Disclosure: This post contains information about businesses that are currently advertising on our site. We did not receive any additional compensation for this post and all opinions are 100% our own.
We won’t sugarcoat it. This winter has been rough. And those snow days! I can’t even remember the last time we had a normal school schedule for an entire week.
We know it’s getting tough to find things to keep the kiddos occupied. We know you’re going stir crazy trapped in the house. And we know it feels like winter is never. going. to. end. But here’s the good news (to borrow a line from one of my favorite poems): we’re nearer to spring than we were in September!
So let’s power through to March and hope that we get more lamb than lion, right? To help you out, we’ve put together 10 days worth of ideas for indoor adventures. And as always, we’ve been to and blogged about every single activity. So you can get all the info you need to make your outings a success. Together we’ll prove that we can still have tons of fun even with 3 feet of snow on the ground!
Day 1: Start your adventures at a museum where kids of all ages can play all day.
- Stepping Stones Museum for Children offers a wide range of activities for kids of all ages, including a great area specially designed for ages 0-3 and a completely separate section for non-walkers. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Norwalk)
- Imagine Nation Children’s Museum has three levels of indoor play including pretend play in the grocery shopping area, testing out a musical instrument, and being engulfed in a giant bubble in the water play area. The kiddos can also test their sportscaster skills at the replica Sports Center desk. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Bristol)
- Kidcity Children’s Museum has a new adventure in every room, from a funky diner to a well-stocked fishery, to a (new!) mini medieval village. The toddler sea caves are perfect for the little ones, but kids up to age 8 will find the rest of the museum’s exhibits irresistible. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Middletown)
- The Connecticut Science Center makes learning fun with hands-on exploration for a range of abilities and developmental stages, including a special area for kids ages 6 and under called KidSpace that includes a reading nook, giant plush blocks and the ever popular water tables. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Hartford)
Day 2: Need a little peace and quiet? Stop in for a stress-free (and no fee) storytime.
- Jack & Allie’s Bookstore has FREE bi-weekly storytimes (Tuesdays & Thursdays at 11:15am) that include a song, a story, a craft project, and time to relax in the bookstore’s adorable reading nooks. Combine it with lunch at nearby Rein’s Deli and you’ve got a morning outing that will take you right through to nap time! OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Vernon)
- Barnes & Noble locations all over the state (and the country) offer FREE weekly storytimes for preschoolers. Many of these locations, like the one we visited in Glastonbury, also have fun children’s play areas with train tables, Lego tables, puzzles and more! OAAM Post; Website (Glastonbury & other locations)
- The Ridgefield Library offers a variety of FREE weekly drop-in storytimes for kids up to age 6 (no need to be a Ridgefield resident!) OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Ridgefield)
- South Windsor Library’s Family Stories takes place most Saturday mornings at 10:00am (because it’s not like the kids have any less energy on the weekends, right?). Anyone can stop in for stories and crafts, then stay to check out their amazing play area. And it’s all FREE of course! OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (South Windsor)
Day 3: They’re getting antsy. Let the kiddos jump their jiggles out at a bounce arena or trampoline park.
- Bounce Town has lots of space for kiddos to play and bounce with many open play times during the week. It’s clean and bright and there’s plenty of seating for parents with a good view of all the action. OAAM Post; Website, Facebook Page (South Windsor) ***NEW LOCATION IN CANTON OPENING MARCH 1ST! Stay tuned to OAAM for more info!***
- Bounce Town USA has open bounce all day, every day, so no need to worry about birthday parties closing down this bounce arena to the public. It’s got a dedicated toddler play area (plus a discounted “toddler time” on Monday-Thursday mornings), 2 challenging 30-foot rock climbing experiences with their “mountain” inflatables (great for your older kids!), snacks, drinks and pizza available for purchase, and a sitting area plus free WiFi for the grown-ups! OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Milford) ***SPECIAL OAAM READER DISCOUNT! See post for details***
- Bounce U offers a special Preschool Playdate most weekdays from 9:00-10:30am and 12:30-2:00pm (while the big kids have school). It’s for kids up to age 7 (as long as they can walk, they are welcome to bounce!) and includes music, games, and a whole lot of bouncing. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Rocky Hill)
- Flight Trampoline Park offers a special Kid Flight session for kids ages 6 and under every day of the week from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm and on weekends from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. Bouncing on trampolines sure beats watching them bounce off your walls. And the best part is, you can join in the fun too! OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (New Britain)
- Launch Trampoline Park has a special Toddler Time from 10:30am-12:30pm every Friday where the trampolines are reserved for kids ages 5 and under (plus their grown-ups, of course–we love to bounce too!). OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Hartford)
Day 4: These smaller Children’s Museums are perfect for the preschool set and a great morning activity (to guarantee an afternoon nap!).
