Winter Family Fun

16 Fun & Family Friendly February Activities

Our guide to East Side (and beyond) winter fun for both kids and adults

East Side Monthly Magazine ·

The Providence Children’s Film Festival is back for its sixth year, featuring 18 feature films, over 50 short films and fun workshops, all taking place over February vacation, from February 12-22. The movies are selected by kids for kids, and collaborations with the RISD Museum, and the Providence Public and Providence Community Libraries ensure that everyone can see films, regardless of their ability to pay admission. In addition to family friendly flicks showing at Brown, RISD and Wheeler School, the festival is bringing back the Youth Filmmaker Showcase to screen works made by kids. $7.50- $9.50, with select free screenings.

Fine art appreciation is a learned skill, and one you don’t necessarily associate with early education. The RISD Museum makes it easy to start your kids on the path to cultural enlightenment early, with their family programming. The museum offers a Young Explorers
Guide to engage kids with the art, and tips for parents on how to talk to little ones about learning to express their artistic opinions. Tours for Tots are interactive themed tours for families with kids age three and up, including story time and gallery activities. Art enrichment classes like See and Sketch and Open Studio are offered for slightly older kids. $3-$12. Admission is free on Sundays. 20 North Main Street. 454-6500.

Members of the Providence Athenaeum, the city’s most historic library, already know what a treasure trove is inside. The literary history is in the air – literally, there are statues of famous writers looking down from the second floor balcony. The Sayles Gorham Children’s Library inside the Athenaeum is the perfect place for little minds to get lost in the magic of books. Events include regular story hours, Nature Days with the Zoo, where Roger Williams critters take over the library, and Family Movie Nights. Starting February 5, the Athenaeum and Trinity Rep are producing a 30-minute version of Macbeth starring kids in grades 3-6. Fees vary. Most activities included with membership. 251 Benefit Street. 421-6970.

The Providence Children’s Museum is a fun place to spend an afternoon on any day of the week. Their new exhibit, Water Ways, is a water play environment that allows kids to send items into vortexes, transform water into mist, sculpt ice and form fountains. During February vacation, there’s something special happening every day. Children’s storyteller and singer Keith Munslow performs on Monday, February 16, followed by the Hoopoe Show, Imagination Playground, Wingmasters, Paper Caper and Skygazers throughout the week. Closed Mondays, except during school vacation. $9; babies under 12 months free. 100 South Street. 273-5437.

The Rhode Island Spring Flower and Garden Show returns from February 19-22. This year’s theme is Garden Adventures, and there’s a new Kids Adventure Zone to engage little ones in learning about the environment. Featured attractions include the Roger Williams Park Zoo Zoomobile, Save the Bay’s marine touch tank, Norman Bird Sanctuary’s puppet show and the Audubon Soceity’s owl presentations. $7-$19. Rhode Island Convention Center, 1 Sabin Street. 253-0246.

Rochambeau Library is a great place to grab a book or a movie, but it’s also a community center that has something fun happening for kids and adults every day of the week. For little ones, there’s Zumba4Toddlers, Baby Books Storytime and Pre-School Storytime. For older kids, there are programs like Lego Club, PaperKraft and Girls Who Code, a new program for girls in grades 6-12 who are interested in computer coding. A special February Vacation program is happening on February 18: Audobon Raptors, featuring live birds of prey. Times and dates vary. 708 Hope Street. 272-3780.

If you’ve never been to Providence’s Museum of Natural History and Planetarium in Roger Williams Park, now is the time to visit. The museum itself is a treasure trove of natural wonders and historic scientific artifacts. Cur- rent exhibits include Seismic Shifts: Earth Through Time and Secrets from the Vaults: Ancient Objects and Hid- den Treasures. Planetarium shows happen every Saturday and Sunday at 2pm, and during February vacation week. 10am-4pm. $2 museum admis- sion, $3 planetarium admission. 1000 Elmwood Avenue. 785-9457.

Don’t drive all the way into Boston to see a hockey game when we’ve got all the excitement of the AHL right in Providence. On February 6 and 8, the Providence Bruins are offering Family Games. Just $20 gets you a ticket, a hot dog and a soda. Sticking around to meet the players afterwards? Priceless. Prices vary. 1 La Salle Square.

