In the dead of winter, when the hustle of the holidays is over but the bitterly cold weather and early dark hours remain, houses with young children can quickly fall victim to cabin fever. When that happens, it’s a slippery slope to the two words no parent wants to hear: “I’m bored!”
So what’s a parent in the Hub City to do? We’ve got you covered with ways to keep the winter blues at bay, and little hands and feet busy until spring finally arrives. This guide has something for everyone, whether you’re looking to get outside for a little fresh air or prefer a cozier indoor activity to keep your child entertained.
From indoor soccer to wrestling to taekwondo, there are plenty of ways to keep kids active, even in the coldest months. If you’re looking for something a little different, try one of these ideas to keep your child moving.
Next Ninja Class
For the kid that can’t stop climbing the furniture
Next Generation Performance Center hosts monthly Next Ninja classes, aimed at boys ages 5 to 12. For two hours, little ninjas flip, tumble and climb their way through an obstacle course, giving them plenty of opportunities to bounce around and exercise. For upcoming class dates or to register, visit www.nextgymnastics.com.
Flight Crew kids’ Bungee Playtime
For the kid that wants to fly
Fit and Fire Studios offers a variety of classes for kids, including weekly kids’ bungee playtime. Participants use a bungee cord harness to get a feeling of bounce and flight, similar to a trampoline – a sure way to harness your child’s energy! The studio also offers kids yoga classes at Karisma Boutique. The instructor leads children through a variety of calming exercises while encouraging body movement and relaxation. This is the perfect low-stress activity to help your child chill out this winter. Visit www.facebook.com/fitandfirestudios for details on these classes and other special pop-up events for kids.
For the kid who wants to be Katniss
Looking for a new activity you can learn together? The YMCA offers a family archery class each spring, encouraging kids in grades 3 through 6 and their adults to learn the basics of the sport together. The class teaches basic shooting form and stance, while developing both focus and hand-eye coordination. In addition to the family session, the YMCA also offers beginner and advanced archery classes for students in April. Class size is limited. Visit www.aberdeenymca.org for more information.
For the night owls
Village Bowl offers Glow Bowl three nights a week, with special time set aside on Saturday evenings for families. Your whole crew will have a blast when the alley transforms to a black light party. Bumper lanes are available. Visit www.thevillagebowl.com for more information.
When your child is bouncing off the walls but the wind chill makes it tough to play outside, there are plenty of local options for kids to play and move in an informal environment.
For the toddler who needs to get the wiggles out
Run, jump, and play basketball at Washington Street Gym’s Tot Gym, held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings for children ages 0 to 6. An assortment of balls and equipment are available to play with, and there is no fee to attend. Children require an adult for supervision.
Gymnastics Open Gym
For working on skills or just bouncing around
Aberdeen Gymnastics Association’s new facility near the airport offers two open gym experiences – one for kids with previous gymnastics exposure to practice their skills, and another for children ages 3 and up to play and explore the equipment. Next Generation Performance Center also hosts weekly open gyms, aimed at children ages 18 months to 12 years wanting to practice or play. Check out www.aberdeengymnastics.com or www.nextgymnastics.com for dates and times.
For elementary aged students
Aberdeen Public Schools and the Aberdeen Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department team up to offer open gyms for children in kindergarten through grade 6 throughout the school year, where students can practice a variety of sports or just burn some energy. Locations include C.C. Lee Elementary, Simmons Elementary, Mike Miller Elementary, Aberdeen Civic Arena, and Washington Street Gym. There is no charge to attend. The sessions are supervised; parents are also welcome to attend with their children. For hours and locations, visit www.aberdeen.sd.us/318/open-gym.
Foster Their Creativity
Whether it’s art or science your little one loves, try one of these hands-on experiences as a creative outlet.
Open Studio Time
For the kid who loves to color
Colorful Creations has open studio time each day, where families are welcome to create a project of their choosing. From small pottery to canvas, there are options for children of all ages to create their own masterpiece. For pottery projects, add color during the studio time, then leave your work behind for staff to glaze and fire. Projects are available for pick-up several days later. Pricing varies by project. Visit www.thecolorfulcreations.com to learn more.
For the kid who loves to learn
K.O. Lee Aberdeen Public Library offers several youth programs throughout the year, and one of their newest programs is the tween STEAM Club. The club meets once a week, encouraging students to use creative thinking to solve real-world problems and foster skills in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. There is no fee to attend. Visit the Library’s website for dates and times.
Change The Scenery
When the kids start feeling antsy, a quick change of scenery might be enough to ward off the winter blues. Try one of these classic activities to get the family out of the house.
Movies On The Big Screen
For the movie-obsessed
Golden Ticket Cinemas has completely renovated their facility in Uptown Aberdeen, with relaxing recliners and space between rows making the movie experience more enjoyable for families with kids. All Tuesday showings are a discounted rate, ideal for families wanting to relax and enjoy a new release together. Visit www.gtcinemas.com for show times.
For little ones who love a good book
Gather up your little ones ages 2 to 5 and enjoy free story time at K.O. Lee Aberdeen Public Library. Held every other Wednesday morning, the stories and themes rotate each session, but are all designed using early literacy components to introduce language and books through stories and songs. Supervision is required for this activity. Visit the Library’s website for upcoming story times.
There’s no substitute for fresh air when your children are restless indoors. Bundle up and head into the great outdoors to take full advantage of winter’s daylight hours.
For the whole family
Grab a cup of hot chocolate and lace up your skates for a quintessential winter activity. Aberdeen offers two locations for outdoor free skating, with rinks at Lincoln Park and Manor Park open from mid-December to early spring. Admission is free, and skate rental is available for a small fee. Outdoor rinks are open Wednesdays and weekends. For hours and additional information, visit the Parks and Rec website at www.aberdeen.sd.us.
For a joy ride
When the weather conditions are just right, you’ll see kids gathering at two sledding hotspots in Aberdeen. On the north side of town, Baird Park’s sledding hill is more than 25 feet tall and attracts sledders of all ages. Parking is available just south of the sledding hill; no snowboards are allowed. For another option, try the sledding hill at Richmond Lake, located just west of the campgrounds.
Winter Fun Day
A way to try it all
Join the Parks & Rec department on Saturday, February 4 at Manor Park for Winter Fun Day. Kids and adults can try ice-skating, cross-country skiing and curling while enjoying free hot chocolate. Visit the Parks & Rec website at www.aberdeen.sd.us for more information.
These activities are just a few of the many options available to parents in Aberdeen throughout the season. When your child starts climbing the walls, try one of these, and remember – spring really will be here eventually. //