The holidays are behind us and the long, cold winter season is officially upon us. Instead of counting the days till spring, why not resolve to make this time of year special by designating one night a week “family night” where (at least for a few hours) everyone comes out from behind their technology to spend time together. Here are some ideas for indoor activities around Long Island and games and recipes to enjoy at home that will help you to create enduring family memories while vanquishing the winter blahs!
101 Carolyn Boulevard
Farmingdale, New York
Family Bounce Night every Wednesday from 5pm – 7pm
Endless excitement in a unique, exhilarating environment where children and adults alike will experience amazing inflatables, “bounce houses” and interactive activities!
An evening at BounceU is safe, upbeat, and truly memorable—perfect for the entire family!
$12.95 per child (all ages)/adults free (call for reservations)
Pizza and drinks available at additional charge of $5.95 per person.
The Arena Players Repertory Theater
At the Vanderbilt Mansion Carriage House
180 Little Neck Road
Centerport, New York 11721
The Arena Players Repertory Theater Company will be performing The Tale of the Frog Prince from January 26–February 26 on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 pm at the Vanderbilt Mansion Carriage House. The Tale of the Frog Prince is an audience-participation comedy based on the story of a lonely frog prince who lives in a swamp on a large kingly estate. However, he is really a prince who has been turned into a frog by a wicked witch who cast a spell upon him. In order to break the spell, the frog must be kissed by a beautiful princess, which is done with hilarious results.
Adults: $10/children: $8/children under 3 are free. Tickets may be purchased on line or by calling 516-293-0674. Doors open 30 minutes before each performance.
Theatre Three Children’s Theatre
412 Main Street
Port Jefferson, New York 11777
Theatre Three in Port Jefferson is currently presenting Jack & the Beanstalk Saturdays, January 14, 21 & 28 at 11am and Sunday, January 22 at 3pm. Enjoy one of the best-loved adventures that starts with a handful of magic beans and leads Jack and his friends to explore the castle in the sky! An original musical for the entire family.
All tickets are just $10 and may be purchased at www.theatrethree.com. The box office is open Monday through Saturday 10am–5pm.
Long Island Children’s Museum
12 Davis Avenue
Garden City, New York 11530
Long Island Children’s Museum is a hands-on museum for kids (and grown-ups). You’ll find places to learn, play and have fun in the museum’s fourteen permanent galleries, including its newest exhibit “Feasts for Beasts” where kids can discover the amazing ways animals find and eat their food and identify the predators and prey among the exhibit’s animal menagerie. Other great exhibits include:
- Music: children can experience the joy of making and listening to music, become part of a drumming circle, play percussion instruments from around the world and investigate the science of sound.
- Pattern Studio: kids can explore patterns in art, nature and mathematics. They can spin giant wheels, look through kaleidoscopes and create their own unique designs with patterns.
- Sandy Island: an exhibit where kids can shape a sand dune with wind, create sandy art, make waves, explore the beach and boardwalk and learn some sandy facts about Long Island.
The museum is open Tuesday–Sunday from 10am–5pm.
All-day admission is $11 for children and adults/children under 1 are free/seniors: $10
Interactive Toy Train Layout
Wrong Island Railroad Toy Train Museum
679 Hawkins Avenue
Lake Ronkonkoma, New York 11779
The Wrong Island Railroad is an interactive toy train display featuring nine different trains and tons of animated accessories with buttons for kids and adults of all ages to operate. If you are looking for a fun, affordable family activity, the Wrong Island Railroad is sure to please.
Open Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon-5pm through January 29th.
Adults: $5/children under 12: $4
The Home Depot Free Kid’s Workshops
Every Home Depot location offers FREE hands-on workshops designed for children ages 5-12 on the first Saturday of every month between 9am and 12pm. Workshops teach children do-it-yourself skills, tool safety and instill a sense of pride and accomplishment. All kids get to keep their craft and receive a FREE kid’s Workshop Apron, commemorative pin and certificate of achievement. The upcoming project for February is a Keepsake Box to hold their private treasures or give as a gift for Valentine’s Day.
