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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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Over 20 Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus

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20+ Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus, Ohio to help you and your kids avoid cabin fever when it’s cold or rainy!

I hate to say it, but those days are coming . . . you know what I’m talking about: cold . . . winter . . . snow. 🙁 Luckily for us, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to play in Columbus, Ohio, and when it comes to playing inside, there are a lot of FREE options! This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure here.

Make Note of these 20 + Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus for cold and rainy days!

If you need to pass a morning inside but you also need to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE, keep this list of indoor playgrounds handy! You may also want to check out The Complete List of Columbus Play Cafes  or 6 Free or Cheap Indoor Places for Kids to Run Wild in Columbus for more indoor ideas!

1. Blendon Woods Metro Park

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4265 E. Dublin-Granville Road Westerville, OH 43081, 614-895-6221

Hours:
April to September: 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM
October to March: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Tips: Inside the Nature Center there are puzzles, activities and books for kids. See more about what to do at the Nature Center in Exploring Blendon Woods Metro Park!

2. Westerville Community Center

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350 N. Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43082, 614-901-6500

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 5:45 AM – 9:00 PM
Saturday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Tips: The Westerville Community Center offers an indoor playground for kids as well as indoor programing during the fall and winter months for young children. See more details here.

3. Grange Insurance Audubon Center

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505 W. Whittier St., Columbus OH 43215, 614-545-5475

Hours:
(These are Summer hours, check the website or call to double check!)
Closed Monday
Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Tips: The indoor play area here also includes a “cave” to play in and there are also weekly story times for the preschool age! See more to do at the Audubon Center in 9 Things to do with Your Kids at Scioto Audubon. Also see: 2 MORE Great Metro Park Natures Centers for Columbus Kids!

4. Scoops and Chutes Playground at Graeter’s Ice Cream

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2555 Bethel Rd., Columbus, OH 43220, 614-442-7622

Hours:
(These hours may be seasonal, double check the website or call before visiting!)
Monday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 9:30 PM
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 10:30 PM
Sunday: 11:00 AM – 9:30 PM

Tips: Socks are required to play on the indoor playground and can be bought for $1 if you forget! I included this play area in one of my Cheap Family Outings in Columbus for Every Day of the Week!

Polaris Fashion Place:

1500 Polaris Parkway , Columbus, OH 43240, 614-846-1500

Hours:
Monday – Thursday 10:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:30 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

This mall is home to a few different options for indoor play listed here:

5. Zoo Play Area at Polaris Fashion Place

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Tips: Shoes must be removed to play. The area has recently been redone and only has one exit/entrance which is great for keeping an eye on wandering toddlers!

6. Food Court Play Area at Polaris Fashion Place

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Tips: In the Food Court, there are several vehicles kids can play on or ride for $.75. The area is mostly fenced in and has a large seating area around it so you can eat or have a seat while the kids play.

7. Pottery Barn Kids at Polaris Fashion Place

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Tips: PBK usually has toys out for play on both sides of the store (boys and girls) and my kids love them all! There is a story time on Tuesdays at 11:00 AM!

8. Battelle Darby Nature Center

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1775 Darby Creek Dr Galloway, OH 43119, 614-878-7106

Hours:
April to May: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
June to August: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
September to October: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
November to March: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Tips: The nature center has a living stream as well as a small kids’ area to play in.  There are preschool programs inside the center on Tuesdays! See 2 Great Metro Park Nature Centers for Columbus Kids.

9. Columbus Metropolitan Libraries

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Main Library: 96 S. Grant Ave., Columbus, OH 43215

Hours vary by library and can be found here.

Tips: So many of the branches of Columbus Metropolitan Library have great areas for indoor play! I shared my favorites here and here! Of course, many other area libraries have areas for play too! Check out the locations for Worthington, Westerville, Delaware County, Grove City, and Upper Arlington! You may also want to check out: 2 Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids and 2 MORE Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids!

10. Grandview Heights Public Library

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1685 W. 1st Ave., Columbus, OH 43212

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Tips: I included Grandview’s library separately because they have a really good area for toddlers and preschoolers to play that includes a train table and Duplos! They also have a lot of story times! See the schedule here.

11. Whole Foods, Dublin

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3670 W. Dublin-Granville Rd., ColumbusOH 43235, 614-760-5556
Hours:
Monday – Sunday: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Tips: This indoor play area is close to the restrooms and surrounded by tables that are convenient for watching your kids play!

