Columbus Businesses Offering Meals and Take-Home Activities for Kids During the COVID-19 School Closures

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Columbus business and restaurants are offering free meals and take home activities to help families during the COVID-19 school closures.

We are seeing an unprecedented number of closings and kids will be out of school for at least 3 weeks in Ohio. Many Columbus business and organizations are offering free meals for kids and several are offering activities for kids that we can pick up and bring home to keep them busy during this time. 

Local Businesses Offering Things to do at Home:

Clay Street Ceramics

Clay Street Ceramics is offering “Pottery to Go” kits to paint at home. Stop by to pick one up or contact them and they will have the kit ready to go when you arrive.

AR Workshop Worthington

AR Workshop in Worthington is offering DIY to Go kits for adults and youth! Pick up is this Friday and Saturday.

 

Art With Anna

Art with Anna is creating take-home art kits with a free instructional video with purchase! Or if you already have the supplies, you can purchase just the video! Keep an eye on their Facebook page for more info! 

Paulette’s Princess Parties

Paulette’s Princesses will be going live with singing , answering questions, reading a book and having so much fun! They will also be soon announcing virtual playdates, phone calls,fairytale experiences and character day at the parks, plus live kid exercise and dance classes by the characters! 

Bakes by Lo

Bakes by Lo is offering DIY Decorated Cookie Kits! Keep an eye on her social media for the next availability!

 

InHome Creations

In Home Creations is putting together home craft kits that will be based on your kids’ favorite movies! They will be available for pick up soon! Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates!

Canvas Creations for You

Canvas Creations for You is offering take home canvas painting kits and a live paint along. They will be posting the hours to pick up supplies – the first opportunity is Sunday, March 15.

 

Young Chef’s Academy of Gahanna

Young Chef’s Academy is offering virtual cooking classes for kids!

 

Sweetpeas Cakery

Sweetpeas Cakery is offering cookie decorating kits for #10. Email to order!

 

FIT4MOM Columbus North

FIT4MOM Columbus North is going virtual with virtual workouts, virtual playdates and “coffee chats”! 

 

Dublin Toy Emporium

The Dublin Toy Emporium is offering curbside pick up for anything you order from their store.

 

Mrs. Goodman’s Baking Co.

Mrs. Goodman’s has cookie decorating kits available for you to take home. Please pre-order at least one day in advance!

 

Capital City Cakes

Capital City Cakes is offering cupcake and cookie decorating kits. Call to order.

 

Kreation’s Play Kafé

Kreation’s Play Kafé will be offering Kraft Bag Curbside pick up and drop offs (with a delivery fee). There will be crafting videos available online. Follow them on Facebook for more details. 

 

Food Resources for Families with Children:

*Please note, all sit down restaurants and bars will be closed beginning 9:00 PM, Sunday, March 15th. Carry Out is available so please double check with the restaurants listed here before visiting them!

Emergency Food Supplies

Check out Cap4Kids website featuring Walk-In Food Pantries for emergency food assistance.

Columbus City Schools

Breakfast and Lunch are available for ALL children and students under age 18. Children who are not Columbus City School students are welcome. These meals will be grab and go bags and at breakfast you can pick up a lunch or at lunch you can pick up breakfast for tomorrow. NOTE: East High School has been added as a location but is not on this map.

 

Piada Italian Street Food

Piada is offering a free kids pasta with sauce, cheese and a fountain drink on Monday-Friday (March 16-April 3) from 10:45 AM – 1:00 PM. This will continue – carry out only.

Greek Express

Greek Express is giving free lunch to school age kids Monday through Friday from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM until April 3rd at any of their 5 locations. Planning to continue with carry out.


 

FUSIAN

FUSIAN is offering $1 Peanut Butter and Jelly Rolls through their app and in-store! 

 

The Lox Bagel Shop

Lox Bagel Shop will offer free bagels to kids affected by school closures.

 

Smoked on High BBQ

Smoked On High is offering kids an order of Drummies or Pulled Chicken for free for the next 3 weeks while supplies last. Now carryout only.

