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Beyond Preschool: Mountain View & San Jose Family Fun

During the week, as parents juggle work and domestic tasks, you can rest assured that your children are having a great time learning and playing at Precious Moments Preschool. Mountain View and San Jose parents often ask us, however, to recommend some fun weekend activities to fill up those family days, so we’ve compiled a short list of some of the area’s best family fun adventures.

Experience Nature
Preschoolers love going to the park, and there are plenty of great parks in San Jose and Mountain View, it can be fun to think a bit beyond the typical playground experience. For instance, you could enjoy a morning scavenger hunt at the local park. Make a list of items for your hunt such as a pebble, a green leaf, a brown leaf, a feather and a twig and tape it to a paper lunch bag. Use both words and pictures, so that a non-reader knows what to find and also is exposed to the words that correspond with the pictures.

Another idea might be to create a map of our local area that identifies all of the local parks, and every weekend get out and explore a new park. When you come home, you can put a sticker on the map to identify where you went and you can talk about how the parks are different and the same. Aside from basic parks with playgrounds, include places on your list such as the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, which includes an array of fountains and nearly 200 rose varieties.
Every so often, consider tossing a special day trip into the mix. You might take one day to enjoy a trip to the beach, while another trip might be a trek to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. If your children are fans of Thomas the Train Engine, a yearly visit to the Roaring Camp Railroad in Felton might be just the thing. If you don’t want to deal with a longer drive, plan out a trip to Happy Hollow Park and Zoo.

Cultural Activities & Museums
While many of the outdoor activities we mentioned were free, museums and cultural activities often seem to have a heftier price tag, so these might be better as once-in-a-while activities. For instance, the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose is a fantastic place for children from about age 2 to 8, but with a ticket price of $15 per person is can be a bit pricey. If you think your children would enjoy visiting the museum often, they do have a Family Membership for $175, which can be a good value if you plan on going four or more times.

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Other activities to consider include the Tech Museum of Innovation, which features a variety of hands-on activities that will appeal to children from about age 3 and up, although we usually start recommending this for our 4, 5 and 6-year-old students. Most of our local libraries offer story times and other activities for younger children, but just heading to the library and grabbing up a bunch of new books can be a great weekly excursion that can encourage a lifelong love of reading.

If you want to expose your children to art or music, simply browsing through local galleries or perhaps going to an outdoor concert in the park can be a great idea for younger children who might not have the attention span needed for an indoor concert. Attending various cultural festivals also can be fun, and our local theaters occasionally offer events geared specifically for very small children. We also hold special cultural events at our preschool for Mountain View and San Jose children during the year, and you could plan an activity that builds upon what we showcase at school.

Fun At Home
Of course, you don’t have to leave your home to have a ton of fun with a preschooler. They love it when you just sit down and play with them, but you also can plan out some structured activities. For instance, you can head to the farmer’s market and allow them to pick out some veggies and then you can go home and make dinner together. Cooking is always a great shared activity, and is a great way to introduce new foods, as they get excited about eating something that they helped prepare. Through cooking, they also learn about measurement and can see visually how heat and cold can change liquids into solids.

Finger painting and brush painting are other great activities you can do together, and you can talk about colors and shapes as you paint or draw. Playing with play dough or kinetic sand are other fun activities, and you can even find recipes for these items so that you can make them at home on the cheap. For some outdoor fun, plan a little obstacle course in the back yard. For instance, at the first obstacle, they have to throw five balls into a bucket and then at the second obstacle, they have to jump or hop into a series of hula hoops. For the third obstacle, they can walk across a plank of wood, like a mini balance beam.

These are just a few suggestions to try with your preschoolers, and you can find many more great ideas online. If you need a preschool in Mountain View or San Jose, Precious Moments Preschool is located at 330 South Monroe Street in downtown San Jose. Many of our families live in San Jose and commute into Mountain View and Sunnyvale, and our school is only about 15 to 20 minutes from both cities. To schedule a tour, you can click on the Book a Tour tab on our homepage or give us a call at (408) 931-6218.

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