I love this time of year. We had a wonderful October and an even better Halloween. Every year my husbands company organizes a huge Halloween bash for the kiddos. Employees decorate three floors of office space just for the kids to come and do some trick or treating. It really is a blast and kids really look forward to it every year! It is usually held the week before Halloween, so kids really stock up on candy. You should see the donation pile!
We also go trick or treating with some awesome friends and believe it or not, bring home MORE CANDY!!! There is no possible way we can eat all of that candy! So instead of just throwing it away, we use it for our trick or treaters 😁 and/ or give some away. This year our local pizza place is collecting candy to send to our troops overseas. A bucket of candy will get you a 9″ pizza. How awesome is that?! Check it out if you live in the Chicagoland area…Nicks Pizza!
But what November brings, other then our favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is cabin fever. It gets too cold to go to the park or play outside for too long. So what do you do with your little ones? I don’t know about you but we seem to have a lot of birthdays between Nov-Jan so most of our weekends are spent at someone’s birthday party. However on days off from school and on some free weekends when kids need to get out of the house, we resort to one of the following:
TRAMPOLINE PARKS – there are a few places in our area that we love to go to. One is a fun place with a ton of trampolines but also a ball blaster area for the little ones. This one Donnie can go to because he doesn’t have to get on the trampoline and can have fun in the ball arena instead.
BOUNCY HOUSES – a new bouncy place seems to open every month around here. We love exploring different ones on days off from school or on the weekends. [This year there will be a little less of this since Donnie is not cleared to do that yet.]
ICE SKATING – I have always loved ice skating. I did it as a child and I still love to get out there once in a while. Last year my daughter went to a birthday party and it was at the ice skating rink. She loved it. So we signed her up for classes and it was a blast. Every Friday night for months, we spent watching her. This year she will do it again and I can not wait. But even if you do not sign up for classes, it is a fun way to spend a day with your kids.
LIBRARY – we love the library. We try to look up as many different libraries as we can and explore every one of them. We have travelled to libraries as far as 30, 40 miles away from home. Just because they are fun, they have different displays and kids really enjoy it. This is also not something we only do in the winter time. We are at the library on regular basis. For school, for play dates and just for fun. We are super lucky because our main library is really well designed. It has so many fun things for kids to do. Indoor and outdoor play areas, tablet stations for little kids, events, toys and so much more. You can do something different every day of the week if you wanted to.
MOVIES – I have to admit we do not see enough movies. At least not at the theater. But I will definitely try to do this more now that both of my kids are bigger and can actually appreciate them. But we do have movie nights at home. Redbox and Netflix are our friends. We try to make it fun with candy and popcorn and let the kids pick whatever they want
NATURE CENTERS – this is one of my favorites. I look up nature centers in our area and just do some research. I made sure they have fun displays, cool events, and/ or just fun things to do for the kids. We have been to about 10 different nature centers in our area and they never get old. Some of the times we get to participate in fun events while others we just get to play in their designated ‘nature center’ areas and learn about animals and the wild.
BARNES & NOBLES – believe it or not, they have several events that you can attend for free. On weekly basis, they have story time for little ones. Some stores even have small play areas.
HOLIDAY LIGHTS – this is one of our favorite things to do after Thanksgiving. We set up our own lights, tree, decorations and on Friday night, we head out to check out the neighborhood lights. There are several homes in our area, and I am sure in every neighborhood around the country, that really go out for the holidays. One particular house decorates their home and sets it up to Christmas songs. We park our car and tune in to a specific radio station and enjoy the light show. You can really stay there for house, it is that fun. Kids go crazy. The only thing they ask is a small donation for a local animal shelter. How sweet is that?!
FAMILY & FRIENDS – I really try to organize as many play dates with as many cousins and friends as we can. We either have a casual play date at home and let the kids just do whatever they want. We plan cookie making parties. We meet for lunch. Or we schedule more planned play dates at one of the above mentioned places. Friendships and socializing is so important and while we enjoy meeting new people all of the time, we really love our family and friends. Spending time with them is super important for all of us.
GYMNASTICS – there are some gymnastics places that are open to the public on certain days. It is a great opportunity for kids to try something new. At our local place, kids get to test out some of the gymnastics equipment and have fun. But the most popular thing seems to be jumping into a big pile of foam cubes. 🙂
POOL – at our local park district there is a closed pool. An adventure pool if you will. It is pretty big and has a slide for little and big kids. On certain days of the week, they have specific events for different age groups. This is also a fun birthday party place.
There are also things like LEGOLAND, museums, indoor parks, open gyms, sleepovers, and more. Just ask around or look up events tab on Facebook and go nuts!
People often ask me, how do you find these things? I google. A LOT. 😆 I pick up our park district catalog [or go online] and go through it in details sometimes. I look through what events are happening and which ones work for us. I schedule them online, if necessary, or just mark my calendar and make sure we go. I check out our libraries website and sign up for story times that are appropriate for my kids. A lot of these events are free but some you have to pay for. Like everything else, plan ahead and pick and choose what you want to do with your family. The most important thing is to HAVE FUN!
Those are just a few of our favorite winter activities. Let me know what you do as a family. I would love to learn something new 🙂