A Madison Moms’ Guide to December 2017

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 the Madison area. Here are this month’s “need to know” activities.

The Mombassadors for our Neighborhood Groups organize monthly meet-ups, so be sure to join the Facebook group for your area!

Be sure to also check out our Guide to Family Holiday Events. There is something fun happening every day in the month of December! 

Links to area libraries, open swim times, and open play/jump activities can be found near the end of this post. 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.

Friday, December 1Holiday Tree Lighting and Chili Dinner: 5:30-7:30 pm at the Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce |Join us at Waterman Park for the Holiday Tree Lighting, and Christmas Carols! Santa will be arriving on the Fire Truck and he will join us at the Fire Station for the chili dinner. Please bring 2 non-perishable food item or monetary donation. All donations will be given to the Oregon Food Pantry. 

Friday, December 1: Family Science Night: 6-8 pm at UW Space Place | A number of Madison community and nonprofit organizations have joined together to coordinate an exciting family evening of stimulating scientific information, hands-on activities and amazing experiments by UW-Madison and MATC faculty and students.

December 1-3: Hometown Holidays: Verona, WI | See website for full list of event details. 

Saturday, December 2: Pjs & Pancakes with Santa: 9-11 am at The Edgewater Hotel | It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas here at The Edgewater. Put on your favorite matching jammies and enjoy breakfast with Santa to get the whole family in the holiday spirit! Pose for photos with Santa, build your own scrumptious, sprinkled pancake creation at our made-to-order pancake station, enjoy our signature brunch (featuring holiday favorites) and create your own holiday ornaments at our craft station. Tickets needed. 

Saturday, December 2: Kids in the Rotunda-The Disclosures: 9:30 am , 11 am and 1pm at the Overture Center | Get ready to sing along with The Disclosures, whose humorous songs blend lessons on basic money management with stories of pirates, piggy banks, toys and more. Christopher and Chad combine their passion for music and years of experience working with youth financial education to perform songs from from their album, “The Secret to Being Rich”. Learning about money has never been this fun! Free.

Saturday, December 2: Tea & Trains: 10:30 am – 2 pm at the Madison Children’s Museum | Tea & Trains is a holiday tradition for Madison area families, featuring our signature train collection by guest conductors, themed arts and craft stations, an exciting silent auction, and of course, our high tea and hot chocolate. This holiday tradition is a treat for the young and young at heart. All proceeds from Tea & Trains support the museum’s Access for Everyone programs, helping all families play, create, imagine, and learn together. Tickets needed

Saturday, December 2: Saturday Science-Life With Robots: 10 am – 12 pm at the UW Discovery Building | Learn about robot programming and construction during this event held on the first Saturday of every month! Discover how robots are used in research, compare how robots move with how your body moves, solve programming challenges, program robots used to grow plants and more. This event is free and open to the public. It features interactive exploration stations for kids and families.

Saturday, December 2: Saturday with Santa: 9:30-11:30 am at State Bank of Cross Plains | Join us Saturday, December 2nd in the Community Room at State Bank of Cross Plains in Verona for Saturday with Santa. Verona Lions Club members will be providing FREE vision screenings and healthy snacks while you wait to see Santa!

Saturday, December 2, 9, 16: 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!

Saturday, December 2, 9, 16: 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!

Saturday, December 2: Art Spin-Community Day celebrates “Fantastic Illustration from the Korshak Collection”: 12-3 pm at the Chazen Museum of Art | Join us for an afternoon of sci-fi fantasy art and hands-on activities in celebration of Fantastic Illustration from the Korshak Collection. Drop in anytime. Free.

December 2 & 3: Creating for a Cause: Mom Holiday Art Fair: Times vary at the MOM Food Pantry | 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. Free parking and free admission. 

Sunday, December 3: Winter Family Hoedown: 11 am at the High Noon Saloon | $5/adults $2/kids

Sunday, December 3: Nutcracker Pop-Up Performance: 11:30 am – 12 pm at the Madison Children’s Museum | See selections of the Nutcracker performed by Dance Wisconsin!

