Every winter, we put together our annual guide to indoor play places. In previous years, we’ve focused on places for active play– bounce arenas, trampoline parks, indoor play spaces with climbing equipment, library play areas with lots of pretend play options. It’s always helpful to have a list of these kinds of places for those times when the kiddos just really need to burn off some steam, and the playground is not an option.
But lately, we’ve been discovering a whole new set of indoor activities that are perfect for those cold (or hot!) months when a climate-controlled interior is a priority 🙂
How about getting creative with your kiddos?
There are so many wonderful opportunities for exploring the creative and culinary arts with your little ones– and we’re even talking about toddlers! And one of the best things about these activities is that they are often as interesting for the grown-ups as they are for the little ones. So you both get to participate together and share the experience.
To help you start exploring, we thought we’d put together a list of a few of our favorite destinations to kick-start your child’s (and your own!) creativity. As always, we have only included destinations that we have actually been to and blogged about.
Whether it’s a scheduled class or a drop-in workshop, these outings are sure to be a hit with the young and the young at heart!
JumpingClay USA–Enfield, CT
JumpingClay USA in Enfield, CT is the first studio of its kind in the entire country! They offer clay arts workshops for kids as young as 2, but even the adults will love to get their hands on this colorful, soft, easy-to-model and air-drying clay. Workshops provide step-by-step instruction, so even if you’ve never modeled before, you will have no trouble completing the projects. Advance registration is encouraged because classes do have a maximum number of participants. Website, Facebook Page, OAAM POST.
The Little Green Tambourine–Canton, CT
The Little Green Tambourine in Canton, CT offers so many different kinds of creative exploration! From “messy” play to art projects to baking cupcakes, this uniquely “green” healthy living creative arts studio is always offering something new and interesting for kids as young as one. Both drop-in programs and registered programs are available. Website, Facebook Page, OAAM POST.
New Britain Museum of American Art–New Britain, CT
To our complete surprise, we have found this fine art museum to be one of the kid-friendliest museums around! And every Saturday morning the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, CT offers “Art Start”, a series of art classes for kids ages 3-5. (Plus they have additional programs for ages birth through teens!) Come for the class, stay for the family-friendly galleries (museum admission for children and their chaperones is included in the class fee) and grab a bite in the delicious cafe. Art Start is a drop-in program; no registration required. Website, Facebook Page, OAAM POST.
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum–Ridgefield, CT
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT has a fantastic Education Center that offers an array of programs for your budding little artist. Every third Saturday of the month the Aldrich offers FREE admission and FREE family workshops for kids ages 2-5 and 6-10. Additionally, they offer special programs during school vacations. Third Saturday programs are drop-in; no registration required. Website, Facebook Page, OAAM POST.
The Home Depot & Lowes Stores–Nationwide
Did you know that every month The Home Depot and Lowes stores across the country offer FREE kids workshops where kids get to use real tools to assemble kid-friendly woodworking projects like birdhouses, planters, banks, race cars and more? The Home Depot offers their drop-in Kids Workshops on the first Saturday of every month (see upcoming workshops here), while Lowes holds their Build and Grow Clinics (preregistration recommended) on select Saturday mornings or Thursday evenings (usually once a month–check the Lowes website for details).
Stew Leonard’s–Newington, CT
As if a trip to this quirky grocery store isn’t entertaining enough already, Stew Leonard’s in Newington, CT also offers a broad selection of kids’ cooking classes for kids as young as 2! These engaging, hands-on and impeccably organized (key to success with little ones!) classes allow mini chefs to try everything from baking pies to making meatballs. Ever-changing themes and special seasonal classes (like Jambalaya and colorful cupcakes in celebration of Mardi Gras) means that you will never take the same class twice! Advance registration is required for these classes. Website, Facebook Page, OAAM POST.
The Cookie Workshop–Trumbull, CT
If you have kiddos who love to bake (like mine do!), but you dread the mess that results (like I do!), The Cookie Workshop in Trumbull, CT is your dream come true. Drop in to make a batch (or two or three) of delicious cookies that you can roll out, cut into whimsical shapes and decorate right there in the store. You leave with a box filled with some special, homemade treats–and no kitchen to clean up afterwards. It’s a win-win! The bakery is also nut-free and offers gluten-free, egg-free and dairy-free options as well, so every child can participate. Cookie-making is a drop-in activity; no registration required. Website, Facebook Page, OAAM POST.
My boys love arts & crafts projects–but I don’t love cleaning up all that paint and glue and glitter! So I was really happy to discover that Michaels Stores all across CT (and the entire country!) offer a Kids Club craft session every Saturday morning throughout the year. For a small fee, you can drop in for a variety of art projects–a new one every week! And best of all, you can get some shopping done while your little one gets creative 🙂 You can register and pay ahead online or just drop in and pay at the store. Website, OAAM POST.
Chocolate Works–Darien, CT
If you and your kiddos have a sweet tooth, then Chocolate Works in Darien, CT should definitely be on your outing list. One part store, one part workshop (all delicious!), you can channel your inner Willy Wonka at this incredible candy shop that offers drop-in chocolate molding and other candy-making activities. You can have your fun and eat it too! Chocolate molding is a drop-in activity; no registration required. Website, Facebook Page, OAAM POST.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get creative! We can’t wait to see what you make 🙂
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