A Madison Mom’s Guide to December 2016

If you are looking for a guide to keep you and your family entertained, we have got you covered! We’ve started a monthly events guide to be sure you don’t miss a thing happening around Madison. Here are this month’s “need to know” activities. Further happenings, such as library events, open play/jump/swim, and ongoing Madison Children’s Museum events can all be found on our calendar.

**Be sure to check out our Greater Madison Area Guide to the Holidays. Here you will find additional events, a local gift giving guide, where to find a tree farm, advent calendar ideas, ways to give back, and more!

This is by no means a comprehensive list. If you know of any fun family activities we have missed, please let us know in the comments!


Save the Date!

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Save the date for Zimbrick Family Eve presented by KEVA Sports Center! Zimbrick Family Eve is geared toward kids of all ages, and will take place at Monona Terrace and KEVA Sports Center. This year’s event will be held on December 31, 2016, and will include a circus area, animals from Henry Vilas Zoo, Glen Gerard Magic Shows, Bubble Wonders and so much more!


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December 1-4: It’s a Wonderful Life the Musical: Verona Area Community Theater | Join us for It’s A Wonderful Life the Musical. Performance Times: December 1st 7:30PM, December 2nd 7:30PM, December 3rd 2:00PM and 7:30PM, December 4th 2:00PM. See website to purchase tickets.

December 2: It’s Wonderful!: 4-8 pm at The Regal Find | Please join us for a beautiful evening of shopping, giveaways, and an opportunity to support Heartland Farm Sanctuary*! For a $10 donation to Heartland Farm Sanctuary, you can register to win prizes from our local vendors and businesses! All guests will receive: 20% off one item, a free Shower Therapy with a $40 minimum purchase, savory bites from Villa Dolce, treats from Bloom Bake Shop and holiday beverages. *Heartland Farm is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping homeless farm animals in Wisconsin and building connections between animals and vulnerable youth.

December 2: The Polar Express Pajama Storytime: 7 pm at Barnes & Noble East Towne and West Towne | All aboard! Come in your PJs and join us for a magical evening as we host our annual Polar Express Storytime. Coloring and activities to follow, including writing a Dear Santa letter!

December 2-3Les Misérables: Mitby Theater-Times vary | Madison Country Day School Theatre Department is thrilled to announce the musical production, Les Misérables. The production will take place December 2 at 7 p.m. and December 3 at 3 p.m. at the Mitby Theater, a contemporary state­-of-­the-­art performance venue at the Madison College­-Truax Campus near the Dane County Regional Airport, 3550 Anderson Street, Madison. Tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for students and available at the door.

December 2-4: Victorian Holiday Weekend: Downtown Stoughton | Downtown Stoughton takes a step back in time to celebrate the holidays the old-fashioned way! A weekend full of family-friendly activities, entertainment and shopping is in store for this 23rd annual Victorian Holiday Weekend.  

December 2-4: A Madison Symphony Christmas: Overture Center for the Arts | Gather the entire family and ring in the season with the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Music Director John DeMain in a family-friendly Madison tradition that is sure to send your spirits soaring. This magical event features the Madison Symphony Chorus, Madison Youth Choirs, and Mt. Zion Gospel Choir. See website for times and tickets.

December 3: Christmas in Paoli: 12-5 pm in Paoli, WI | Dreaming of an old-fashioned Christmas? Come to Paoli Saturday, Dec. 3, for carriage rides, caroling, cookies and good cheer. Enjoy good food and drink and live music. Discover art from local artists and unique gifts you won’t find at the mall.

December 3How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Storytime: 11 am at Barnes & Noble East Towne and West Towne | “Grow Your Heart 3 Sizes!” and celebrate all things Grinch with a reading of the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas! We will have good deed badges and tracking booklets for kids to log all the good things they do this holiday season. Activities to follow. 

December 3: Children’s Nutcracker Ballet: 1-2 pm at Waunakee High School Performing Arts Center | A magical holiday favorite scaled down for young audiences, the Children’s Nutcracker Ballet will delight kids of all ages (and parents too!) 1 hour in length. 

December 3: Christmas Lights Parade: 6-9 pm in Lodi, WI | Come and enjoy a wonderful night for our 2nd Annual Christmas Lights Parade! Parade route is the same as last year: Clark to Milston to Fair Street. Starts at Dark time! Join Santa and Ms. Clause after the parade in the lighting of the tree and bring the kids to visit them in the Historical School House. Enjoy from refreshments and Curling Club Demonstrations!

