Fend Off the Cold

Keep your kiddos engaged all winter long 
with these fun activities

It’s cold outside and has been for a while. And not that autumn or spring, bundle-up-and-you-barely-notice-it kind of cold. No, this is the windy/wet cold that seeps under our clothes and becomes a nagging companion especially after working up a sweat. Taking the kiddo to the playground just doesn’t sound that fun. And my two-year-old has dumped all of his blocks on the living room floor and is running the length of the house yelling, “I’m running fast.” His attention for this activity soon wanes, and he begins running circles. The combination of tripping hazards, stocking feet, and dizzy toddler motor skills has me wracking my brain: What else can we do? 

Yes, there’s wonderful skiing and snowboarding and snowshoeing. But for something a little different, try these fun options out…with a few classics mixed in.

Arts & Literature

The Missoula Art Museum offers art classes for families, teens, and kids. Family classes are from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays and are FREE! They fill up quickly so be sure to get there early to claim one of 15 spots. Visit their calendar to see more details and learn what exhibits you can view after your class.

From the Saturday matinee to Lego Club, the Missoula Public Library offers a variety of fun opportunities beyond your basic library expectations. And while you’re at it, check out books, music, and movies to bring home. Nothing like a big stack of books to fend off the cold.

The Zootown Arts Community Center offers many ways to nurture your family’s artistic side. From exhibits to classes to DIY studios, you can both create and shop local. Check out one of their craft classes, or paint pottery. Once you have taken a glass fusing class you can return and use the space at open times all by yourself. Local artists display their art, and the ZACC is constantly working on ways to stay engaged with the community.

Entertainment

Got a budding actor in the house? Or just looking for something creative on a day off from school? Check out “Play in a Day” at the Missoula Children’s Theatre on Monday, February 20; Friday, March 17; and Monday, April 24 when students rehearse and perform a small musical in just one day. Open to school-aged kids grades K-12. Camp is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the performance at 5:30.

Located in downtown Missoula, Taste Buds Kitchen offers an array of cooking classes for you and your child—or your child alone. From sweet to savory, from ages 2 to teen, options abound. Got a winter birthday party to plan? Let Taste Buds entertain all those little monsters. And who knows, maybe you’ll like it so much you’ll plan a date night for one of their BYOB adult classes.

Science & Nature

If you haven’t already visited the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation exhibit, you must! The fun interactive displays and taxidermy animals are an eye-opener for kids (and adults) of all ages. There’s always more to learn about our rocky mountain wildlife, and this is the place to do it. Prepare for summertime houseguests by familiarizing yourself with this Missoula gem.

Check out the exhibits at the Montana Natural History Center, where you can learn about Montana’s natural wonders while connecting with the community through this friendly, educational, and artistic environment.

Not only does the Families First Children’s Museum have loads of fun activities for little hands and minds, they also have a calendar of events. Yearly family memberships are just $75, and can even be paid in monthly installments. And grandparent memberships are just $50 a year!

Sports & Leisure

Going a little stir crazy? Need to burn off some steam (or those holiday cookies)? There are many opportunities to be playful about exercise in Missoula. Go ice skating at the Glacier Ice Rink, or make like a fish at Currents Aquatic Center. Preschool kids might enjoy Preschool Playgroup at Roots Acro Sports Center, where 5- to 12-year-olds can also participate in Trampoline Jam. And don’t forget about the YMCA! Family Fun Time on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Y offers fun activities (even a bounce house!) for kids while parents connect with one another or join in the tumbling fun. Always wanted to try a martial art? Check out Missoula Taekwondo Center for a free class with no further obligation. You might want to try their eight-week Introductory Package for new students—it’s a great deal and includes the uniform.

Don’t forget to support your Griz and Lady Griz basketball teams. Go to a home game for a rousing good time. Check out the schedule at GoGriz.com/schedule for games now through March.

Volunteer!

And for the ultimate family winter warming experience, volunteer your time in support of the Missoula community. Check out VolunteerMissoula.org, where you can see area volunteer opportunities and sign up.