Instead of staying locked in this winter, here are a few opportunities throughout the weekend for kids to burn off some energy and learn something along the way, whether it’s from books, building robots, or while exploring the great outdoors.
At the library
Looking for hands-on art and reading opportunities? The Missouri River Regional Library, 214 Adams St., offers free classes for children of all ages.
A day of sensory play from 10:15 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Friday focuses on ages 3 and under and allows children to do sensory activities that develop toddlers’ curiosity, problem-solving, and language and motor skills. . Children aged 3 to 5 and their families can also enjoy Preschool Family Story Time from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Tuesday, reading stories and listening to music. Both events are free.
For those a little older, teens can embrace their inner Zen by creating a Serenity Stone from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Make It @ MRRL: Japanese-Inspired Wrapped Stones in the Art Gallery of the library. Using simple materials and traditional weaving techniques, participants can create small works of art to take home. Registration is compulsory.
If your child wants to get some fresh air while learning something new, Runge Nature Center, 330 Commerce Drive, has plenty of free activities for young explorers. This week, join instructor Austin Lambert from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday for Discover Nature: Owl Prowl. Along the way, all ages can experience the nocturnal world of owls and find out how they adapt to the night, see the owls that frequent Missouri and what makes them unique. Registration is required; dress for the weather.
Next week, join MDC naturalists and area bird watchers from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday for the Birding @ Runge event. Those 8 years old and over and all experience levels can join these short birding walks; Runge will provide binoculars and field guides for those in need. Registration is preferable.
In good weather, climbing, swinging, and ziplining can be fun ways to burn off energy. At the Community Park, 725 Marshall St., parents can sit while the kids climb the 30-foot climbing tower and soar through the air on its ziplines. There are age specific areas on the playing field to ensure proper development while enhancing fun. Stop for lunch at the covered picnic tables or then hike up the Greenway Trail, which runs through the park.
There are many science, technology, engineering, and math activities at LabSpace Robotics in Capital Mall. Most courses are chargeable, but also include multiple sessions, and registration and masks are required.
Two Saturday classes – Experimenting with Fractions and Experimenting Mathematics Through Games – provide students with an understanding of math concepts through hands-on, instructor-led activities through a partnership between LabSpace and The Worthy Project, LLC. The Fractions Experience will be aimed at students in Grades 2-4 from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and will strengthen understanding of fractions, helping children become more comfortable with problem solving. Experimenting Math Through Games will follow from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and will help students in Grades 3 to 5 with other STEM classes through fun activities. Former math teacher Donna Stallings leads both courses.
Is your child interested in designing games? Start with the basics of LabSpace’s Introductory Game Design Course from noon to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays. All ages can learn to create and design 2D video games using a game engine, and at the end of the four-week course, share and play the game with friends. It is recommended that participants complete this course before moving on to advanced level courses. Next, learn the basics of programming while preparing for future projects from noon to 12:50 p.m. during Tiny: Bit Robot Building. Students will program robots that they can continue to use Microsoft MakeCode, while creating a processor that they can use in other robotics projects.
Some activities are recurring, so visit mrrl.org/events/upcoming, mdc.mo.gov/events, and labspacerobotics.com/events/ to view dates and details. Do you know of any other activities to keep kids active this time of year? Let us know by e-mail [email protected]