursday, depending on which location) once a month. Plus, their breweries have a very kid-friendly atmosphere and have play areas. (The play area at the Powell location is a little bit bigger, just FYI)
One rainy day activity I wasn’t such a fan of was PlayDate PDX, so I just thought I’d throw it out there for any other toddler parents. Granted, the day I went was really rainy and it was a weekend but it was CHAOS. There were so many kids and the play structures are really designed for children who are older. There is a very small “toddler” area but older kids kept cutting through and knocking Henry over, and it was just a huge headache. I’d definitely save this one until your kiddos are older for sure!
Finally, there are a few other indoor activities on my radar that I haven’t had a chance to check out yet, but I thought I’d link them here as well in case anyone is interested!
The libraries here in Portland have a specific story/music time for each age group, and I used to love taking Henry to Book Babies when he was younger. It hasn’t worked out with our schedule to check this out now that he’s older, but I’m hoping we can go soon!
All of the Portland Community Centers offer a bunch of different indoor activities for toddlers (ages 1-5) that look really fun (and are really inexpensive!) so I’d love to check some of these out! Some of the community centers also have pools that offer special open swim times for kids under 5 with their parents, which would be another fun rainy day activity!
I haven’t checked this out, but I’ve heard good things and it definitely seems toddler specific.
This kids art studio looks really fun and I’m looking to checking it out down the road. (It says it’s designed for kids 1-10, but I think Henry might still be a little young)
I drive by this place all the time and have been meaning to check out one of their open gyms, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.
So while I’m hoping everyone can get outside this week and enjoy some time at the park and doing other outdoor activities, it is Oregon and I’m sure the rain won’t stay away forever 🙂 Hopefully this list comes in handy next time you’re looking for some indoor toddler fun! (And I’m always looking for new ideas too so if there’s anywhere I need to check out, let me know in the comments!)