Now that we are in the thick of winter, we moms are always thinking of different activity options. Of course we all love playing in the snow, but sometimes it can be too cold out, and lets face it, we’ve been having more than our share of “Polar Vortexes” lately. This month we are providing some other options (besides staying at home and doing the same old stuff) for activities to do in the winter that we can do with our little ones.
I am a huge advocate for hands on play and experiences that are educational. For example, why not include the sciences while having fun?!? There are so many places for children to go of all ages.
Children’s Museums: Museums are a great place to go during the winter months. They are indoors and have tons of activities for our little ones to explore. The “regular” museums are good, but there are specific ones geared toward children, where there are hands on activities, specific programs, special events, etc…
There is a children’s museum organization, http://www.childrensmuseums.org/index.php/aboutacm.html , where one can search for museums in a specific location. This is a great tool.
I recently took my son (20 months old) to the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, PA, http://www.pleasetouchmuseum.org/ , and it was so much fun. The place is huge and has so many activities for children of all ages. We spent 4 hours there and never got bored. He learned about water and movement and even crawled through a spaceship!!
Below are some other links to museums in the NYC and Long Island area.
Libraries: Even though one might not think so, libraries are cool! Children love books and we should try our best to give them more book and less electronic time, as much as possible. I am all for apps and DVDs… it keeps them busy when we need them to be, but it is also important for them stick with the books!
Almost all towns and cities have a free public library and most have events and a weekly/monthly schedule of different activities to children of all ages. I used to think that I couldn’t bring my toddler there because he is loud and runs all over the place, but this is not true. Our area’s library has a specific toddler reading time, where little ones his age can hear a story and play!! Best of all, it is free since we are a member, and our membership is free!!
I also just found out about the Internet Public Library http://www.ipl.org/ and it is awesome!! It was created in 2010 and is basically a library online. It is a trusted web based library serviced by Drexel University’s College of Information Science & Technology, and a consortium of colleges and universities with programs in information science. Some services it provides include:
- Library locator
- Online books and newpapers/magazines
- Resources by subject
- Interaction with a live librarian if one needs help
- A whole section for Kids and Teens
- Homework help
- Arts and crafts activities
- Help with writing papers/referencing
- Story time
So, if you can’t make it out to the library, you can still access it online and explore and learn about different and new things, instead of just watch T.V.
Most museums and library programs have an admission or specific program fee, but to cut costs down, try the following:
- Become a member
- This will definitely help if you plan on going more than a few times a year
- Look for discount days
- Most facilities have free or discounted admissions on a specific weekday or the first day of the month
- Group outings
- Many places provide discounts with groups. Try gathering up a few friends with children and make a grand play date out of it.
- If allowed, bring your own lunch!!
It can be very challenging to keep an active child entertained during the winter months. This is especially true for children that absolutely love running around outside and socializing with their peers. Children can only play for so long at home before they start to get restless and are looking for something fun to do! Here are a few ideas of some active play!
Gymboree – To keep my daughter active and busy during the cold weather we signed her up for some sessions at Gymboree. For any child that LOVES to go to a playground a location like this one is amazing for the seasons where you cannot be outside. Gymboree can best be described as an indoor play gym. There are both “Open Gym” sessions and “Class” sessions. Open gym sessions are for children that would like to go and play on the equipment and enjoy some fun with their peers and parents. Class sessions are done by age group and have your child learn to engage in a group class where they still get to have fun! They sing songs, play with some special musical instruments, bubbles, and the parachute that they do not get to use during open gym. The only major downside to Gymboree is that the schedule is not ideal for a working parent. A majority of the classes during the week are early in the day which leaves only the weekend for attending classes. Even the open gyms are mostly earlier in the day. There is only one afternoon a week that I can get there on time. However, it is worth it to rush there to see the smile on my little girl’s face. My daughter absolutely loves Gymboree. She begs to go everyday and screams for joy when we pull into the parking lot for each open gym and class session. I highly recommend it to anyone that is looking for some fun for their child!
The Little Gym – Another great option for indoor play!
The Great Wolf Lodge – A great family vacation spot for the cold months!
Some great activity websites for the winter months! Please feel free to list any links to good activities and/or crafts that you have found!