By Rachel Hoeing
When the weather is bad, you may find yourself stuck indoors with rambunctious toddlers and preschoolers. But when you get a glimpse of a beautiful fall day in the Triad, you want to enjoy all the time outdoors that you possibly can! Whether you are a stay-at-home mom looking for some entertainment during the week, or a working mom who needs reprieve on the weekend, I hope my ideas below will keep you and your little ones entertained during the fall and winter seasons no matter what the weather. Enjoy all we have to offer in Greensboro, Burlington, Winston-Salem, High Point, Kernersville, and other surrounding areas!
As always, please add your own ideas in the comment section below!
Teach Them the Love of Reading
You can drop by bookstores and libraries any time to browse the aisles and sit on the floor to enjoy a book with your little buddy. You can also plan your visit around story times. Book stores and local libraries host preschool and toddler story times that are just long enough to keep their attention! We list many of these on our event calendar. We love the story times at Wonderland Bookshop, New Garden Friends School, Barnes & Noble stores, and Bookmarks just to name a few!
Visit each county’s library website below to see a full calendar of events and story times:
Northwestern (Stokes, Alleghany, Surry and Yadkin)
Enjoy Playgroups Together
If you are not already involved in a group, this can be an excellent idea for your children, and also for the moms. Kids get to interact with other kids their own age, and mom gets some adult time. Visit our Parent & Child Groups directory here for some ideas, or join our TMoM Chat Page and get a group together on your own! Fit4Mom is a great group that provides fitness classes and a network of moms to support every stage of motherhood. They also have playgroups a couple times each week. We also love all the local MOPS groups for mothers of preschoolers, and MOMSNext groups for moms with older kids. Kindermusik is so much fun for children and also a great place for moms to meet new friends as well. You can also check out Musikgarten!
Get Up Close and Personal with Animals
Did you know that most zoos, animal museums, and nature centers are open year round? Fall and winter can be great times to visit animals indoors and outside! Lucky for us, North Carolina has an abundance of places where you can take your little one to see the animals! Click on any venue below to visit the website and plan your trip.
Additional ideas outside of the Triad include: Aloha Safari Zoo, Carolina Raptor Center, Dan Nicholas Park, Duke Lemur Center, Grandfather Mountain, Hill Ridge Farms, Lazy 5 Ranch, North Carolina Zoo, Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium, Tiger World, Western NC Nature Center, and Zootastic Park.
Let Them Run, Jump, Swim and Play
Kids need their exercise, but when the weather doesn’t cooperate, it’s nice to have indoor facilities where they can run around and use up some energy! Swimming is not exactly something we usually think about in the winter, but there are plenty of indoor pools around where you and your child can swim. Check out the Greensboro Aquatic Center, your local YMCA, and Salem Gymnastics and Swim. In addition, many of the local Y’s also have zero-entry pools where you can walk with your toddler and can go in as deep as he/she feels comfortable.
Hanes Mall is a great place to let your kids run free. During the week there are not many crowds (hours on website here), so toddlers can easily run a few steps ahead of you without any danger. There is a choo-choo train, which runs along the upper level of the mall. There is also a carousel, and plenty of ride-on toys for them to enjoy. (Most of the time they don’t even notice if you don’t put a quarter in to start those rides!) There are also enclosed play areas for toddlers to jump and slide.
Last but not least, check out the toddler and preschool times offered at each of the following places: Air Fun Trampoline Park, Bouncin’ Around, Bumper Jumpers, Get Air, Jump-N-Fun, Rockin’ Jump Trampoline Park, Safari Nation, Sky Zone, Surge Trampoline Park, and Ten Little Monkeys.
Enjoy Arts and Crafts
Purchase a tablecloth at the dollar store and spread it out on your kitchen floor or porch outside. Check out Pinterest or our craft section on TMoM to find some fun activities to let your child enjoy.
In addition, there are great art studios in the Triad where kids of all ages (including preschoolers!) can explore their creative side. Discover some fum at The Mad Platter or ArtQuest at Greenhill Center in Greensboro, we’ve also got Hoots & Hollers and Sawtooth Center for Visual Art in Winston-Salem, and then be sure to check out Little Blank Canvas in High Point.
Sweets for the Sweet
How about taking your child to Krispy Kreme to watch donuts being made? Or pop in Dewey’s Bakery to see cakes being crafted! Did you know that kids can see how chocolate is made at Black Mountain Chocolate? Maxie B’s will sometimes post events for kids on their Facebook page, so watch for some fun there as well!
Explore Children’s Museums
We have so many fun museums close by that are specifically geared toward our youngest learners! Plan a visit to Children’s Museum of Alamance County, Greensboro Children’s Museum, Kaleideum Downtown, and Kaleideum North.
And if you have time for a day trip, check out these other museums in NC that are great for little ones: Discovery Place Kids, Fascinate You, Hands On, KidSenses Children’s Interactive Museum, Marbles Kids Museum, and NC Transportation Museum.
Visit a Pumpkin Patch
During the end of September and all of October, local Pumpkin Patches are the place to be! We’ve got plenty of spots right in the Triad Area, plus additional venues that provide day trip opportunities. Triad Moms on Main has a great Pumpkin Patch Directory for you to consult here! Our list also notes other fun things you can do at these venues such as hay rides, corn mazes, story times, and more!
Discover a New Park or Playground
Last but not least, the fall season provides many perfect days for venturing to a new playground. Even in the winter months, a visit to a park can give your kids a moment to breathe in some fresh air and enjoy the outdoors. Do you know we have over 60 local parks listed on our directory? We include descriptions, photos, info on walking trails, etc. You will never run out of new places to explore! Enjoy a day on the playground, or take a stroll on the walking trails. Pack a picnic lunch and find a shady spot under the trees. Some parks even have rides and water activities. You can view our list here to find many parks to explore!
Most importantly, HAVE FUN with your little one! Even if you spend a day at home snuggled on the couch watching movies, your child will remember time you have spent together. Be sure to sign up for TMoM’s newsletter to stay in the loop with local happenings, and check our event page here for upcoming activities.