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Kid-friendly activities in Madison

We’re highlighting the best kid-friendly activities that Madison, WI has to offer — complete with art classes, public beaches, and outdoor fun.

street view of Madison Children's museum.

The Children’s Museum also hosts Adult Swim nights. | Photo by 608today

Table of Contents

We’re not kiddin’ around. From major attractions like the Madison Children’s Museum to hidden gems like Soccer Shots Madison, there’s something in Madison for children of all ages. You’ll have no trouble entertaining the under-18 crowd with this list of 24 kid-friendly activities.

Limber littles

The Little Gym | Empowering your little one’s physical, social, and emotional growth, this gymnastics program has open gyms, camps for thrill seekers, and places to party. Kids will remember their first go at the balance beam.

Move Out Loud | Choose from a variety of dance classes from tap to ballet; Hip Hop to musical theater. Kids will remember jumping up with jazz hands.

Urban Air Adventure Park | Zip lines, trampolines, and climbing walls beckon youngsters. Plus, sensory-friendly playtime is available. Kids will remember the Adventure Hub.

A child's art project of a chicken made of scraps of colorful paper.jpg

For kids interested in the arts, there are opportunities aplenty in Madison. | Photo by 608today

Crafty kids

Madison Children’s Museum | A classic choice, the museum boasts a variety of hands-on educational exhibits. Kids will remember the Rooftop Ramble.

Monroe Street Arts Center | MSAC offers a mix of programming for creative kids interested in exploring sculpting, painting, or mixed media art. Kids will remember the day off camps that fall on Madison Metropolitan School District’s off-days.

MYArts | This vibrant community space supports over 50 youth arts programs. Visual arts programs include Cultural Connections and Little Picassos. Kids will remember making mosaics.

Techy tykes

Code Ninjas | Learn the basics for building video games through this coding boot camp. Kids will remember the implementation of games like Roblox and Minecraft into the curriculum.

Maydm | Empowering girls and youth of color to pursue careers in STEM, programs include 3D printing and eco-friendly design. Kids will remember developing their own video games.

Stellar Tech Girls | Girls will have the opportunity to do hands-on experiments, facilitated by women role models. Kids will remember training like astronauts.

Esther beach

Soak up the sun at one of Madison’s many (free) beaches.

Photo via City of Madison

Splash around

Local beaches | Check out the city’s beach page to find which beaches have swim ropes and/or lifeguards on duty. Kids will remember the best part about growing up on an isthmus.

Madison Log Rolling | Based on Lake Wingra, the organization offers classes, camps, and party options. Kids will remember, well, rolling on a log.

Rutabaga Paddlesports | Youth programs include counselor-led canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard camps. Kids will remember learning about water safety.

Splash parks | Head over to one of the city’s three splash parks this summer which typically open around Memorial Day. Kids will remember staying cool while having fun.

Animal encounters

Camp Pawprint | The Dane County Humane Society orchestrates this program where kids learn animal-related lessons while completing service projects. Kids will remember interacting with a variety of animals.

Heartland Farm Sanctuary | The Stoughton organization offers summer camps for youth to mingle with goats, cows, donkeys, and more. Kids will remember feeding the pigs.

Henry Vilas Zoo | From day camps to behind-the-scenes tours, the zoo has something wild to offer. Kids will remember the Children’s zoo featuring the Zoo train and carousel.

A sandhill crane walks behind a tree.jpg

The UW-Madison Arboretum is 12,000 acres with assorted flora and fauna. | Photo by 608today

Great outdoors

Aldo Leopold Nature Center | After-school programs, field trips, birthday parties, and more can be had in Monona. Kids will remember getting a closer look at their local ecosystem.

Madison Angling | Half-day trips are available for kids to catch walleye, bass, muskie, and more. Kids will remember that first catch feeling.

UW-Madison Arboretum | Offering family walks, activities, and summer camps, children will learn about the seasonal changes in Madison. Kids will remember seeing beautiful birds.

Foodie families

Hemmachef | Sign up your kids for a variety of specialized classes, like a knife skills class. Kids will remember learning how to be independent in the kitchen.

Madison Public Library | Tune in to Chef Lily’s 12-video educational series. Kids will remember learning to cook in their own kitchens.

Pasture and Plenty | Choose between in-person or virtual cooking classes. Kids will remember the field-to-table field trip.

Fans, dressed in red, cheer on the Badgers softball team on a sunny day.jpg

UW-Madison has 23 Big Ten teams to cheer for. | Photo by 608today

After-hours attractions

Children’s Theater of Madison | This theater offers afternoon and evening showtimes. Kids will remember discovering their love for theater.

UW-Madison sports | Keep tabs on the Badgers’ master calendar to plan your next family outing. Kids will remember getting a high five from Bucky.

Warner Park | Catch a Madison Mallards game or Madison Softball game at the stadium. Kids will remember the on-field hijinks and themed evenings.

Be prepared

Shop some of our favorite kid-friendly essentials to keep the whole family happy, hydrated, and ready to make memories.

  • Owala Kids Insulated Stainless Steel Tumbler | This tumbler has a spill-resistant straw (yes, that’s a thing) and is top-rack dishwasher safe.
  • Bentgo Kids 5-Compartment Lunch Box | Pack snacks for kids in a popular Bentgo box that’s BPA-free and dishwasher safe.
  • Nintendo Switch | You just can’t beat a handheld gaming device for keepings kids quiet, happy, and entertained during car rides around town.
  • Hap Tim Travel Backpack | Keep everything in a backpack that’s got good padding on the straps, plenty of compartments, a wide mouth opening, and a rain-resistant exterior.
  • Kids sketch pad | Kids can sketch, take notes, and feel connected to your adventures with a sketchbook meant to inspire creativity.
  • Disposable cameras | Kids will have a ton of fun + stay entertained by taking their own pictures of what they see during your adventures.
  • KeepGoing Travel First Aid Kit for Kids | Be prepared for minor scrapes or bruises that could slow your day down — this kit contains 60 pieces of essential first aid supplies.
  • Sunscreen stick | Have a portable sunscreen stick handy for outdoor adventures.

Map out your adventure

Ready to visit these local attractions but don’t know where to start? We’ve created this handy map so you can find all of these featured activities.

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