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Two MORE Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids

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As I promised a few weeks ago, when I shared Two Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids, I’m sharing two MORE fun local libraries with you this week! If you’re tired of the same old, same old, these are some great options for a new outing with the kids!

1. Westerville Public Library

126 S. State St., Westerville, OH 43081, 614-882-7277

I love the trees in the Children’s Place!

The little kid’s area has a school bus . . .

a kitchen, puzzles . . .

a police car . . .

and a great view of the new Northstar! A visit to the library and a double chocolate cookie from Northstar sounds like a fun outing we need to put on the calendar! 😉

The Westerville Library has Drop-In Preschool Storytime, Rhyme Time, Yoga Tales and more! See the whole list of events for kids and families here!

2. Worthington Libraries, Northwest Library

2280 Hard Rd., Columbus, OH 43235, 614-807-2626

Northwest Library offers a unique area for kids called Story Garden! Around the children’s area, well known children’s stories are depicted in 3D!

It’s worth a trip to this library just to view this amazing artwork! Their website lists all of the stories depicted, including the author and a brief description of each story! Looking at the website, I see so many I missed on our visit!

Inside an area called Three Bears Cottage, there is a space for play for young children with lots of toys and seating!

Northwest Library currently has some kind of programming for children every weekday and at least one night a week! See the full calendar here.

What’s your favorite local library?

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ICYMI: 5 on Friday: Columbus Donuts


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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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Cheap Family Outings in Columbus for Every Day of the Week

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cheapcolumbusfamily

I’ve been working on this idea in my head for a while, keeping a mental list just for personal use, really. Once it started to come together, I decided I’d share it as a blog post because maybe it would help someone else who is staring into space during nap time, wondering what to have for dinner! Here we are, a family of four, and these kids actually eat real food now – so if we go to a restaurant, it’s usually not what I would call “cheap”. Plus, taking small kids to a restaurant is always a gamble – you never know how they’re going to act! Eric and I find when we do go out to eat, we scarf our food down so fast now, hoping to finish before any toddler meltdowns! Sometimes it feels hardly worth it to eat out.

BUT there are those nights when you just don’t feel like cooking! Just naturally, I was starting to categorize bargain meals by days of the week so that if I had “one of those days” I could default to an eating out option that wasn’t going to cost us a fortune. That’s how this post began . . . but, then I decided to include a fun (and cheap) activity for each night as well! I hope you bookmark this one and pull it up the next time the witching hour hits!

Monday:

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Food: One of my all time favorites is BOGO tacos al pastor at Los Guachos Taqueria. It’s so good even Food Network named them one of the Top 5 Tacos in America! The tacos are $1.50 each and let me just do the math for you, on Mondays, you can get two for $1.50! There are two sit-down restaurants, one at 5221 Godown Rd. and one at 1376 Cherry Bottom Rd. (For the most authentic experience, try their taco truck at 461 Commerce Sq., off of Sullivant Ave.) This special starts at 4:00 PM at the Godown Rd. location and is good all day at Cherry Bottom Rd. The taco truck is open from 4:00 PM – 12:00 PM. It can get busy (because this is an amazing deal on an amazing taco!) so I would suggest arriving on the earlier or later side of meal times.

Activity: For a Monday night out, I suggest tacos al pastor at the Godown Rd. location and then rounding out the evening with ice cream at Graeters on Bethel Rd. and time to play at their indoor play area!

Los Guachos Taqueria, 5221 Godown Rd, Columbus, OH, 43235,  614-538-0211

Graeter’s Ice Cream, 2555 Bethel Rd., Columbus, OH 43220, 614-422-7622


Tuesday:

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Food and Activity: Movie Night happens on Tuesdays at Firefly American Bistro! Here your dinner and evening activity are all rolled into one! The restaurant has a side room with tables where from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM they show a kids movie while you eat your dinner. Kids are free to get up and move around and can sit on the floor at the front to watch the movie. Free popcorn is served and kids meals are 1/2 price that night! For the adults, flatbread pizzas and sandwiches range from $10-$13, though no one’s saying you can’t order steak since, hopefully, your kids will be occupied enough for you to slow down and enjoy your meal (fingers crossed)! 😉

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Firefly American Bistro, 5525 New Albany Rd. West, New Albany, OH 43054, 614-741-7151


Wednesday:

Food: Burgers are $4 at Brazenhead Irish Pub on Wednesdays and that includes one side! I’ve only been to the one in Grandview, but they have a great patio, so take advantage of that while we still have some warm nights ahead! (They also have $4 fish sandwiches on Tuesdays!)

