52 Things You Can Do With Your Child Without Going to a Mall

Are you a parent who wants to spend quality time with your child but don’t know what to do other than going to a mall? If yes, I’ve got some good information for you. I’ve carefully put up something you can do with your child every week; the way my parents did with me.

I’m from Mumbai (India) so I can tell only about the things that happen here but you can make your list. Every city has something or the other; similar or different to offer.

There are 52 things. That’s one for every week of the year!

  1. Take a nature walk in the world’s second-largest urban park — Sanjay Gandhi National Park (Borivali). You can visit the Kanheri Caves and do the Shilonda Trial.
  2. Explore Maharashtra Nature Park (Mahim). You can also see the organic farming site every Sunday.
  3. Visit Asia’s largest slum — Dharavi (Sion-Mahim). Many local tour operators organize a safe day tour to explore this unique area.
  4. Visit Taraporevala Fish Aquarium (Marine Drive).
  5. Take a stroll at the famous Marine Drive stretch. Don’t forget to eat the famous chilly-ice-cream at Bachelors Ice-cream Parlor just opposite the beach.
  6. Watch your child’s eyes get rounder and rounder as acres and acres of fabric get pummeled, rinsed, shaken, and dried in an open-air laundry (Mahalaxmi).
  7. Take one of MTDC’s organized open-air bus tours.
  8. Go watch some live bakeries where yummy cakes and other stuff come to life (Kurla).
  9. Hit the beach. There are many locations, Mumbai is filled with beaches (Juhu, Girguam, Madh, Mahim, and Gorai).
  10. Take walk in Juhu Garden (Juhu) and Jogger’s Park (Bandra). You might be lucky to see a Bollywood celebrity.
  11. View the city from the top — Gilbert Hill (Andheri) and Hanging Gardens (Malabar Hill). Mumbai looks beautiful from the top.
  12. Take a bus or auto-rickshaw through Aarey Milk Colony (Goregaon). It’s where we used to go for picnics as children, remember? Mini-Kashmir still exists, and yes, you can still take a boat ride.
  13. I know the Nehru Planetarium (Worli) is still a must-do for those fascinated by galaxies and things that glow in the dark. And children usually are.
  14. Take a ferry. Wait till the monsoon is over but do take a ferry from Versova to Madh Island or Ferry Wharf to Uran or Gateway of India to Elephanta Caves.
  15. Visit the ancient Elephanta Caves; it’s thousands of years old.
  16. Watch a child play at Prithvi Theater (Juhu). There are regular plays for children over three years and yes, they do enjoy the whole experience, the real-life performers, the costumes, the sets, the lights, the concept of the stage.
  17. Visit the Monetary Museum (Ballard Estate). There is something about money and coins and stuff that is absorbing to children.
  18. Watch a cricket match in Azad Maidan (CST) or Oval Maidan (Churchgate) or Shivaji Park (Dadar). Who knows, you might see another Sachin in making!
  19. Visit the Prince of Wales Museum (CST) and Bhau Daji Lad Museum (Byculla) to learn everything you need to know about the city and much more.
  20. Do you love animals? Then visit the city’s only zoo (Byculla). It’s one of the oldest zoos in India.
  21. Visit the animal hospital (Parel).
  22. Nothing is more exciting than in a crowded market area. Visit the flower and vegetable market (Dadar and CST).
  23. Go shop hopping in the oldest grey-market of the city — Musafir Khana (CST).
  24. Visit one of the largest flea markets in India — Chor Bazar (Bhendi Bazar). It’s one of the kind thieves markets in the world and you can get a lot of stuff to eat and drink.
  25. Mumbai is the home to the underworld. Without a trip to the Den of the Dons (Dongri), Mumbai sight-seeing is incomplete.
  26. This is difficult but if you can manage permission, a trip to the docks (CST) can be a memorable trip.
  27. If you have someone in the defense, take your child to see the Navy Nagar (Colaba) and visit the US Club — it has the best view in the city.
  28. The BNHS does some interesting tree walks around the year. Go for one with your child, hug a tree, sit in its shade, tell them stories around trees.
  29. Mumbai is filled with places of worship. You can visit popular temples, churches, synagogues, and mosques. I am sure no names are required!
