In the last four years, I’ve done a lot of shopping with my daughter and over time, I’ve figured out the stores that I know she sees as a “treat” to visit and are more than just a place to run an errand for us. During the hot summer months or frigid temps during the winter when a trip to the park just isn’t in the cards, these places are especially great for an outing!
Costco: I limit our trips to Costco to once a month since it’s so easy to drop a boatload of cash at each visit. I know my daughter wishes we went more frequently, mostly because SAMPLES! My child will try any food offered to her as a sample, even if it’s something she refuses to eat at home. Depending on the time of day you visit, you can get a full meal between all the samples. I also love the giant carts since you can easily put a car seat in the basket and still have plenty of room for groceries. We like to end our trips with a cheap lunch of pizza/hot dogs or some frozen yogurt.
Hy-Vee: I think I have a soft spot for Hy-Vee since it is where I had my first job, but when the new location opened in Olathe two years ago, my love for the store was renewed. Kids can ride in their special “car carts,” enjoy a free piece of fruit in the produce section, a free cookie from the bakery, free balloon from the florist and a free ride on the mechanical horse on the way out. If you need to change a diaper or feed your baby, the south Olathe location has a mother’s lounge near the bathrooms. Other perks for mom: curbside loading of your groceries and the ability to order groceries online and pickup at the store or have them delivered to your home!
IKEA: Kids can have fun trying out the furniture and the toys in the children’s section and enjoy a cheap (and sometimes free!) meal in the restaurant. Get a family membership for special discounts throughout the store and free coffee or tea in the restaurant. If your kids are between 37 and 54 inches tall and potty trained you can even send them to Småland for a couple of hours of free childcare while you do some shopping on your own!
MommyShop: I love to shop here, and my daughter loves the gated kid area with lots of toys. The store is small enough that she can call for me if she needs me and I can easily keep an eye on her! MommyShop is located in south Overland Park.
Oak Park Mall: We went to Oak Park Mall last week when it was crazy hot to burn off some energy without melting in the heat. We hit quite a few stops for some fun:
- Nordstrom: We started with lunch at Nordstrom Cafe, which has a great kids menu and very attentive staff. I always feel like they treat moms at VIPs which makes for a great dining experience. They also have a fantastic mother’s lounge where you can change a diaper or feed your baby and relax a bit.
- Barnes and Noble: Sadly this location no longer has a train table for the kids to play with (when I asked an employee they said the trains kept getting stolen so they chose to remove the table.) They do however have tons of great books to read together, a little stage to play on, and there is a Lego table in the toy section. As far as I know, the other area stores still have a train table.
- Disney Store: My daughter enjoys looking at the toys and coloring in the kid area while watching Disney music videos.
- Build-A-Bear Workshop: We have yet to make a bear, but my daughter is mesmerized by the fluff machine and loves watching other kids build bears.
- Lego Store: This store has a couple of small tables with Legos/Duplos that the kids can play with.
- Carousel: Every kid loves a carousel! This is the highlight of every trip for us. The fact that it is a two story carousel makes it even more exciting. My daughter likes to ride the teacups and spin so fast that I have to keep from puking. She also loves getting her hand stamped at the end of each ride.
- Play area: Situated right next to the carousel, this is a great place to play while you wait for your turn to ride. There are little cars and a bridge that the kids can climb on as well as space to run around.
Overland Park Farmers Market: While I typically send my husband alone on Saturday mornings to brave the crowds, my daughter and I like to attend the Wednesday morning market where we can browse more leisurely. They also have music and activities for kids are offered near the clock tower, as well as a fountain to play in (bring a towel and extra set of clothes!).
Scheels: OK, I admit, I am not sure I’ve ever actually bought anything at Scheels since I don’t really have a need for sporting goods in my life right now. But in a few years, if my daughter is into soccer or we decide to take up fly fishing, I’ll become a regular customer. Scheels is an amazing place to take kids. For only $1, they can ride the two story Ferris Wheel or play a few frames of mini bowling. There are fish to admire near the entrance, a free play structure near the shoe section, and a train table upstairs in the toy shop. You can easily burn a couple of hours here and even grab lunch in the cafe.
Trader Joe’s: We do the bulk of our grocery shopping at TJ’s and my daughter loves to tag along. They have kid size carts, coloring sheets, free samples, and hidden in the Leawood location is Howie, the stuffed hippo. My daughter calls it “The Howie Store” and loves searching for Howie and seeing what kind of antics he is up to. At checkout the clerks are happy to offer kids stickers or a sucker.
Does your family have any favorite stores to visit that offer perks for kids? Share with us in the comments section!