A Madison Mom’s Guide to January 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 Madison. Here are this month’s “need to know” activities.

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

The Mombassadors for our Neighborhood Groups organize monthly meet-ups so be sure to join the Facebook group for your area! Here is a listing of neighborhood events that have been scheduled. 

January 15th: Family Triva & Snack Potluck | Middleton Public Library
January 23rd: KEVA Sports Open Play Playdate 10 am – 12 pm
January 23rd: Sun Prairie Group Playdate | 9 am – 1 pm at Prairie Kids Club
January 30th: West Madison Group Meet-Up | 9:30-11 am at Yola’s Cafe
February 1: Moms Night Out | 5:30-7:30 pm at Toot & Kate’s Winebar
February 3: Friday Morning Tuvalu Playdate 8:30-10 am

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!


January 2: Black Hole Exploration: 12-1 pm at the Madison Children’s Museum | Try your hand at a maze of a black hole, see if you get lost, or if you can best it and come out the other end! Free with museum admission.

January 2: Space Sailer: 3-4 pm at the Madison Children’s Museum | Stop by the Tinkerer’s Table to celebrate National Science Fiction day by crafting your own space-worthy ship! Will you make a classic rocket ship, an x-wing fighter, a firefly, a millennium falcon, the heart of gold, a starbug, moya, or create a brand new design? Free with museum admission.

January 4: 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.

January 7Saturday Science: Adaptation & Survival: 10 am – 12 pm at the Discovery Center | Become a survival superhero during this free event held on the first Saturday of every month! Journey through Earth’s history, observe life in the extreme, explore plant and animal adaptations and discover why different types of plants and animals live in different places. This event is free and open to the public. It features interactive exploration stations for kids and families.

January 7Board Game Extravaganza with I’m Board! Games and Family Fun: 9:30 am – 12 pm at DreamBank | 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!

January 7 & 14th: Kids in the Kitchen: 10-11 am at Hy-Vee Fitchburg | During this class, kids ages 4-9 years will have fun making a variety of healthy snacks and treats, taste new foods, and put the food groups into practice. **Classes during each month are the same. Please register for the class that best fits your schedule.**

January 7Clifford’s Good Deeds and Clifford the Big Red Dog Storytime: 11 am at Barnes & Noble East Towne and West Towne | For this fun, classic Storytime, young readers are invited into the happy world of Clifford the Big Red Dog and his friends. We will read favorites Clifford’s Good Deeds and Clifford the Big Red Dog. Activities and coloring to follow. 

January 8: Verona Family Fitness Day: 10-11 am at the Verona Fitness Studio | Join kids’ yoga instructor Julia Cremin and personal trainer Kim Krueger for a morning of family fitness at the Verona Fitness Studio! Kids will enjoy a playful 45-minute zoo-themed yoga class with Julia, while moms participate in a strength circuit workout with Kim in the adjacent room. *The kids will practice basic yoga poses, sequences and meditation in a fun and creative atmosphere that combines movement with breathing and relaxation. *Moms will rotate through 8 strength-focused exercise stations, using a variety of equipment in a full-body workout. Workouts are casual and work-at-your-own-pace, and can be easily adjusted for ANY fitness level. After class, we’ll all reconvene to stretch and give the kids a chance to show off their new moves! Admission: $20 per family. Each child will go home with an animal-tastic goody bag! Best for kids ages 4-8. Space is very limited! Get your tickets asap.

January 9: Kids Cooking Class: 4:30-6 pm at Hy-Vee on Whitney Way, Madison | Fun in the Hy-Vee cooking classroom for 9- to 12-year olds. This is a hands-on cooking class where your child will learn how to follow recipes, work with different ingredients and taste new foods. $10/child. Register online.

January 12Mini Sprouts Culinary Class: Polar Bear Fun: 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 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 2-6. Early Bird Pricing $13 till Jan. 3rd.

