Anyone raising tiny humans knows that keeping your children cooped up inside your home all day is setting a collision course for a disaster in the form of a full-blown meltdown. It is the human equivalent of filling a water balloon until it’s just a little too full. You know it’s just a matter of time until it explodes, and the result will not be pretty for anyone within a 30-foot radius. Therefore, it is imperative for them, and you, to venture outside at least once per day. This must be done even in the winter months in order to give everyone a little change of scenery. While there is plenty to do in our area with children of all ages, here are a few ideas to get your family of littler ones out of the house during the cooler days of winter. It is by no means all-inclusive and there are many more things in our community to do with small children, but these are some of our family’s “go to” activities when the temperature outside is slightly less than balmy.
When I was a child, there were two options for sleds – the old school toboggan or the state-of-the-art disc sled. Now, walking into the sled section at any sporting goods store is a bit overwhelming. However, with all the new types of sleds out there, even my 10-month old can go for a ride without me fearing she will fall out…unless the 3-year old pushes her anyway. While some days are a bit too brisk to be outside for more than a few minutes, most days are very conducive to taking the tiny humans in our lives for a quick sledding trip. Both Fargo and West Fargo have designated sledding hills which makes this activity easily attainable. Attainable, at least, if you can get over the fact that it will take just as much time, if not more, to dress the children in their winter gear as it will to actually go sledding.
West Fargo Sledding
- Maplewood Park: 1504 17th Ave. E.
- Rivers Bend Park: 2548 1st St. E.
- Rendezvous Park: 1055 32nd Ave. W
- Elmwood Park: 500 13th Ave. W.
- Goldenwood Park: 1330 5th St. NW
- West River Park: 214 37th Ave. E.
Sometimes getting out of the house is all that you need. Other times, you may need to get your babies moving in order to wear off some of the seemingly inexhaustible energy children seem to conjure out of thin air. In this case, indoor playgrounds can be an amazing adventure. If the thought of sending your tiny tot into a maze of tunnels, climbing walls and slides gives you a slight case of anxiety, never fear. Most of these have designated areas for even the littlest people. For less cost than a Starbucks coffee, these places can result in at least an hour of fun, and let’s face it, that’s about the maximum length of most children’s attention spans who are under the age of five.
- Courts Plus Playground: 3491 S. University Drive, Fargo
- West Acres Mall Recess West: 3902 13th Ave. South, Fargo
- Various Fast Food Restaurants: Think of all the Burger Kings and McDonalds you drive by in a day. Chances are at least one of these has an indoor playground. Plus, you get the added bonus of not having to think about what to cook for dinner.
If being unable to keep a visual on your munchkin as they navigate the tunnels at an indoor playground is just too overwhelming, Sky Zone might be just the ticket. Between the basic trampolines and the all too alluring foam block pit, there is zero chance your kid will leave here and not take a long nap later that day. They even have designated Toddler Time three days each week to ensure your tot isn’t jumping next to someone four times their size.
Most Sundays, after sitting quietly through church (said with the slightest hint, okay a lot, of sarcasm), our children are rewarded for their good behavior with a trip to the pool. We have a membership at Family Wellness and love their zero-depth entry section for our 10-month old and their mini slide for our 3-year old. Even when it is frigid outside, splashing in the water for an hour or so is fun for all of us. Even if you aren’t a member, both Family Wellness and the Fercho YMCA downtown offer inexpensive day passes. Both the Southside Indoor Pool located at Fargo South High School, Minnesota State University Moorhead and L.E. Berger Elementary in West Fargo offer hours of public open swim. Likewise, some area hotels that have indoor pools and waterslides will offer non-guest rates to use their amenities.
- Family Wellness: 2960 Seter Parkway, Fargo
- YMCA Downtown: 400 1st Ave. South, Fargo
- Southside Indoor Pool: 1840 15th Ave. South, Fargo
- Various Hotels: make sure you call ahead to ensure they allow the public to access their pools. Some do while others reserve that space for hotel guests only.
- L.E. Berger Elementary: 631 4th Ave. East, West Fargo
- MSUM: 649 17th Street South, Moorhead
While the activities listed above are staples in our weekend repertoire, there is plenty more to see and do in our community with the littles in your life. From the ferris wheel inside Scheels to the Children’s Museum at Yunker Farm to simply a quick trip to Hornbachers to zip around the deli section in one of the shopping carts shaped like a car (did you know they give away free cheese, donuts and bread pieces), there is truly something out there that will keep your tiny human entertained during the cool days of winter.