Hidden Treasure: Safety Town in New Albany

Looking for something fun and creative that will keep little ones busy for hours at no cost to you? {I know; who isn’t!?!} Safety Town in New Albany is a wonderful getaway for families that can fill your day if you come prepared.

So, this isn’t exactly “hidden” as we’ve known about it for years as have others, but I’ve learned that is “hidden” to those outside of New Albany, so this will be our little secret 😉

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Located across the road from the New Albany K-1 School, Safety Town is designed to teach K-1 students street safety. Literally a miniature version of New Albany, Safety Town is filled with brick buildings, roads, cross walks, and even a road through the woods in order to allow children to learn road safety in a safe space.

When Safety Town is in session, street lights and signs are added to bring the town to life.

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Another perk is the location. Being located just across from the K-1 building, access to the K-1 playground offers another hour of fun! Designed for little people, this is one of the best school playgrounds I have seen! When school is in session, however, this is off limits. Luckily, there is a play park just down the road, next to the water park. Bathrooms, too, are accessible in the picnic pavilion just down the road. There are walking paths just behind the water park as well.

What to pack

In order to make the most out of your time at Safety Town, I recommend packing the following:

  • Bikes, Trikes, and scooters {or anything that moves so that little ones can be “cars” on the roads}
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks
  • Tickets to hand out when little ones break the rules of the road
    • The tickets are fun and they reinforce good habits. Be warned though, on ornery days, kids might be looking for tickets 🙂
  • Picnic lunch for after in the pavilion just down the road {with bathrooms!}

Where is Safety Town

Just across from the New Albany K-1 Elementary Building:
5101 Swickard Woods Blvd
New Albany , OH 43054

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This place is an absolute treasure and my kids love it, as I’m sure yours will as well.

Have fun!

Andrea-sig

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Hidden Treasure: Olde Town Park in Westerville

#HiddenTreasure: If you have not been to Olde Town Park on Old County Line Rd in Westerville, I highly recommend it. It is sort of hidden which means few people {sorry if I am sharing a secret treasure}.

Just north of Uptown Westerville, as you drive north on State St., turn Right onto Old County Line Rd. and you will see the park on the left in a couple hundred feet.

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The play park is designed for ages 2-12 and my kids all had a great time! There is a musical wall that the children quite enjoyed, even though the drums aren’t working 😦 oldtown

The rain wheel was a hit from ages 2-6!      oldtown4

There is an entry to a creek walk, but we were not dressed right for the occasion. There is also a shelter for picnics.

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Put this on your bucket list for little ones this summer! They all agreed that they would like to return to this park.

So, while this may not be a park to go to for a lot of interaction with other moms or kids, it is a nice one to keep in your pocket for those days when you feel a little more introverted 🙂

Enjoy!
Andrea-sig

Pinterest Board Suggestion – Dramatic Play

If you’ve been on Pinterest, odds are you’ve gotten overwhelmed at one time or another. {See the Pinterest Dos and Don’ts here.} I’ve decided that there are so many great ideas on Pinterest and so I am going to start giving my suggestions of boards to follow in order to ensure that you don’t miss out on some pretty amazing, creative ideas.

Not on Pinterest? No worries. I am posting a direct link to the site as well.

Dramatic or pretend play for preschoolers is especially important in growing their imaginations. It gives them the freedom to learn through play, and gives moms some time to themselves 🙂

Pre-Kinders has put together several dramatic play ideas in order to inspire us. Putting together a dramatic play zone in your house is actually quite simple. More than likely simply something that you haven’t thought of, at least I know that I hadn’t thought of that before I started staying at home. It’s amazing what you will come across when you really start doing some research.

>>>Click here to follow the board on Pinterest.<<<

>>>Click here to go directly to her Dramatic Play site.<<<

  

Have fun & get creative!

Andrea-sig

Do you have a Macaroni Kid?

If you want to know the goings on in your community, check and see if you have a Macaroni Kid near you!

I heard about this organization from my sister-in-law in New York {Thanks, Steph!}. She runs a British Swim School and has an amazing relationship with her local Macaroni Kid, so she suggested I look them up here in Ohio. I did an was VERY IMPRESSED with what I found!

So, what is Macaroni Kid & what do they do? {from their site}

Macaroni Kid was founded with two very specific goals: enrich communities and empower moms. We call it “E2” and it is the driving force behind all that we do.

We enrich communities by connecting the libraries, schools, rec centers, community centers and all of the wonderful organizations and businesses that create programming and fun for kids and families with local families.

Macaroni Kid publishes weekly, hyper-local e-newsletters and websites featuring events, activities, products and places for moms, kids and families. They host local events and parties and connect with our communities via our rich and extensive social media channels.

Each community is managed by a local Publisher Mom or dad. They are the go-to parents in their communities and connect both online and off.

I did a little research to see if Columbus had a Macaroni Kid locally and was excited to see that we actually have not one, but two!

