What Should We Do This Weekend? April 22-24, 2016

As we get closer to summer, the events across the Columbus area really start to pick up!  This looks like a nice weekend for being outside!  Enjoy it!

1. National Park Week all across America

National Park Week is April 16-24, 2016 and America’s national parks are free!  Check out the list of parks in Ohio here.

2. Free Book Fair for Kids and Teens at Columbus Metropolitan Library, South High Branch

When: Friday, April 22, 2016
Time: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: 3540 S. High Street, Columbus, OH 43207
Phone: 614-645-2275

Each child or teen can choose one free book at this free book fair!  Recommended for grades K-12.

3. Ohioana Book Festival at the Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square

When: Saturday, April 23, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Location: 75 E. State St., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-466-3831

Books for all ages are available at the Book Festival.  There will be a Kids’ Room featuring author/illustrator sessions, balloon twisting, crafts, a dress up area, Lego construction zone, door prizes and more!  Be sure to check the schedule for more specific times and details regarding the special events and authors!

4. Young Child Studios at Columbus Museum of Art

When: Saturday, April 23, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM and 1:30PM-3:00PM
Location: 480 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-221-6801

Led by CMA’s artist educators, children 18 months to 5 years can participate in opportunities to play and create together with their caregivers!  No reservations are required, but there is an additional (to admission) cost of $8 per child to participate.

5. Kids Cooking Class at The Hills Market Downtown

When: Saturday, April 23, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: 95 North Grant Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215

During this hands on cooking class taught by Hills chefs, kids will learn to make Bistro Style Hand Rolled Pizza, Chocolatey Chocolate Brownies and Raspberry Lemonade! Recommended for ages 4-18.  Reservations must be made in advance.

6. Free Green Columbus Earth Day Celebration at Columbus Commons

When: Saturday, April 23, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Location: 160 S. High Street, Columbus, OH 43215

This Earth Day celebration, brought to you by the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, features live music, food trucks, and kids’ activities including free carousel rides until 7:00 PM!  Kids’ favorites Mr. Eric and the Shazzbots are performing at 4:00 and 4:30 PM.

*Check out this  link on the Columbus Moms Blog for more Earth Day activities around the Columbus area!

7. Grand Opening of Glenwood Community Center

When: Saturday, April 23, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: 1888 Fairmont Avenue, Columbus, OH 43223

Sample classes like floor hockey and ceramics, win prizes including a family 4-pack to COSI, try the climbing wall and much more to celebrate the grand opening of Glenwood Community Center!  Free samples from City Barbeque and give aways start at 2:00 PM and the ribbon cutting ceremony by Mayor Ginther is at 3:30 PM.  (There is also a Family Fun Night and Open House on the Friday night before!)

8. Dancity-Doo & Story Time Too! at Whetstone Community Center Auditorium

When: Saturday, April 23, 2016
Time: 4:30 PM
Location: 3923 North High Street Columbus, 43214
Phone: 614-561-1635

This performance features Dr. Seuss stories accompanied by dance!  Perfect for the whole family, this performance is approximately 30 minutes long and tickets are available at the door.

9. Bob Evans Family Day with the Columbus Clippers

When:  Sunday, April 24, 2016
Time: 1:05 PM
Location: Huntington Park, 330 Huntington Park Lane, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: (614) 462-5250
Ticket Line: (614) 462-2757

Family Day Admission is $15 for two adults and up to four youth ages 18 and under! Admission includes access to left-field bleachers, lawn seating and standing room only. After the game, kids can run the bases in the Commit to be Fit Fun Run!

10. Children’s Garden Day: Spaghetti Dinner Gardening at Inniswood Metro Gardens

When: Sunday, April 24, 2016
Time: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: 940 S. Hempstead Road, Westerville, OH 43081, Sisters’ Garden
Phone: 614-895-6216

This family-friendly event teaches children how to grow the ingredients needed to make pasta!  Kids can learn how to plant lettuce and participate in pasta crafts!

