Top 5 Places to Avoid the “Big Kid Invasion” During Spring Break

When my daughter was a toddler or preschooler, I dreaded the weeks when the “big kids” were home from school and invading our peaceful playgrounds, libraries, and play areas. My daughter would be intimidated by their size, noise volume, and the number of them running around “her places”. I was always on the lookout for places that we could go that would be free of big kids.

With a rainy weather forecast, there are bound to be even more big kids at indoor locations. I’ve pulled together a list of my Top 5 Big-Kid Free Destinations During Spring Break in the Ann Arbor area. If you have other ideas, I’d love to add the to the list.

Top 5 Places to Avoid the "Big Kid Invasion" During Spring Break

Don’t miss the events listed at the bottom of the post that are just for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

1 – Baby Playgroup and Preschool Story Times

Ann Arbor District Library offers Baby Playgroup, a one hour program just for kids under the age of 2 and a parent/caregiver, several times during the week. We were regulars at the Baby Playgroup when my daughter was between 6 and 20 months. Preschool Story Time offers a 30 minutes storytime geared towards preschoolers. While there may be some younger elementary students there, the story is designed with a preschool audience in mind. In addition to their story times, they are also holding Sensation Stations on Friday.


Ypsilanti District Library also has weekly story times on their calendar. 

Baby Playgroup at AADL (Ann Arbor District Library)

Enjoying a Story at Baby Playgroup

2 – Preschool Gallery at Hands-On Museum

The Preschool Gallery at Hands-On Museum was always a favorite spot of my daughter’s. Since she has aged out of the Preschool Gallery (ages 4 and under), it has continued to improve. AAHOM’s Little Scientist Club is held in the Preschool Gallery every Tuesday at 9:30a. I was able to get reacquainted with the Preschool Gallery last year when Arbor Annie and I visited the museum.


Arbor Annie Visits Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - Preschool GalleryMy daughter has always been disappointed that “Engineers on a Roll”  opened about a year after she was too old for the Preschool Gallery. Older kids are allowed to accompany the young ones in their party. They will be asked to leave if they are disruptive. Last summer, my daughter was able to get reacquainted with the Preschool Gallery as a big-kid helper when we visited with my niece last summer. 

AAHOM - Preschool Gallery - Fire Truck

3 – Kidopolis

Spring Break is the perfect time for families of younger children to visit the new Kidopolis indoor play ground. Preschoolers and Toddlers are the perfect age to explore Kidopolis. While there are some activities that will appeal to younger elementary students, older toddlers and preschoolers are the perfect age! With a rainy forecast, it is a great place to visit.

Introducing Kidopolis


4 – Briarwood Mall Play Area

The play area at Briarwood Mall is a perfect spot for toddlers and preschoolers. The play area is sized perfectly for toddlers and preschoolers. It is also fairly contained making it more difficult for kids to escape (especially compared to the former play area). I have heard reports of big kids in the play area which always surprises me. As the parent of a big kid when it opened, there is nothing there to entice her into the play area.

5 – Metropolitan EHS Saline

Metropolitan EHS Saline bought the former My Urban Toddler space last fall. They have maintained the play center as a play facility open to the public. Open play is 9a-3p Mondays-Fridays and 9a-1p on Saturdays. I know my daughter enjoyed many fun days at My Urban Toddler when she was younger.


Don’t miss the First Steps Open House on Friday morning to learn more about their programs for kids from birth-age 5.

All Upcoming Events Just for Babies, Toddlers, & Preschoolers

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Anna Mae

Anna Mae owns & operates Ann Arbor with Kids, a website dedicated to Family Activities in Ann Arbor. My husband and I moved to Ann Arbor in 2003 and our daughter joined the family in 2006.

Anna Mae

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