 

El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant 

– El Rodeo will be handing out free meals to go for kids K-12 from 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM on weekdays. No purchase necessary.

 

Third Way Cafe

Beginning March 17, 2020, Third Way Cafe is offering a free hot chocolate to ALL kids under 12 until April 4th!! Limit 1 per kid. Carry out only.

 

Legacy Smokehouse (Hilliard)

Free lunch for kids from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Includes a pulled pork slider or turkey hotdog, applesauce and drink. No purchase necessary. 

 

Tim Hortons

All of our Tim Hortons locations will be offering meals to kids 12 & under. Stop by between 11:00am and 1:00pm on Mondays through Friday until April 2nd. Available at participating Columbus, OH locations. No substitutions. One per child. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moody Trudy Food Truck

Moody Trudy Food Truck is offering free meals for kids plus other specials for service industry employees and nurses and hospital staff.

 

The Lunch Box

The Lunch Box Ohio will be packing and delivering bags of food for kids who cannot access their school’s food program. You can donate food or help pack bags. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for how to access this resource if you are in need.

 

Updates on Popular Local Organizations and Museums:

Closed:

All local libraries are closed but Upper Arlington Library has put together a calendar of live streaming events on their website!

Columbus Metropolitan Libraries – Currently closed. Many resources are available online including ebooks, audio books, movies, magazines and educational resources. How to Access Books, Magazines, Movies and More for Free Online with Your Central Ohio Library Card

Columbus Museum of Art and Pizzuti Collection – Closed for 3 weeks beginning March 15, 2020.

COSI – Closed for beginning March 13, 2020. COSI will be extending memberships by the amount of time they are closed. COSI is offering their Digital Doorway for fun, at-home science learning online!

Ohio History Center – Closed indefinitely beginning March 14, 2020. Educational resources are available online and will continue to be updated.

Franklin Park Conservatory – Closed beginning March 13, 2020.

Columbus Recreation and Parks – All community centers, golf courses, athletic complexes closed through April 3, 2020. All programing is cancelled.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – Closed indefinitely beginning March 16, 2020.

Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks – Nature Centers are closed, parks remain open.

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What Should We Do This Weekend? Columbus, Ohio, March 13-15, 2020

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*There is currently a state-wide ban on public gatherings of more than 100 people. Most of these events will be cancelled this weekend. If you’re looking for something to do, try out the amazing resources that are available online through our local libraries: How to Access Books, Magazines, Movies and More for Free with Your Central Ohio Library Card

Looking for things to do in Columbus, Ohio this weekend? Here are over 40 family-friendly events happening in Columbus, and Central Ohio this weekend!

I feel this post and probably the WSWDTW? posts for the next few weeks will need a few disclaimers! First off, I am seeing events get cancelled left and right due to the coronavirus so please triple check the link or call before you plan to attend a public event!

Governor DeWine has recommended cancelling large public gatherings. I will continue to offer info about events that are still happening and allow you the responsibility of making your own choices about attending them! And remember to wash your hands! 😉

Family Friendly Events in Columbus, Ohio This Weekend:

FRIDAY:

9:30 AM – Preschool: Amphibians at Highbanks Metro Park – learn about amphibians with crafts, stories and activities! Recommended for ages 3-5.

10:00 AM – Kids Dream Family Film Series at Marcus Theaters – see a family-friendly movie for just $3/ticket. This weekend’s movie is The Addams Family. Click the link for a special deal where you can get your tickets for free! Showings are Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 AM at Marcus Pickerington and Marcus Crosswoods.

10:00 AM – The Box Show at Columbus Childrens Theater – this performance is a 30 minute musical with no intermission recommended for ages 2-6. The show features a young girl who meets an imaginary friend in her new house!

10:00 AM – Press Start!: A New 8-Bit Musical at Columbus Performing Arts Center – watch your favorite classic video game characters come to life in a fun musical!

