Things in the Boulder area to keep kids engaged this winter break

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” which means the winter school break is here. Rather than have it become a time where “mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again” take your kiddos on some fun local adventures to help them use some of their boundless energy while broadening their minds while you stay sane and relaxed.

Denver’s Nature and Science Museum is one of the best places to take your children for entertainment, play time, and many “that’s so cool!” moments together when everyone begins to go holiday stir crazy! Kids can learn the science behind all their favorite PIXAR movies, see a sensory friendly screening of The Polar Express, and explore the human body and its ability to persevere over ice, snow, water, and rock. You and your children can even try out their American Ninja skills with a course developed by its creators (wear good athletic shoes), take a virtual leap off a cliff like the wingsuited cliff jumpers, and much more!

Denver’s Nature and Science Museum is the bomb, but CU’s Museum of Natural History isn’t too shabby either! The whole family can explore a number of exhibits that go in depth on the animals, plants and ecosystems right here in Colorado, but also around the world. The Season of Light show shares the many traditions of light that have been celebrated for centuries and continue today. 

The Fiske Planetarium is in the holiday spirit!  The planetarium located on CU’s Campus has a multitude of events to get you and the family in the holiday spirit as well as Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum has an interactive maze where kids can learn all about the history of NASA and even get a little peek into where NASA is going in the future. Likewise, the whole family can check out a real flight simulator. The museum is located in Denver and open 7 days a week, so you might even want to go twice!

CreatorSpace in Loveland is a super cool place to check out this winter break. The organization provides access to tools, machinery, and classes to inspire creative engineering. A key part of their mission is to provide Northern Colorado’s youth with mentors who are skilled and knowledgeable in a number of areas including music, art, programming and manufacturing. Check out this studio and get your child’s imagination soaring.

For some creative relaxation, check out the Wildfire Arts Center if you haven’t already. They have a multitude of classes including dance and visual arts that will inspire and relax you and your children over the break. The U-Create Studio time is open on December 21st from 10:00-2:00 to get you all out of the house. And mom’s and dad’s, check out their yoga classes; an hour long relaxing stretch is just what you need to get through the holiday break! 

You don’t have to go any further than the local library to experience some serious relaxation with your children over the break! The Longmont Public Library has a winter reading program to inspire your children to get their reading on, and nothing says calm for mom and dad than seeing your kids engaged in a great book.  The Longmont Public Library has a lot more to offer than books! There is a cookie decorating party on December 16, Winter Break Daily Reading Bingo for Kids and Teens December 28-January 3. A Nintendo Switch Launch Party, Drop-in Craft Time on December 30 and Lego Time on the 31st.

May this holiday season be a time of peace and joy, not to mention, a time to enjoy learning and growing together and where you wish that school would never start again! Happy Holidays.

STEAM Gift Giving for Your Colorado Kids

The holidays are upon us and because time appears to be moving faster than normal these days, it’s important to get your shopping started early (as in last month). With that said, it can also be difficult choosing gifts that seem worthy of your hard-earned dollar and that provide your child with a little “more” than the average Frozen 2 dollhouse and the Fortnite Jumbo Loot Llama provide! Fortunately, we have a great little gift guide to help you with the purchasing decisions for your child that will not only provide loads of fun but help them develop other skills as well (and you are supporting local commerce)!

For Building:

Sure, you could buy your child another lego set, but how about this year go for something a little more unique. At Traxart Toys, you can buy Kinazium which is the premier course builder for robotic and rc toys.  Building is both technical and creative, and when your child finishes building they can have hours of fun navigating their robots and remote-controlled toys around their creation. Check it out!

Does your child love to create models, dioramas and/or posterboards?  Do they like to teach others how things work? Do they have interest in programming electronics with computer software? If so, 1010 Technologies has the perfect product for them.  To find out more visit Youtube to see how your child can turn another “volcano how to” into a dynamic demonstration.

At Sphero, a Boulder company, they seek to inspire the creators of tomorrow, and clearly, recent collaboration with big names like Disney and Star Wars, it’s no doubt that the app-enable spherical robots they have designed are all that and a bag of chips. Get your budding inventor into robotics, programming, coding, and other STEAM principles with these unique and futuristic robots and all the accessories, not to mention, a number of other products that will feed your child’s imagination.

For Crafting:

There is nothing more therapeutic not to mention warm than knitting a scarf. The Longmont Yarn Shop has gifts for your child and you. They have everything you could need to get your child started on a lifelong hobby that will bring them hours of relaxation and an opportunity to create some functional or just plain beautiful art. Your child and three of her friends can even arrange for a small group lesson from one of their experts or you can sign your child up for one of the many classes they offer including crocheting, knitting, rug hooking, weaving, and even spinning classes. Pretty cool! 

Arts Parts Creative Reuse Center in Boulder has an awesome mission worthy of your contributions, “to inspire and promote creativity, resource conservation, and community engagement through reuse.” They accept donated, reusable industry surplus, and other arts and craft resources from businesses and individuals to provide you low cost materials for your budding creative geniuses. Best of all, you can host your child’s next birthday party at their space and your kids can create artwork and have their cake, too. They also promote local, environmentally conscious artists and their work.

For Everyone:

And finally, for the parent who just can’t imagine buying another toy that sits in the toy room unused or worse, cluttering up the living room. Or, for the parent who just wants to give their child a memory that they will love, there is STEAMfest!  Order tickets for your child to attend the 2020 Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest March 7-8. Your child will have opportunities to participate in “hands-on, interactive hacking, building, tinkering, and imagining!” The event is a celebration of all things creative, imaginative, and exploratory. “STEAM Fest is an awe-filled, jaw-dropping chance to tinker, hack, build, crumble, fly, drive, taste, DO, dabble—PLAY!”  There will be exhibitors with the latest and greatest gadgets, activities, entertainment and of course: arts and crafts, robotics and electronics, building, Legos, marble tracks, science in action, and of course, food for the whole family! You can get your tickets for the family or individual tickets at MakerBolder.com.  Likewise, if giving back is something of a tradition at your home, you can purchase a scholarship to STEAM Fest for students who wouldn’t be able to afford to attend STEAM Fest on their own.  

Now that your shopping is done, you can sit back and actually enjoy a cup of cocoa, the lights on the tree, and a good (oxymoron? Well at least a sweet heartfelt) Hallmark holiday movie.