So maybe you’re not a Martha Stewart-level goddess of the home. That’s ok, even Martha Herself has a team helping her be the paragon of domestic perfection that she is. If your little ones want to learn to sew but you’re out of your depth, leave it to the crafty ladies at Kreatelier, the Hope Street textile gift shop and interior design firm. Line and Pernilla offer Sewing Workshops on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Simply choose your project, from simple one-hour stuffed animals to two-hour weekend tote bags, schedule a time and voila. Fees vary depending on class and number of students. 804 Hope Street. 432-7995.

Foster a love of reading in your kids by starting them early. Books on the Square offers storytime for babies every Monday at 10:30am, and for kids up to age six Wednesdays at 10:30 and Saturdays at 11am. Plus, their children’s book section is a pleasant place to visit, even if you’re just a kid at heart. 471 Angell Street. 331-9097.

Think the ocean is just fun in the summer? Think again. Save the Bay is offering a weeklong February Vacation Camp from February 16-20. Your miniature Jacques Cousteau will become a marine scientist for the week, learning how to use scientific equipment, studying marine life and even taking a jaunt out on the open water to view the harbor seals. Open to grades 3-5. $275 for non-members, $250 for members. 8:30-4:30. 100 Save the Bay Drive. 272-3540.

On Friday afternoons in February, head to the Can Do Group at the Fox Point Library. This creative class, run by local artist Norma Anderson, gets the juices flowing by creating fun arts and crafts projects out of things you’d find around your house. All ages and levels of craftiness welcome – just don’t be embarrassed if your kid is more skilled with a glue gun than you are. Classes run 2:30-3:30pm on Friday afternoons in February, and are free for library members. Subscribe to the Can Do Group newsletter at 90 Ives Street. 331- 0390.

Who says your pre-kids tradition of Friday night date night is over? The difference now is that you can bring your little ones along. Friday Night Live at the Everett Stage is a family-friendly evening of improv comedy, songs and dance skits that are appropriate for “audiences of all ages, personality types and food groups.” The diverse cast of Everett students and up and coming performers is accompanied by live guitarist/composer Bertrand Laurence. $5. Friday evenings at 7pm. All ages welcome. 9 Duncan Avenue. 831-9479.

Channel your inner Dorothy Hamill – while you explain to your kids who Dorothy Hamill even is – at the Providence Rink at the Alex and Ani City Center. Don’t worry if you haven’t skated since you were your kid’s age. They offer refresher lessons, and penguin skate aids for little ones who are a little wobbly on the ice. Monday afternoons (excluding vacation weeks) are FUNday Mondays!, where admission for children under 12 is just $2, and admission is free for Providence residents on the first Saturday in February. $4 skate rental. 2 Kennedy Plaza. 331-5544.

If your house has less of a “peace and quiet” vibe than a “screaming and running around” one, you won’t get any judgment from us. But if you’re looking to cultivate a little zen at home, you might want to head to Meditation for Kids and Families at the Atisha Kadampa Buddhist Center. Every Sunday morning from 9:30-10:30, Angela Stewart leads a family meditation session that’s as fun as it is enlightening, teaching kids how to develop “harmony, confidence and methods to calm their minds and be happy.” Classes include discussion about everyday experiences relevant to little ones, guided meditation and fun activities. $4 per child, ages 5-12. Must be accompanied by an adult. 339 Ives Street. 400-1657.

It’s Winter Wonder Days at Roger Williams Park Zoo. While the giraffes might be dreaming of the Savannah and keeping indoors during colder weather, many animals like red pandas, snow leopards and camels are thriving in it. But, there’s lots more to do at the Zoo for the littlest guests, like the Zoo Explorers program, which offers hands-on learning, PreSchool Adventures and the Rock and Roar! concert series for toddlers and up. Older kids will enjoy the ZooCamp, a weeklong zoology adventure during February vacation. Admission is half price through February. Program fees vary. 1000 Elmwood Avenue. 941-4998.


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