December 24th, 2016 thru January 1st, 2017
25 Things to Keep Kids Engaged & Active
- Read books and use funny voices
- Make a fort or tent using pillows and blankets
- Bake! Kids love to bake or cook almost anything. Pull out some recipes and get shakin’
- Make play doh or slime
- Board games galore! Chutes & Ladders, Connect 4, War, Zingo Bingo, Hi Ho Cherry O, Twister, I Spy
- Build a snowman and snow-woman
- Fall backwards in the snow and make snow-angels
- Make microwave S’mores…delicious
- Play hide-n-seek
- Pretend, pretend, PRETEND! We love playing grocery store, house, library, school and construction zone.
- Sing songs..A,B,C’s, any Casey Day songs or whatever might be on your set list
- Make an obstacle course in your living room and yes you have to participate too
- Color! Coloring relaxes the brain and calms the body.
- Dance like no one is watching!
- Cut-out snowflakes. Show off your grade school skills and teach them a trick or two.
- Visit a nursing home and talk with the residents. They would love a hand drawn card…I bet!
- Make a donation to a local food pantry or toy donation spot
- Yoga or stretch
- Get outside and take a nature walk. Winter nature walks are very different. What do you see?
- Call grandma, grandpa or another distant family or friend. People love talking to kids on the telephone. You could even Facetime or Skype!
- Scavenger hunt around your home. Let the kids help with the clues and then send Dad on a hunt.
- Gingerbread houses are amazing. If you don’t have gingerbread, use graham crackers.
- Make friendship bracelets
- Fingerprint self-portraits
- Make a New Year’s resolution or plan a Summer vacation
Ideas for the Family in Madison!
Must DO in Madison!
Ask any local and they’ll tell you—there are certain Madison attractions at the top of every kid’s list. Here are the quintessential family fun stops, along with some quick tidbits to know when visiting:
- Wisconsin State Capitol: Find the sixth floor observation deck for the best views of the city, or rub the Badger statue’s nose for good luck
- Henry Vilas Zoo: The Artic Passage exhibit has amazing views the polar bears, plus the zoo is one of only a few admission-free zoos in the country
- Madison Children’s Museum: Visit the Wildernest exhibit, an indoor play area built with sustainable materials
For the Outdoor Family!
If the kids (or you) need to let out some steam, find yourself outdoors in Madison! Residents are passionate about living life outside and the city is devoted to open space: there are 200 parks, 13 beaches and five lakes in the area.
- Parks: Don’t discount parks in winter—many have sledding or skating available
- UW Arboretum: More than 20 miles of trails in the middle of Madison—perfect for biking, hiking or snowshoeing
- Olbrich Botanical Gardens: Kids love the tropical environment of the Bolz Conservatory
Keep it Warm Indoors!
From painting to bowling, there are numerous ways to have a ball indoors in Madison! Here are some engaging indoor options for families.
- Bowl-A-Vard Lanes: Forty lanes of fun, plus lighter balls and bumper guards for the little ones
- Rockin’ Jump: Go for the 30,000 square feet of trampolining, stay for the rock climbing wall
- UW-Madison Union South: The student union is very family-friendly, and the Sett is the place to go for bowling, billiards and bouldering
- Studio, You Paint it Pottery: After you’re done painting your masterpiece, the studio will fire it and mail it home
- Vitense Golfland: All-day adventure, with three mini-golf courses, climbing wall, batting cages and more
The Cultured Crew!
If you want to infuse the local culture into your family vacation, look no further than Madison’s arts offerings. Madison is a college town that understands that cultural connections start young.
- Overture Center for the Arts: Kids love Kids in the Rotunda, a free theater program hosted on Saturdays, October through April
- Wisconsin Historical Society: Each of the four floors share a different section of Wisconsin history
- Madison Science Museum: Check out the Robotics and Makers Playground exhibit at this free museum
- National Mustard Museum: More than 5,600 types of mustard are on display
- Children’s Theater of Madison: Dramatic and comedic performances are sure to inspire your future Broadway star
Adventure to the Outskirts!
Make your way just outside of Madison for road trippin’ fun! Within an hour radius of Madison are some truly unique roadside attractions worthy of the drive:
- Cave of the Mounds: An underground oasis with shimmering stalagmites and stalactites
- Noah’s Ark Waterpark: The world’s largest waterpark is equally exciting for toddlers and teenagers
- House on the Rock Attraction: A unique museum of oddities with the world’s largest indoor carousel
- Fireside Dinner Theatre: Youth packages are available year-round at this theatre-in-the-round in Fort Atkinson
- Norwegian Heritage Center: Children can pack their bags and take a journey across the Atlantic to America from Norway at this museum and history center
The Learning Gardens Pinterest Boards
Click the logo above to be redirected to The Learning Gardens Pinterest boards!
Dance to The Okee Dokee Brothers!
Our 4K children saw The Okee Dokee Brothers this year at the Overture Center and loved their music.
“As childhood friends growing up in Denver Colorado, Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing were always exploring the outdoors. Whether it was rafting down their neighborhood creek or discovering hiking trails through the Rocky Mountains, Joe and Justin were born adventurers. Now, as the GRAMMY® Award-winning Okee Dokee Brothers, they have put this passion for the outdoors at the heart of their Americana Folk music.
Joe and Justin record and perform family music with a goal to inspire children and their parents to get outside and get creative. They believe this can motivate kids to gain a greater respect for the natural world, their communities and themselves.”