Indoor Fun Around Columbus: 6 Things to Do Before Spring!

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Here are some indoor activities to do around Columbus before it gets warm! Though the winter has been pretty mild, I’m still counting down until park days, evening walks and no more winter coats! If you’re getting stir crazy in the house, pick one of these ideas for a fun outing with the kids!

1. Brick of Dreams

  • UPDATE: Brick of Dreams closed in the Fall of 2017
  • 6190 Shamrock Ct., Suite C, Dublin, OH 43016

Brick of Dreams is a fun way to spend an hour or two free-building with LEGO and DUPLO blocks! You pay per kid, per hour to have full access to the thousands of LEGO bricks available! Around the room are shelves full of containers filled with LEGOs, pick one out, sit at one of the many tables and go to town! There are also DUPLO blocks for the younger crowd and a race track for your creations with wheels! I took my 5 year old for an hour one morning and it flew by! Keep an eye out for the President’s Day special – $5/hour/kid. (Regular cost is $7/hour/kid).

2. Mindbender Mansion and Amazing Mazes at COSI

  • 333 W. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

COSI has a new exhibit going on until April 30, 2017. It’s on the second floor and it’s filled with illusions, mazes and mysteries! Kids can create their own mazes, solve mysteries, try to figure out optical illusions and wind their way through mazes themselves! (To be honest, it’s pretty fun for adults, too!) This exhibit is free with admission or membership. We were recently hosted by COSI and invited to try the new Bean Sprouts menu in the Atomic Café. The menu offers healthy options for kids (and adults!) The P-moji Pizza and Chicken Presto Chango sandwich were really good!

3. Milk and Cookie Happy Hour at Sassafras Bakery

I know, I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but cookies are always worth mentioning again, in my book! 😉 I often find the hardest hour of the day to pass is from 4:00 – 5:00 PM. So if you need a little cheer to get you through the last part of the afternoon, head to Sassafras Bakery for Milk and Cookie Happy Hour from 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. You get a free glass of milk or cup of coffee with each cookie purchased. (Most cookies are $2).

4. Gramercy Books

  • 2424 E. Main St., Bexley, OH 43209

Gramercy Books is a new independent bookstore in Bexley. There is a great selection of children’s books! If your kids love books and reading, they will love it here! On the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month, they will host Sunday Storytime for kids at 12:00 PM. Attached to the bookstore is Kittie’s, a wonderful little coffee shop and bakery! Put the two together and you have a perfect outing!

5. Coffee Connections of Hilliard

  • 4004 Main St, Hilliard, OH 43026

Coffee Connections is a coffee shop with a mission to build community. Located in Old Hilliard, the shop has two buildings. The front (on Main St.) is where the coffee is made and served and in the back building, on the second floor, there is a play area for kids! As long as you’ve got coffee in hand, this play area is free! It is geared toward the younger crowd, I’d say 5 and under, but there is a lot of space to sit and catch up with a friend while your kids play!

6. Think Outside the Brick at Columbus Museum of Art

  • 480 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

There are just a few more weeks to see Think Outside the Brick at Columbus Museum of Art.The exhibit is on display until February 26, 2017 and is included in admission or membership. Also, remember that admission is free on Sundays! Along with the large LEGO display, there are bricks for free building, and a LEGO Pokemon scavenger hunt!

If you’re looking for more fun {INDOOR} ideas, check out 20 FREE Indoor Play Areas in Columbus or my post for Columbus Moms Blog: 5 FREE Kid-Friendly Columbus Outings!

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5 on Friday: Columbus Bakeries

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These Columbus bakeries are kid-tested and approved! If you’re looking for a new place to get your sweet fix, give one of these local bakeries a try! You won’t be disappointed!

Girl holding a Face Cookie from Kittie's, a bakery in Columbus, Ohio

I’m always on the hunt for the best chocolate chip cookie in Columbus and that search has taken us to some really great Columbus bakeries and has even earned me a spot on The Great Food Debate podcast a few times! I brought Kittie’s Face Cookies to the “best cookies” episode and made sure to prove they live up to the name!

If you’re on the search for some of the best bakeries in Columbus, check out this list of 5 adorable shops where you can get cookies, pie, French pastry, cupcakes and more!

1. The Original Goodie Shop, Upper Arlington

  • 2116 Tremont Center, Upper Arlington, OH 43221

The Original Goodie Shop, a bakery in Columbus, Ohio

 

Cookies, cakes, donuts, you name it! It’s all here! Easy parking, and really close to the Upper Arlington Library if you’re looking for a fun outing! We had cut out cookies and an amazing cinnamon stick (pictured below). I have it on good authority that the chocolate donuts are worthy of a fork and knife. #donutgoals

coffee and pastry from The Original Goodie Shop in Upper Arlington, Ohio

2. Pistacia Vera, German Village

  • 541 S. 3rd St., Columbus, OH 43215 

Pistacia Vera is, hands down, one of my favorite places in Columbus period. I love this place. I love the atmosphere, the pastries, I even love the bathroom. I’m not even joking. I always say it’s my favorite bathroom in Columbus! I love to take visitors here and everyone who visits loves it, too. 

a cup of coffee and Pain Au Chocolat from Pistacia Vera, a french bakery in Columbus Ohio

This French style Columbus bakery is famous for its macarons which I highly recommend! Other favorites of mine are the Chocolate Chunk Pistachio cookies and the Chocolate Bomb dessert! 

the bakery counter at Pistacia Vera in Columbus, Ohio

The coffee is great here too and it’s the perfect place to meet a friend for a sweet treat and a cup of coffee. Afterwards stroll down S. 3rd St. to stop in at The Book Loft, one of the best bookstores in Columbus!

