As a child I never wanted Summer to end. I think we can all agree with that. Endless hours of outdoor activities late into the evening, often with the sun still glowing way past dinner. As as Mom, I still feel the same about Summer and I even favor Fall with it's crisp outdoor days that require just a light jacket (and a lot less sunscreen to apply on little arms and legs!). But Winter, has never been my favorite. I had my daughter during the Fall so that first Winter she was home seemed to drag on for years. I was in the "newborn fog" for a few months and my brain felt like Summer had turned straight into Winter. Even 2 years later I still feel like Fall isn't long enough.
During the Winter months I become an avid weather checker, and have been since the day I started school as a child and even more so when I was a full time teacher. Because the Winter is really only good for a few things, Christmas and Snow Days. Now I may be alone on this one, but unless it's snowing I really have little desire to engage with the Winter months. Especially, now that I have a child bundling up just to do weekly errands or simply go get the mail seems daunting. The Winter months also bring cabin fever for our little ones, who we can't send out into the backyard or take to the park or pool to run out their energy. They are whining, getting into everything, and those new toys they just received for Christmas just don't seem fun after a few weeks of solid indoor play. What's a mom do to?! Instead of pouring the Red Wine at 3pm I have compiled as list of tried and true out of the house activities that will make it worth the coat, hat, and gloves shuffle and will tire your little ones into a perfect afternoon of quiet. Even this Winter fearing Momma will get out of the house for that promise! The locations and resources below are favorites of our family as well my current and former students. All are close to home and usually have a very minimal fee if not are free. Enjoy!
The Montgomery County Nature Center's- These are a fantastic free indoor resource. Many even do programs throughout the week. Our favorite is Meadowside Nature Center but each is different and really fun. http://www.montgomeryparks.org/nature_centers/
BounceU- This one costs $10.95 + tax so it's a little pricey but they have two locations one near Derwood Bible Church in Rockville and one in Clarksburg. The Tot Time/Preschool Time is fantastic, two hours of jumping and a break in between for a snack and drink provided by Bounce U. Parents are free! http://www.bounceu.com/open-bounce/preschool/rockville-md#anchor
College Park Aviation Museum- This one is a little further, located in College Park very close to the University of MD. But it's worth the drive, huge airplanes and indoor space to run around them. They have a few kids areas too where they can get hands on. These museum supports home-schooling and can be contacted to help guide you and your children if you would like. Cost is $2 for children over 1 year and $5 for adults.
Library Story Time- Montgomery County Library system put fantstic story times on in multiple locations daily for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. They always have multiple story times, sometimes in the same location. You usually just show up or get a ticket (free) from the help desk. Programs are always fun and interactive! The link below is to the library system calender adjust the settings on the left if needed.
Noyes Library for Children- This is an adorable one room library made for just little ones, located in Kensington!
Library Discovery Rooms- Grab a few friends and reserve a Discovery Room. They are located in a few libraries around the county and are each different. Each reservation lasts for an hour. Check out the bios about each room on the reservation page. You do need a library card number to sign up and you check in at the help desk when you arrive.
The Puppet Company- Located in Glen Echo park this organization does Tot Times on select Wednesday and weekend mornings at 10:00am. Cost is $6 for all participants even babies. The shows run for 30 minutes.
Maryland (Germantown) Soccer Plex- Playtime is every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 10-12pm for $2 for children over a year. Lots of room to run around and play!
The Children's Playseum (Bethesda) and The Original Playhouse (New Market, Frederick County)- Both of these places cost around $10 per child but you can often find a Groupon or Living Social deal. The New Market location is much further but it is cheaper for children under 3 years and adults so it may be worth the drive. No time limit on how long you can stay and it's always a great morning of exploration and imagination.
Bethesda Children's Playseum- http://playseum.com/about.html
New Market The Original Playhouse- http://originalplayhouse.com/?page_id=68