January 13: SwimWest Playgroup:9-11 am at SwimWest, Deming Way Location | Bring your friends and make some new ones! $5 per household family.  9-11 Open swim for children and care providers. 9:30 and 10:30 Learn CPR from a certified instructor. Car seat safety information. Healthy snacks will be provided.
January 13El Día de los Tres Reyes: 4-6 pm at Centro Hispano | This traditional “3 Kings’ Day” celebration is a community favorite! The event is held at Centro Hispano for hundreds of children and their families (400+). As part of the event we give out gifts to the children, hold a raffle and provide traditional pastries and hot chocolate to the attendees.
January 14January Kiddo Crafty Event Benefiting Box of Balloons: 10 am – 12 pm at The Crafty Project | Join us for our monthly kiddo crafty event! No signup needed, just drop in with your kiddos and get crafty with us! This month our Kids event we are excited to be supporting Box of Balloons! We’ll be making inspiration signs, over 10 designs to choose from plus a new Family Handprint Signs which are perfect for the younger crafters. Parents feel free to create with your kids, it will be a great crafty event supporting a wonderful local child focused non profit. More info and to RSVP at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1800586476881323/
January 14How Do Dinosaurs Choose Their Pets? Storytime: 11 am at Barnes & Noble East Towne and West Towne | Perfect for every child who has ever loved or yearned for a pet, this uproarious new book delights readers of all ages as they peek into the mischievous world of Jane Yolen and Mark Teague’s bestselling ‘How Do Dinosaurs…’ series. Join us for a fun-filled Storytime featuring How Do Dinosaurs Choose Their Pets? 
January 14: Orchard Ridge Nursery School Open House: 10 am – 12 pm at Orchard Ridge Nursery School | Orchard Ridge Nursery School on Madison’€™s west side is hosting its annual Open House for new families on Saturday, January 14 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Tour the school, meet the staff and learn more about ORNS’€™ award-winning play-based curriculum which includes music, yoga and science education.
January 14: New Morning Nursery School Open House: 10 am – 12 pm at New Morning Nursery School | New Morning Nursery School was organized as a non-profit, parent cooperative school in 1972. We offer half-day programs for children ages 2-6 years of age including MMSD 4K Program. We believe that children learn best through play. Our child-centered programs balance the needs and developmental levels of each individual child and group of children, and we’ll work with each child during every stage of growth, from separation worries and potty learning to social interactions and pre-literacy. Lunch and summer programs available.
January 143rd Annual Outdoor Skate with the Wisconsin Men’s Hockey Team: 1-2 pm at The Edgewater | Skating, autographs and photo opportunities will be available and admission is free for all ages. Skate rental is available through The Ice Rink at The Edgewater for a fee. Fans can continue the fun over at the Kohl Center to watch the Wisconsin women’s hockey team Fill the Bowl against St. Cloud State.
January 14: Brown Bear, Brown Bear & Other Treasured Stories: 11 am – 12:30 pm at the Overture Center | Madison family favorite Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia returns with their own magical interpretation of the beloved stories of Eric Carle. The iconic illustrations from “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?,” “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” and “Papa, Please Get Me the Moon” come to life thanks to innovative, captivating puppetry unlike any other.
January 15Meeting House Nursery School Open House: 3-4:30 pm | Join us for our enrollment open house for families interested in Meeting House Nursery School! Your family is invited to come to school to play in the classrooms, meet the teachers, and ask questions about our play based curriculum. Registration materials will be available.
January 16100 Days of Kindness Kickoff: 10 am – 4 pm at the Madison Children’s Museum | Join MCM’s “100 Days of Kindness” in celebration of the new year and in honor of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Today, we launch the initiative with three programs: Little Stories of Kindness (10 a.m.), Match Girl Project (noon) and Message the World (3 p.m.). Free with museum admission.
January 18Mini Sprouts Culinary Class: Penguin Party: 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 recipe and read “Where is Home Little Pip” 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. 
January 18-21: International Performing Arts for Youth Showcase: Overture Center | The IPAY Showcase is an annual conference with a focus on performing arts for young audiences to see performances and learn from networking and professional development. Select performances are FREE and available to the public with a reservation. Seating is first come; first served and availability is limited!
January 20th, 21st, 26th, 27th, 28th 7:30PM-January 22nd 2:00: Roger & Hammerstein’s South Pacific: Verona Area High School Performing Arts Center | See website to purchase tickets.
January 20-21: Monster Jam 2017: 7-9 pm at BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee | This year’s lineup will include Grave Digger driven by Pablo Huffaker, Monster Mutt driven by Kevin Crocker, Bad News Travels Fast driven by Brandon Derrow, Aftershock driven by Bob Robbins, Krazy Train driven by Lloyd Twitchell and Mechanical Mischief driven by Jim Burns*. Tickets are on sale now and start at just $15!
January 21Music 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!
January 21: Children of the Rainforest: Olbrich Botanical Gardens | The Children of the Rainforest series celebrates cultural differences in rainforest regions around the world with authentic performances of music and dance. The series offers performances for children and families and includes free admission to Olbrich’s tropical Bolz Conservatory.
January 21Nanette’s Baguette Storytime: 11 am at Barnes & Noble East Towne and West Towne | Mo Willems’ hilarious new picture book Nanette’s Baguette follows our plucky heroine on her first big solo trip to the bakery. But… will Nanette get the baguette from baker Juliette? Or will Nanette soon be beset with regret? Find out at Storytime. 
January 21: Monona Grove Nursery School Open House: 10:30 am – 1:30 pm  | Monona Grove Nursery School Open House on Saturday, January 21 from 10:30-1:30. Stop in to meet our staff & see the classrooms. Find out all about our 3 year old preschool, MMSD 4K programs and our famous Toddler Time.
January 21: Christ Memorial Preschool Open House: 9-11 am  | Join us on Saturday, January 21 from 9-11 to tour the school, meet the teachers and play with our toys.
January 21Candlelit Snowshoe Hike: 4:30-8 pm at Aldo Leopold Center | Hundreds of softly glowing lights illuminate the trails of Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Edna Taylor Conservancy and Woodland Park. Snowshoe or hike and enjoy a roaring bonfire outside and activities inside the beautiful Aldo Leopold Nature Center. This is a free event.
January 21MSCR Downhill Ski Fundraiser: 4-9 pm at Tyrol Basin | Enjoy an evening of recreational skiing at the Annual Downhill Ski Fundraiser at Tyrol Basin, Mt Horeb. Proceeds support the purchase of adapted equipment and scholarships for people with disabilities. Tickets for youth (ages 5 and older) and adults are $25, which includes ski or snowboard rentals, a helmet and the lift ticket. Use course #13212 to register at www.mscr.org or call 204-3000. Pick up tickets at Tyrol Basin, see MSCR representative in the Ski School Building, next to the ticket windows. For large group purchases, please call 204-3000.
January 21: Kids Day: 11 am & 1 pm at the High Noon Saloon | Annual family concerts by David Landau, 11 am & 1 pm, 1/21, High Noon Saloon. $5. Free root beer for any kid in cowboy boots! 
January 22Play, Grow & Read Party!: 1:30-5 pm at Monona Public Library | Drop in for fun activities for the whole family. Activities include a woodland animals photo booth, science station, literacy station, and an indoor StoryWalk ®! 4PM CritterrrMan performance.
January 22: Wingra School Open House: 10 am – 12 pm | Enjoy in-depth conversations and hands-on activities. Tour Wingra’s historic building and new addition. Each day Wingra’s nurturing and professional teachers invite kids to learn deeply, think creatively, and act compassionately. Refreshments provided. Bring the whole family! No RSVP required.
January 24Mini 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. Warm up from the frigid weather as we 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.  Early Bird Pricing $13 till Jan. 14th.
January 28: Polar Dash: 10 am – 12 pm at UnityPoint Health – Meriter – Monona Clinic | Physicians Plus and UnityPoint Health – Meriter want kids to stay active and healthy all year round. So this winter, dash with plush polar bears and win cool prizes! Visit the Bear Clinic where Meriter doctors will give your child’s favorite stuffed animal a head-to-toe check-up. Warm up inside with fun games and treats! 
January 28Sprouting Chefs: Kitchen Science: 10:30-11:45 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 some fun and healthy recipes and learn the science behind them plus read “If You Give A Dog A Donut” by Laura Numeroff! 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. 
January 28: Family Nutrition: 9:30 am – 12 pm at DreamBank | What better way to kick start the new year by helping your little one create healthy habits? Join Katie from Whole Kids Nutrition and Tara from Yummy Sprout to learn the ins and outs of healthy eating as a family. Bring the whole family and learn how to put together a nutrient-dense school lunch, try delicious snacks, take home simple recipes and much more!
January 28: Cabin Fever Square Dance & Potluck: 6:15 pm at Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center | 6:15 p.m. for Potluck; 7 p.m. the dancing begins! Join Grampa’s Elixir for a family-friendly night of fun! $7/person or $20/family.
January 28I’ll Never Let You Go Storytime: 11 am at Barnes & Noble East Town and West Towne | When you love someone, you stand by them no matter what happens. In the story I’ll Never Let You Go, we celebrate the beauty of unconditional love. Join us for Storytime and activities. 
January 28: Candlelight Snowshoe: 6:30-8:30 pm at Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park | Tour the marsh on snowshoes by candlelight. Then warm up with hot cider by the fire. Bring your own snowshoes. If there is no snow or if snow cover is light, the event will be a walk.

