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 the September “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.
Feel free to join our various Neighborhood Groups where Mombassadors organize meet-ups for area moms!
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!
November 1-4: Halloween Candy Buy-Back Event: Madison No Fear Dentistry during normal business hours |Stop into Madison No Fear Dentistry during working hours the week of November 1st to sell back your extra candy ($1 per pound of candy up to $5/child). Donations are also welcome!!We will collect unopened candy (no nibbles, please!) on Tuesday, November 1 – Friday, November 4 . Not only does this program provide support to troops stationed overseas, but it also encourages children to adopt healthy dental and eating habits!
November 2: Free Family Night: 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.
November 3 and 17: Morning Play Date: 10-11 am at DreamBank | Enjoy a morning of meeting new friends at DreamBank. While the kids enjoy 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!
November 4th: Costo Mom Hour: 9 am at Costco Middleton and Sun Prairie | The holiday shopping event of the season is fast-approaching and will be even more exciting and enticing than last year. Have you ever wished Costco opened a bit earlier? Join City Moms Blog Network, Madison Moms Blog and Costco and shop at 9:00am on Friday, November 4 BEFORE Costco opens its doors to all of its members! Best of all, Mom Hour is for YOU and all your friends (and kids) to shop together. The more the merrier! Enjoy swag, snacks, samples and giveaways with other Madison area families. This event is free, but registration is required. See link above to register.
November 4-6: Hutch & Hide Pop-Up Boutique: During normal business hours at Revel | Hutch & Hide is a husband/wife-owned boutique in New Glarus that carries amazing goods for the home and for kids! They have a great selection of trendy baby/toddler clothing, many brands that aren’t available elsewhere in Madison. The pop-up boutique runs all weekend and we’ll be having a Meet the Owner reception (with donuts/milk) with the owner on Saturday morning from 10-noon. FREE to browse. Merchandise available for purchase.
November 5: Saturday Science: The Stars Above: 10 at at the Discovery Building | Blast off into space during this free event held on the first Saturday of every month! Learn what it takes to put humans in space, build your own rocket-powered vehicle, discover how objects can warp space-time, use light to analyze the stars and more. This event is free and open to the public. It features interactive exploration stations for kids and families.
November 5: Art Spin Community Day: 12-3 pm at the Chazen Museum of Art | Free projects & performances by Young Shakespeare Players for all ages. See website for full event details.
November 5: Veterans Day Toy Helicopter: 9 am – 12 pm at Home Depot | Join our hands-on workshop in honor of Veterans Day, and you and your child can build a toy helicopter with turning blades! Once the toy helicopter is built, your child can decorate it with paint & stickers to create a mini-military vehicle.
November 5: Music Lab with Julie Mazer: 9:30 am – 12 pm at DreamBank | Uncover your little one’s innate musicality with music-making activities using their voice, body and instruments! Local early childhood music teacher, Julie Mazer, will guide your child’s journey with simple rhythmic and melodic concepts. They’ll even get to create their very own musical instrument to take home!
November 5: Footloose Storytime: 11 am at Barnes & Noble East Towne and West Towne | Time to cut loose! Have a rockin’ time at our Storytime to the fun of Footloose, rewritten for children by the one and only Kenny Loggins. To add to the fun, the book includes a CD with new recordings by Kenny Loggins. Join us for this music-inspired Storytime!
November 5: Halloween Candy Trade-In: 9:30-11:30 am at UnityPoint Health-West Washington Clinic | Don’t let your extra Halloween candy go to waste this year! Donate your candy to the U.S. Troops through Operation Gratitude, and get a chance to win fun prizes! The more candy, the better your chances are of winning!
November 5: Kids at Heart: Hibernation: 9-11 am at Attic Angel Community | This week the theme is hibernation so we’ll be making crafts related to animals that hibernate. Learn more about Kids at Heart here.
November 5: Open House and Playgroup: Madison Waldorf School | Come learn about our Early Childhood programs, including playgroup and grades 1-8. Experience our Prenatal and Parent-Child Playgroup! Faculty, staff and parent representatives will be available to answer questions and share the wonders of our school community.
November 5: Oregon Preschool Inc. Annual Carnival: 10 am – 1:30 pm at Netherwood Knoll Elementary School Gym | Please join us for Oregon Preschool’s Annual Carnival at the Netherwood Knoll Elementary School Gym in downtown Oregon. The carnival is perfect for children ages 2 to 10, but feel free to include grandparents, neighbors, family and friends in the fun. The Carnival features games galore, with prizes awarded on each play! In addition to games, there is a cakewalk, face painting, jumping castle and much more. Play time for the games is from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. A raffle drawing is scheduled around 1:30 p.m. (need not be present to win). We will be giving away many great prizes. Raffle tickets are available for $1 each. During the carnival there will be a Silent Auction to bid on many other items such as theme baskets for both adults and children (Silent Auction items will be distributed at the completion of the carnival need not be present to collect.) Remember to bring your appetite! Lunch is available at the concession stand. A free game ticket will be given to each child who brings a non-perishable food item for the Oregon-Brooklyn Food Pantry (limit one ticket per child).