10:00 AM – Toddler Open Gym at Thompson Recreation Center – drop in for a free Open Gym time at the rec center!

11:00 AM – Preschool: Amphibians at Highbanks Metro Park – learn about amphibians with crafts, stories and activities! Recommended for ages 3-5.

11:30 AM – The Box Show at Columbus Childrens Theater – this performance is a 30 minute musical with no intermission recommended for ages 2-6. The show features a young girl who meets an imaginary friend in her new house!

4:00 PM – Family Night Fridays at Tree of Life Play + Cafe – for $30 enjoy a family pass to the play area and a large 1 topping pizza and a drink pitcher.

6:00 PM – Mother Son Dance at Prairie Township Community Center – enjoy dinner, a DJ and pictures taken at this semi-formal event for kids and a special woman in their lives. Wear your favorite superhero costume. Register in advance.

6:00 PM – Dublin KidsFest & Summer Camp Expo at Deer Run Elementary School – learn about summer camp options for kids in Dublin and enjoy a community festival featuring free food, carnival games, mini golf and more.

6:00 PM – Woodland Wonders: Vernal Pool Edition at Gallant Woods Park – explore the vernal pools looking for mole salamanders!

6:30 PM – Family Night Out at Goldfish Swim School – Dublin – enjoy an open swim with your family. $5/person or $15 max per family. First come, first served.

6:30 PM – Mother/Son Super Hero Party at Mingo Park – enjoy a party in the gym, an ice cream bar, inflatables, costume contest, games and more! Dress as your favorites superhero! Limited spots remain, register online.

7:00 PM – Friday Nights Unlimited Pizza Skate at Skate Zone 71 – family skate is available from 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM for $10/person. That includes admission, skate rental and unlimited cheese pizza!

7:00 PM – Press Start!: A New 8-Bit Musical at Columbus Performing Arts Center – watch your favorite classic video game characters come to life in a fun musical!

SATURDAY:

9:00 AM – West Gate Lodge Community Breakfast at West Gate Lodge No.623 F&AM – enjoy a huge breakfast – $6/adults and $3/children. Proceeds benefit Special Olympics.

9:00 AM – Frozen Breakfast with Queen Elsa! at Gardenia Market at Historic Dublin – no reservations are needed for this breakfast with Queen Elsa! Get your picture taken! First come, first served.

9:00 AM – Roller Skating Lessons at Skate Zone 71 – walk-in for skating lessons for all skill levels! Fisher Price skates are available for kids. Adults are welcome too!

9:30 AM – Our Village: Sensory Bag Craft with FIT4MOM Upper Arlington – join FIT4MOM UA for a fun craft for babies, preschoolers and toddlers. Make a sensory bag! The playgroup is free.

10:00 AM – Bird Hike: Woodpeckers at Blendon Woods Metro Park – take a 2 mile walk to look for woodpeckers. 

10:00 AM – The Box Show at Columbus Childrens Theater – this performance is a 30 minute musical with no intermission recommended for ages 2-6. The show features a young girl who meets an imaginary friend in her new house!

10:00 AM – Kids Dream Family Film Series at Marcus Theaters – see a family-friendly movie for just $3/ticket. This weekend’s movie is The Addams Family. Click the link for a special deal where you can get your tickets for free! Showings are Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 AM at Marcus Pickerington and Marcus Crosswoods.

10:00 AM – Storytime with illustrator Joe Sutphin at Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers – enjoy a story time with Ohio children’s illustrator Joe Sutphin! His latest book is Monster’s Trucks by Rebecca Van Slyke.

10:00 AM – Ohio Maple Madness Driving Tour – explore Ohio on a driving tour of maple syrup sugar houses! This event is taking place March 7&8 and 14&15 and features locations all around Ohio. Download the map and brochure online.

10:10 AM – Our Village: Leprechaun Binoculars at Polaris Fashion Place – join FIT4MOM Columbus North for a leprechaun hunt! Kids can create their own binoculars. This is a free event appropriate for ages 5 and under.