December 3: Tea & Trains: 10:30 am – 2 pm at the Madison Club | Tea & Trains is a holiday tradition for Madison area families, featuring our signature train collection by guest conductors, an enchanting reading of Make Way for Ducklings by Chief Michael Koval, themed arts and craft stations, an exciting silent auction, and of course, our high tea. This holiday tradition is a treat for the young and young at heart. All proceeds from Tea & Trains support the Children’s museum’s Access for Everyone programs, helping all families play, create, imagine, and learn together. See website to purchase tickets.

December 3: PJs & Pancakes with Santa: 9-11 am at The Edgewater | It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas here at The Edgewater. Put on your favorite PJs and enjoy breakfast with Santa! See website to purchase tickets.

December 3McFarland Chamber of Commerce Christmas in the Village: 7 am – 5 pm in the Village of McFarland |  It’s going to be AMAZING. Horse drawn carriage rides, food, beverages, crafts, open houses, drawings for great prizes and the event wouldn’t be complete without our Free bonfire with popcorn, hot beverages, caroling, tree lighting and Santa arriving on the illuminated Fire Truck Parade escorted by our very own McFarland Police Department Chief! This is an event we look forward to all year. 

December 3: Saturday Science-Riveting Robots: 10 am – 12 pm at the UW Discovery Building | Explore the world of robots during this free event held on the first Saturday of every month! Learn how robots are used in space, build and program a robot, create art with a robot, drive a robot and more. Plus, bring a non-perishable food item to support NBC15′ € ™s Share Your Holidays.

December 3: Christmas Open House: 9 am – 3 pm at America’s Best Flowers, Cottage Grove | Bring the family to meet Santa, create seasonal decorations, and browse poinsettias, holiday decorations, gifts, and more! 

December 3Gingerbread Man Candy Dish: 9 am – 12 pm at Home Depot | Join our hands-on workshop and you and your child can create a beautiful Gingerbread Candy Dish. Once the candy holder is built, your child can decorate it with stickers to give their gingerbread mana cheery holiday smile. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin while supplies last.Children must be present at the store to participate in the workshop and receive the kit, apron and pin.

December 3-4: Creating for a Cause: Mom Holiday Art Fair: Middleton Outreach Ministry-check website for times | Over 60 local artists are donating 20% or more of their proceeds to MOM’s homelessness prevention and hunger fighting programs. Come and shop for a cause! Beautiful pottery, many styles of jewelry, fused and blown glass, fiber arts including purses, scarves and aprons, wood, paintings, and prints – all created by local artists.

December 3/10/17: Pictures with Santa: 10 am – 1 pm at DreamBank | Hop the Downtown Holiday Trolley and head to DreamBank with the family for free hot cocoa, a holiday crafting workshop and photos with Santa! Crafting and cocoa are available all day, and photos with Santa will be on a first-come first-serve basis. Here’s a holiday tip: Don’t forget to grab your welcome bag of shopping coupons on the Holiday Trolley – courtesy of DreamBank!

December 3 & 10: Holiday Crafting: 10 am – 4 pm | Hop the Downtown Holiday Trolley and head to DreamBank with the family for free hot cocoa, a holiday crafting workshop and photos with Santa! Crafting and cocoa are available all day, but be sure to check out our event times for pictures with Santa! Here’s a holiday tip: Don’t forget to grab your welcome bag of shopping coupons on the Holiday Trolley – courtesy of DreamBank!

December 3-31: Olbrich’s Holiday Express: Daily from 10 am – 4 pm (Closes at 2 p.m. December 24 & Closed all day December 25) at Olbrich Botanical Gardens | All aboard for Olbrich’€™s Holiday Express! Large-scale model trains wind through a holiday scene overflowing with hundreds of poinsettias, fresh evergreens and exciting LEGO ® displays in Olbrich’s Holiday Express:  See website for tickets.

December 4: Reindeer Day: 12-2 pm at Bruce Company |Our favorite event of the year. Live reindeer on loan from Santa pay us visit. Photos with reindeer are available for a fee. 

