Page 1

December 2020

dventures Padgett, DenverofBroncos Cornerback Kareem Jackson and his ver's Dom daughters Kaylen Growing and Kenzie. Great Families Since 1986 y Morning d his kids See page 24.

50 KidApproved Toys and Games Our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide

Keep Kids Busy Over Winter Break 5 Awesome Spots for Snow Tubing Where to Safely Connect with Santa 129 Ideas for Holiday Family Fun



HOLIDAY CHEER & ADVENTURES NEAR Your next winter getway is closer than you think.

Head to the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota, where you’ll find epic adventures take place alongside quiet family moments that remind you what’s truly important. Whether you encounter wildlife, learn about dinosaurs and fossils, hike a national park or take a magical train ride, you’re sure to make memories that will last long after you leave. When the time is right, discover this year-round playground for your family.




The Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association is prioritizing safe travel. Learn more at


PLAN YOUR GETAWAY 800.344.9834 // // #DiscoverBlack Hills

E S T. 1 9 7 5 Presented by

March to the beat of your own drum The floats you know and love will be displayed all over Downtown Denver throughout the holiday season, offering countless opportunities for YOU to march through downtown and savor the magic of the Parade of Lights all season long.

November 27 - December 31

Plan your Parade visit at or scan to learn more ASSOCIATE SPONSORS


Produced By



CONTENTS December 2020 features


Shop with confidence! These toys wowed Colorado kids and parents.

Discover two week's worth of themed activities to entertain house-bound kids.


departments 6




The latest tips and news on




What We Learned




Santa’s Still Coming to Town!









Get “Out There” with Space Odyssey 2.0



Education & Enrichment Guide


Charter School Guide

Post-Traumatic Growth

Kuumba Means Creativity


Candy Cane Dreams


Totally Tubular Fun

11 Where to Safely Connect with Santa | 26 50 Kid-Approved Toys and Games 40 Keep Kids Busy Over Winter Break | 43 129 Ideas for Holiday Family Fun 54 5 Spots to Go Snow Tubing

Colorado Parent | December 2020


My Child’s Back Talk is Out of Control

Books that Inspire a Love of Music

on the cover




CALENDAR OF EVENTS Our monthly roundup of local events, featuring virtual and in-person activities around town.

Cover: Getty Images.

Gift: Getty Images. Calendar: Dairy Block.



NOV. 27, 2020 – JAN. 3, 2021 Tickets limited! Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Get tickets and exact dates at


C-470 & Wadsworth Blvd.

December 2020 |


On the Web

Colorado Parent Online

Escape the winter doldrums and school-break boredom with these fun camps, events, and activities.

10 Dinner Ideas for Cold Winter Nights Cozy up in the kitchen with these warm, delicious, and comforting recipes.

Holiday Movies to Stream Now Turn family movie night into a festive affair while watching a seasonal flick.

Festive Pajama Sets for the Whole Family Lounge around in style this winter while wearing a holiday pj set.





Colorado Parent | December 2020


Sign up for our E-NEWSLETTER at

Pajamas: The Elephant Organics. Alien Xmas: Netflix Š 2020. Soup: Half Baked Harvest.

28 Things to do Over Winter Break

Love r u o Y l a c o L Local family fun is easy to spot in Aurora!

ABA therapy is the gift that keeps on giving. A new year is just around the corner. Make it the best one yet. Enroll today at The Behavior Exchange and give for your child with autism or other developmental Watson Bear concerns the opportunity to reach their full potential. Our highly individualized ABA therapy services, fun curriculum, and loving care can make all the difference.

Learn more at

Money Education Start early. Save more. Spend the right way. Skills for life!


Go to the Healthcare Marketplace NOW to renew your plan or enroll.

Boulder, CO | Plano & Frisco, TX


Ki$ ds

g Youn




s Ba

7 3 84



Five Dollar s and 0/10 0 Education



Cherry Creek, Belmar, Green Valley Ranch

YAB CO Parent Jan. 3.5x4.75.indd 1




P.S. Secure your ABA therapy insurance coverage for 2021.