- Kidsplay is the newest of the Connecticut children’s museums and probably the smallest of the destinations as well. But don’t let size fool you. This museum packs a lot of fun into their little space! From a full grocery shopping area, to water play, to dramatic play this museum has so much to offer its young visitors. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Torrington)
- The Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut has two large indoor play areas and includes several exhibits inspired by its shoreline location– like a fish market, a mini beach with sand and a large, colorful boat. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Niantic)
- The Lutz Children’s Museum offers unique pretend play areas like a mini main street and a farm, arts & crafts, and even a room filled with live animals (you may even get the opportunity to meet one face-to-face!). It may be a small museum, but there is a lot to see and explore at this destination. OAAM Post; OAAM Better Connecticut Segment; Website; Facebook Page (Manchester)
Day 5: It pays to plan ahead! Sign up for a class (or check the schedule for a drop-in one).
- The Little Green Tambourine offers lots of creative kids’ classes like their 6-week session of Mini Music and Messy Art class. They also have a drop-in Messy Art and Open Play time for kids ages 1-5 (currently on Wednesdays & Thursdays from 10:30am-12:00pm). The kids get to have fun making a mess, and you don’t have to clean it up. Works for us! OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Canton)
- The New Britain Museum of American Art is more kid-friendly than you think! It even offers drop-in Saturday morning art classes for kids as young as 3. The cost is just $7/child and museum admission for kids and parents is included! There’s also a super fun Art Lab that’s open anytime for creative play. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (New Britain)
- The Farmington Library has tons of wonderful children’s programing including their Friday morning drop-in Tots and Tunes classes (at 9:30am & 10:30am). There’s also a fire to curl up in front of (with coffee!) and a huge children’s play area. OAAM Post; OAAM Better Connecticut Segment; Website; Facebook Page (Farmington)
- Stew Leonard’s offers Culinary Classes for Kids at their Newington location. With special sessions for toddlers all the way up to age 12, there’s always something cooking there (and it’s usually delicious!). OAAM Post; OAAM Better Connecticut Segment; Website (Class Schedule); Facebook Page (Newington)
Day 6: Get outta town. Explore one of these great over-the-border destinations.
- The Boston Children’s Museum offers a huge climbing playscape, sand and water play areas, Construction Zone play area, art area, fully enclosed toddler play space including a separate area for babies (and a dedicated space for nursing mothers), and even an onsite restaurant. OAAM Post; Website, Facebook Page (Boston, MA)
- The Brooklyn Children’s Museum was founded in 1899 and is the first museum created expressly for children. There you’ll find a nature exhibit with water and sand, a mini Brooklyn play area, an animal exhibit with live animals, plus a totally enclosed play space for kids 5 and under that includes water and sand activities, puppet theater & music area, climbing structures, and more. OAAM Post; Website, Facebook Page (Brooklyn, NY)
- The Providence Children’s Museum has a huge water table room, a “time-traveling adventure” tunnel with old-fashioned houses and a sailing ship little ones can explore, fully enclosed toddler play area, building activities, and much more. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Providence, RI)
- The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art makes reading even more of an adventure! With art displays, fun reading nooks, storytime events, and even a hands-on children’s art studio, this day trip will make your kids want to curl up with a good book when they get home (which, of course, is another super indoor activity). OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Amherst, MA)
- The Springfield Museums are FIVE museums for the price of one (plus the adorable outdoor Dr. Seuss Memorial Sculpture Garden, which is worth bundling up for). The Springfield Science Museum is the one most geared towards children, but many of the other museums have family-friendly features as well. There’s also a wonderful (and very reasonably priced) cafe onsite. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Springfield, MA)
Day 7: Give your budget a break today. Check out a new library play area (for free!).
- The Avon Free Public Library is newly renovated with amazing murals and imaginative spaces, a kids’ yoga area, lots of engaging toys and many great drop-in programs. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Avon)
- The Cora J. Belden Library has an expansive play space with several different seating areas and lots of opportunities for pretend play. There’s also a craft room with a daily project and weekly drop-in playtimes where you can meet and mingle with other parents of little ones. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Rocky Hill)
- The Simsbury Library has wonderful play areas with all the staples like a train table, play kitchen, puzzles, and lots of pint-sized tables and chairs. But a real bonus is a special play room reserved for the 2 and under crowd. It’s fully enclosed (with a door!) and stocked with age-appropriate toys, so you can hang out in there with your on-the-go toddler and maybe get to sit still for a few precious minutes. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Simsbury)
- The Wethersfield Library is a great place to hang out with toddlers thanks to a fully enclosed play space with a play house, toys for the little ones and seating for the parents. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Wethersfield)
- The Noah Webster Library has a babies-only area that’s full enclosed as well as a large kids’ play area with trains, blocks, a puppet theater, doll houses, bead mazes, a play kitchen and much more. Fun drop-in classes too! OAAM Post; Website (West Hartford)
Day 8: You’re doing great! Today it’s your turn to unwind while the kids tire themselves out.