December 4: Santa Paws: 10 am – 3 pm at Sunshine Supper Place, Sun Prairie | Come on out to 4th annual Santa Paws Event and get your pet’s photo taken with Santa for a $5 donation to OccuPaws Guide Dogs! Better yet bring everyone and stay and shop from 20 local vendors & crafters, eat lunch, design a bandana for your pooch, enter our raffle and let the kids do some fun take home crafts as well! Santa will be available from 11 am to 2:30 pm. 

December 4: Winter Family Hoedown: 11 am at High Noon Saloon | Family Friendly – $5 / $2 kids / $20 max per family.

December 7Mini Sprouts Culinary Class: Christmas in Paris: 10-10:45 at DreamBank | Join other mini sprouts as we make food fun in this culinary snack class designed for toddlers and preschoolers. This hands-on and interactive class will give children the confidence to try new foods. We will prepare a fun and healthy holiday treat and read “Madeline’s Christmas” by Ludwig Bemelmans. This 45 minute class is a great introduction to culinary classes. Parents are encouraged to participate or watch (parents/ caregivers attend free with student). Includes recipe packet and coloring sheets to take home. Designed for ages 2-6. $10-See website for tickets.

December 7Free Family Night and RePLAY Fashion Show: 5-8 pm at the Madison Children’s Museum | Enjoy free admission from 5-8 p.m. on the first open Wednesday of each month through the museum’€™s Access for Everyone program. Tonight we feature the RePLAY Preview Fashion Show at 5:30 p.m. In collaboration with the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Center for Child and Family Well-Being is pleased the present a sneak preview of RePLAY: Sustainable Kidswear Fashion Show.Our pint-sized models will walk the Wildernest runway in upcycled fashions designed by students from the UW School of Human Ecology. The fashion show features secondhand clothing curated from area thrift and consignment stores. These garments have the least environmental impact and are accessible for families on a budget. Children from local preschools will be modeling the clothing.

December 8: Downtown Sun Prairie Annual Holiday Ladies Night Out: 5-8 pm in Downtown Sun Prairie | Visit Downtown Sun Prairie during our annual Downtown Ladies Night Out on December 8th from 5 pm – 8pm. Visit participating stores for a wide variety of entertainment, treats, and specials. Complete the punch card to be entered into a prize drawing!

December 10: Midwest Performing Arts-The Nutcracker: 2&6 pm at the Waunakee Performing Arts Center | See website for tickets.

December 10: Breakfast with Santa: 8-11 am at the Monona Community Center | Join Monona Parks & Recreation’€™s annual Breakfast with Santa eserved seating is available for 8:00, 9:00, or 10:00 am with pre-purchased tickets. Enjoy a breakfast including pancakes, French toast sticks, sausage links, bacon, apple sauce, milk, coffee, and dessert. Santa and Mrs. Clause will be available for photos throughout the morning. The Friends of Monona Senior Center have a special arts and crafts present-making workshop, and there will be horse drawn carriage rides (weather permitting.) See website for ticon Saturday, December 10 and see the Monona Community Center transformed into a winter wonderland. See website for tickets.

December 10: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Storytime: 11 am at Barnes & Noble East Towne and West Towne | Join us for a Storytime featuring If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, one of the most beloved children’s books of all time. Coloring and activities to follow.

December 10-11Gingerbread Casas for CASA: 10 am – 4 pm at the Madison Children’s Museum | MCM hosts the eighth annual Gingerbread Casas for CASA event for Dane County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), an organization that provides a voice for abused and neglected children in Dane County. Visit Saturday to watch teams decorate Gingerbread Houses at the museum, or visit the display of completed houses on Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Plus, we’ll have gingerbread-themed projects in the Art Studio throughout the weekend! 

December 11: Holiday Party: 1-4 pm at the Fitchburg Community Center | Inflatable playground, popcorn balls, face painting, crafts, visit with Santa, hot chocolate & more. Get a video of your child’s visit with Santa. Sponsored by Fitchburg Recreation and Fitchburg Access Community Television.

December 13-15: Scholastic Book Fairs Remote Holiday Sale: Comfort Inn & Suites North-DeForest | Give the gift of reading this holiday season! Scholastic brings the Milwaukee warehouse sale to DeForest. All books and other items discounted 25 – 80% off. We will have a great selection of books including board books, hardcover and paperback picture books, early readers and chapter books, reference, science, series packs, Holiday titles, Christian books, cookbooks, adult fiction, Klutz items, posters as well as the fun stocking stuffer items. See website for additional information and event times.

