It can be a tough time of year to get out of the house with a toddler in winter. It’s hard to know where to go and what programs are happening around the city. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite places and spaces. Enjoy!
No matter where you live, you can find a story time at a location near to you with the Milwaukee Public Library. You can log on to their page and search toddler story times by location. There is usually a story or two, songs and a craft or activity after. It’s a great way to get out of the house and get your toddler’s wiggles out!
The Bay View Community Center’s Family Resource Center is a great place to sit back, relax and watch your toddler enjoy! They have a whole room full of toys, books and things to climb. The room is well-contained so you don’t have to go chasing anyone around. No registration is required and the FRC is open Monday-Friday from 8:30am-Noon. You can drop in any time.
This winter, you can take your toddler to the COA Family Resource Center. You can drop in any time from 9:00am – 1:00pm. They have art projects, story times, snacks and more. The center is located in the Riverwest neighborhood and is open for families with children ages 0 to 5.
If, this winter, you’re looking to remember what summer feels like, take your toddler to the Mitchel Park Horticultural Conservatory, aka “The Domes.” You and your toddler can walk around the three different domes: Floral, Tropical and Desert. There’s also the big coy fish pond, which was always my kiddo’s favorite part. It’s a nice way to forget about winter for a while and have a place to walk around and get some “fresh air” indoors.
Betty Brinn is always a great choice for toddlers in winter, but did you know they also have a specific “Tot Time” on Thursdays at 10:30am? It’s a flexible format program that lasts half an hour to help your toddler socialize. It’s free with admission, and you can check out the whole museum afterward.
With locations in both Mequon and Shorewood, Little Sprouts is a great winter option for your North Shore toddler to enjoy. They have a sunny, wide open play space to enjoy. They also serve coffee for the grown ups. Be sure you have clean socks – no shoes allowed! You can drop in to play any time, but reservations are encouraged. If you’re feeling like you’d like play time with only people you know, you can also reserve a private play time online.
A relative newcomer to Milwaukee, Nugget Nation MKE is an indoor play space ready for your toddler this winter! They have sections separated by age, so your little one won’t get trampled by the big kids. You can sign up to reserve a play time on their site. Reservations are required and payment is listed on their site by age.
If your toddler loves imaginative play, Kids in Motion is a great place to bring them this winter. Kids in Motion has a series of rooms set up for different kinds of play – think stage performing, digging, science lab, grocery store, dinosaur excavation and restaurant! It’s a super fun place to go because it’ll keep them entertained even with their short attention span – just move to the next room and keep going! If they need to burn off some energy, they can use the climbing area in the middle. If you have a crawler, you can plop them in the baby safe area to be sure they don’t get hurt. It’s a great place to play and enjoy the winter from inside.
If your toddler likes all things climbing, jumping, spinning, twisting, balancing and more then you can take them to Flips 4 All this winter. If you want to sign up for a Parent and Tot class, you can check to see if they have any spaces available for their classes. If not, you can always drop in for an open play time. You can check the open play schedule here by scrolling to the bottom of the page.
If you’re looking for another indoor gym this winter, check out We Rock the Spectrum. It’s in Oak Creek and they have all kinds of play equipment for kids will all kinds of abilities. You’re encouraged to call ahead to be sure they have space, but they have open play every day Monday-Saturday starting at 9am.
There’s my list of favorite spots to take your toddler this winter. Let me know what I missed and where you end up, I’d love to hear more!