- McDonald’s Play Places can be great places to relax believe it or not. You can grab yourself a cup of coffee and actually get to savor it while your kids climb around in one of the fully enclosed playscapes. We’ve checked out the ones in Glastonbury and West Hartford, but there are many more across the state. OAAM Post-Glastonbury; OAAM Post-West Hartford
- The Shoppes at Buckland Hills has a super toddler play area right in the middle of the mall. It’s totally free and (almost) completely enclosed, with comfortable seating for grown-ups all around. The mall also has a full-size carousel plus other motorized rides in the Carousel Cafe food court (and seasonally there is another area with a train ride as well). So wear the kiddos out at the play areas, and then let them snooze in the stroller while you get to shop! OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Manchester)
- IKEA offers FREE supervised drop-off playtime for your (potty-trained) kids for up to an hour at their Småland play area. So the kids get to make some new friends while you take a leisurely kid-free stroll around the store or maybe just enjoy a quiet lunch at the IKEA restaurant. Mmmmm. Swedish meatballs. OAAM Post; Website (New Haven)
Day 9: Call in reinforcements! Grab a buddy (for you and the kiddo!) and plan a playdate at an open play destination.
- Tot Town is an amazing indoor playspace designed for children ages 8 and under. It’s filled with colorful climbing structures and pretend play areas, it has an entire area dedicated to non-walkers, it’s open every day of the week and they serve coffee. Enough said, right? OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Brookfield)
- TimberGyms is great for outdoor play indoors with full-sized play structures, play houses, and even a giant bounce house. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Newington)
- My Gym offers several Open Play times every week where even non-members can drop in for some fitness-inspired fun. OAAM Post, Website (Glastonbury) OAAM Post, Website, Facebook Page (West Hartford)
- Ron-A-Roll offers a wonderfully unique open play program every Thursday morning from 9:30-11:30am. It’s called Tiny Tot Skate and Bounce and your little ones can run around the roller rink, jump in the full size bounce house, play with scooters and bouncy balls, and yes, even roller skate. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Vernon)
- Romp n’ Roll offers tons of classes and open gym play times for little ones ages 3 months to 6 years old. Their colorful play gym is filled with all kinds of activities that will keep your kiddos active and entertained. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Wethersfield)
- PlayStrong offers open play in their indoor playground on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday mornings from 10:00am-12:00pm. With lots of colorful climbing structures, a bounce house, a ball pit and many other items to inspire active play, this may even be better at burning off energy than an outdoor playground outing. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Simsbury)
- Whippersnappers Play Gym offers Open Play times (starting Monday-Thursday at 10:30am and Fridays at noon). There’s lots of opportunity for active play with full size outdoor climbing structures plus other gym equipment like tumbling mats, a bar, mini trampolines and more. OAAM Post; Website, Facebook Page (Cheshire)
Day 10: Take your wild things to see some wildlife.
- The Maritime Aquarium is an indoor aquarium where you can visit with live sea creatures in the comfort of a heated environment, so it’s the perfect place to visit in the winter. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (Norwalk)
- Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens will make you feel like it’s spring when you’re surrounded by thousands of beautiful butterflies. And since it’s open practically every day of the year (only closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas), you can go whenever the mood strikes. OAAM Post; Website; Facebook Page (South Deerfield, MA)
- The Eleanor Buck Wolf Nature Center is a quick escape where you can visit with rescued animals like rabbits, chinchillas, turtles, lizards and even talking birds! Plus, there’s a Panera drive-through on nearby Silas Deane Highway so you can treat yourself to a yummy lunch too. OAAM Post; Website (Wethersfield)
Whew. Now if that’s not enough to keep you busy until spring, well, then maybe you should be writing this blog instead of us. Ha! 🙂
To make it even more convenient to find a great indoor play space for your next outing, we’ve put together a Pinterest board complete with a map showing you exactly where to find each location.
We hope you have fun exploring all these great indoor play destinations.
Do you have a favorite indoor play destination? We’d love to hear about it! Let us know by leaving a comment below.
- NEW – Little Ms. Bella Beautique/Bella Beauty – Located in Farmington, this one-of-a-kind boutique is a girl’s dream that caters to your Bella for an exclusive Beauty Day, Make Your Own Spa Treats, Tea Parties with Dress Up and the Ultimate Girly Girl Birthday Parties.
- Connecticut Children’s Medical Center – The state’s only free-standing hospital that offers comprehensive, world-class health care to children. Based in Hartford, Connecticut Children’s also provides services at several locations throughout the state.
- 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.
- Mandell JCC – The Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT, welcomes and serves families and individuals of all ages, stages, backgrounds and faiths. Our fitness, wellness and recreation, arts and culture, camp, early childhood education programs, classes, clubs and services are open to all. You Belong Here!
Are you interested in becoming an Out and About Mom sponsor? Click here for more info.
Want to keep up with things to do with kids in Connecticut?
Check back every Tuesday and Thursday as we dish up more Momsense for getting out and about with your little ones. Don’t have time to check back in? Let us send you an automatic notification of new posts straight to your email inbox by signing up using the form in our sidebar. Also, you can like us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest posts and get some extra tidbits we share only through those sites.