November 5-6: Mini Maker Faire: Make & Collaborate: Barnes & Noble East Town & West Towne. See website for various times | Experience the latest in virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D printing, pen-invent technology, robotics, coding and programming with demonstrations from Bloxels, sphero SPRK, Air Hogs Connect, VEX Robotics, XYZprinting and more. Session will last 1 hour.
November 6: Dad’s Day: 1-3 pm at Meriter Business Center | Facilitated by Joey Donovan Guido, dad blogger, Daddy Brain Blog, this two hour dads-only class is perfect for dads-to-be and dads with children from infancy up to two years of age. This program offers an opportunity to share your story, be heard and learn. Cost is $20. See website for full details and registration.
November 10: Turn Over a New Leaf Event: 5:30-7:30 pm at UnityPoint Health-Deforest-Windsor Clinic | Attend wellness workshops about zentangle and meditation for kids, healthy exercises for the office, enjoy tasty snacks and much more. This is a free family wellness event.
November 11: 2nd Annual Birthday Bash: 6-9 pm at the Madison Children’s Museum | Calling all explorers! — Box of Balloons is turning 3, and Adventure Awaits! We invite you to explore the museum with us after hours and celebrate another year of providing birthdays to children in need during our annual fundraiser. Box of Balloons is taking over the Madison Children’s Museum and throwing a birthday party to remember! Tickets before event: Children: $10.00/Adults: Free/ 2yr and under: Free. Tickets at the Door:Children: $14.00/Adults: $2.00/2yr and under: Free.
November 11-12: Green Whimsy Kids Toy & Book Consignment Sale: Candlewood Suites, Fitchburg | Public shopping with free admission.
November 12: Fairytale Pancake Barre: 10 am – 12 pm at Bishops Bay Country Club | Hosted by the Central Midwest Ballet Academy. A morning of fairytale characters, costumes, crafts, and of course an amazing pancake bar! There will be performances from our upcoming production of “The Little Matchstick Girl”as well as a fun raffle. Come dressed as your favorite fairytale character or don a costume at the event. Tickets $25.
November 12: Storybook Magic with Children’s Theater of Madison: 9:30 am – 12 pm at DreamBank | Help your child discover the art of gratitude and friendship with Children’s Theater of Madison! This month, Storybook Magic will bring Karma Wilson’s book, Bear Says Thanks, to life. Come listen and learn the lessons in Bear’s inspiring story and discover the power of drama. We’ll also have fun art activities, so come ready to use your creativity!
November 12: Penguin Problems Storytime: 11 am at Barnes & Noble West Towne and East Towne | In Penguin Problems, a penguin levels with human readers about what penguin life is really like. Have you ever considered running away to Antarctica? Of course you have! Because it’s a land free of worries and responsibilities … or is it? This book is sure to tickle kids’ funny bones. Don’t miss out on this Storytime!
November 12: MCDS Fall Open House: Madison Country Day School | Meet faculty, tour the Madison Country Day School campus, and talk to current parents and students.
November 13: Kids’ Art Adventures: 1-2:30 pm at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art | Kids’ Art Adventures invite families to make art together in MMoCA’s classroom following guided discussions of works on view in the museum’s galleries. Six- to ten-year-olds and their families should meet in MMoCA’s lobby at 1 pm. children must be accompanied by an adult. Space at Kids’ Art Adventures is limited to thirty children.
November 13: If the Shoe Fits..A Cinderella Story: 1 & 3 pm ( NOTE: Sensory-friendly performance at 3:00 in partnership with the Autism Society of South Central Wisconsin) at Friends of the Waisman Center Auditorium | The noted Dane County children’s traveling theatre brings If the Shoe Fits…A Cinderella Story, the classic Charles Perrault tale, to hilarious life with a contemporary twist. Just when you think the story is familiar, a new dimension appears. Come see what unfolds in PlayTime’s adaptation of the story for the children’s stage accompanied by an original musical score. Admission: $2.00, adults; $1.00, children. Tickets: Advance tickets for any show in the series can be purchased beginning at NOON on performance days. Sign Interpreters: All shows sign interpreted.