Pistacia Vera from the outside in German Village, Columbus, Ohio

3. Kittie’s, Bexley and German Village

  • 2424 E Main St., Bexley, OH 43209
  • 495 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH 43215

Kitties Bakery in Bexley, Ohio just outside of Columbus

The Face Cookie at Kittie’s is the cookie that started my salted-chocolate chip obsession. Get it! You will NOT be disappointed. The boys and I shared this cookie – next time I’m going back for the whole thing! The Bexley location of Kittie’s is attached to Gramercy Books a great independent bookstore! What a great combo!

the Face Cookie at Kitties Bakery in Columbus, Ohio

The German Village location of Kitties is adorable and available for take out (no dine in seating). You can count on Kitties for great cookies, but also amazing cupcakes, scones, biscuits and more!

Kittie's Bakery in German Village, Columbus, Ohio

4. Sassafras Bakery, Worthington

  • 657 High St., Worthington, OH 43085

Outside of Sassafras Bakery in Worthington, Ohio

This adorable bakery in Uptown Worthington is famous for its Milk and Cookie Happy Hour! Milk and Cookie Happy Hour at Sassafras Bakery takes place Wednesday through Friday from 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM and  includes a free glass of milk or cup of coffee with each cookie purchased.

They make this sound like it’s for the kids . . . but it’s really just an excuse for the adults to eat more cookies! 😉 Ummm…I also got the salted-chocolate chip cookie here, too. It was the container with the least amount of cookies in it, so that was my first clue it should be my choice! I chose wisely! (Oh yeah, the kids loved it, too!)

Chocolate chip cookie and coffee from Sassafras Bakery in Columbus Ohio

5. Dough Mama, Clintonville

  • 3335 N. High St. Columbus, OH 43214

Outside of Dough Mama Cafe + Bakery in Columbus, Ohio

Dough Mama is the home of my 3rd salted-chocolate chip cookie. Once you go salted, you never go back! Dough Mama is famous for their pies and I’ve also had a really amazing breakfast sandwich here! Please see below for this amazingness.

breakfast sandwich at Dough Mama in Clintonville

This bakery has a lot of space for kids and is in the heart of Clintonville so you can spend some time shopping, thrifting and checking out this great neighborhood!

salted chocolate chip cookies from Sassafras Bakery in Columbus, Ohio

The research for this post was painful, as you can imagine. 😉 What bakery should be next on our list?

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Exploring Clintonville with Your Kids: Cover to Cover + Dough Mama

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Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers is a surprisingly large kid’s bookstore in Clintonville! On Tuesdays and Saturdays, they have a story time for the picture book crowd. I had two items on the agenda for the day: story time and cookies. I have a new fascination with salted chocolate chip cookies, but I’m getting ahead of myself . . .

Edit: Since the writing of this post in 2017, Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers has closed the Clintonville location and reopened at 2116 Arlington Ave., Columbus, OH 43221 (in Upper Arlington).

The story time is held on Tuesdays at 10:30 and Saturdays at 11:00. Aren’t those just the perfect times? I know some people who can get out of their house with the kids before 9 AM, but despite my best efforts, we can barely make it to preschool on time at 9:00. And despite the fact that my kids wake up at 6:30 AM, we seem to get out even later on Saturdays! I have 7 months to get it into gear before Kindergarten starts and there are legal ramifications for my tardiness….

It is obvious from pictures on the website and the signed wall in the story time area that many authors have visited Cover to Cover throughout the years. The store has been open since 1980 and it seems to be a hubbub of activity and knowledge surrounding children’s books. The story time seemed to have a loyal following as well!

Story time consisted of 5-6 picture books with a brief pause to pass out animal crackers about half way through! Smart move! My two year old was was a captive audience for at least one extra story than normal (that was until his cookies ran out and he threw his cup across the group circle in anger. Whoops.).

After story time, we drove down the street to Dough Mama Cafe & Bakery. It’s less than a half a mile, so in the summer, you could totally walk it!

Now back to those salted chocolate chip cookies. This was my 3rd such extravagance in the past two months or so. (I’m saving all those yummy details for a future post). Now I have to say my oldest wasn’t a fan of the salt. He picked it off, but my 2 year old didn’t seem to notice. Personally, I don’t think I’m going to be able to eat a non-salted chocolate chip cookie ever again. 😉

Is that too many pictures of chocolate chip cookies?

Besides the cookies, the cafe also serves a decent sized menu of breakfast and lunch items so you could easily have breakfast (if you’re one of the “out of the house before 9” types) or lunch here before or after the story time. The cafe is famous for their pie and it looks like a Mac and Cheese pie will be on the menu for at least the next few weeks!

There’s a lot of space to sit in the bakery, so it didn’t feel too small or cramped to bring kids.

All in all, a fun morning out! Do you have a favorite place to take your kids in Clintonville?

Know Before You Go:

Cover to Cover:

Now located at: 2116 Arlington Ave., Columbus, OH 43221
614-263-1624
Monday: hours vary by season, check their Facebook Page for updates
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Dough Mama Cafe & Bakery

3335 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43214
614-268-3662
Monday: Closed
Tuesday – Friday: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Saturday & Sunday: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

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