Category Archives: Children’s activities

It’s Autumn!

For us, summer doesn’t officially end until October hits. We try to hang on to it as long as possible. Whether it’s because we want to take that one last trip to the lake, taste that one last tomato from the garden or take one last run through the sprinklers, we just can’t seem to let go easily.

That being said, it’s now October, and in our family, officially fall and the holiday season. We embrace this to its fullest.

One of the most enjoyable experiences of being a parent is reliving holidays with the eyes and excitement of children. And one of my favorite things about the holidays is sharing experiences. It’s really just beginning for us. Last year was the first time Nathaniel understood there was celebrating to be done. We start with Halloween (arguably his favorite of them all, because this kid loves candy – more than cake, more than pop, more than chips and cookies).

He’s excited about the light-up ghost we sit on the porch, the “fodder shock” we set up in the front yard, the window clings and plastic pumpkins (to fill with candy, of course). The giddiness you hear in his non-stop chatter when he is able to pick out pumpkins and gourds — for decoration and carving — is catching.

Just like feeling the chill of the crisp autumn breeze, it’s difficult not to be touched by his excitement.

Nathaniel excited for fall!

Nathaniel excited for fall!

Of course there’s always the traditional pumpkin carving, and we will probably bake some cutout cookies – if I’m up to the mess!

Yes, this time of year gets hectic – with the extra activities and meals and shopping. And, by the end of December I’ll be more than happy to let the holidays go and move on to the new year, with new goals. But right now, it’s time to make memories with my family and get caught up in the sweet spirit of a 4 year old boy who is just looking for the next new experience to jump into, head first, candy wrappers and all.

Some suggestions on enjoying October:

Use holidays for teachable activities. It’s a lot more fun learning about the color orange when you can cut out a pumpkin, or learning about the letter “F” when you can finger paint a tree with different colored leaves falling to the ground.

Looking for a fun activity for your smallest ghosts and goblins? Try the Un-haunted Halloween Happenings at Deming Park in Terre Haute. This year they’re on Oct. 11 and 12.

Want a more relaxed, one-on-one experience with your kids? Another one of my favorite activities is going on a nature hike. This time of year, it’s especially rewarding. With the leaves changing colors and falling to the ground, there’s so much to experience, so much to learn. I’ve promised Nathaniel we will start a leaf collection this year.

Want to take a drive? Corn mazes and pumpkin patches dot the Wabash Valley landscape this time of year. Pumpkin Works near Paris, Ill., and Hobson’s Fun Farms in Parke County, Indiana, are a couple of the more popular sites. Find more farms here.

For those times when the weather isn’t ideal for leaf collecting and getting lost in a corn maze, check out all the kid-friendly activities the Vigo County Public Library offers. This library is truly an asset in the community, and it amazes me all the (free!) activities it offers. Below is a list of fall story times. For more information on other family friendly and kid-based activities – and there are many – visit the library’s website. Or, to register for story times (some require it) call 812-232-1115.

Mother Goose on the Loose
When: 10 to 10:30 a.m. (ages 0-2); 11 to 11:30 a.m. (ages 3-5) one Thursday a month. This month’s Mother Goose on the Loose is Oct. 3.
Details: This is an interactive story time for children and their caregivers that includes a story, songs, rhymes, musical instruments and more.
Baby Bookworms (ages 0-17 months)
When: 10 to 10:45 a.m. Wednesdays
Details: Nursery rhymes, finger plays, stories and more.
A World of Adventure (ages 3–5)
When: 10 to 10:45 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Details: Music, stories, finger-plays and more.
Toddler Tales (18–36 months)
When: 11 to 11:45 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Details: Fun, interactive stories and songs
Music Makers Storytime (ages 0 to 5)
When: 10 to 10:30 a.m. Fridays
Details: This program is filled with movement, instruments, and rhyming finger-plays.

Also, head to the library dressed in costume and receive a free book from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 from the Friends of the Library. After you get your book, decorate your own monster face cupcake, enjoy a Halloween story time and participate in games and activities.

Or, why not add some science to Halloween? Learn about bones, bodies and brains at the Terre Haute Children’s Museum in October. Tot Time is at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 8 and 22. Family Friday events are from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 11, 18 and 25 and a special Healthy Halloween Hoedown is planned for 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 26. Keep up to date here.