December 17: Kid Disco Featuring Santa: 11 am – 2 pm at The Great Dane-Hilldale | The Great Dane Hilldale is bringing disco back and making it cooler than ever. Kid Disco is back for another year of fun and entertainment. Funny Faces Entertainment will be helping out to bring the kids all the fun they could ask for, from balloon sculptures to face painting they have it all. Don’t forget about the music. DJ Nick Nice will be setting the mood of the 70’s through his musical genius. This year’s Kid Disco kicks off with a special appearance from Santa! The price of admission is $5 per person, but includes two snacks and a drink for the kids. There will be a maximum charge of $15 per family.

December 17Santa’s Sleigh Is on Its Way Storytime: 11 am at Barnes & Noble East Town and West Towne | It’s a magical Christmas Eve, and all of the children in your town are sleeping. Well, all of the children but you! How could you possibly fall asleep when you know Santa and his sleigh are on their way? Join us for Storytime and activities featuring Santa’s Sleigh Is on Its Way!

December 10-26: The Nutcracker-Madison Ballet: Overture Center | See website for tickets. 

December 10-23: Children’s Theater of Madison-A Christmas Carol: Overture Center | See website for tickets.

December 11: Nutcracker Preview: 1 & 3 pm at Friends of the Waisman Center Auditorium | Join us for a program featuring short scenes from the Nutcracker ballet, performed by dancers from Dance Wisconsin. This event will be a great preview for little ones who aren’€™t ready to watch a full performance in the theater. $2.00, adults; $1.00, children.

December 12-14: Season of Light: Madison Metropolitan School District Planetarium-Times Vary | It’s the darkest time of the year, which may be why many of our traditions this time of year have something to do with light. Join us for this delightful multicultural program which will lead you through the discovery of many basic astronomy concepts as you explore the holiday traditions of several cultures and religions. Tickets are $2.50 and available online, by mail, or at the door (if it’s not sold out). Buying tickets in advance is recommended. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. We accept walk-ins on stand-by for sold out shows.

December 13Mini Sprouts Culinary Class: Gingerbread Fun: 9:30-10:30 at Whole Foods Market | Join other mini sprouts as we make food fun in this culinary class designed for toddlers and preschoolers. This hands-on and interactive class will give children the confidence to try new foods. We will prepare some fun and healthy GINGERBREAD recipes and read “The Gingerbread Man” by Jim Aylesworth!Parents or caregivers are encouraged to participate or watch (they attend free with student ticket). Includes recipe packet and coloring sheets to take home. Designed for ages 2-6. $13-$15-See website for tickets.

December 15Mini Sprouts Culinary Class: Festive Fruit: 9:30-10:30 am at Whole Foods Market | Join other mini sprouts as we make food fun in this culinary class designed for toddlers and preschoolers. This hands-on and interactive class will give children the confidence to try new foods. We will prepare some festive holiday recipes using fruit and read “Mooseltoe” by Margie Palatini! Parents or caregivers are encouraged to participate or watch (they attend free with student ticket). Includes recipe packet and coloring sheets to take home. Designed for ages 2-6. $15-$15-See website for tickets.

December 16: Winter Solstice Celebration: 6:30-8:30 pm at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Monona | Come celebrate the longest night of the year with a nighttime winter hike under the stars as we explore Solstice traditions spanning centuries around the globe. We’ll feed our winter bird neighbors, gather around the campfire to burn a Yule log, sip cocoa and eat a seasonal solstice snack! Join us for a night of inspiration as we look forward to longer and lighter days. Appropriate for all ages! Pre-registration preferred, walk-ins accepted. ALNC members: $6/person; Non-members: $10/person. Children 3 and under are free.

December 17Sprouting Chefs: The Polar Express: 10:30-11:45 am at Whole Foods Market | Join other sprouting chefs as we make healthy food fun and learn kitchen skills in this culinary class designed for kids. This hands-on and interactive class is a perfect chance for kids to express themselves and their creativity through food. We will prepare homemade hot chocolate and cookies plus read the classic book “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg! Includes a recipe packet and a treat to take home. Parents or caregivers are encouraged to participate or watch (attends free with student). Designed for ages 4-12. $18-See website for tickets.

December 17-18: The Nutcracker-Dance Wisconsin: Wisconsin Union Theater | See website to tickets.

