Playtime doesn’t have to be relegated to backyard forts and jungle gyms. Take the wee ones for a fun day of art, fitness, music, or just plain play at one of these Naples area activities.
When it comes to kids, the Golisano Children’s’ Museum of Naples is a one-stop shop of fun.
The museum’s exhibits include an array of themes and activities designed to let children play while they learn. From “Green Construction” (pictured right) and “Build It!” to “The Banyan Tree” and “Journey Through the Everglades,” while kids are exploring, building, and playing, they are also secretly developing social skills, using problem solving and language skills, and increasing body mobility. When their curiosity is peaked, the fun and learning becomes seamless. Children can explore the museum at their leisure, or join in one of the museum’s countless programming opportunities to learn even more.
For younger kids, ages 2 to 5, Little Learners is designed for kids in mind, encouraging play, learning, and emboldening social skills. The program meets Tuesday through Friday at 1:15 p.m. and includes story time and a fun activity.
For the budding gymnast in your life, My Gym Children’s Fitness Center (239-431-6499) offers a variety of programs for preschool-aged children and younger. Classes range from infants (Little Bundles) and toddlers (Waddlers) to burgeoning gym stars beginning at two-years old. Classes uses games and music to teach the basics of physical fitness, including motor skills, body awareness and muscle coordination.
For kids with a musical ear, Kindermusik will get those toes tapping. With programs designed for different age brackets (babies, toddlers, preschoolers, big kids, and families), classes are open from infant to 7 years old. By including singing, moving, playing instruments, and hearing stories, parents, and children not only bond, but children are also simultaneously developing social skills, problem-solving skills, pre-math skills, and a foundation for reading. Its a fun and educational way to spend time with the wee ones while opening their world to a new musical experience.
- If you have a child that’s interested in music, Ms. Susie will be leading a spring full of musical exploration at the Covenant Presbyterian Church of Naples. For a look at 2016’s schedule, click here [PDF].
Enjoy nature and art at Rookery Bay during Art for Mom and Me. Led by local artist Marjorie Pesek, the one-hour workshops for children (ages 5 and up) and adults is great for all artistic levels. Utilizing her technique of “Layered Imagery,” Pesek provides students with a sketch of either a pelican, frog, or sea turtle, and using clipping from magazines, parent and child make the sketch their own.
- Admission costs $25. Click here for the next installment.
Young Zen enthusiasts can find inner peace with a kids-only class at Naples’ BKS Yoga Studio (239-213-9276). The Kids Yoga program is geared towards children ages 5 to 10, and teaches stretching, yoga poses, and breathing techniques through fun animal themes and games.
- Classes run from 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. on Saturdays. Admission is $5 for a single class. For more information, visit bksyogastudio.com.
At the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, youngsters can join the Little Explorers program, which is best for children 18 months to 5 years old. They can build a creature tunnel called a burrow, have fun with animal-themed crafts, listen to stories, and participate in other activities. Children can participate in bi-weekly programming, every other Thursday, which is themed based on Conservancy’s mission in protecting Southwest Florida’s natural world, and the wildlife within it, for future generations. Programs begin at 10 a.m., the remaining programs of 2015 are as follows: November 5, The Magic Tree; November 19, Lizzie the Lizard; December 3, “E” is for Everglades; and December 17, Commotion in the Ocean.
- The Little Explorer Play Zone, located inside the Ferguson Learning Lab, is open from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. everyday the Nature Center is open. The Conservancy’s Dalton Discovery Center also has more than 100 animals and interactive exhibits. For more information, visit conservancy.org.
Lee County’s library system brings the world of books to kids of all ages, six days a week. Programs include Baby Rhyme Time, designed for kids 0 to 18 months, child and caregiver learn nursery rhymes and fingerplays using puppets, singing, dancing, and reading; Toddler Tales, for ages 18 to 36 months, helps toddlers practice their growing language skills with interactive storytelling activities, including wordplay, felt board stories, fingerplays, puppets, singing, music-making, socializing, dancing, and reading; Family Storytime is fun the whole family can enjoy, with stories, songs, and more; for future academics, Preschool Storytime gives preschoolers the opportunity to hoine their reading skills while interacting and socializing with other children, giving them a leg up on kindergarten.
- Pre-registration is required; for times and locations, click here for the Lee County’s library event calendar.
Collier County Public Libraries story time readings, designed for children and toddlers as young as 3 months to five years old, with readings scheduled Monday through Thursday throughout the county’s library branches. Free and open to the public, many on a walk-in basis, these scheduled readings are a great way to get your kids involved with books.
- For a complete schedule of toddle story times, click here [PDF].