11:00 AM – Storytime- Pete the Cat at Barnes & Noble Dublin – enjoy a story time featuring Pete the Cat: The Great Leprechaun Chase. There will be activities afterward!

11:30 AM – The Box Show at Columbus Childrens Theater – this performance is a 30 minute musical with no intermission recommended for ages 2-6. The show features a young girl who meets an imaginary friend in her new house!

11:30 AM – OHIO: Sensory Friendly at Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts – watch a sensory friendly, more relaxed concert experience with the New Albany Symphony Orchestra. There will be lobby activities beforehand! 

12:00 PM – Spring Fling at Oakland Nurseries! – visit the your nearest Oakland Nurseries location for their annual Spring Fling event! Activities vary by location but include a petting zoo, The Bugman, fairy garden workshops, treats, door prizes and more! Click the link for activities by location. 

12:00 PM – Family YOGA at Jade Yoga and Wellness – this family yoga event is geared toward kids ages 18 months to 8 years old and will teach fun and animated poses! $20/family (up to 4 participants).

1:00 PM – Read with the Horses at Stockhands Horses For Healing – children of all ages and abilities can come to read with a horse. This is a free event to encourage a love of reading!

1:00 PM – Press Start!: A New 8-Bit Musical at Columbus Performing Arts Center – watch your favorite classic video game characters come to life in a fun musical!

2:30 PM – Press Start!: A New 8-Bit Musical at Columbus Performing Arts Center – watch your favorite classic video game characters come to life in a fun musical!

3:00 PM – Kids Day w/ Wild Cat! Women’s History Month Edition at The Crest – Kid’s Day this month is featuring Women’s History Month with crafts based on conservationist Rosalie Edge. There will be three crafts to choose from, a letter writing station and a treat!

3:00 PM – LEGO Club (Westland) at Westland Area Library – kids in grades K-6 can participate in a LEGO building challenge!

SUNDAY:

10:00 AM – Kids Dream Family Film Series at Marcus Theaters – see a family-friendly movie for just $3/ticket. This weekend’s movie is The Addams Family. Click the link for a special deal where you can get your tickets for free! Showings are Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 AM at Marcus Pickerington and Marcus Crosswoods.

10:00 AM – Ohio Maple Madness Driving Tour – explore Ohio on a driving tour of maple syrup sugar houses! This event is taking place March 7&8 and 14&15 and features locations all around Ohio. Download the map and brochure online.

1:00 PM – Family Spectacular-Celebrate Seuss at Grove City YMCA – participate in Dr. Seuss-themed crafts, stories and more! This is a drop in event and you can get a guest pass or day pass from the Y to participate if you are not a member. 

1:00 PM – The Box Show at Columbus Childrens Theater – this performance is a 30 minute musical with no intermission recommended for ages 2-6. The show features a young girl who meets an imaginary friend in her new house!

1:00 PM – Press Start!: A New 8-Bit Musical at Columbus Performing Arts Center – watch your favorite classic video game characters come to life in a fun musical!

1:00 PM – St. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt at Blacklick Woods Metro Park – hunt for green things hidden in the park! Start at the Nature Center.

2:00 PM – Creature Feature: Reptiles & Amphibians at Highbanks Metro Park – meet turtles, snakes and frogs and learn about them! Recommended for ages 3-10. 

2:30 PM – The Box Show at Columbus Childrens Theater – this performance is a 30 minute musical with no intermission recommended for ages 2-6. The show features a young girl who meets an imaginary friend in her new house!

2:30 PM – Press Start!: A New 8-Bit Musical at Columbus Performing Arts Center – watch your favorite classic video game characters come to life in a fun musical!

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*Inclusion on this list is not a personal endorsement of an event. 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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Off the Beaten Path: 15 Unique Things to do in Columbus Ohio

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If you feel like you’ve seen all there is to see, check out this list of unique things to do off the beaten path in Columbus, Ohio!