November 13: Sharing Our Stories: 5-7 pm at YMCA East | For All Ages, 8 and up, child care will be provided for those 2-8. The YMCA and Overture Center join for a special afternoon of SHARING OUR STORIES. Everyone has a story, and we want to help you share yours! Storyteller and author Dasha Kelly will lead us through three easy steps that will help us find and shape our memories so that we can share our stories of community, family and healthy living. Light snacks and beverages provided. Free, but space is limited, registration required.
November 14-16: Space Pioneers: Today & Tomorrow: Madison Metropolitan School District Planetarium | Exciting things are happening in human space exploration. NASA and private companies have set goals to send humans to Mars. Join us to review the cool rockets and habitats they are designing, and learn what they are doing on the International Space Station to prepare us for trips to the Red Planet. We’ll also provide a brief tour of the current night sky. Tickets are $2.50 and available online (see link above), by mail, or at the door. 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.
November 15: Mini Sprouts Culinary Class: Souper Soup: 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. As the weather turns cooler it’s the perfect time to prepare fun and healthy soup and biscuit recipes and read “Soup Day” by Melissa Iwai! 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. See website for tickets.
November 16: Mini Sprouts Culinary Class: Harvest Snacks: 10-10:45 am 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 fall harvest snack and read “Bear Says Thanks” by Karma Wilson. 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. See website for tickets.
November 19: Sprouting Chefs: Harvest Meal: 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 a harvest meal and read “Possum’s Harvest Moon” by Anne Hunter. Includes a recipe packet and a treat to take home. Parents or caregivers are encouraged to participate or watch (attend free with student). Designed for ages 4-12. See website for tickets.
November 19: Celebrate Fall with Crafts and Cards: 9:30 am – 12 pm at DreamBank | Enjoy a morning getting in the festive fall spirit at DreamBank! Bring the whole family and get yourselves ready to give thanks by making Thanksgiving crafts and cards. Stop in anytime between 9:30am and 12pm to show your creative attitude for gratitude!
November 19: Thanksgiving Storytime: 11 am at Barnes & Noble West Towne and East Towne | In celebration of Thanksgiving, we will feature two special stories, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey! and The Great Thanksgiving Escape. Coloring and activities to follow.
November 19: The Okee Dokee Brothers: 11 am at the Overture Center | You’ve seen them at Kids in the Rotunda… now join the Grammy-winning duo in their Capitol Theater debut! As childhood friends in Denver, Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing were always exploring the outdoors like born adventurers. That passion for the outdoors lies at the heart of their Americana Folk music, as does their passion for bringing families together through music.
November 20: Hayrides at Holiday Fantasy in Lights: 6-10 pm at Olin Park | Enjoy the Holiday Fantasy in Lights aboard a tractor-pulled haywagon! Participants will enjoy a warm campfire and a wagon ride through the park. $3/ per person; children ages 2 and under free. Meet at the boat launch. Parking is limited. Last boarding will begin at 9:40 pm.
November 24: Madison Turkey Trot 5K: 9 am – 12 pm at Vilas Park | 5k Run/Walk & Kids Dash. The Kids Dash is for children 8 years old and younger. It is 100 meters long and all finishers get a ribbon at the finish line!
November 25-26: Holiday Crafting: 10 am – 3 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, 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!
November 25-27: Downtown Holiday Open House: 9:30 am – 4 pm on State Street & Capitol Square | The Holiday Open House has become a downtown Madison tradition. This shopping, dining and family event is an alternative to the shopping mall and big-box “door busters.” Includes: Free Holiday Trolley rides, State St. & Capitol Square. Free “Kids in the Rotunda” shows at Overture Center Friday and Saturday. Family activities at DreamBank – American Family Insurance. Special offers, activities and refreshments from participating merchants
November 26: Moana and the Ocean Storytime: 11 am at Barnes & Noble West Towne and East Towne | Join us for a Storytime featuring the Moana and the Ocean picture book based on the upcoming Disney Animation Studios’ film Moana. In this engaging picture book Moana’s unique relationship with the Ocean is playfully interacted with stylized artwork.
November 26: Pictures with Santa: 10 am – 2 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!
Warner Family Fun Nights – Warner Park Community Recreation Center, 5:30 – 8:30 pm, Fridays (see website for dates), $5 per family.
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.
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.
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.
Badger Bash Tailgate Party: September 12, 19, 26, October 3, 17, 31, November 21 at Union South – Just steps from Camp Randall at Union South. This is a free and family-friendly event that features live entertainment, appearances by the UW Band and Bucky Badger, activities for kids and more. You can also tailgate prior to the games at the Engineering Mall (1415 Engineering Drive) on campus. See website for full details. You can also tailgate prior to the games at the Engineering Mall (1415 Engineering Drive) on campus. This is also family friendly and features live entertainment, appearances by the UW Band and Bucky Badger, activities for kids and more.
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 [email protected].
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!