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25 Free Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio this Winter

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This list of free things to do in Columbus, Ohio will keep you and the kids busy and cabin-fever free this Winter!

Winter is tough with kids. I’m sure some of you die hards will disagree, but for me it takes so much more effort to get out of the house: coats, gloves, hats, taking off coats for carseats, defrosting the car. And the list goes on. But I’ve put together a list of free kid-friendly things to do around Columbus that will make all the effort worth it! Good luck! 🙂

25 Free Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio this Winter:

1. Watch planes take off at Ohio State University Airport

boys watching planes take off at Ohio State University Airport

2. Tour Anthony Thomas Chocolate Factory. Tours take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the winter. (I consider this free because at the end you get to use your admission price ($2 for adults and $1 for kids) towards a purchase of candy in the gift shop! 😉 ).

kid getting buckeye candy at Anthony Thomas Candy Factory in Columbus, OH

3. Play at The Naz indoor play area in Grove City. This one’s open until 8:00 PM or 9:00 PM on weekdays!

4. See the Living Stream at Battelle Darby Metro Park.

5. Look for the bison at Battelle Darby Metro Park. (A brisk .5 mile walk from the Nature Center!)

6. Attend a story time at Grange Insurance Audubon Center. Afterwards play in the free indoor play area!

7. Take a ride on the Smart Circuit. There’s a stop just outside COSI!

kid waiting at a stop for the Smart Circuit in Columbus, Ohio

8. Go to Columbus Museum of Art on a Sunday. Admission is free from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

9. Visit Franklin Park Conservatory on Community Days (the first Sunday of each month).

10. Get a free cup of coffee or glass of milk when you buy a cookie at Sassafras Bakery during Milk and Cookie Happy Hour.

cookie and cup of coffee at Sassafras Bakery

11. Play in the kids area at Coffee Connections in Hilliard. (After you buy a cup of coffee, of course!)

12. Visit the totally cute Story Garden at Northwest Library in Worthington.

Story Garden in Worthington Library

13. Play in Småland, the awesome indoor childcare area for free for one hour at IKEA. IKEA Family Members (rewards card holders) get an extra half hour (and free coffee)!

14. Watch for birds at the Blacklick Woods Metro Park Nature Center.

15. Play at Central Park at Westerville Christian Church. Check the link for hours because they are very specific!

play area at Westerville Christian Church

16. Attend KidX at Polaris Fashion Place! This monthly event features free activities for kids!

17. Participate in the Winter Reading Challenge at Columbus Library. Kids get a pencil and book mark just for signing up!

18. Look for fairies on the Dublin Irish Fairy Door Trail.

19. Enjoy music, activities and movies at Hoot Family Film Series! This activity is free with a non-perishable donation to the Open Shelter.

20. Look at art on Pizzuti Collection Family Day – Family Day (one special Sunday each month) offers free admission, special activities and a family centered tour! 

pizzuti collection free sundays columbus ohio

21. Attend one of these story times. The Cheryl’s Cookies story time includes a free mini cookie!

22. Read 5 books and get a free kid’s meal at Rusty Bucket. (Check the link for a whole list of Kids Eat Free options!)

23. Go on a Winter Hike with Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. Hot drinks and food provided afterwards!

24. Visit the dinosaur at Orton Hall.

dinosaur bones at Orton Hall

25. Visit the fish (and other interesting sea creatures) at Aquarium Adventure in Hilliard!

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25 Free Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio this Winter

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*Please be aware,  information is gathered from multiple community sources.  Times, dates and locations are subject to change. Please call ahead or check links to confirm activities.  Enjoy what you do today!*

ICYMI: Story Times for Kids in Columbus, Ohio


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Countdown to Spring: 20 Days to Celebrate in Columbus

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Countdown to Spring in Columbus with 20 special days!

This post contains affiliate links. See our disclosure.

We’re in the final stretch until Spring! Winter is the hardest season for me to get through. I thought if we could try to find something to celebrate every day until Spring, it might make this last month go a little bit faster! If you need an excuse for a treat or to try something different, there’s a “National Day” for that! Check them out:

March 1National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day – have a gourmet PB&J or PB&J Milk Shake at Krema Nut Company. Or celebrate with our favorite local peanut butter, Crazy Richards!

March 2Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’ Birthday! – attend the Read it, Make it, Eat it – The Cat in the Hat class at PARTY Like it’s Your Birthday! My kids’ favorite Dr. Seuss book is The Foot Book! We’ll have to get it out for a special read!

March 3

March 4 – this is the beginning of Return Borrowed Books Week (March 4-10). Time to head to the library and return those overdue books. (Or is that just me?) Here are some great libraries to try out:

 

 

 

March 5National Cheese Doodle Day – the inventor of the cheese doodle eventually sold his company to Borden who later relocated to Columbus (and has since closed). In his honor, eat a bag of cheese doodles!

March 6National Frozen Food Day – take it easy tonight and make a frozen pizza for dinner! Try Outsiders Pizza, a new frozen pizza brand that launched here in Columbus in December!

March 7National Pancake Day – On Tuesday, March 7th from 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM (some locations offering extended hours until 10:00 PM) you can celebrate National Pancake Day® at IHOP® and get a FREE short stack of Original Buttermilk Pancakes!

March 8National Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day – get some inspiration and encouragement from local blogger, Sally at Real Mom Nutrition!

International Women’s Day

March 9National Meatball Day – add a meatball to your pasta for $2 on Warehouse Wednesday at Spaghetti Warehouse!

National Day of Unplugging – take a break from technology and play at one of these free indoor play areas!

March 10National Pack Your Lunch Day – order your kids’  lunches from Eat Pakd, available for delivery here in Columbus, and you’ll never have to chop, slice or portion out again!

National Procrastination Week – March 4-10, 2018 (First full week of March)

March 11National Johnny Appleseed Day – read the book A is for Appleseed, published by the Johnny Appleseed Museum, which is in Urbana, OH. Plan a visit when the museum is open on Tuesdays and Fridays! (Johnny Appleseed Day is also celebrated on Sept. 26, so take your pick! 😉 )

March 12National Girl Scout Day – celebrate by buying a box of Girl Scout Cookies – which are only available through March 26th! According to the Girl Scout website, it looks like you can buy them today at the Brewery District Kroger!

March 13National Napping Day – it’s the day after daylight savings, this one needs no explanation!

March 14National Learn about Butterflies Day – visit the Blooms and Butterflies Exhibit at Franklin Park Conservatory!

National Wildlife Week – March 14-18, 2018

March 15National Kick Butts Day – this day is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Here is a list of activities you can do to raise awareness about the effects of tobacco with your kids.

March 16National Artichoke Hearts Day – in my “research” for this post, I ran across this article about how to prepare artichokes 3 ways from Columbus Food Adventures!  And I didn’t think I was going to find anything related to Columbus for this one! 😉

March 17National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day – take a trip to German Village for a huge sandwich at Katzinger’s Delicatessen or check out their new(ish) location in North Market!

March 18National Sloppy Joe Day – make these Loaded Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes from Columbus blogger, Courtney at NeighborFood!

March 19National Chocolate Caramel Day – try the salted caramels at Winan’s Fine Chocolates!

March 20Spring Begins! Plus it’s International Day of Happiness – how can you argue with that?!

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ICYMI: 10 Life Hacks for Columbus Parents

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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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ICYMI: Save Money on LEGO Sets with BrickSmarts

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