It may be cold outside, but no there’s no need to stay cooped up: here are some flexible options for indoor fun with the kids in Darien that are free, pay-per-visit or don’t require membership.
1) Tumblebees /Open Gym at the Darien YMCA — Mondays 10:50am to 11:45am; Monday thru Friday 12:00pm – 12:45 pm. Fees: Member, $10; Non-member: $15. Ages: 1 to 5 yrs old, with parent or caregiver. This is a fabulous 45 minutes of semi-structured, high energy antics for the littles. Between the energizing music and colorful, expansive, fully-padded, state-of-the-art play/tumble/bounce and swing equipment, the kids are delighted, exhausted, strengthened and enriched. There is no requirement for uniforms, loose clothing is fine — AND (pedicure alert!) no socks allowed, for kids, or parents! Membership is not required, but pre-payment via online registration is requested. Buy a 10-pack, you’ll be glad you did!
2) Open Studio at JAM (Junior Arts & Music) — Tuesdays 12:00pm-5:00pm, Fridays 12:00pm – 3:00pm. Fees: $25/hour first child, $20/hr for sibs – all inclusive. All ages, with parent or caregiver. A super fun way to make an artistic mess with your little one(s) — to read my review, click here.
3) Open Skating at the Darien Ice Rink (seasonal) — please call for hours. Skate rentals available for kids and adults. GREAT pizza at the snack bar (Behind the Net)!
4) Drop-in Storytime at Barrett Bookstore (beginning February 4, 2015).
- WEDNESDAYS, 4:00 to 4:30pm — Reading with Riley & Waffles (storytime for ages 4-7)
- THURSDAYS at 10:00 to 10:30am — Preschool Storytime (ages 18 months to 3 yrs with Caregiver)
5) Drop-in Storytime at the Darien Library — there’s something for little ones of any age at the Library. If you haven’t yet visited the Children’s section, your toddlers and preschoolers are missing out on puzzles and other fun literacy-building toys, as well as a big room where they can socialize with one another and/or lounge in pint-sized stuffed chairs and read (or stack, or wave around) board books … and your elementary-aged kids are missing out on a computer lab designated specifically for learning and literacy games. Check out their calendar of Kids Events here — everything that doesn’t say “Registered” next to it is drop-in.
5) Mom’s Morning In — Every other Friday, 10:00am. Fee: $10 per child, exceptions for special events. Open to toddlers and pre-schoolers, with parents or caregiver. Every week between September and May, this program offers an activity or entertainer to engage little ones — ranging from Mommy & Me Zumbatronics to magicians, pupeteers, and more — as well as organized field trips, like a tour of the Darien Police Station, and holiday activities, most notably the annual Halloween Parade and Easter Egg Hunt. Click here for the schedule.
6) Darien Nature Center — Adjacent to Cherry Lawn Park, the Nature Center offers an indoor habitat that houses a variety of exciting creatures, ranging from box turtles to floppy-eared bunnies and an owl. You can call ahead for feeding times, which would make the visit even more informative — or simply plan to let your little one ogle into the cages of the animals. It will take up about 15 minutes of time, but sometimes that’s all you need to fill in between drop-offs and pick-ups!
7) Green Moon Studio in Rowayton offers drop in open studio time in their retail room on Mondays to Fridays from 9 am to 6 pm (this is in addition to whatever workshops or classes are going on in the studio space and which generally require pre-registration). While you’re there, pick up some of their art projects to go to take home with you (once you try their rainbow dough set, you’ll have a hard time going back to Play-Doh!).
SEE ALSO: our Guide to Indoor Winter Activities