Surviving Winter With A Young Toddler: Drop-in Activities That Burn Energy

toddler-activitiesUpdate: This article was originally written January 15, 2017, and here I am January 16, 2018… it must be that time of year again!

As the chilly air moves in my toddler has decided that five minutes outside is long enough.  I see him peering out the window and I can almost hear the internal battle going on inside his head.  He wants so badly to run in circles, to move all my potting soil out of the pot and onto the deck, and to pluck all the berries off the holly for inspection.  He wants to, except, “brrrr!” as he puts it.  I can see his energy bubbling over as his arms flail uncontrollably throwing whatever was in his hand, as he clears off the coffee table for no apparent reason, or slams a tune out on his piano.  This child needs to get out.  He needs to run, jump, and be a toddler.

I have two options.  Option one, morph into a mommyzilla and stomp around growling about how we don’t throw toys and demand he take a time out.  Or, option two, redirect his energy to something positive.  So here it is, a list of activities we can go do the in community! (See my next post for a list of activities to try at home.)

In and around Howard County, Maryland

  1. Play N Learn: The Playground Superstores in Columbia, MD – When you can’t get outside to play the next best thing is an indoor playground.  This huge indoor playground equipment store features “safe rubber flooring, swingsets, basketball hoops, trampolines, air hockey and foosball tables best suited to entertain ages 2-8”, plus infant swings.  They sell tickets for two hour blocks Monday through Sunday for $8 per child. playnlearn-columbia-castle
  2. Gymboree in Columbia, MD offers open play hours every single day of the week. Gymboree is a great option for little ones (5 and under) as it provides room to run, jump, and climb on age appropriate and safe gymnastics mats. Open play is included for members and $10 for non-members. Gymboree
  3. Goldfish Swim School in Columbia, MD has family open swim times on Tuesdays 1-2pm, Wednesdays 1-2pm, Friday nights 7-8pm, and Sunday evenings 4-5pm for $5/ person or $15/ family.
  4. Kiddie Crusoe in Timonium, MD – We had the opportunity to go here in October and I definitely want to keep it on our list as a future option.  This location features three main rooms.  The first room has little “stores,” dress up clothes, and ride-on toys for make believe.  The second room has an indoor playground with a few swingsets.  The third room has inflatables for the kids to climb, bounce and slide on.  Mini Mondays and Tot Tuesdays are for children 3 and under  (plus siblings).  The cost is $7 per child.fullsizeoutput_123e
  5. The Original Playhouse in Newmarket, MD –  As their website explains, “[t]he playhouse offers two colorful floors dedicated to imaginative play, creativity, and experiential learning…The Original Playhouse targets children ages 3-9 as the activities are most appropriate for this developmental range.” Toddlers are welcome to play too; however, parents need to be extra watchful as there are toys and areas that aren’t designed or safe for children under three.  They are open for walk-in play Tuesday-Friday from 9am-4pm and Sunday 12-5pm.  Adults and children 1.5 – 2 are $5 and children 3 and up are $10. the-original-playhouse
  6. Hyper Kidz in Columbia, MD is broken down into three main areas designed to cater to children’s needs by age. The mini zone is a “self-contained play area catering to babies and toddlers ages 0-2 featuring ocean-themed soft play equipment.” The kid zone is a “designated play area for children ages 2-8 featuring a 2-story balloon house, motorized revolving rides, slides, a ball pit, spinning palms, a building block room, [light-bright] wall, various revolving rides, teeter totters, and an LED air slide.” The big kid zone is “the largest area consisting of a giant 4-story play pavilion for children 4 feet and over (or ages 3-13) featuring of a series of colorful tube slides, wave and spiral slides, a ball-blaster, obstacles, ramps, and over 20 interactive play activities.” Hyper Kidz is open 7 days a week. Prices range from $7-16 depending on age and day of the week (siblings under 1 and parents are free).
  7. Hopper’s KidZone in Eldersburg, MD – This indoor arena has bounce houses, obstacle courses, and jumbo slides for kids to run, jump, and play.  The open play is on weekdays from 10 am-1 pm and 4 pm-8 pm on Tuesday & Thursday. The cost is $8 for 2+ and $5 for the under-2 crowd.
  8. Pump It Up in Elkridge, MD – This giant inflatable playground is sure to get the energy out in a safe and fun way during pre-k open jump for the under-6 crowd.  The cost is $10 per child.
  9. Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Columbia, MD – I have heard a lot of parents talking about Toddler Time at Sky Zone, but have yet to check it out.  Toddler times are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9:30-11am. The cost is $7 for children 5 and under and $12 for adults.
  10. Launch in Columbia, MD is another trampoline park option with toddler times offered 9:30-11am on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Ages 2 and under are $16 including one parent and ages are $7 +$9 per parent.
  11. Climb Zone in Laurel, MD offers rock climbing opportunities on themed walls, such as Jack’s giant beanstalk, an enormous spider web, a giant rocket ship, the Empire State Building, ancient bones of a T-Rex, and Mt. Rushmore. Climbers ages 2-5 cost $12 +tax and ages 6+ cost $25 +tax for 3 hours of climbing.
  12. Rollie Pollies in Crofton or Severna Park, MD – They appear to have a lot of children’s gymnastics equipment including trampolines, foam pits, beams, a bounce house, etc. It seems similar to My Gym.  They have open gym hours for $10 per hour per child and allow drop-offs for potty trained children over 3.
  13. Kidville in Fallsgrove, MD – They typically offer gym, art, music, and dance classes, but open their facility to non-members for open play, mostly in the afternoons. They charge $10 per child for non-members.
  14. Bubala Indoor Playground in Pikesville, MD -Bubala is an interactive kids indoor playground with open play hours during the day. They charge $13/ child and $11/ sibling.
  15. Little Tykes Corner in Eldersburg, MD – A Montessori play space and shop designed for children 0-5 years that includes a train table, balance boards, Tegu magnetic blocks, Cedarworks play house and play structure, farmers market/pretend kitchen, Montessori based toys, books & reading nooks, a light table, arts & crafts area, low mirrors, tummy time mats, exploration baskets, and a comfortable sofa and chairs for caregivers. The cost is $12 to join open play or a class.
  16. Badlands in Rockville, MD, is open Tuesday through Sunday 9am-6pm and costs $12.50/ toddler and $20/ ages 3+ for 2 hours of play. They recommend reserving your ticket online on weekends to ensure entry.
  17. Roger Carter Community Center in Ellicott City, MD, offers an open swim option with a beach entry pool (and splash pad in the summer) for $5 ages 3+.
  18. Fairfield Sports and Aquatics Complex in Laurel, MD, offers preschool open gym hours Mondays through Thursdays in their gymnastics area for $5/person and open swim times for $7-8/person.
  19. Meadowbrook Athletic Complex in Ellicott City, MD, (pictured top) offers drop in play hours for children ages 2-5 with hula hoops, big wheel trikes, scooters, and balls. Cost is $4 for the first child and $2 per additional.

For 7 more local activities for babies and toddlers please visit my first post, Out And About With Baby!

-> Quick and easy activities you can do at home or during a toddler playdate!

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