Activity: After dinner, head over to Grandview Library for family story time from 6:30 PM – 7:00 PM (starts 9/7/16). Grandview Library has a fun area for the kids to play in that includes a train table, a doll house and Duplo blocks!

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Brazenhead Irish Pub, 1027 W. 5th Ave., Columbus, OH 43212, 614-737-3738 or 56 N. High St., Dublin, OH 43017, 614-792-3738

Grandview Library, 1685 W 1st Ave, Columbus, OH 43212, 614-486-2951


Thursday:

Food: This one isn’t necessarily JUST for Thursday nights! I have been known to become the biggest sports fan when Papa Johns gives 50% off large pizzas the day after the Columbus Crew SC wins or the Columbus Blue Jackets score two goals! 😉 If I really don’t feel like cooking, I check the schedule, crossing my fingers for a win the day before. It’s true. Specifically for Thursday, the Crew plays on the following Wednesdays: 8/24/16 (that’s this week, BTW) and 9/28/16, which means if they win those games, Thursday’s large pizza will be half off! (See their full schedule here.) This deal is only good on online orders and is good for 50% off the regular price of any large pizza. You must use the code “WIN.” (Stay tuned this winter when Papa Johns gives 50% off all large pizzas when the Blue Jackets score 2 goals! Code is JACKETS50.)

Activity: We live near the Papa John’s in Grandview, so when we want to get out of the house, we pick up a pizza and take it to Wyman Woods Park! Eating pizza in the park is fun, but once it gets cold, consider following pizza night up with a trip to the Columbus Museum of Art. The museum stays open until 9:00 PM on Thursday nights and the price is “pay what you want” from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM! The kids can hang out in the Wonder Room, doing puzzles and creating their own masterpieces with the many materials available in the room!

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Papa Johns – find your nearest location here.

Columbus Museum of Art, 480 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215, 614-221-6801


Friday:

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Food and Activity: Okay, tuck this one away because this deal is actually good EVERY night! But we commonly do it on Fridays. I think Friday night is pizza night for like 95% of families in America, so here’s the deal: Large Pizzas with two toppings are just $7.99 after 4:00 PM at the Giant Eagle Market District in Grandview Yard. We make a whole night of this by using the Little Shoppers Treat Card to get an apple and/or slice of cheese while the kids wait for the pizza to be ready and then after we eat the pizza in the seating area or on the patio, we use the same card to get a cookie for dessert. After dinner, we usually have to pick up a few grocery items while the kids eat their cookies, riding around in a car cart. And that my friend, is the new Friday night! 😉

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Grandview Yard Market District, 840 W 3rd Avenue, Columbus, OH 43212, 614-294-2186


Saturday:

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Food: Another favorite right here: the pancake breakfast at the Hills Market! This is a real deal! From 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM you can get three pancakes, sausage links, plus Crimson Cup coffee for $5! (Hills Market, if you’re reading PLEASE bring this back to the downtown location!!) You can add chocolate chips or blueberries for no charge and juice is available for purchase for the kids. Mimosas and Bloody Marys are available for $5. (This $5 pancake brunch also happens on Sundays from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM!)

Activity: After breakfast, head down Hard Rd. to the Northwest Library to visit Story Garden, where many of your kid’s favorite stories are depicted by 3-D characters on the walls of the children’s department at this Worthington Libraries branch. The library has programs for kids on the 2nd and 3rd Saturdays of each month. Check out their calendar of programs here.

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The Hills Market Worthington, 7860 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, OH 43235, 614-846-3220.

Northwest Library, Northwest Library, 2280 Hard Road, Columbus, OH 43235, 614-807-2626


Sunday:

Food: Kids eat free every Sunday at The Crest Gastropub! On the 2nd Sunday of the month, they host Kids Day with a special theme complete with crafts and/or activities. This is the only place on the list I haven’t been to yet, but it has been on my mental list for some time! Past activity times have included learning about monarchs, planting seeds and making crafts with recycled craft materials!

Activity: If it doesn’t happen to be the 2nd Sunday and you’re looking for something to do afterward, you’re not far from Whetstone Park of Roses or this playground within Whetstone Park!

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The Crest Gastropub, 2855 Indianola Ave., Columbus, OH 43202, 614-261-7128

Whestone Park, 3923 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43214


There! Now I have my mental list all typed up and easily accessible for when I don’t feel like making dinner! Tell me, what’s on your mental list for a cheap night out with the kids?

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ICYMI: Exploring Downtown Powell with Kids


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