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Indoor Programs for Toddlers and Preschoolers in Columbus: Winter 2017

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If you’re trying to survive winter with a toddler or preschooler, I’m with you! I’ve already started looking forward to summer, which is a dangerous thing to start doing at the beginning of January. But never fear, Columbus has so many indoor options for keeping toddlers busy! Here’s what’s going on this winter:

Little Adventurers at Franklin Park Conservatory – Thursdays at 10:30 AM – this is program for ages 3-5 with nature-themed stories and activities.

Pre School and Parent/Child Classes at Columbus Recreation and Parks – Registration for Winter Session opened January 3rd.  There are pages and pages of classes available for your young children and many of them are free or at an extremely low cost!

Pre School Open Gym at Dublin Rec Center – Mondays and Fridays from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM  for ages 6 months to 6 years. Check the link for several other toddler programs at the Dublin Rec Center!

Toddler Theater

Toddler Theater at Abbey Theater of Dublin – select Wednesdays from 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM – recommended for ages 2-5, this is an interactive performance by Marlene Hartzler. Kids are encouraged to join her on stage to sing and dance! Often there is a special costumed visitor who joins in the fun!

Toddler Story Time at Columbus Metropolitan Library, Main Library – Tuesdays from 10:30 AM – 11:00 AM – There are so many toddler and pre-K story times going on in the CML system. Make sure to check the link to search for your closest branch or explore a new one!

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Grandview Library

Tales for Toddlers at Grandview Library – Tuesdays from 10:15 AM – 10:45 AM – story time for ages 18-36 mos. Check the link for all the other story times for young children going on this winter!

Toddler Time at Westerville Rec Center – Fridays from 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM – this is a drop in program for ages Kindergarten and under and their caregivers. The time includes play and crafts!

Pee Wee Play Gym at Westerville Rec Center – Mondays from 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM – this play time is a drop in program for ages 3 and under accompanied by an adult!

Little Explorers Base Camp at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – this is a free, drop in program where preschoolers and toddlers can learn and explore!

Curious Kids at The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology – drop in preschool program on Tuesdays from 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM – free with admission or membership! See the link for the weekly schedule and themes!

Winter Classes at piccadilly – classes are available for babies through preschoolers in things like Messy Art, Storybook Art, Squats and Tots and more! Drop in or sign up for a series!

Toddler Thursdays at Magic Mountain – from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM kids can have unlimited KidsGym for just $2.50!

Scioto Audubon

Pre-K Storytime at Scioto Audubon – Thursdays and Saturdays at 10:00 AM – this time features nature stories for ages 3-5. Check the link for many other ongoing toddler and preschool programs at Columbus Metro Parks.

Mr. Eric’s Music at Firefly Cafe – 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 10:30 AM – a fun singing time with Mr. Eric is included with admission to the play cafe!

My Very First Art Class! Toddler Art at Zen Kidz Play Cafe – Thursdays – several classes are available throughout the morning for parents and children together!

Toddler Time at Get Air – this special toddler jump time is available on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM!

Toddler Time special with Get Air and Tree of Life Play Cafe – on Wednesdays and Thursdays, these neighboring businesses offer a special price to play at both locations!

Babytime and Tales for Twos and Threes at Worthington Libraries – lots of story times available for toddlers almost every day of the week!

Drop-in Preschool Storytime at Westerville Library – Monday and Thursday mornings from 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM – singing, books, instruments and more for ages 3-6!

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

Metro Parks Preschool Programs – at least seven of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks have regular preschool programs that are free to attend! Most are for ages 3-5. Click the link to see the upcoming schedule at any given time and drop in!

Pre-K Classes at The Little Gym of Polaris – Gymnastics, sports and music and movement classes are available to engage the little ones and keep them moving!

Toddler/Preschool Enrichment classes at Studio J: Sing Paint Play – these classes are for kids age 1-5 and include stories, songs, instruments, art projects and more!

Did I miss anything? Leave a comment with more ideas and info if you have it! 🙂

Hang in there . . . spring is coming!

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ICYMI: 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Columbus Parents

*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 or check links to confirm activities.  Enjoy what you do today!*


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November in Review: Amy’s Donuts, Louisville, Toddler Theater and More!