Wednesday, December 6: Free Family Night: 5-8 pm at the Madison Children’s Museum | This month we’ll be celebrating the 100th anniversary of our neighbor, the Wisconsin State Capitol building, with a special sculpture of the capitol constructed out of Legos!

Wednesday, December 6Mini Sprouts Culinary Class: Gingerbread Fun: 9:30-10:30 am at Festival Foods | 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. $16

Thursday, December 7: I Am Jazz Community Book Reading: 6-8 pm at the Madison Children’s Museum | Madison Children’s Museum is pleased to partner with the Human Rights Campaign, Welcoming Schools, the Madison Metropolitan School District, and others to present this special event. The museum will be open late with free admission for event attendees.You must register on the Human Rights Campaign’s webpage to attend. For more information and updates please see the event Facebook page.

Saturday, December 9: Bucky’s Breakfast with Santa: 9-11 am at The Edgewater Hotel | You won’t want to miss this uniquely Madison tradition. Enjoy breakfast with Bucky Badger & Santa on December 9th complete with holiday fun for the whole family. Tickets needed.

Saturday, December 9Circuits, Cards, and Code: 10 am – 3:30 pm | Maydm is a non profit in Madison dedicated to equipping girls and youth of color to the technical skills, mentorship, and exposure necessary to pursue educational and career opportunities in technology. In honor of National Hour of Code Week, we are hosting an event is called Circuits, Cards, and Code on Saturday December 9th at the UW. Its aim is to engage students (1st-5th grade) and parents of 1st and second graders in fun STEM learning by creating LED holiday cards and coding a scratch adventure game. See website for full information. 

Saturday, December 9: Kids in the Rotunda – Kalaanjali School of Dance: 9:30 am, 11 am and 1 pm at the Overture Center | On this visit to the Rotunda, you will vividly experience breathtaking stories of the East through the graceful bodies, percussive feet, vibrant costumes and dynamic expressions of the Kalaanjali dancers! Dancers of all ages (some as young as five years old) will capture your spirit with the beauty, elegance and magnificence of the Bharatanatyam-style dancing of southern India. Free.

Saturday, December 9: Verona Youth Ballet Nutcracker Suite: 1:30 pm and 4 pm at the Verona Performing Arts Center | General admission tickets – $15/adults; $10/children 12 and under. 

Saturday, December 9Sprouting Chefs: The Polar Express: 10:30-11:45 am at Whole Foods | 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 welcome to participate or watch (attends free with student). Designed for ages 4-12. $20

Sunday, December 10: Nutcracker Preview: 1 pm and 3 pm at the Friends of the Waisman Center Auditorium | A preview presentation of the Nutcracker ballet especially geared towards younger audiences. Young dancers, beautiful costumes, and engaging choreography shine in this seasonal classic.  Admission: $2.00, adults; $1.00, children.

Sunday, December 1031st Annual Children’s Holiday Party: 1-4 pm at the Fitchburg Community Center | Visit with Santa and get a video of your child’s visit; enjoy an inflatable playground, popcorn balls, face painting, crafts, hot chocolate & more. Free.

Sunday, December 10: Santa Brunch: 8-10:30 am at Cafe Hollander | You’d better not cry, but feel free to shout — Santa Claus is comin’ to town! Our favorite jolly old elf will be stopping by Café Hollander Hilldale on Sunday, December 10th from 8–10:30am to bring some holiday magic to brunch time.

Tuesday, December 12Mini Sprouts Culinary Class: Christmas in Paris: 9:30-10:30 am at Whole Foods | 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 holiday treats and read “Madeline’s Christmas” by Ludwig Bemelmans. 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. $16

Wednesday, December 13Afterschool Craft & Cook: Handmade Gifts: 3:30-4:45 pm at Whole Foods | Let your creativity soar! Join us on an adventure of crafting and cooking. We will learn about turning art into gifts! Then make a yummy and healthy snack to eat and a gift that we can take home and give to someone special! Ages 6-11. (parents/ caregivers are free to watch OR leave & return). $18

Saturday, December 16: Holiday Tea at The Statehouse: 2:30-4:30 pm at The Edgewater Hotel | Enjoy a traditional English-style afternoon tea, complete with finger sandwiches, delicious desserts and more. Tickets needed.