December 20: Handmade Holiday Gifts: 1-4 pm at DreamBank | Come celebrate the holidays at DreamBank! We’ll have a bunch of different crafts to choose from, that way you can create your own personal gift for a loved one. We’ll provide the supplies, you just bring yourself, some friends and your creativity!

December 21: Bricks 4 Kidz: 9 am – 12 pm at DreamBank | Bring the kiddos to DreamBank for hands-on activities from Bricks 4 Kidz, a group that promotes educational play with LEGOs. This workshop will encourage your little architect to become more curious, creative and confident with every creation. They’ll leave with the tools they need to learn and grow!

December 21: Cookie Decorating Extravaganza: 1-4 pm at DreamBank | Grab your baker’s hat, roll up your sleeves, and use your colorful imagination for sugar cookie decorating and sampling at DreamBank! In this workshop we will help your kids do the delicious dirty work, without destroying your kitchen. It’s all the frosting fun without the mess!

December 21: Winter Solstice Celebration: 12-2 pm at the Madison Children’s Museum | Join us for a celebration of light on the shortest day of the year! We’ll honor the passing of the sun and the transition to the new season. For some, this holiday is called Winter Solstice, and for others, it’s called Yule. For both, it’s all about welcoming light back into the world, spending time with family, and taking special care of the world around you. Free with museum admission.

December 22: Holiday Read-In: 9 am – 12 pm at DreamBank | Come spend a cozy morning at DreamBank! Stay in your PJs, pack a blanket and a pillow along with some holiday-themed books and come on over for a relaxing morning of stories, snacks and more.

December 22: Let’s Get Moving: 1-4 pm at DreamBank | What better way to burn off some of the kiddos’ holiday energy than bringing them to DreamBank for some Zumba or yoga? Pure Beauty Fitness will be here doing Kids’ Zumba from 1-2:30 pm. Then wind down with little om BIG OM and Kids’ Yoga from 2:30-4pm. Whether you come for some of it or all of it – it will be a fun, energizing way to spend the afternoon!

December 26-31: Winter Wonder Week: Madison Children’s Museum | Join us during winter break for special programs to celebration winter! Explore cold weather, ice and snow, folklore, tastes and unique festivities of wintertime, including a three-day Viking Camp for school-aged kids. Most of these programs are free with paid admission to the museum! See website for event listing.

December 26: Harlem Globetrotters: 7-9 pm at Alliant Energy Center | The iconic Harlem Globetrotters are coming to the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI with their unrivaled family show, featuring some of the greatest athletes on the planet. With incredible ball handling wizardry, amazing rim-rattling dunks and trick shots, side-splitting comedy and unequaled on-court fan interaction, this must-see event is guaranteed to entertain the whole family creating memories that will last a lifetime. Join Globetrotter stars after the game where they will stay for an autograph, photograph and high five session for fans (subject to availability).The Globetrotters will face a great challenge this year, as the infamous Washington Generals are more determined than ever to beat the Globetrotters.The Generals, the last team to beat the Globetrotters, are now coached by a former member of that 1971 team.  They are on a mission and will do whatever it takes to win, with a new strategy that’s sure to give the Globetrotters a run for their money. See website for tickets.

December 28: Holiday Circus Sampler: 2-4:30 pm at The Goodman Community Center | Are you getting cabin fever already? Looking for some hands-on fun this holiday season? Seeking some active learning for your nearest and dearest while you’€™ve got a little time off from school and work? Join us for an afternoon and try out some circus equipment and skills, like aerial Silks, trapeze, tightwire, acrobatics, juggling, balancing and clowning. Ages 7 through adult. Families welcome! Sign up two or more family members, and receive a 10% discount! $30-See website for tickets.

December 31Hap-Pea All Year Storytime: 11 am at Barnes & Noble East Towne and West Towne | Just in time for New Year’s, the peas from the bestselling LMNO Peas are back for more fun — this time exploring the months of the year! Join us for Storytime and activities featuring Hap-Pea All Year. 

December 31: Ringing in the New Year-DreamBank Style: 9:30 am – 12 pm at DreamBank | Who’s excited for 2017?! We sure are. Come ring in the New Year, DreamBank style. Bring the kiddos for a fun morning of crafts and celebrate the new year in a creative and fun way! Come set your New Year’s goals in our inspiring space.