*Please be aware,  information is gathered from multiple community sources.  Times, dates and locations are subject to change. There may be a fee to participate in a featured activity.  Please call ahead to confirm activities.  Enjoy what you do today!*

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ICYMI: The Farm at Walnut Creek

North, South, East and West: Great Libraries for Reading AND Playing! Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of a post featuring some of our great area libraries!  (Read Part 1 here!)  The concept of libraries is, of course, fantastic, but we in the Columbus area, specifically, are lucky to have one of the greatest library systems in the nation!  If you’re looking for something to do with young kids, most area libraries have story times for various age groups.  (Check out the Columbus Metropolitan Library Event schedule here.)  And in case you’re wondering, most story times I have been to welcome your children who do not fit into the stated age group.  I think this is worth noting because there have been times I thought maybe I couldn’t go to something because it was for my 15 month old, but my 4 year old would have to come along (and vice versa).  My other child has always been welcomed, beyond a doubt!

As I mentioned in Part 1, as parents we can fall into a rut of going to the same (often closest) library all the time.  My goal with these posts is to help you break out of the routine and make a plan to visit a new library!

Okay, onto the details!

Southeast Branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library

I guess the whole point of this post is that I can say this about all of the libraries I’m writing about, but I’ll go ahead and say it:  This branch really is a GREAT library for reading AND playing!  The Ready for Kindergarten area here is wonderful for young kids!

There is a magnetic wall for making words:

 

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Puzzles on the wall:

A large touchscreen for educational games:

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Learning-to-read toys, games and puzzles:

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A flannel board with letters, numbers and shapes:

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And of course, a lot of great books!

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During the month of March, there was a Brain-Building Class for children up through age 2 and their parents.  When we went the theme was balls, which is Mayson’s favorite!  In April there are ongoing story times for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and families.  These take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Check out the event schedule here.

Check out these cool “letter bean bags” (I’m sure that’s the technical term. 😉 ) with objects inside starting with a specific letter of the alphabet:

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You’ll have a lot of fun at the Southeast Branch, I guarantee it!

Location: 3980 S. Hamilton Road, Groveport, OH 43125
Phone:  614-645-2275

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday and Saturday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Whitehall Branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library

One of the newest (and most modern) branches of the Columbus Metropolitan Library is the Whitehall Branch.  I love the open and bright feeling in this library.  Another Ready for Kindergarten site, this library is full of activities to inspire kids to learn to read.  The children’s area here is pretty much as separate as you can get from the other areas of the library without being its own building – which means you don’t have to worry so much about how much noise your kids make when they play excitedly here, which they will!

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Your kids are going to love the bus.  That’s a given.  My kids pretended to drive to school – which is exactly the point.  The bus also provides a great opportunity for your kids to learn to take turns.  😉

From circular nooks in the bookshelves to modern shaped seats, this children’s area is perfect for kids to grab a book and make themselves comfortable.

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There are toys for imaginitive play and building vocabulary.

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While we were here we attended a Play to Learn story time.  It was very interactive and fun for the kids.  There was singing, dancing, puppets, stamps and stickers – all with the goal of learning about the letter M – which was also great for Mayson!  He really hit the jackpot on these two library trips!  😉

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I think the Whitehall Branch does a good job of incorporating technology without making it the focal point of the kid’s area.  It’s definitely available and relevant, but there are also so many opportunities for learning through play.

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This library is also a lot of fun for picture taking!  If you want to see more, I added the pictures here because I took so many of them! 🙂

Location: 4445 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43213
Phone: 614-645-2275

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday and Saturday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

If you haven’t yet been and are looking for somewhere new, these libraries will be an exciting change of pace for the kids.  I’d love to hear your libary recommendations, so leave me a comment below and I’ll put them on my list to check out!

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ICYMI: 5 Go-To Places to Take Your Kids in Columbus