Saturday, December 16: 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.

Saturday, December 16: Kids in the Rotunda – Yid Vicious: 9:30 am, 11 am and 1 pm | Yid Vicious brings the Rotunda stage to life with Yiddish dance music spanning generations from the old world to our world. With a musical arsenal of fiddle, clarinets, accordion, horn, tuba, guitar, theremin, and drums, Yid Vicious will have you hopping out of your seats in no time. Free. 

Saturday, December 16: Cracked: The Nutcracker Untold: 12 pm at The Overture Center Playhouse | Shown through a contemporary lens, a variety of dance styles, and a musical score that moves beyond Tchaikovsky, Cracked: The Nutcracker Untold is sure to bring joy and sparkle to this holiday season! Tickets needed

December 16 & 17: Dance Wisconsin’s The Nutcracker: Wisconsin Union Theater | Family Friendly event that is a classic holiday tradition. Join Dance Wisconsin, the Dance Wisconsin Orchestra and the Monona Grove High School Singers for an enchanting performance. See website for times and tickets. 

Wednesday, December 20Mini Sprouts Culinary Class: Snow Delicious: 9:30-10:30 am at Festival Foods | 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 frosty fun recipes and read “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?” by Bill Martin Jr./ Eric Carle! 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 2-7. $16

Friday, December 22: Handmade Holiday Gifts: 9 am – 12 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!

Friday, December 22: Cooking 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!

Wednesday, December 27: Holiday Thank You Card Workshop: 9 am – 12 pm at DreamBank | The gifts are unwrapped, the festivities are winding down, and it’s the perfect time to teach kids about the importance of gratitude. In this workshop we inspire kids to use their written and artistic skills to create heartfelt thank you notes.

Wednesday, December 27: 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 27-29: Winter Vacation Camp: Henry Vilas Zoo | It’s time to leave your den and come enjoy ours! When winter arrives at the Henry Vilas Zoo, our animals stay cozy and so will you. All of our programs include a mix of time spent exploring the outdoors and experiences in our warm, indoor spaces. Come for a morning or afternoon session, or stay all day. Camps vary by day, but are built around a theme for the week. All of our camps include unique animal experiences that you can’t find anywhere else in town! We offer flexible sign up options to fit your schedule. If you sign up for all three days (either mornings, afternoons, or all day) you’ll receive a discount. And zoo members receive an additional discount on all our sessions! See website for full details.

Thursday, December 28: 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.

Thursday, December 28: Bricks 4 Kidz: 1-4 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!

Friday, December 29: I’m Board Games and Family Fun: 9 am – 12 pm | Dreaming of spending more time with friends and family? Board games are just the tool to help. Middleton business, I’m Board! Games and Family Fun will be here to help you unplug, interact and reconnect with a variety of games for you and your family to try. Stop in and see what all the fun is about!

Friday, December 29: Goal Setting for 2018: 1-4 pm at DreamBank | Start 2018 with connected purpose by setting and achieving goals as a family! Use your family’s creativity as you come up with your own household bucket list of goals for the year. You’ll make an actual “bucket list” and work through goal-setting worksheets together as a family.

Saturday, December 30: New Year’s Eve DreamBank Style: 9:30 am – 12 pm at DreamBank | Who’s excited for 2018?! 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.

Sunday, December 31: My Family Eve: Various Locations and Times | This popular family New Year’s Eve celebration started 26 years ago as “Firstar Eve.” Thousands of people attended the event over the years at area YMCA locations, ice skating rinks, the Barrymore Theatre, Madison Children’s Museum, State Historical Society, and even around the Capitol Square with horse-drawn hay rides. See website for locations, times & tickets. 