January 28: Fam Jam: 10 am – 4 pm at the Monona Terrace | Monona Terrace is proud to present Fam Jam – a family-fun-day featuring giant inflatable stations, face painters, and balloon artists. There are even activities for the 4 and under crowd! Enjoy the human hamster-ball races and the giant inflatable slide. Go a few rounds in the box and bounce ring, or defend your goal in the ‘Defender Dome’. The little ones can take a trip to ‘Safari Land’ or visit the ‘Fun Express Train Station’. Be sure to capture the moment with our photo booths and take a photo home as a souvenir. Don’t let cabin fever get the best of you – get your tickets today! Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Tickets: Adults $12 Advanced/ $15 Day of Event-Children (ages 2-12) $8 Advanced/ $10 Day of Event. If not sold out, tickets will be available at the event starting at 9:30 a.m.

Ongoing Activities: 

Cure Cabin Fever – Saturdays in January at the Wisconsin Historical Museum. Shake off the winter blues with these free, family-friendly, drop-in activities on Saturdays in January. Activities are geared towards ages 4-12, and all youth participants must be accompanied by an adult.

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.

Circus After School – Mondays at The Rumpus Room, Mazomanie. Circus After School with Marcia Miquelon and Jacob Mills. This is a special, after-school survey of all things circus, including aerial arts, juggling, physical comedy, tightwire, stilt walking, acrobatics, German wheel and more! $90 for 9 weeks. PARTIAL SCHOLARSHIPS are available! Drop-in enrollment is also available!

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.

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 [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!

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. 

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 

Open Play/Jump
Open Swim
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