Over the past few months, Shawna and I have been working hard to make some improvements to our site. Obviously we’ve spiffed things up with a whole new look, but we have also been working to change some of the general features.
Over the last week, we have been focusing our efforts on the “Momsense” section of our posts – – you know that section at the end that gives you all the nitty-gritty details on an outing (and basically summarizes our entire post into a few lines). Well we realized that we were lacking a little consistency in this area and wanted to make sure we highlighted some key points on each posts. Shawna and I came up with our own lists of important items, but we also went to our Facebook page to ask our readers for their opinion.
One of our readers made a request. Could we note which outings are . . .
We loved the idea.
Question was, what exactly did it mean and how would we highlight it in our posts?
Well, after a few brainstorming emails, we decided that our definition of “Working Mom Friendly” destinations would be those offering weekend and evening hours and decided we would highlight just that in our upcoming posts (like here and here).
But as much as we would like to go back to our old posts and add in those details, the reality is it would be a while before that would happen (if it happens at all).
As we were brainstorming, though, we realized we didn’t want to lose the opportunity to highlight the working mom friendly outings we had already completed. So to keep us from having to go back through every single post, but still give our readers the information they wanted, we decided to put together a top 5 outings list.
So, this post is going out to all you working moms and really any parent who needs an evening and weekend activity for their little ones. (Wait. Isn’t that all parents?)
Ok. Scratch that.
This post is going out to every single parent who is looking at their kids on Saturday morning and wondering “What in the world am I going to do with them today?”
On a nice day, the answer to that question could be going to a playground, park, farm, trail, etc. But when the weather isn’t very nice or you are just looking to try something different, it can be a little more complicated. Some of our favorite weekday destinations aren’t available on the weekend because they are busy hosting birthday parties or other events. But don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Let me present: Out and About Mom’s Top 5 Outings for Working Moms of Toddlers and Preschoolers (Wow. That is a mouthful)
1. Visit a Children’s Museums
This is a perfect weekend outing for any parent because most children’s museums are open every Saturday and Sunday. Now some of them do get a late start on the weekends, so check their schedules, but most of the time it is a guaranteed outing destination.
Now, heading to a new children’s museum every weekend would probably put a bit of a dent in your monthly outing budget, so make sure you look for library passes and membership options. Your local library may have a pass allowing you to get into the museum for a FREE or reduced rate and some offer the option to reserve the pass in advance online (kind of nice). A museum membership would be great if you plan on visiting a few times in the year, plus most memberships offer reciprocity with other museums all across the country. Get the full scoop on the world of museum reciprocity by reading Shawna’s post here.
2. Enjoy Playtime, a Concert, or a Drop-in Program at Your Local Library
Libraries themselves are a great weekend and evening destination, but many also offer classes and programs during those times as well. Here are a few libraries that we have visited that offer working mom friendly activities.
- The Farmington Library offers a Tuesday evening drop-in Tots & Tunes class along with several Saturday morning drop-in programs. They even have a Daddy & Me program. Sounds good to me! You can check out my visit to their weekday Tots and Tunes class here and find their latest class schedule here.
- Glastonbury’s Welles-Turner Memorial Library offers a drop-in story time on the second Saturday of every month (January-May) and the third Saturday of every month (September – December). Plus they have a bedtime story program on Wednesday evenings. Check out Shawna’s post on one of their weekday classes here or get their full schedule here.
- Rocky Hill Library has a drop-in playtime program that is held every Saturday morning. Get their latest class schedule here.
- West Hartford’s Faxon Branch Library offers a bedtime story program on Monday evenings and the Noah Webster location offers a variety of weekend programs and concerts. Get the full schedule for their children’s programs here.
- The Wethersfield Library is also a Saturday morning guarantee with their drop-in story time program that begins at 10:30 am. Get their full class schedule here.
- The South Windsor Library offers Family Stories, a drop-in storytime for children ages 3 and up, most Saturday mornings. Get their full class schedule here.
- The Russell Library in Middletown offers a drop-in First Saturdays Favorite Story & Craft Time every first Saturday of the month. See their full class schedule here.
Now the library calendars change all the time and there are a ton of Connecticut Libraries that we still haven’t visited, so make sure you check your local library’s schedule before heading out.
3. Wear the Kids Out at an Open Play Session
Looking to get your toddler really worn out? Let them jump in a bounce house or climb up and down a slide for an hour. They will drop like a fly.
Unfortunately, these types of destinations are popular birthday party destinations as well so they usually close on the weekends to cater to the party crowds. But, we do know of a few weekend open play options that might work with your schedule.
