My son received a red flag at his 3-year-old preschool. Yes, I know, it’s every mother’s nightmare. His teacher emailed and described the offense: block throwing. I agreed with her, this behavior simply can’t be tolerated (although I’ve personally seen him throw blocks on and off for most of his life, so I’m not terribly surprised.)
My husband and I brainstormed ways to fix the behavior, and although it won’t place us in the parenting hall of fame, we both agreed that nothing changes behavior better than rewards. So a new version of the potty chart was created and hung on our kitchen wall. Every day he didn’t receive a red flag at preschool, he put up a sticker. Five stickers in a row = fun activity with mom and dad.
So our adventures of finding new and engaging ways to entertain our son led us to uncover numerous activities in the area. And let me tell you, the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City corridor literally has hundreds of family activities.
I think our first weekend involved Chuck-E-Cheese, or the PlayStation, or some other national chain-like business that doesn’t really scream Unique Corridor Activity. But, they are here and they work in a pinch. And, I relish any chance I have to remind my husband that I can kick his butt in the basketball toss or skeeball.
Some of our fun, more unique outings included:
- Old McDonald’s Farm: This amazing ‘farm’ is located right here in the middle of Cedar Rapids. There are animals to pet and a farm exhibit. Did I mention it’s FREE?
- Iowa Children’s Museum: We are absolutely blessed to have this museum in our area. I’ve heard through the grapevine they have a family free nightonce a month. And, the children’s museum is located in the Coral Ridge Mall – fun for the moms. You can leave dad and the kids at the old fashioned carouselwhile you check out some sales.
- Usher’s Ferry: This is like visiting a town right out of the history books, complete with a one-room school house. They have numerous events here, and we’ve taken our son to two: train days and wild, wild west day.
- Cedar Rapid Kernels: We are a baseball family, and although we do visit Wrigley Field in Chicago at least once a year, we love to support our local club. On most Saturday nights in the summer they have free fireworks after the game, and they are impressive to big and little kids alike!
- Splash Pads: It’s like invasion of the splash pads. I wish they’d of had these when I was kid. Also check the Coralville and Iowa City parks departments Web site’s for additional listings.
- Pinicon Ridge Park: This park is about 15-20 minutes from Marion, but it’s worth the drive. There are paddle boats, trails, and in the winter a great sledding hill! A great place to fish with little ones as well. Oh, and a lookout tower. It’s tall enough to make my knees get a little shaky, but those fearless kids love it.
As this is the weekend before Halloween, we have many activities planned, including walking on some Haunted Trails at Camp Hitaga outside Walker, IA (about a 30-minute drive from Cedar Rapids), visiting Knight’s Farm in Springville, IA to pick out some pumpkins and enjoy a hayrack ride (about a 20-minute drive) and getting spooked at the kid-friendly haunted house in North Liberty, which is run by the North Liberty Jaycees.
There is nothing like experiencing the Corridor through the eyes of a child. I know we can actually stop the chart anytime now; he’s learned his new behavior and hasn’t had any more incidents of block-throwing or other criminal behavior. To be honest, I’m looking too forward to the weekends to stop now!
I know there are a zillion cool activities I’ve missed; this was just a start to get us thinking. Feel free to post your ideas here!
postd by: heatherjoy77