Looking for fun indoor play spaces for the little ones? There are several places to take the kids to get them out of the house and burn off all that extra energy, especially on a cold or rainy day. Here are a few ideas for fun indoor drop-in activities in Marin County and beyond:
Habitot Children's Museum
2065 Kittredge Street, Berkeley
(510) 647-1111 Discovery Museum for young children, toddlers and infants. Fun activities, hands on exhibits, arts & crafts, fun classes, music and much more. Cost: $10.00 per child (free under 12 mo.) and $10.00 per adult For more info, visit their website.
It's almost as fun for kids to make their own snacks as it is for them to eat them! This pretzel recipe is easy, fast, and perfect for children to help with, and the results are delicious, too. My kids love to make these tasty pretzels when friends come over. It's a great activity for rainy days and playgroups, too. Why not bake up a batch this weekend?
The only part of this recipe that's not kid-friendly is boiling the pretzels briefly in a baking soda and water solution—have a grown-up handle this part. This step gives the pretzels their characteristic crunch, brown color, and flavor. You can omit it if you like; the pretzels will still be good, but won't be quite the same.
Go snow sledding in downtown San Rafael at the annual Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland
Thanksgiving week is next week, and since most Marin County schools give kids the entire week off, you'll probably be looking for ways to keep them occupied before and after Turkey Day. Here are our top 10 activities for families for Thanksgiving break:
It's always fun to get hands-on with a cool new creative project. We had a chance to check out the new I Made It! Glass Creations studio in San Rafael, where we made some really cool and unique crafts from fused glass. It's the first place of its kind in the country, and it's a fun activity for all ages.
I Made It! offers countless different projects ideas that you make from colored glass. Come on in (no appointment or reservation is necessary) and choose a project—including jewelry, decorative items, housewares like coasters and bottle openers, photo frames, key chains, and more.
Remember those fun times you had bowling when you were a kid? Guess what—it hasn't changed all that much, although it seems that there are fewer spots where you can bowl these days. Actually, it's even more fun for the little ones now with the advent of bumper bowling and ball ramps. Also, you have to love a sport where you can get an order of chili cheese fries while you're playing. It's a great active rainy day activity, too.
There are still a few fantastic family friendly bowling alleys in Marin and the Bay Area, so go rent some shoes, pick out your ball (that red one looks pretty cool!) and bowl a few games with the kiddos. Most of these bowling alleys also offer birthday parties for kids, as well. You remember how fun those were, right?
Located in San Rafael, Marin's only bowling alley offers 40 lanes, automatic scoring, and plenty of bumper lanes for the little ones. On-site food is provided by Villa York Pizza and Grill, and they even have 24 beers on tap. In case that's enough, they have pool tables and an arcade, too. Several different birthday party packages are available; call (415) 456-4661 to book your lanes. Check their website for hours and pricing.
Sculpting with Play-Doh is always a favorite activity for kids, and it can be even more fun to make your own quick and easy Play-Doh style modeling clay (AKA "playdough"), especially on a rainy day. You probably have all of the ingredients sitting in your pantry right now!
We colored our latest batch pink and red for Valentine's Day projects. You can, of course, use any color you like. If you want multiple colors, it's best to make more than one batch, as you add the food coloring during the mixing stage to make sure the color is distributed evenly.
Families looking for active indoor fun should head up north to Rohnert Park and check out the new Rebounderz Indoor Trampoline Arena. We paid a visit last week to give it a try and everyone had a fantastic time! Rebounderz features a truly massive trampoline area, foam pits, a giant climbing structure, a dedicated toddler park, and more! There’s also an arcade, a café, and a parents’ lounge with wifi and big-screen TVs where you can watch your kids as they play.
Kids love sculpting with Play-Doh, and it's easy to make at home for a fun rainy day activity. You probably have all of the ingredients sitting in your pantry right now!
We whipped up a batch of white "snow-dough" to make some cute holiday snowman decorations. It was an easy and fun craft for the kids to make. This recipe makes quite a bit of dough—equivalent to two large cans of Play-Doh. If you don't need that much, feel free to cut recipe in half.
If you haven't been to the PlayLand indoor bounce house experience in the MLK Gym in Sausalito, it's definitely worth a visit, especially if it's rainy or cold and you can't play outside. PlayLand is a full-sized gymnasium full of inflatable bounce houses, including a 40-by-20-foot sports arena, a 15-foot slide, a bounce house with basketball hoop, and a toddler bounce zone.
My kids always have a blast playing here—sliding, jumping, bouncing, and playing games in a warm, safe, indoor environment. PlayLand was started by Marin dad Jeremy Williams, who also runs Mt. Tam Adventure Camps. He's often on site with several coaches who make sure that everyone has fun. During our last visit, a coach was making balloon animals for the kids, and there was even a remote controlled flying giant clownfish roaming the room. It's a fun and cool place to play in Marin.