- The new Monkey Joe’s located in Hamden, Connecticut is open 7 days a week (fabulous) from 10:00 am – 9:00 pm (except on Sundays it closes at 8:00 pm). Besides offering a great, jump anytime schedule, Monkey Joe’s also has a designated bounce house and play area for kids ages 3 and under.
- Jump Zone in Canton, Connecticut also offers weekend open play times on both Saturdays and Sundays. The nice thing is that their morning open play (from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm) is only for kids ages 6 and under.
- The Bright Spot Children’s Playplace in Vernon currently has Saturday morning open play sessions and their weekday open play goes until 7:00 pm on Fridays.
- Stay and Play in Old Saybrook is another no-brainer destination. It is open 7 days a week from 9:30 am – 5:00 pm.
4. Save Some Money and Enjoy a FREE Indoor Activity
Now, who doesn’t love FREE indoor activities? Well I can tell you that I do. With my kids being so young, we can’t really get our money’s worth when we go anywhere these days because we only last an hour or two before someone is ready to eat or sleep. Plus, I love getting the chance to check a place out before I commit to a full visit or a membership. So, we have a great list for you of places that offer FREE entry on a regular basis (heck, we’ve even set up a page to keep track of all the FREE activities so we don’t forget 🙂
To start things off, several children’s museums offer times when you can visit for FREE. What a great way to try out a fun destination and see if it is some place you would like to return for a longer visit (or even become a member). Plus, the hours are great for working moms.
- Boston Children’s Museum (Boston, MA) – $1 per person every Friday from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
- Kidcity (Middletown, CT) – FREE on the third Thursday of every month from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
- Providence Children’s Museum (Providence, RI) – FREE on the third Friday of every month from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
- Stepping Stones Museum (Norwalk, CT) – FREE on the first Thursday of every month from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
A few other museums also offer FREE Saturday access on a regular basis. We’ve been to all of them and find ourselves returning again and again. Not only is it nice that they are FREE, but these are also family times at the museum which means the visit is a bit more relaxed than usual.
- Connecticut Historical Society (Hartford, CT) – FREE on the first Saturday of the month. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
- New Britain Museum of American Art (New Britain, CT) – FREE on Saturdays from 10:00 am – noon. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post (You can also try out one of their VERY budget-friendly Saturday morning drop-in art classes for kids as young as 3!)
- Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford, CT) – FREE for families on the second Saturday of the month if you arrive before 1:00 pm. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
Another great, FREE, indoor activity is attending a Barnes & Noble Story time. The Shoppes at Buckland Hills location offers the program every Saturday at 11:00 am. Then afterwards the kids can play at the mall’s indoor play area and even take a ride on the carousel near the food court. This outing could definitely take up the whole morning.
5. Take a Class
Now maybe you are the kind of person that would prefer to have a set schedule every weekend instead of trying to figure out something new each week. If that is the case, maybe signing up for a class would be perfect for you.
- My Gym offers evening and weekend classes and evening open play sessions. Both Shawna and I have written about the My Gym locations in our town (Glastonbury and West Hartford), but there are destinations all over the state that may offer a program that is perfect for you and your family.
Music Together is another wonderful organization offering children’s classes. The Hartford area locations (Music Together of the River Valley and Music Together of West Hartford and the Farmington Valley) offer Saturday and evening class options. Check out Shawna’s experience at Boo’s Music Together class here.
So there you have it, our suggestions for Toddler/Preschool friendly outings for the working mom (and pretty much all parents).
Meet Our Sponsors!
- 4D Vision Gym – A vision training center located in Cromwell, CT where Dr. Juanita Collier, MS, OD and her staff show members how to utilize Vision Therapy to correct visual issues and make learning and playing easier and more fun.
- The Annie Fisher Montessori Magnet School – Offers children ages three to twelve years old a free, public Montessori education implemented to the highest standards set by Association Montessori Internationale.
- Bright Horizons at Village Place – Located in Glastonbury, CT, this school is committed to giving children the skills they need to be successful and offers Kindergarten Prep and Preschool programs.
- The Independent Day School – Located on a rural campus in Middlefield, CT this private pre-school, elementary and middle school, serves families from over 20 communities.
- Kathryn Deane Photography – A natural light photographer located in West Hartford, CT and specializing in maternity, newborn, child, family, and senior portrait photography.
- Montessori Magnet School – A NEW tuition-free magnet school located in Hartford, CT that follows Association Montessori Internationale guidelines.
Are you interested in becoming an Out and About Mom sponsor? Click here for more info.
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