December 31: New Year’s Eve Dance Party: 2:30-4:30 pm at the Madison Children’s Museum | Shake, rattle, roll and bid farewell to 2015 at our New Year’s Eve afternoon dance party, complete with glow bracelets, sparkling juice and a confetti-filled early New Year countdown at 4 p.m.

December 31: Zimbrick Family Eve: 4-8 pm at KEVA Sports Center | Zimbrick Family Eve is geared toward kids of all ages, and will take place at Monona Terrace and KEVA Sports Center. This year’s event will be held on December 31, 2016, and will include a circus area, animals from Henry Vilas Zoo, Glen Gerard Magic Shows, Bubble Wonders and so much more!


Ongoing Activities: 

If the Shoe Fits…A Cinderella Story – PlayTime presents its own version of the classic tale, Cinderella, entitled If The Shoe Fits-A Cinderella Story. Children and families will enjoy delightfully funny sequences as the proper foot is sought for and the shoe is tried on repeatedly, through PTP’s drama, song and dance. If the Shoe Fits will be performed at 17 Dane County venues this fall at a low cost for the entire family. A donation of $3 or less per person is suggested at most venues.

Kid Disco – The Great Dane Hilldale is bringing disco back and making it cooler than ever. Kid Disco is back for another year of fun and entertainment. Funny Faces Entertainment will be helping out to bring the kids all the fun they could ask for, from balloon sculptures to face painting they have it all. Don’t forget about the music. DJ Nick Nice will be setting the mood of the 70’s through his musical genius. 

Fantasy in Lights – Lights go on every evening at 4 pm at Olin Park. November 19 – January 2. Free.

Warner Family Fun Nights – Warner Park Community Recreation Center, 5:30 – 8:30 pm, Fridays (see website for dates), $5 per family.

Polar Express Train Ride – Middleton-See website for tickets. 

Downtown Baraboo – Plan a day trip to Downtown Baraboo! Make a short Drive north to Downtown Baraboo to celebrate this Holiday season. Every Saturday from Thanksgiving to Christmas (including Christmas Eve day) Downtown Baraboo sparkles with activity! Free Horse drawn Wagon rides, Visits with Santa, Friendly local merchants, unique and one of a kind gifts, and if you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of the roving carolers. 

Hay Rides – Madison Parks offers a schedule of hayrides for anyone to enjoy at special events during the fall. No reservation is required (unless otherwise stated) for these rides, and they are perfect for family outings. $3/person. See website for upcoming hay ride locations.

Zoo Lights – Thursdays – Sundays (November 25, 2016 to January 1, 2017) at the Henry Vilas Zoo. Santa & Carousel: 5:30 – 8 pm nightly. Admission: $7 per person (children under 3 are admitted for free). See the zoo in a whole new light! This holiday season, your Henry Vilas Zoo will shine brighter than ever as we bring Zoo Lights to Madison! Enjoy a warm beverage as you take a stroll down candy cane lane and enjoy the festive sights and sounds. Thousands of lights will transform the zoo into a winter wonderland that’s not to be missed.

Holiday Concert Series – Saturdays at 2 pm in December at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Warm up the winter day with festive holiday music during Olbrich’s Holiday Concert Series. Admission: $1 suggested donation. Donations are greatly appreciated and help to keep the gardens a free source of education and inspiration for everyone!

MMoCAkids ArtPack – Families are encouraged to stop by the reception desk in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art lobby and ask for the MMoCAkids ArtPack, the museum hands-on discovery kit for exploring art. Designed for family members to use together, the ArtPack contains a variety of fun activities that promote observation and imaginative thinking about visual art. Visiting an art museum with a child can be stressful if you are so worried about your child touching the art that you can’t enjoy the art, but the joy of art and art making is for people of all ages. These programs are designed for families with young children.

Children’s Playgroup at University Houses Preschool – Come along to play, chat and sing with your little ones. Bring a snack and talk to other families while the kids enjoy the toys and dramatic play area.

Morning Play Date at DreamBank – Enjoy a morning of meeting new friends at DreamBank. While the kids participate in interactive story time and crafts, grown-ups can explore our exhibit and enjoy a cup of coffee in our inspiring space. Free snacks, fun and learning abound, so bring your hungry bellies, listening ears and colorful imaginations! 10-11 am.

