Five Indoor Places To Take Kids During Winter
I actually had a different topic in mind for my guest post today, but after reading Stacey’s post about What to do in the Winter on Monday, I decided to write about places you can go with your kids during the winter. Because let’s face it, it can get crazy in the house when the kids cannot play outside.
Being a WAHM (work-at-home-mom), I don’t always have a steady stream of income going into my bank account, so I’m constantly watching how and where I spend money. I love finding places to take the kids that either don’t cost money or the fee is minimum. So, here are a few places I take my kids during the cold season or on rainy days in Bergen County, NJ.
- New Jersey Children’s Museum, Paramus, NJ - This museum is a fantastic place for preschoolers/toddlers. They offer a lot of interactive exhibits for the kids to get hands-on fun. They have a real fire truck, construction zone, space and aviation, dinosaur cave, medival castle, baby nook and a giant train set just to name a few. Admission for kids is $11.99+tax, $9.99 for adults and free for babies under 1. Tip: Strollers aren’t allowed in the museum, so be sure to bring your baby carrier for kiddos who cannot walk and pack your essentials into a backpack to carry around and keep your hands free.
- Paramus Park Mall, Paramus, NJ – You might be wondering why a shopping mall is on this list, but it’s a gem. A free one at that. No entry fee for malls of course. They have a fabulous children’s play area in this mall right in front of the Sear’s indoor entrance. It’s a good size, not so small that everyone is stepping on each other and not so big that you can’t see your kids from one side to the other. The playground is meant for children under 42″ I believe, but you can confirm that by calling the mall. There’s seating for parents, a stroller parking area on the side wall and most important – it’s enclosed with only one way in and one way out. This playground is clean. I’ve seen them clean it a few times that I was there. I don’t know if they clean it daily, but it’s always been clean when I go and my kids have never gotten sick afterward. I would still recommend washing their hands and such after playing though. If they get hungry you can take them to the food court upstairs. Along the way, there’s a nice water fountain in the middle of the mall for them to throw coins into. My son absolutely loves it. Once your kids are tired out, you can put them into the stroller to let them sleep and walk around the mall with a cup of coffee or a soda. Tip: Buy your beverage from the Street Corner News in the food court from the “soda” machine (they have iced tea too) when you first get to the mall. The refill it later – the last time I was there it was free refills all day as long as you buy the first time from them.
- Barnes and Noble at The Shops at Riverside®, Hackensack, NJ – Another gem that’s free. I love books and I want my kids to enjoy them too. I find it fun walking around the bookstore looking through the books. And what I love about this Barnes and Nobles is their kids area on the second floor. They have the kids reading area with loads of great books and a train set table area for kids to play in. They also have a toy section where there is a lego table. Be sure to bring wipes so you can wipe your kids hands after playing. Barnes and Nobles offers children’s reading time every Tuesday and Thursday at 11am. They read a book or a few followed by coloring time. After the kids are done playing, you can put them into the stroller and walk around the mall while they nap. OR if they’re not ready for a nap yet, let them walk the mall with you. Whenever I go, it’s never been crowded and the hallways are fairly wide for them to roam around with you. Just make sure you keep them in eye sight – safety first! You can grab a bite for lunch here as well since there are restaurants inside the mall. Tip: Get there a little early for reading time if you want your kids to have a seat closer to the little stage because it’s a popular activity and the area fills up quickly. When it’s raining or snowing, I like to park in the parking structure in the back of the mall toward the right side of Barnes and Noble (I don’t park on the left side of the parking structure because I find it too dark on that side). You’ll need to walk through the mall to get to the bookstore, but it’s nice because we don’t get wet and the car doesn’t get covered in snow. As with most Barnes and Nobles there’s a Starbucks on the first floor where they offer free wifi. You have to be in that area in order to activate the free wifi and from what I remember, there are no outlets in that area. The outlets are all on the second floor reading areas where the chairs are along the wall near the restrooms.
- Garden State Plaza, Paramus, NJ – There’s a toddler play area here although I don’t feel it’s as clean as the one at Paramus Park Mall. But, I like that they also have a carousel at this mall and of course the movie theatre. You can even plan it out to go to this mall the first Tuesday of every month when AMC Theatre has their Bring Your Baby Matinees. Check out The Bump for movie, times and tickets.
- Color Me Mine, Ridgewood, NJ – If you toddler is like my eldest, you’ll want to do some arts and crafts with your kiddo at Color Me Mine. The kids get to pick their own pottery to paint and decorate. The staff fires it and you get to take it home. You pay studio fee plus the ceramic piece. Studio fee is $7-10. Average ceramic piece is $15-20.
There you have it. Five great indoor places to take your kids out during the winter or rainy days. This way you can avoid cabin fever or ripping your hair out. ^_^ If you want to search for other places great for kids check out the website Trekaroo, where I’m a founding family for New Jersey. Fantastic site with a load of resources for kid-friendly places where the reviews are written by real families.