12. Whole Foods, Upper Arlington

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1555 W. Lane Ave., Upper Arlington, OH 43221

Hours:
Monday – Sunday: 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Tips: This small play area is near the front and has books, play food, cars and more! Lots of seating nearby. EDITED July 11, 2018: A lot of the toys  have been removed from this area recently. There is still a kid-sized table but I don’t know if the toys will be returning! 🙁

13. United Art and Education

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3622 Fishinger Blvd., Hilliard, OH 43026, 614-527-8508

Hours:
Monday – Saturday: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Tips: First of all, this is a GREAT store for fun and educational kid products! There is a little play area tucked into the front corner of the store with a surprising amount of things to do! Blocks, play groceries, magnets, Calico Critters, and more!

14. Barnes and Noble

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See the Columbus locations here!

Tips: Barnes and Noble is a hit for kids who love train tables and there are always lots of books to read! There are also story times on Saturdays!

15. The Naz Playplace

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4770 Hoover Rd, Grove City, OH 43123, 614-305-2034

Hours:
Sun: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PMam – 2pm
Monday – Tuesday, Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Tips: Shoes must be removed and socks worn inside this large indoor playground in Grove City! Socks can be purchased for $1 if you forget. There is a story time with crafts on Tuesday mornings! You can also register online before your first visit to save time. Outside the play area there is a cafe where you can purchase food (coffee is only $1!) and lots of seating!

16. Central Park at Westerville Christian Church

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471 E. College Ave., Westerville, OH 43081, 614-891-6842

Hours:

Open Play Hours September 21, 2017 – May 2018:
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 AM – 11:25 AM
Saturdays 10:00 AM – 11:30AM

Tips: Shoes must be removed for play in the play area. There is also a rock climbing area here! This cute indoor playground follows all Westerville City Schools closing and delays.

17. The Shops at Worthington Place

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7227 N. High St., Worthington, OH 43085

Hours:
Monday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Tips: Shoes must be removed for play in the fenced in playground area. If it’s warm enough, there is also an outdoor play area just outside the exit close to the indoor play area!

18. The Mall at Tuttle Crossing

5043 Tuttle Crossing Blvd, Dublin, OH 43016, 614-717-9300

Hours:
Monday – Saturday 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Tips: This indoor play area in Dublin has a STEAM theme: Science, Technology, Arts and Music. Lots of hands-on, fine motor activity here! My kids particularly loved the Magna-Tiles! (There is also an area with coin-operated vehicles in the food court area!) You can read more about this indoor play area here: NEW! Children’s Play Area at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing

19. Wonder Room at Columbus Museum of Art

artmuseum

480 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215, 614-221-6801

Hours:
Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Tips: This is a area for art and exploration just for kids on the bottom floor of the Art Museum. The Columbus Museum of Art (and this kids’ area) is free on Sundays only!

20. LEGO Store at Easton Town Center

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4004 Gramercy St., Columbus OH 43219, 614-342-2710

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Tips: Most of the time there is a table set up for building with LEGOs and/or Duplos inside the store!

21. Coffee Connections of Hilliard

4004 Main St., Hilliard, OH 43026, 614-664-3993

Hours:
Monday: 7:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Tuesday – Friday: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday – Sunday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Tips: Coffee Connections is a coffee shop in Hilliard with a community space and an indoor play area in the back building. This play area is fun for preschoolers and younger and is totally free! (Though, you should probably buy a cup of coffee. 😉 ) See more pictures here.

22. Play Cafe at New Life Church, Gahanna Campus

indoor play area at New Life Gahanna Church

3690 N. Styler Rd., Gahanna, OH 43230, 614-475-8500

Hours:
Every Wednesday, Friday and First Saturday of the month: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Tips: This is a fun little indoor play area for kids ages 6 and under with toys to play with and coffee for the adults!

23. Two Dollar Radio Headquarters

1124 Parsons Ave., Columbus, OH 43206

Hours:
Monday: Closed
Tuesday and Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Tips: This is a coffee shop/book store with a small area with a kids focus! If you’re looking to have a coffee date while your kids play, this is a great spot! This is a vegan cafe serving, coffee, meals, drinks and special offerings throughout the week.

I hope this list of indoor play areas in Columbus gets you through the winter! I know we will be making use of many of these free indoor play places as the weather gets cold and I get cabin fever! 🙂

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