  30. Sit on the Asiatic Library (CST) steps and watch the world go by.
  31. Irani restaurants are slowly dying. Take your child to one before they completely vanish. My favorite is Cafe Koolar (Matunga). Don’t forget to meet the crazy owner — Ali.
  32. Take a local train ride. It’s not so bad if you choose the right time.
  33. Go to a railway terminus, like Churchgate or CST, catch a seat on a bench and watch the city go mad.
  34. Visit the nearest post office. Why not write a letter and post it while you’re in one with your child?
  35. Go to the Mahalaxmi Race Course (Mahalaxmi) during the racing season. You can request a member to take you around to the stables.
  36. Visit a plant nursery close by. Show your child a variety of plants, talk to them, touch them. Let him choose a potted plant. Take it home, help him look after it, and watch it grow. It’s a great feeling.
  37. Find a friend with a sea-facing terrace on a high-rise building. Watch the sunset.
  38. Visit the all-year-round Kite Market (Sandhurst Road).
  39. An amusement park is refreshing and there’s nothing better than Esselworld (Borivali).
  40. If you want to give your child a first-hand account of the freedom struggle, then you must take her or him to Mani Bhavan (Grant Road).
  41. Take a heritage walk around Horniman Circle (Fort).
  42. This is difficult but if you can manage permission, a trip at the Mumbai Secretariat (Nariman Point) can be a memorable trip. It’ll give your child a sneak-peek on the working of local administration.
  43. Take a break from the bustling traffic, enjoy a birds-eye view of this glamorous city of Mumbai. A helicopter ride will provide you breath-taking views throughout your half an hour journey.
  44. Mumbai is the home of Bollywood and some operators offer a half-day Bollywood Tour.
  45. Take a memorable tour inside the Dadasaheb Phalke Film City (Goregoan).
  46. Mumbai is not always about concrete forests, malls, and glamour but it’s also home to thousands of tribal females that live inside the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (Borivali). You can also volunteer with them and attend their weekly lunch parties.
  47. Nehru Science Center (Worli) is one of the most famous science centers in the country. It has more than 500 hands-on and interactive science exhibits on various aspects of science. This destination is a must-see for students and aspirants of science.
  48. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research organizes CHAI & WHY that is a free science talk twice a month — Prithvi Theatre (Juhu) and Ruparel College (Dadar). It’s a must-visit for science enthusiasts; of all ages.
  49. Visit The Global Vipassana Pagoda (Borivali) is an angelic structure constructed as a dedication to Buddha, his teachings and the monks who practice meditation
  50. Take a tour of the oldest street shopping place in the city — Fashion Street (Between CST and Churchgate).
  51. Few freshwater lakes provide water to the city. A trip to explore these will be interesting. Visit Powai and Vihar Lake (Powai) and Tulsi Lake (Borivali) for a half-day picnic.
  52. If your child loves the mall, don’t forget to show her or him the first mall of Mumbai—Heera Panna Shopping Mall (Haji Ali). We all have visited this place in our school or college time, remember?

If you’re from Mumbai you might already be knowing these places. If not, you can always Google it out but do visit all of them before your child becomes another you. And if you’ve done them all and want to know more, mail me — I can tell you more!

I know my city well.

In case you need assistance, you can always contact my kaali-peeli-taxi-driver friend Sayyed on +91 9892730667 or +91 7303787052. He can take you to these places; with safety and security.

PS: You can also contact him for some adult tours — only for parents!

7 thoughts on “52 Things You Can Do With Your Child Without Going to a Mall

  1. That’s pretty impressive list…. I hate taking my kid to the mall but ultimately as I m left with no option will do that… A lot of this we have already explored…just that it’s way too crowded, hot and very unorganized and badly maintained by the govt.

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