Stories, Fingerplays and More – Barnes & Noble West Towne, Tuesdays at 10:30 am. Join in as our Barnes & Noble staff members share stories and songs with children, ages 2 to 6, and their families.

Stories, Songs and More – Barnes and Noble West Towne, Thursdays at 10:30 am. Join in as our Barnes & Noble staff members share stories and songs with children, ages 2 to 6, and their families.

Jammin’ With Jeremy – Barnes and Noble East Towne, Thursdays at 10:30 am. Children and their families are invited to join us for stories, songs and art projects with our fabulous storyteller, the one and only Jeremy!

Kids in the Rotunda – Free shows for kids and families at the Overture Center. See website for times and schedule.

Art After Overture – 9 am – 2 pm at Madison Central Library. Stop by Central Library for art activities, special book displays and more, inspired by performances at Overture Center for the Arts’ Kids in the Rotunda series. Activities will be available from 9 am – 2 pm in the Children’s Room.

Monday Night Kid Music with David Landau – 5:30- 6:15 at the Harmony Bar and Grill | Fun for kids 2 to 8 and totally tolerable for parents of any age! Cover – $3.

The Lunchtime Show with David Landau – 11:30 am – 12 pm at McFarland House Cafe | There is a cover charge of $5.00 per kid for this show. Adults, babies, and babysitters are free of charge.

Public Skate – Public Skates offered at both Madison Ice Arena (MIA) and Hartmeyer Ice Arena (HIA). Adults: $5 Children/Students/Seniors: $3 Skate Rental: $3. See website for schedules.

UW-Arboretum Family Walks – See website for dates and details.

Car Seat Checks – The goal of the Safe Kids Injury Prevention Program is to help educate families on safety and injury prevention. A large component of our work is providing safety information and services to our Dane County communities. Car seat checks are available throughout the Madison area, see website for dates and locations. Appointments are required for car seat checks. You can make an appointment by calling (608) 890-8999 or e-mail safekids@uwhealth.org.

Toddler Story & Stroll – Learn and play with your youngster in this fun, hands-on series that focuses on nature and the seasonal changes of spring. Classes include a story, a stroll through the outdoor gardens, and theme-related activities designed for you and your preschooler to spend quality time together. Sign up for one class or the entire series. Ages 2-4 with an adult. Limited space; register early!

Bird and Nature Walks –  1:30-3 pm at various Madison parks – Free, family-friendly Bird and Nature Walks are offered year-round on Sunday afternoons 1:30-3:00 pm by Madison Parks and FUN: Friends of Urban Nature partner groups. Join the FUN!

Kids & Pets Storytime – Animart Pet Store – 10:30 am – 11 am weekly on Tuesdays. Read with the Story Time Pet of the Week. A fun event for parents and children. Admission is $1.89 + tax per child.

Museum Storytime – UW Madison Geology Museum – 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month at 10:30 am. Museum storytime is geared toward preschool-aged children and each week features a book, museum specimens and a craft to take home. No reservations required, except for groups larger than 10. Free.

Open Art Studio – Use the Monroe Street Arts Center studio as your own! Work on a self-directed project under the guidance of an experienced art teacher. We will provide all of the art materials and one planned project per class to get you started. This is a drop-in class, but please call ahead to hold a spot, 608.232.1510. Cost is $12 per class or $48 for 5 classes with an Open Art Studio Pass.

The Crafty Project – The Crafty Project does monthly Kiddo Crafty Events at their creative studio. Additionally, The Crafty Project studio is a fabulous location for mom’s to get together and have a night out and create. They have a fun schedule of classes and offer private events.

Mommy & Me Hour – 10 am Tuesdays at Nicki’s Diapers. Join us for the NEW Mommy & Me Hour at the Nicki’s Diapers Madison Retail Store! Each week we will have a topic to discuss in an informal, friendly environment.

Mother Baby Hour – Located at the Meriter Business Center-See website for various days/times. Mother Baby Hour is a time for moms and their babies to get together to ask questions, express concerns, learn about resources and share stories. A Registered Nurse/Community Educator facilitates the groups and offers a weekly topic. Join us as early as the first week after your baby is born!

Italian Language Courses for Kids – Tuscany Language Academy offers Italian language courses for children starting in January 2017. Each course will be provide weekly exposure to the Italian language. Each lesson will be enriched with songs, videos, games, visual and interactive material. 

 

 

 

 

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