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As I’ve gotten older, fall has started to lose its charm. Especially since I became a parent, fall has been overshadowed by the reminder that winter is coming. As a mom, to me, winter means finding indoor activities, braving the cold to leave the house, dark nights after dinner, watching the clock crawl backwards until bedtime. Winter means a lot of extra effort to get out of the house, battling bulky coats and losing gloves. It means getting out to the car and then realizing you forgot to allow time to defrost and scrape icy windows. It means standing outside in the cold while my kids build snowmen, staying at home when the roads get bad. UGH. I’m depressing myself just writing this paragraph. BUT the point I’m getting to is that this year, fall was amazing!

Sure, November was rough in a few ways: the Indians lost the World Series in a rain-delayed, extra inning Game 7, the election craziness, the loss of sleep due to staying up to watch both events unfold on TV! But there were a lot of great things about November too: abnormally high temperatures, the leaves staying full of color throughout the month, the beginning of the holidays! We had a lot of fun in November, soaking up the extra unanticipated month of warmth!

Today I wanted to share about some of the things we did in November in hopes that you might take away an idea or two!

The first weekend in November, my husband and I met my parents at the Buckeye Express Diner in Bellville, OH! I had been wanting to take the kids to eat in this train car for some time! I knew they would love it and I also wanted to personally experience it before including in my MEGA Train List!

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The diner is decorated with an OSU theme . . .

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there is a train playground outside . . .

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and they have huge burgers!

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This restaurant is about an hour drive from downtown Columbus and you could combine it with a trip to Little Buckeye Children’s Museum.

After dinner at Buckeye Express, we actually sent the kids back with my parents and my husband and I had a weekend away in Louisville – which is only 3.5 hours from Columbus! We were attending a benefit for Thistlebend Ministries, an organization that hired my husband to design their website (shameless plug), and we turned it into a little getaway to celebrate our 10 year anniversary! The two things I remember most from our trip are the walk across the Big Four Bridge:

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and Joella’s Hot Chicken:

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We checked out Tanger Outlets, Columbus for the first time! Our main goal was shoe shopping and we did succeed – new shoes for both boys! They were still wearing their rubber summer shoes made for getting wet and going in the washing machine and the warm November had lulled me into forgetting that all it would take was one cold day to freeze off their toes!

The playground at the outlets is really cute, completely closed in and my kids had a lot of fun playing there! However, it is NOT toddler friendly, there are several really high drop offs!

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While we were there, we had lunch at Rise Pies – a cheese pizza was under $6 and was pretty tasty!

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The kids and I went on a tour of Amy’s Donuts with a couple of other blogger friends from Columbus Moms Blog! It was a short, fun tour where we watched the donuts get cut, friend and iced. Each kid got to decorate two donuts at the end! You can read Helen’s post on her blog, Diaper Bag Diaries for more info and pictures! Tours are done every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. Just give them a call (614-641-7721) to schedule.

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Mayson and I attended our first Toddler Theater at the Abbey Theater of Dublin with Miss Marlene – Dance and Sing! Clifford the Big Red Dog was in attendance and Mayson had absolutely no interest in getting anywhere near him! These Toddler Theaters are $2 per child and take place on select Wednesdays from 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM (see the link for dates).

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One of our favorite annual November activities is Model Railroad Days at COSI. Always the weekend before Thanksgiving, the displays here are a hit with my kids! There are several large models set up across two rooms and each room has train tables for playing as well!

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I also took my kids on a blogger tour of Downtown Powell! Hosted by Storgē, the tour included stops in Espresso 22:

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Cute as a Button:

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And Storgē:

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All three shops were beautiful, the owners were friendly (and gracious, as I was the only one toting around two kids . . . haha), and there were kid friendly items for sale at each location! Keep these places in mind for unique Christmas gifts!

We finished up November with a Thanksgiving trip to my brother’s house in Barlow, KY! It was a long drive, but we survived with a lot of new library books and DVD’s. When we visit them, we love to go see the Christmas lights at Patti’s 1880’s Settlement in Grand Rivers, KY.

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It’s almost December! I love our Columbus Christmas traditions and I’m looking forward to trying some new things as well! There is a lot to enjoy during the holiday season, but I think it’s also important to pace yourself and choose your activities wisely. I can tend to cram too much in, but having kids has made me more realistic in what I can accomplish and what I should even attempt! I still overdo it (just ask my husband) but I’m looking forward to a busy yet peaceful holiday season and I wish you the same!

***I’m working on a new feature spotlighting my readers and their favorite places! Would you take a minute to tell me about YOUR favorite places to take your kids in Columbus? Pretty please?! You will be entered into a drawing for a free family play pass at Recreations Outlet! Click HERE to participate! *******

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ICYMI: MEGA Train List for Central Ohio and Beyond (MORE items have been added!)


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