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Baby's First Field Guide to Kansas City

Life is full of firsts: first car, first date, first day of school. But many of the most special firsts are celebrated in the first years of life.

First Handprints and Footprints

Counting tiny fingers and toes over and again is a new mom’s tradition. Before long, you’ll be finding tiny fingerprints on every surface of your home and, every experienced grandmother will tell you, those days fly by quickly. Capture the memory of your baby’s delicate features on a ceramic piece of your choice at Paint, Glaze, and Fire (12683 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, KS, 913.661.2529). This paint-your-own-pottery studio offers an array of pieces, every color of paint in the rainbow and a creative staff ready to help you fashion the perfect keepsake.
Ceramics Café (9425 Mission Rd., Leawood, 913.383.0222) also offers paint-your-own-pottery and has a great offer for new parents. Stop by and they’ll put your baby’s foot print on a ceramic tile at no charge

First Indoor Play Date

These adventures are perfect for getting the wiggles out and making new friends for Mom and Baby: KidScape at the Johnson County Museum (6305 Lackman, Shawnee, KS, 913.715.2550, www.JoCoMuseum.org) is a FREE hands-on child-sized city perfect for young children. On select Wednesdays, the museum offers Pop ‘n Play with activities designed especially for 9-month- to 3-year-olds. Little Monkey Bizness (12219 Shawnee Mission Pkwy., Shawnee, KS, 913.631.7000) is a play area with soft toys, jungle gyms and inflatables perfect for toddlers and infants.

First Swim Lesson

Little ones love to play in water. You can enroll your child in age-appropriate swimming lessons at your local YMCA (www.KansasCityYMCA.org), where parent-child classes are offered for the youngest swimmers. A perfect introduction to pools and water fun.

First Smiles

Say Cheese! Antisdel’s Photography (www.Antisdels.com) has been photographing KC’s cutest kids for KC Baby Magazine covers for years! Call 913.837.2737 to book an appointment to capture all those great giggles and grins.

Keep those smiles healthy with a visit to a pediatric dentist. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that babies visit the dentist by the first birthday. Parents are able to hold their little one during the exam and get great tips on the teething process and care of baby’s teeth. These local dentists offer top-notch kid-friendly care and customer service: Jenkins & LeBlance with four Metro locations (www.KidSmileKC.com); Dr. Hemberger, specializing in pediatric dentistry in Overland Park, KS (www.HembergerPediatricDental.com); Dr. Michael Kemmling of Shawnee, KS (www.CapstoneDentistry.com); and Dr. Matthew Hillman of Smiles Dentistry for Kids (www.SmilesDentistry4Kids.com). Your child is guaranteed to receive extra TLC at his first checkup.

First Baby Book Club

Kansas City’s local libraries and bookstores offer story time sessions for infants, toddlers and preschoolers throughout the week, and you’ll find a complete schedule on the KC Parent Calendar. Infant story time is a great chance to introduce a love of books and make friends. Toddlers love watching the puppet shows, learning new songs, making crafts and playing with fun finger rhymes. Best of all, local story time is always free or cheap!

First Birthday

If you’re looking for the perfect decorations and gifts for your child’s first birthday, U.S. Toy (2008 W. 103rd  Ter., Leawood, KS, 913.642.8247) has one of the best selections for party themes in the Metro and a wide selection of educational toys as well! Big Day Boutique (Great Mall, 20213 W. 151st  St., Olathe, KS, 913.961.7302) is your one-stop shop for custom clothing for the special day. You'll find hair accessories, tutus and boutique outfits for your little one. And of course, what is a party without cake? GiGi’s Cupcakes (6780 W. 135th St., Overland Park, KS, 913.814.3883) will prepare gorgeous gourmet cupcakes to perfectly fit your theme.

KC Kids’ First Dining Experience

Kansas City is the barbecue capital of America, so it’s only natural that local kids enjoy the best at an early age. Every local has a favorite, from Fiorella’s Jack Stack Bar-B-Q (www.JackStackBBQ.com) to Arthur Bryant’s (www.ArthurBryantsBBQ.com) to Gate’s (www.GatesBBQ.com). Pick your fave and pack the camera… finger-lickin’ lip-smackin’ very-first barbecue makes for some super cute pix!

Another place to make some kid-friendly memories is one of Kansas City’s landmark restaurants, Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant, with three Metro locations (www.FritzsKC.com). At this favorite eatery, model trains deliver food right to your table, and children receive their own engineer caps! Or, treat your tyke with a shared Skyscraper—a gigantic shake or ice cream soda—at Winstead’s (www.WinsteadsSteakburger.com).

First Cultural Experience

Cultivate that love for art at an early age with a visit to the stroller-friendly Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (www.Nelson-Atkins.org), where admission is always free. For added fun, check our Nelson-Atkins Scavenger Hunt the kids will love! When the sun is shining, head outside and visit the Kansas City Zoo (www.KansasCityZoo.org), where the tigers are enjoying a brand new exhibit this year, and Nikita, Kansas City’s resident polar bear, loves to dive and swim to the delight of kids. Be sure to enjoy a carousel, train, boat or sky safari ride while you’re there! Or, head to the Overland Park Arboretum (www.OPKansas.org) to see the brand new train garden that features an actual caboose, renovated boxcar and running trains.

First Merry-Go-Round & Roller Coaster

Your junior daredevil will love a day of play at Zonkers Indoor Amusement Park at the Great Mall (www.Zonkers.com, 913.393.3535). Zonkers is a delightful indoor amusement park for young children with a snake roller coaster, carousel, train, kiddie rides and inflatables. When the sun is shining, take the family to Worlds of Fun (www.WorldsOfFun.com), where your child will enjoy tyke-sized fun meeting the Peanuts gang and enjoying rides in Planet Snoopy, a themed section of the park with more than 20 rides and activities for young children.

Kristina Light is excited to be planning “first” memories and celebrations for her youngest daughter, Lucy.

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