*Updated February 2018
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.
- 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.
- Columbia Association (CA) offers 23 outdoor pools throughout Columbia, each including tot pools, and some with mini-waterparks or water features, beach entry, shade structures, etc. They also have an indoor pool that offers a great weekend splash area for children 4′ and taller and a very basic shallow pool for the younger ones. Their new membership options includes a “play” membership that provides access to all outdoor pools, the swim center, outdoor tennis, ice rink, sports park, and skate park for $420/ CA resident family and $684/ non-resident family for the year. There are additional membership options that include other CA facilities such as fitness, golf, and Haven on the Lake (for a steeper price).
- Swimming at the Roger Carter Community Center in Ellicott City, MD, has both drop-in and membership options. Drop-in is $5/ ages 3+ and free for 2 and under while annual memberships are $300/ residents 13+ and $85/ residents 3-12 and $360 and $105 for non-residents. Many parents love the Roger Carter Swim Center for its beach entry and outdoor splash pad. However, the open swim hours are 12pm – 5pm, which doesn’t typically jive well with a toddler’s nap hour.
- Membership to the Atholton Swim Club in Columbia, MD, advertises summer membership options at either $525 or $625 per summer, depending on level of commitment. There is also a 2 week option for $125 that can be applied to an annual membership. This pool includes a grill area, picnic area, playground area, tennis courts and hosts various community events throughout the summer. There are swim lessons and swim team options.
- Lifetime Athletic Club offers clean and modern indoor and outdoor pools with beach entry and water features for their members. Membership will run just under $100/month for one parent plus registration fee. However, there is no obligation to sign a contract and membership can be canceled with just 30 days notice.
- Goldfish Swim School and Kids First Swim Schools both offer lessons and open swim targeted toward children/ families. Goldfish swim school advertises their rates as $99/child for once per week lessons in addition to a $25 annual membership fee and family swim for $5/ person or $15/ family. Kids First Swim Schools does not advertise their rates.
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. Some parents described the intro t-ball class as more of a play time and not worth the money, while others felt it was a good parent-child activity to introduce hitting and fielding. The Tiny Tykes Tee Ball (ages 3-4) costs $75/ child for 6 practices.
- 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 offers t-ball programs in Columbia, Silver Spring, Catonsville, and other surrounding areas for ages 3-6. The cost is about $139 for those who register early and $169 for late registration. The cost includes 6 practices/ games, a team jersey, hat, and use of the bats and helmets. Parents are required to provide their child with glove, cleats, and baseball pants.
- Howard County Youth Program is an independent little league that offers a baseball program March – June starting at age 5. The program encourages parent involvement and includes multiple practices and games each week. The coaches are volunteer and parents are able to volunteer to take on this role. The program is $125 for ages 5-6.
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.
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!