Local Learning Fun for Tots

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Many local sites like Cheekwood (pictured) offer programs for preschoolers that engage learning. From art and nature to reading and science, here are our Top 10 picks!

A child’s formative preschool years are full of fun learning opportunities at home and in the community. Several attractions and sites in Middle Tennessee provide excellent ways for preschool kids to have fun and learn a variety of things about the world around them, and some have specific programs catering especially to little ones. Here are our Top 10 picks of local learning fun for tots:

Cheekwood
1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville
356-8000
Every Tuesday during the school year, Cheekwood offers the fun “Tuesdays for Tots” drop-in preschool program. From 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., kids can explore a specific art theme and get creative in the studio. Free with gate admission ($14 adults, $7 ages 3 – 17).

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
222 Fifth Ave. S., Nashville
416-2001
Last year’s expansion at the Hall includes a high-tech exhibit area that is highly interactive with touch-screen devices that are fun for all ages. The museum offers monthly family programs with music-related themes and activities as well as a “Song and Story Time” program for preschoolers where small fries can listen to a story, participate in a sing-along and get busy with a related craft project. Programs are included with gate admission.

Creative Corner Enrichment Studio
110 Glancy Street, Ste. 106, Goodlettsville
818-5865
Goodlettsville’s newest addition for childhood learning includes an “ABC Learning Series” for preschoolers as well as other opportunities for preK kids.

Discovery Center at Murfree Spring
502 S.E. Broad St., Murfreesboro
890-2300
You can easily spend hours of fun with your kids in many different areas inside the Discovery Center. Specific to the preK crowd are the Farmers Market area and Tiny Town, a role-play environment where kids can learn how people work, live and play together. It features a grocery, hardware store, post office and music store. The center also has weekly programs for little folks including “Animal Antics” (Wednesdays at 4:15 p.m.) where kids can meet a resident critter, “Story Time with Ms. Micki” (Mondays and Tuesdays at 9 a.m.) and the new “SPARK!” program on Mondays and Tuesdays at 9 a.m. — preschoolers can join early childhood educators for themed, hands-on activities that promote learning in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and math. SPARK! is an additional $1 on top of regular admission ($6). All other programs are free with the gate.

Frist Center for the Visual Arts
919 Broadway, Nashville
244-3340
The Frist brings amazing art exhibits to Nashville, and it’s a fun exploration for little kids. Engage your child’s mind by asking him what he thinks a particular work of art is about and what it “says” to him. The big fun and learning experience for little ones at the Frist is the Martin ArtQuest gallery where kids can explore 30 different hands-on art activities that run the gamut. Admission is $10 adults, free ages 18 and younger.

Hendersonville Arts Council at Monthaven
109 Antebellum Circle, Hendersonville
822-0789
The Hendersonville Arts Council offers monthly music and craft programs for preschoolers as well as “Mommy & Me” art classes throughout the year that engage creative learning through drawing, painting, collage, sculpture and clay.

Nashville Zoo
3777 Nolensville Road, Nashville
833-1534
A regular visit to the zoo with your tot yields hours of fun learning about the different animals on the property. The zoo also offers the “Zoo Tots” program, a six-week series in the winter, spring and fall for ages 18 months – 5 years with a parent. Each week has a different theme, and the program enables kids to get acquainted with nature through play, art, music, meeting animal friends and exploring exhibits. Regular zoo admission is $15 adults, $10 ages 2 – 12, free ages 1 and younger. Zoo Tots is $90 members, $110 non-members.

Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary
545 Beech Creek Road, Brentwood
370-4672
Owl’s Hill offers a monthly “Knee-High Naturalist” program for ages 3 – 5 and their parents that explores a variety of animal and nature themes. Admission is $10 per adult and one child; $7 each additional person.

Parks & Rec Programs
Some area parks and recreation departments offer a smattering of fun learning programs for preschoolers, most of them free of charge. From nature center learning and art exploration to science and technology, visit your area’s local parks & rec site for a full list of activities. The following offer programs for preschoolers each month:
Metro Parks and Recreation (Davidson County)
Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation
Williamson County Parks and Recreation

Your Local Library
There are several libraries across Middle Tennessee, and most of them offer free weekly story times and other activities for preschoolers. Click the link above to find a branch near you.


Preschool Learning at Home

Discover the BUILDING BLOCKS OF LEARNING for preschoolers along with ways to inspire fun ways to learn at home.

 

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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