Ongoing Holiday Events:

Holiday Fantasy in Lights – November 18th – January 2nd at Olin Park. The lights go on each evening at 4 pm through January 2nd at Olin Park. Free Admission.

Santa’s Coming to Hilldale – December 1st – 24th, times vary. Santa will be giving out a small gift during this complimentary meet-and-greet, and will pose for photos – taken by you – with your kiddos! We hope you’ll join us in the Macy’s Atrium during the below dates and times this holiday season! Please note that Santa will be sneaking away to feed his reindeer from 2PM-3PM each day, and so will be unavailable for photos at that time.

Zoo Lights – November 24th – December 31st at the Henry Vilas Zoo. 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. See website for times.

Holiday Tours at the Governor’s Mansion – December 2nd, 6th, 7th, 9th, 13th, 14th, times vary. Visit and tour the beautiful executive residence while it is decked out for Christmas. They offer holiday open house tours, free of admission, featuring views of the main rooms on the first floor.

Olbrich’s Holiday Express – December 2nd-31st. 10 am – 4 pm daily (closes at 2 pm on December 24th, closed all day on December 25th) at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Olbrich’s atrium is transformed into a winter wonderland, with large-scale model trains winding through colorful candy theme display and hundreds of bright poinsettias.

The Little Match Girl – PlayTime Productions’ cast of actors ages 8-15 is bringing Hans Christian Andersen’s touching tale, The Little Match Girl to life at 15 venues in Madison and around Dane County. Performing at places such as The Barrymore Theater, Stoughton Opera House, Overture Center for the Arts, and more, PlayTime Productions keeps shows accessible by embracing audiences with young children, and keeping prices free to very low. A donation of $3-4 is suggested at most venues.

A Christmas Carol – December 9-23 at The Capitol Theater. Madison’s best holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol is also CTM’s grandest production of the year. It’s a mark-it-on-the-calendar and get-a-little-dressed-up kind of date. The elegant Capitol Theater transports us back in time to Victorian England for a wild seasonal ride. Take the journey with Scrooge from curmudgeonly miser to all-around good guy. Music, dancing, and plenty of Bah Humbug! Featuring David Daniel from American Players Theatre as Ebenezer Scrooge. See website for tickets and times. 

Madison Ballet Nutcracker –  December 9-26 at Overture Hall. Madison Ballet helps to ring in the holiday season with this timeless story filled with some of literature’s most treasured characters. See website for times and tickets. 

Ongoing Music/Movies:

Casey Day – 9-10 am most Saturdays at The Cargo Bike Shop, Willy St.  Join us at The Cargo Bike Shop for an hour of fun music, dancing and singing. Most Saturdays from 9am to 10am. Fun for all ages, whether it’s shaking your booty to Baby Beluga and other Casey Day favorites, or enjoying some Cafe Domestique coffee and a treat from Batch Bakehouse or Underground Food Collective.

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.


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.

Barnes & Noble East Towne – Various themed storytimes. See website for schedule. 

Barnes & Noble West Towne – Various themed storytimes. See website for schedule.

Ongoing Playgroups & Parent Groups:

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.

Hike It Baby – Hike It Baby wants to inspire your family to get outside and explore! Hike It Baby is a volunteer run parents group that hosts trail hikes, park & plays, urban strolls, toddler trail wanders and more. See the website or Facebook page for more information. This is a recurring coffee stroller walk at the zoo starting from Zuzu cafe every week on Tuesday at 11am.

Saturday 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.
Saturdays, 10:30- Noon, Sept 9, Oct 14, Nov 11, Dec 9, Jan 13, Feb 10, March 10, April 14, and May 12
6033 Odana Road, Madison, WI 53719. Bring your friends! Everyone is welcome at this free, fun event.