This is a very simplistic way to help know what family-friendly events are available in your neck of the woods, many at little to no cost! {Woo hoo!}

Locations in Central Ohio

An additional note: If there is not a Macaroni Kid near you, you can connect with them to discuss opening one in your town! You can literally get paid for doing probably what you are already doing with your kids and helping other parents connect with the community as well.

I encourage you to check them out!

Have a great day!
Andrea-sig

Christmas in Columbus

Before we get too wrapped up in the Christmas season {pun intended ;)}, here’s a list of family-friendly events that you might want to include in this year’s calendar.

For more ideas outside of the Columbus area, click here.

For a full listing of Christmas Tree Farms in Central Ohio, click here.

ad-christmasHave a very blessed Christmas Season with your family!
Andrea-sig

Fall Family Fun in Columbus

The air is crisp. The leaves are vibrant orange, yellow, and red. Autumn is HERE!

As the weather chills, there is a ton of fun to be had in central Ohio… if you know where to look.

Fall Festivals

These are farms that have re-purposed themselves to be family fun lands with pumpkin patches, petting zoos, hay rides, mazes, games and more! Each is designed with young children in mind. They provide a great activity for the family and are priced well. For a full listing of “Pick Your Own Farms,” click here.

  • *Hidden Creek Farms – Sunbury, OH. $6/child over 2 {children 2 and under free}. Open M-F.
  • Leeds Farm – Ostrander, Ohio. $12/child over 2 {children 2 and under free}. Open Sat. & Sun.
  • *Lynd’s Fruit Farm – Pataskala, Ohio. Prices vary based on activity. Fall Festival Activities are Open Fri.-Sun.
  • Devine Farms – Hebron, Ohio. Prices vary based on activity. Open Sat. & Sun.
  • *Pigeon Roost Farms – Hebron, Ohio. Prices vary based on activity. Open Daily.
  • Circle S Farms – Grove City, Ohio. Prices vary based on day. Open Daily.
  • Pumpkin Show – Circleville, Ohio. Prices vary based on activity. Open Oct. 21-24.

Fall Foliage

Ohio in October is breath-taking. Take a day, pack a picnic, and simply walk around in the mosaic that is nature.

Seasonal Add-ons

Some places are always fun and educational, and in the Autumn, they step it up a little to give some added oomph! to their organizations.

As you can see, there is so much to do in Central Ohio this Fall. Get out and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you!

* Confirmed super-fun for the family by the minions or friends of the minions 🙂

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Have fun!
Andrea-sig

Library Awards & Rankings

Is it just me, or are libraries so much more than just books? We like to tour the library system here in Columbus and {while we definitely have our favorites} there are unique aspects to each which really help in teaching little ones.

More often than not, the kids’ area at the libraries offer puzzles, schooling tools, and magnets to truly engage children in the learning process. Now, yes, story time is still a biggie, but WOW! have story times changed from my youth! Guitars, puppets, music… This is not what I grew up with! {And to be honest, it helps this mama by opening my eyes to new ways of teaching!}

My minions absolutely love the library and are truly saddened on the rare times we are simply dropping off books and not going inside. I like love this! Of course, I have a degree in Journalism and my husband has a degree in English, so we clearly like to read…

Each minion has his/her own library card and they all help in selecting books and checking them out. {I will never forget the first time the littlest minion picked out his books. He was a year and a half and naturally gravitated to Wolverine. Really? Mama needs to read about a mutant named after the team up north?!? Oh, the things we do for our kids.}

From my library tours, I wanted to share some findings and offer my opinion.

Best Story Time

Hands down, New Albany. Mr. Dave keeps control of the kids in a very fun way while educating them.

Best Education

Westerville Library. I am a fan of their STEAM {Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Music} story times and we have participated in the programs three different times. They are always creative and educational. They also have signs & stories, gardening story times, move with music… so much!

Best Kids Area

Karl Road underwent a transformation last year and I am incredibly impressed with the results of their kid space. They must have received a grant from Lakeshore as they have so many teaching tools available at your fingertips.

The following receive honorable mention as I do like their kid spaces, but find the two above to be the absolute best:

  • Gahanna,
  • Westerville,
  • Whetstone.

Best indoor/outdoor combinations

Whetstone Library is located at the Park of Roses! There is a play area just outside {though a little dated – the minions don’t mind} and the park down the path. Beauty abounds and the kids have a lot of fun!

Honorable mentions:

  • Westerville Library. There is a very nice, contained play park just behind the library that allows for a quick multi-purpose trip to the library.
  • Main Library. The Topiary Garden is located just behind the Main Library and offers a quiet walk with simple beauty. No play park, but lots of questions about how they cut the trees into people. 🙂

I encourage you to check out your library system’s web site and look into their events. You may be surprised! We have gone to Jim Gill concerts, Fairy Tea Parties, Pinkalicious Parties, Dinosaur Digs, etc… all for free through our libraries.  For those in the Columbus area, simply click here and find a fun event for you and your minions!

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Have fun!
Andrea-sig