The most popular things to do in Columbus get a lot of press! In fact my Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus Ohio is the most popular post on my blog, so if you haven’t been ON the beaten path in Columbus, that’s the first thing to check.

But if you’ve been there, done that, it’s time to venture off the beaten path!

boy going down steps to waterfall at Hayden Falls

Steps to Hayden Run Falls

What makes something “off the beaten path”? For this list there are two criteria:

1. It’s not downtown
2. It’s not on the “main drag” of a neighborhood or suburb

We’ll start of with some ideas for family-friendly fun and end with some unique eats and treats!

15 Unique Things to do in Columbus Off the Beaten Path:

1. Level 1 Bar and Arcade

  • 130 Hutchinson Ave. Columbus, OH 43235
arcade games at Level One Bar and Arcade

Level One Bar and Arcade

Level 1 Bar and Arcade is a throw back to the 80’s! It’s tons of fun because as long as you purchase a drink, you can play all of the video games for free! (There may be an additional (small) cost for skee ball and pinball games.)

On Saturdays and Sundays kids (or anyone under 21) are allowed in to play from 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM AND they offer party packages for kids and adults! “Mocktails” are available for kids or anyone not drinking alcohol!


2. KSM Sports and Fitness Facility 

  • 10336 Sawmill Rd., Powell, Ohio 43065
indoor area at KSM sports and fitness facility

KSM Sports and Fitness Facility

Sometimes you just need a really big place for kids to run around! Enter KSM Sports and Fitness Facility. KSM offers a Little Tykes Open Play Time on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:00 AM. They also offer other public events like Nerf Nights, Yoga, personal trainers, team training and more!


3. Aquarium Adventure

  • 3649 Fishinger Blvd. Hilliard, OH 43026 
boy at Aquarium Adventure in Hilliard Ohio

Aquarium Adventure

Don’t want to make the trip to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium? Scale it back a little bit and visit Aquarium Adventure – an aquarium superstore in Hilliard! Kids will love exploring each aquarium to see what they can find. There are often large sea creatures on display like sting rays! It’s also fun to explore the large Koi pond in the front of the store!


4. Rollhouse Entertainment

  • 500 Georgesville Rd., Columbus, OH 43228
boy bowling at Rollhouse in Columbus, Ohio

Rollhouse Entertainment

Rollhouse, just off of Georgesville Rd, is home to bowing, laser tag, arcade games and a full food menu! Lots of fun for kids and families, Rollhouse is also a participant in the Kids Bowl Free program that happens each summer! Sign up to get free bowling every day for kids!


5. Blacklick Woods Metro Park Nature Center 

  • 6975 East Livingston Ave., Reynoldsburg, OH 43068 
Blacklick Metro Park Nature Center

Nature Center at Blacklick Woods Metro Park

Blacklick Woods Metro Park is home to a gem of a Nature Center! The Nature Center has a lot of educational items on display and a great play area for the kids! There are live animals to see and large windows for bird watching. This is a great place to spend the morning with kids!


6. Anthony Thomas Candy Factory

  • 1777 Arlingate Lane, Columbus, OH 43228 
boy getting candy at Anthony Thomas Candy Factory in Columbus, Ohio

Anthony Thomas Candy Factory

You can tour the Anthony Thomas Candy Factory in about an hour, getting a glimpse of the candy making process from a “cat-walk” above the production lines.  Tours take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the winter and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in June, July and August.

You end the tour in the gift shop and you get to use your admission price ($2 for adults and $1 for kids) towards a purchase of candy in the gift shop!


7. Ohio State University Airport

  • 2160 West Case Rd. Columbus, OH 43235 
observation deck at OSU Airport

Observation Deck at The Ohio State University Airport

The Ohio State University Airport offers a unique activity for anyone who loves to watch planes take off and land. The observation tower has been fully remodeled and allows a great view of the runway. The best days to visit are Fridays and Mondays when the weather is good.

Anyone can visit the airport to watch and you might want to plan for breakfast or lunch at Jack and Benny’s Barnstormer Diner adjacent to the observation tower!