It always surprises me how I am ready for the next season, no matter what that might be. It’s like a natural progression. Maybe it’s been ingrained in me from the start. When the time comes I’m ready for the leaves to change and for ghosts and goblins and pumpkins. How could anyone tire of this season? But by Thanksgiving I’m craving Christmas and by Christmas I’m ready for January, and a new year of resolutions. For now though, I’m going to relish in this season, and share in the wonder of my children.

Wet and Wild at the Library

All ages are invited to get wet Monday during a Water Show on the Vigo County Public Library’s lawn (off Walnut Street). The show begins at 3 p.m. No registration is required and a dry zone will be available. The show promises to be “full of magic, laughter and audience participation.”

It’s part of the library’s kickoff to its “Dig Into Reading” summer program.

To sign up for the summer reading club go online. Registration began on June 1 and will continue until July 13. Also, download and print a reading log. There’s one for kids and one for teens. Call 812-232-1115 for more info.

The “Dig Into Reading” program also offers special events, including Dig Into Magic with PJ Weber, Dig Into Books, Dig Into Science and more.

The library offers a long list of free activities each month, many geared toward children and teens.

Don’t miss story time. This activity is for ages 0 to 8.

Summer Story Times

Ages 3-8
Time: 10 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays
Dates: June 12, 19 and 26; July 3 and 17

Baby Book Worms (0-17 months)
Time: 10 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays
Dates: June 12, 19 and 26; July 3 and 17
Details: Lap-sit story time offers story, music and movement

Toddler Tales (18-36 months)
Time: 11 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays
Dates: June 12, 19 and 26; July 3 and 17
Details: Toddlers and their caregiver are invited to join together for stories, music, finger plays and fun.

Activities for teens include the Teen Beach Bash, gaming fun, Tye-Dye ‘Til You Drop, chess club and more. Visit the library’s website for more information.

The library is at Seventh and Poplar streets in downtown Terre Haute. Call 812-232-1113.

Lots to offer: Terre Haute Children’s Museum

The Terre Haute Children’s Museum is a must-visit for families who live in and around the Wabash Valley. If you haven’t been, check it out soon.

The original Terre Haute Children’s Museum opened its doors in 1988 in the basement of the Central Christian Church. In September of 2010 it opened its new, 3-level location at the corner of 8th and Wabash in downtown.

I must admit, I’ve only visited one other children’s museum so far — the Chicago Children’s Museum when Nathaniel was just 18 months old. I’m not just saying this to promote our town, but I believe the Terre Haute museum has a better variety of exhibits. And of course, it’s more affordable. Don’t get me wrong; our visit to the Chicago museum was enjoyable. But in all honesty, this museum is much more impressive. And to have an attraction of this magnitude in Terre Haute is something to be proud of.

The museum offers a number of special activities and events, including Tot Tuesdays. The events are for ages 2-5 and take place at 10:30 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Tot Tuesdays are educational with hands-on activities and story time. They do require advanced registration. Register here. Transportation is the theme during the month of June. The June 11 Tot Time will explore planes, and on June 25 learn about trains.

The museum stays open late (5 to 7 p.m.) for Family Fridays on select Fridays of the month. “Things that Fly” (June 14), “Rubber Band Cars” (June 21) and “Game Night” (June 28) are the themes for this month.

Additional activities include a performance by the Terre Haute Community Band on June 15. Train day is June 29 and Soybean Sunday is June 30.

There’s a Science Store, and if you get hungry, Louise’s Downtown Café is located in the museum.

Also dads, don’t miss out! You can get in free on Father’s Day with a paid child’s admission.

There’s still time to check out the museum’s summer camp offerings for kids. For more information visit the museum’s website.

Admission for ages 2 and up: $7.
Children under 24 months get in free.
A one-year membership to the museum is $75. A family membership for two adults and all children of the same household is $125 (a grandparents membership is the same).

A membership offers unlimited free admission for one year; discounts on parties, facility rentals, workshops and special events, 10% off purchases in the Science Store; access to “member’s only” events; and best of all, free admission to 280+ other museums across the nation! That list includes the world-class Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. For a list of those venues contact the Children’s Museum at 812-235-5548.