Little Learners – What? Educational play-dates with your little ones. Sessions include story time, music, art, sensory bins, and a snack. Who? Children ages 0 – 5 with their parents or caregivers. When? 10am – 11am on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of every month. Where? Our Redeemer Lutheran Church Community Room. Cost? $5 per family/session. Payment can be made when you register or on the day of the session

Lodi Moms’ Group Meet-up – We meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month from 9:30 to 11:00/11:30 at Lake Wisconsin E Free Church in Lodi. There is childcare for pre-school children for the first half while we meet together for a time of connection and study. Then we all go upstairs to play together in the big multi-purpose room. In the summer we have been meeting in parks to play. 

Babywearing Meetings – Come join us to learn about babywearing, connect with other caregivers, and bond with your little ones. Bring your own carriers, or learn with ours. Our meetings are always FREE and open to the public! BWI-Madison Meetings are really helpful for learning about safety and new techniques, trying on a wide variety of carriers, and getting personalized guidance from accredited Volunteer Babywearing Educators (VBEs). Plus, you’ll meet some really nice people, and the meetings are super kid-friendly! Become a member and check out a different carrier each month from our lending library of over 150 carriers!

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!

Other Ongoing Activities/Events:

Kids in the Rotunda – From award-winning folk singers and zany jugglers, to friendly furry animals and traditional Indian dancing, our popular Kids in the Rotunda series for families is sure to engage, educate and entertain your whole family. Enjoy a diverse lineup of local, regional and national performers selected exclusively for children ages nine and younger and their families.

Kid’s Herpetological Society Meeting – The general meetings typically occur on the second Friday nights from 7-10 pm at the Clark Street Community School in Middleton. A Kid’s Herpetological Society meets for an hour before regular meetings from 7-8 pm. See website for details and schedule. 

Open Art Studio – 12:30-2:30 Monthly on the First Wednesday at The Seventeenth Radish. Come and join us the first Wednesday of every month at either our Verona or Waunakee location. Students will have the opportunity to enjoy art without limits. A variety of art materials will be available to use to create works based on the weekly book. This kid-only drop off event is hosted the first Wednesday every month. Advance registration is required as spaces are limited.

Afterschool Expeditions – Afterschool Expeditions is a free program for students in grades K-8 to explore, engage and discover science from UW–Madison and the Morgridge Institute for Research with structured hands-on activities. This program takes place during the fall and spring semesters. TO REGISTER: You pick your adventure! The registration page will have different activity options for each date. You may select only ONE rotation plan per date. This lets us know which two activities you will be participating in when you come.

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

KEVA Open Play – Youth Open Play at KEVA Sports Center. Mondays/Tuesdays/Thursdays 9:30-1. Lots of indoor activities set up for toddlers.  Drop in fee accepted or free with a KEVA membership. Begins September 5th.

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.

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].

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!

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.

Eastern Holistic Health For Families – 11:00am – 12:00pm third Saturdays at Tao Sangha Center. Fee: $8-10 per parent/child pair. Learn and practice how to make our energy and heart positive and strong through fun holistic practices including yoga, family shiatsu healing and Buddhist meditations. Everyone welcome, no experience necessary. RSVP Tao Sangha Healing Center, 2330 Willard Ave, Madison. 608-257-4663 or [email protected] TaoSangha-na.com.

Meditation for Kids and Families –  Kadampa Meditation Center of Madison – On Sunday mornings from 10-11:15, we offer Mindful Living: Prayers for World Peace in the main meditation room and Dharma for Kids in the kid’s meditation room. Dharma for Kids is suitable for kids ages 4-10. Older children and teens are welcome to attend the teaching with their parents, and parents with toddlers younger than four can stay with their children to participate in kids class together. Cost: $5/Adult and $1/child over 4.

Calendar of Events for Libraries, Open Play Areas, and Open Swim

Madison Central
Alicia Ashman
Goodman South
Hawthorne Library 
Lakeview Library
Meadowridge Library
Monroe Street Library
Pinney Library
Sequoya Library
Rosemary Garfoot Library-Cross Plains
Fitchburg Library
McFarland Library
Middleton Library
Monona Library
Sauk City Public Library
Stoughton Library
Sun Prairie Library
Verona Library
Waunakee Library

Open Play/Jump
Open Swim
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