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Play Indoors This Winter

By Mary Vlahos

We’ve had an amazing fall, but now the weather is changing and winter is here. What do you do to keep from getting cabin fever? There are many activities available in our area to entertain and excite the whole family. We will be exploring which stores have free or inexpensive craft projects for kids, the diverse selection of indoor sports and physical activities that are available in our area, and family-friendly museums.

    1. There are several stores in the area that have kids’ crafts for free or at a minimal cost. At Michael’s Stores you can do things like painting and drawing, jewelry making, and paper and mixed media projects. Home Depot has building workshops with projects that can range from making picture frames to tool boxes. Lowe’s has a build and grow program. You register to make wooden projects (at a minimal cost), and Lowe’s gives each child a free apron, patch, and safety googles. Each of these stores have different crafts, activities, and schedules. Check their websites or call the stores directly for class activities, schedules, and availability. Do you think you may have a budding chef in your family? There’s a Young Chef’s Academy with locations in Solon and Strongsville. These classes not only teach food preparation but kitchen safety, table settings, and manners. Check pricing and schedules at


    1. Indoor sports have grown from bowling and roller skating to indoor ice skating rinks, glow in the dark miniature golf, and rock climbing. Indoor ice skating rinks are plentiful in Northeast Ohio. There is the Kent State Ice Arena in Kent, Center Ice Sports Complex in North Canton, Alice Noble Ice Arena in Wooster, and Brooklyn Ice Skating Rink in Cleveland, to name just a few. They all have lessons and programs for kids from hockey to figure skating, as well as open skating times. There are also hockey leagues for boys and girls in various age ranges. This can also be an activity the whole family can enjoy. Parents, dig out those ice skates or rent skates there.


    1. Do your kids like to play in the dark? Alien Vacation Mini Golf in Medina and Ghostly Manor Thrill Center in Sandusky have indoor glow in the dark miniature golf. This is 18 holes of black light, interactive, 3D fun! Kendall Cliffs is a professionally designed indoor climbing gym in Peninsula, Ohio. They have classes for beginners and even families. The family lesson is designed to teach parents how to belay their children and climb on their own. There is also the Rock Mill Climbing Gym in Akron and the Cleveland Rock Gym in Euclid. All of these facilities have lessons and group rates available.


    1. It can be difficult to incorporate any physical activity in the winter time. Here are a couple of options that meet that challenge and are also fun. Have you ever tried laser tag sports centers or trampoline parks? Sky Zone is a trampoline park franchise that has exploded in our area. This is a great way to wear out your kids with intense physical activity. Adults, don’t count yourself out on this one. One hour of trampoline jumping can burn up to 1000 calories. Laser tag combines the games of hide and seek with high tech tag. Laser Quest, with locations in Akron and Canton, and Laser X Treme in Cleveland are all indoor laser tag facilities that offer hours of fun for the whole family. All of these facilities are also great places to host a child’s birthday party.


    1. Many of our area museums are family friendly. The Troll Hole Art Emporium in Alliance has the world’s largest collection of troll dolls and would be great to pair with the new animated Trolls movie that just came out. It’s like taking your child right on the Troll movie set! There is also the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland and COSI in Columbus to teach as well as entertain the kids. The McKinley Museum and Discover World in Canton has an animatronic dinosaur, a hands-on science center, and a planetarium to name just a few of their exhibits. Can’t get enough Christmas? It’s Christmas all year round at Castle Noel in Medina. It’s the largest indoor Christmas entertainment attraction complete with props from your favorite Christmas movies. These are just a few choices for you and your family. For more information about what’s available in your area, visit the website of your county Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) or the county you are planning to visit. Many of these museums have special activities for children throughout the year that are listed on the CVB’s calendar of events.


    1. As you can see there are many ways to stay active throughout the winter without even going outside. Many of these activities are for the whole family. It’s a great way for adults to stay active as well as kids. Try a new craft, sharpen your skating skills, play in the dark, or experience a new exhibit at a museum. Grab your kids, and go and play indoors!


    Play Indoors This Winter
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