*Updated March 2017
One of the perks of parenthood is watching my little guy experience all the fun things in life. I am looking forward to throwing his first birthday party where he will experience cake and balloons for the first time. I am anxious for him to get to the age where he will join his first little league team and start to explore new interests as I cheer him on from the sidelines. As such, I have already begun to file away recommendations I have seen from parents in the Howard County, Maryland area.
I decided to share these ideas as part of this three part series for two reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that I hope other parents will find this information helpful as well. The second is more selfish on my part; I am hoping that parents will lend additional suggestions and information to help me expand my research.
With Part 1, recommendations for a pediatrician, pediatric dentist, child hair cut, etc., and with Part 2, recommendations for an OB/GYN, salon, realtor, etc., I eliminated services that were least recommended because there is an overwhelming array of options in this area. With this post, however, I am including all recommendations that I came across since the list is much more manageable (thus far).
Birthday Party Ideas: This list will provide ideas for years.
- Eight parents recommended the Swellness Center in Columbia, MD, for children 1 to 6 years.
- Four parents suggested the Sky Zone trampoline park in Columbia, MD. One mom stated it’s worth it to get the package with a private court.
- Four parents suggested renting a room or going swimming at the Roger Carter Community Center in Ellicott City, MD.
- Three parents recommended Climb Zone in Laurel, MD, which offers unique climbing opportunities on walls that display various themes.
- Three parents recommended the Rainbow Swing Set Superstore in Columbia, MD.
- Two parents recommended Soccer Dome in Jessup, MD.
- Two parents suggested Shadowland in Columbia, MD.
- Two parents recommended the Monster Mini Golf in Towson, MD.
- Two parents suggested the Autobahn in Jessup, MD, for indoor go cart racing.
- Two parents suggested the Robinson Nature Center in Columbia, MD, for use of the discovery room and to walk through the museum.
- Two parents recommended My Gym in Columbia, MD.
- Two parents suggested Gymboree for little ones ages 1 through 5 years.
- Two parents suggested Play Date Junction in Elkridge, MD.
- Reaper’s Den by Wegman’s does indoor baseball or dodge ball birthday parties.
- Olenka School of Music in Columbia, MD.
- Earth Treks indoor rock climbing in Columbia, MD.
- Center Ring Circus School in Columbia, MD.
- Pump It Up in Elkridge, MD, for gigantic indoor inflatables.
- Pinot’s Palette in Ellicott City, MD.
- Pottery Stop in Ellicott City, MD.
- Burning Down The House: a DIY fired arts studio in Fulton, MD.
- Baltimore Museum of Industry in Baltimore, MD, offers interactive birthday parties for 6+ years.
- Peace of Pizza in Catonsville, MD.
- B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, MD, for a train-themed party.
- Tickled Pink & Posh party boutique in Owings Mills, MD.
- Columbia Association offers inline skate parties, swim parties, art center parties, and teen center party rentals.
T-Ball for ages 3+:
- Several parents recommended Howard County Recreation & Parks. Parents specifically recommend the Columbia Baseball League programs (ages 4-18), which offer a weekly practice and a weekend game. The parents described the intro t-ball class as more of a play time and not worth the money.
- EYO (Elkridge Youth Organization) in Elkridge, MD. One parent stated it could be a good prerequisite to baseball as it offers practices and games to get the littles in the swing of things. They serve ages 4-5.
- i9 sports in Marriottsville, MD. They serve ages 3-6.
Martial Arts for ages 3+:
- Three parents recommended KIK (Klotz Institute of Karate) in Columbia, MD. One parent explained that they have small class sizes and reasonable prices. They offer classes starting at 4 years old.
- Three parents suggested the AAMA (American Academy of Martial Arts) in Columbia or Maple Lawn, MD. They offer a variety of classes starting with a Little Dragon class. One mom shared that you can sometimes find discounts on Groupon.
- Two parents recommended Tiger World Class in Ellicott City, MD. One parent reported the cost is $179/month for unlimited classes with a 6 month or 1 year contract. They offer a Little Tigers class for ages 4-5.
- Shelly Walrath from New Vision Martial Arts in Glenelg, MD. They offer a Lil Dragon class for ages 3-5 years.
- Gracie jujitsu in Columbia, MD.
- Jiu Jitsu at Crazy 88 in Elkridge, MD.
- D&S Karate Studios in Laurel, MD. One mom explained that the teacher has a degree in early childhood education.
- Victory Martial Arts in Elkridge, MD.
- Nabaiee’s Family Martial Arts in Columbia, MD. This is a family owned program. They offer a Mini-Champs class for ages 3-5, Junior Champs for 5-8, and Champs for 8 and up.
- Four parents recommend Goldfish Swim School in Columbia, MD, stating the water is 90*, clean, and the staff is incredible. Family swim is $5/ person or $15/ family.
- Three parents recommend Kids First Swim School in Elkridge, MD, stating the pool is warm and there are good instructors for swim classes.
- Roger Carter Recreation Center in Ellicott City, MD, has a beach entry, but some parents found it to be a little too cold.
- One parent suggested the preschool class offered through the Columbia Association.
Gymnastics for 18 Months+:
- Three parents recommended Top Flight Gymnastics in Columbia, MD.
- Two parents recommended All Pro Gymnastics in Elkridge, MD.
- One parent stated Columbia Gymnastics offers a parent and child gymnastics class in Columbia, MD.
Dance Class for 3+:
- Eight moms recommended Dance Connections for children three and older. One mom wrote, Dance Connections is wonderful! Jen Aversa, the owner, is amazing with the kids and reasonably priced. My daughter has been dancing with her since she was 2 1/2 and is almost 12 now! Another mom gave a tip to sign up though Howard County Rec and Parks for a good introduction before committing to an entire dance season.
- Five moms recommended Arabesque Studios in Columbia, MD, but one mom noted that it is a commitment.
- Turning Pointe in Elkridge, MD, was recommended by four parents, one of which had been taking her child there for six years.
- Four moms recommended Back Stage Dance Studio, which offers classes beginning at 2 years old. One mom explained that the children go into the room with the teacher while their parent watches on a television in the hall.
- Four moms recommended Howard County Recreation & Parks for young children. One mom stated her daughter was taking the Tinkerbell ballet class, which was being held once per week at the Dance Connections studio, and loved it. Another mom said they took a movement class at the Kinetic Dance Theatre with Miss Jodi, and loved it.
- Two moms recommended Joyful Motion in Savage, MD. One mom explained that it is cheaper than some of the other options.
- Two parents recommended Central Maryland Youth Ballet.
- Two parents recommended Studio Dans in Fulton, MD, and described it as clean and organized with experienced teachers.
- Two moms recommended RL Dance Co in Clarksburg, MD. One explained that they offer lots of classes for kids and adults and also do private lessons and in-home lessons. “Miss Robyn is great!” The other said it was great for little ones, even boys.
- B. Funk Dance Company in Ellicott City, MD.
- Genesis Arts in Columbia, MD, has reasonable prices and offers a free trial class.
- Five parents recommended UK Elite for soccer. One parent specifically expressed preference for UK Elite over Quickfeet for age 4.
Again, I would love to hear suggestions beyond the ones I’ve stumbled upon myself or additional tips you might have about any of the places listed here. If you found this article of interest, please feel free to wander around my site, all are welcome!