Upcoming Project date: Saturday, February 4, 2012
Long Island Science Center
11 West Main Street
Riverhead, New York 11901
The mission of the Long Island Science Center is to promote the knowledge and love of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Center's exhibits and programs educate through an interactive and exciting learning environment. Lectures and demonstrations of scientific interest are offered. The museum is currently featuring Family Science amid its many exhibits, including: “Glow”, “Butterfly” and “Galapagos: Face to Face” photography.
The Science Center is open Saturday, January 14, 21 & 28 from 11am-4pm.
Admission is $5 per person
Visit Your Local Library
Your local public library is a place that can transport you from the icy chill of winter to a warm tropical paradise with a good book—but it is also a great place to go for fun, exciting and educational programs designed for toddlers, children, teens and adults. Your local library features arts and crafts, reading groups, story time and many other special events. Be sure to enjoy some of them during this season!
Family Game Night At Home
Game night is a way for families to spend time together, build a sense of identity and encourage communication while having fun! Family game night offers a break from the routine and an opportunity to make memories that will last forever. Vary the games you play and let a different family member be “in charge” of choosing the game each week. Here are a few great ideas:
Chicken Soup for the Soul Count Your Blessings Game—the game with an attitude for gratitude! Be the first player to flip your four tokens from "Stressed to Blessed", "Tired to Inspired", "Frazzled to Dazzled", and "Mad to Glad" simply by looking on the positive side of life! Chicken Soup For the Soul: Count Your Blessings is the fun feel good family game that gets everybody talking The game is inspired by the #1 selling New York Times book series. For two or more players, ages 11 and up.
Balderdash—the classic bluffing game, has gone beyond hilarious. With outrageous questions that include the category Laughable Laws, play the game that asks your friends to call your bluff. Each game card lists People, Words, Initials, Movies and Laws that you've probably never heard of. But that's where the fun really begins, because you get to make up an answer that's as silly or as serious as you want! Now mix in the real answer and vote. You score points for guessing correctly and for bluffing the other players. So grab the bull by the horns and play Balderdash, the game that's hilarious beyond belief!
Kewbz—a clever, creative, competitive, and captivating game where opposing players compete for ownership of 'tower units' by positioning the final cube on top. Each time a corner is made, a cube is stacked at the intersection. When multiple corners are created, then multiple cubes are added into play. Clever strategy moves give you the winning edge! For two players ages eight and up.
Ratuki—easy to play, fun to win and totally addictive! Build piles of cards from one to five, but watch out: it’s a card-slamming frenzy! Be the first to slam a five on the top of the deck, shout “RATUKI!” and the cards are yours. Get slamming and get winning! For two to five players. Ages 8 and up.
Add To The Fun With Some Family Favorite Recipes!
REAL Hot Chocolate
Forget powder from a packet! Homemade hot chocolate is a crowd pleaser and much easier to make than you may think! All you need is milk, semi-sweet chocolate (regular candy bars will not work), sugar, cinnamon, and one egg. Gather together for a warm cup of comfort and take the time to have a talk as a family.
- 3 cups milk
- 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate, grated
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 egg
- Put milk into a microwave-safe container and cook on High in microwave for 2 minutes. Mix in chocolate, sugar, and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk an egg until smooth, then mix it into the chocolate mixture.
Return to microwave and cook on High for 3 to 4 minutes or until foamy (be careful not to let it boil.) Whisk until smooth and pour into 3 mugs. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired. Preparation Time: 3 min.
Cooking Time: 10 min.
Ready In: 15 min.
Remember cheese fondue! Well, it’s still fun to make and eat and a great way to spend time together. Use bread, pasta, vegetables, fruit and cooked meats as dippers (making fondue may be the easiest, sneakiest strategy to get your kids to eat their whole grains and veggies).
Fast and Easy Cheese Fondue:
- 8 ounces Velveeta
- 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
Place ingredients in a pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until melted and smooth. Transfer to a fondue pot or slow cooker. Have your family gather round and serve with a variety of dippers. Serves 6
- Cubes of French bread or another bread of your choice
- Cooked tortellini (drain and pat dry after cooking)
- Blanched carrots or parsnips, cut into bite-sized pieces
- Blanched cauliflower and broccoli florets
- Cherry tomatoes
- Cubes of cooked sausage, ham, chicken or beef