8. Hayden Falls Park

  • 4326 Hayden Run Rd., Dublin, OH 43017 
waterfall at Hayden Run Falls

Hayden Run Falls

One might not think of Columbus, Ohio as a place that has many (or any) water falls, which is what makes Haden Falls such a hidden gem! This park is definitely off the beaten path and involves a short hike down wooded steps and walk ways. Once you come upon the falls you will be pleasantly surprised by what you find!


9. Clay Street Ceramics

  • 13 N. Westmoor Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43204
boy painting pottery at Clay Street Ceramics in West Columbus

Clay Street Ceramics

Clay Street Ceramics is a fun, family-owned paint your own pottery spot on the west side of Columbus! There are tons of pottery items available to paint and your finished product can be picked up within a week.

Clay Street holds special events, pop up shops and activities for kids on days off of school. Inside Clay Street Ceramics, there is also a small artisan market where you can find goods for sale by local artists!


10. Cambridge Tea House

  • 1885 W. 5th Ave. Columbus, Ohio 43212
inside Cambridge Tea House

Cambridge Tea House

Cambridge Tea House is the sweetest little spot on the edge of Grandview and Marble Cliff. This is a sit-down restaurant that offers full tea service including options for kids! You can take advantage of a full tea service or order from the menu for breakfast and lunch options, scones, and other baked goods!


11. Dulce Vida Ice Cream Factory

  • 4201 W. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43228
inside Dulce Vida Ice Cream Factory

Dulce Vida Ice Cream Factory – West

Dulce Vida Ice Cream Factory delights all of the senses with it’s brightly colored decor AND brightly colored ice cream and treats! This Mexican ice cream shop offers handmade ice cream (made in the store!), paletas (mexican popsicles), and other eats and treats. Though there are two more locations, the West Broad location is my favorite hidden gem in Columbus!


12. King Gyros Greek Restaurant

  • 400 S Hamilton Rd., Columbus, OH 43213 
piece of cheesecake at King Gyros in Whitehall

King Gyros

If you don’t have the time or budget for a trip to Greece, you can hop over to Whitehall for the next best thing! The murals painted in the restaurant (and the amazing patio) might make you feel like you’ve actually gone to Greece, but the food will keep you coming back!

The trio of dips is a can’t miss menu item and for a Greek surprise, try the meatballs! (And whatever you do, don’t skip dessert!) This restaurant off the beaten path is worth a trip!


13. Belle’s Bread

  • 1168 Kenny Centre Mall, Columbus, OH 43220 
ice cream cone at Belle's Bread

Belle’s Bread

Belle’s Bread on Henderson Rd. is a hidden gem featuring one of my favorite treats in the city: green tea ice cream! While you are there you can browse the beautiful selection of desserts and baked goods, but don’t leave without trying the green tea ice cream – I recommend it as a twist with vanilla!


14. Two Dollar Radio Headquarters

  • 1124 Parsons Ave., Columbus, OH 43206 
cup of coffee at two dollar radio headquarters in columbus, Ohio

Two Dollar Radio HQ

Two Dollar Radio is home to an independent book store, coffee shop and vegan cafe. There are special events, book readings, live music, open mic nights and more! The atmosphere is inspiring and fun! There is even a kid’s corner with games, books and toys!

This hidden gem on the south side of Columbus is a great place to get your caffeine fix and your creative wheels turning!


15. Dragon Donuts

  • 2806 London Groveport Rd., Grove City, OH 43123 
donut at Dragon Donuts in Grove City

Dragon Donuts – Grove City

If you like your donuts warm and gooey – visit Dragon Donuts where the donuts are made to order and you can watch the whole process take place right before your eyes!

Choose from a list of over 20 signature donuts like S’more Please or Fruity Tutti or choose from one of the classic glazed, sugar or dipped donuts. Or if you’re feeling brave you can make up your own combination!


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15 Unique Things to do in Columbus, Ohio Off the Beaten Path


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