49 4 49 848

December 2020 |


12/13/18 12:45 PM

From the Editors

What We Learned… EDITORIAL Editor Deborah Mock Assistant Editor Kara Thompson Editorial Assistant Anna Sutterer Copy Editor Lydia Rueger



ADVERTISING SALES Advertising Director Brigette Swartz Account Manager Hilary Angel Client Services Coordinator Shundra Jackson

Snow tubing takes the fun of sledding to the next level. Discover the five tubing spots within 90 minutes of Denver, on page 54.

PRODUCTION Art Director Heather Gott


Even as COVID-19 numbers are rising, families and businesses are searching for ways to keep holiday traditions alive. Our article on page 11 shares the contact-free ways Santa has found to visit with children this year. And, for families who need to stay connected with loved ones at high risk for severe illness, we've gathered some thoughtful and safe ideas to make them feel a part of the celebration, on page 12.


Things that inspired this issue, and what our editors discovered along the way.



Finding gifts that kids love­—and that will keep them occupied—is more important than ever. Check out our gift guide on page 26 for 50 kid-tested and parent-approved toys.

Leave the negative end-of-year memes. Instead, examine the way your family has grown from this year’s challenges. Page 18.

CREATIVE SERVICES Creative Services Director Carly Lambert Print Production Manager Megan Skolak Digital Advertising Manager Nick Stonecipher Lead Graphic Designer Chelsea Conrad Graphic Designer Caitlin Brooks Production Coordinator D'mitrius Brewer MARKETING Director of Marketing Piniel Simegn ADMINISTRATION Billing and Collections Manager Jessica McHeard DISTRIBUTION & CIRCULATION Audience Development Coordinator Caitlin Kittrell Printed by Publication Printers Please recycle this magazine.

CAN’T WAIT Metro Denver is filled with magical and creative spins on holiday festivities this month. This is the year to view Parade of Lights floats close up, see light displays with less crowds, and watch a world-class Nutcracker ballet, while the kids dance along in the living room. Find more ideas in our Calendar of Events on page 43.

YOU SAID IT Kwanzaa is a reflective time to shine a light on recommitting to the good. —Donna “Jawanna” Norris, Denver artist and Kwanzaa Project Weaver, on page 20

Share your feedback and ideas! Email us at


Colorado Parent | December 2020

5280 PUBLISHING, INC. 1675 Larimer Street Suite 675, Denver, CO 80202 P (303) 832-5280 | F (303) 832-0470 Visit us online at CEO & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Daniel Brogan VICE PRESIDENT, STRATEGY Andrea Bott VICE PRESIDENT, REVENUE Zach Wolfel Colorado Parent is published monthly by 5280 Publishing, Inc. Please note that the advertisements in this magazine are paid for by the advertisers, which allows this magazine to be free to the consumer. Limit of one free copy per reader. Additional copies can be purchased for $5.00 per issue. Call (303) 320-1000 to request additional copies. Unless specifically noted, no advertisers, products, or services are endorsed by the Publisher. Editorial submissions are welcome. Colorado Parent (ISSN 1937-1020) ©2020 5280 Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited.

Ideas and inspiration

for your next home project.

Home J U N E /J U L Y 2 0 2 0

Meet 15 Brilliant Minds Shaping The Way We Live

Summer Refresh! •



Elevated living in the Mile High City.

Visit or to subscribe.

plus A Steamboat Springs Farmhouse Soaks In The Views


to you


Dedicated to Equity of Educational Opportunity for All Students Affordable Sliding Scale Tuition


EVERYONE ACT. IMPROV. CREATE. REPEAT. Break out of your monotony when you try something new. Education & Community Engagement DCPA Education has more than 70 acting classes this winter. Low commitment, high return — register now!


Scholarships Available.

2350 Gaylord St. Denver, CO 80205 303-322-4209 |

December 2020 |




You can now receive FREE preschool through the Denver Preschool Program! The Denver Preschool Program helps ALL Denver families with a 4-year-old find and pay for quality preschool. And now, families can receive up to 100% of their tuition costs covered.

Learn more at


Stay in the know on all things Denver business.

Subscribe now to our FREE biweekly roundup of the deals, news, and trends shaping the Front Range economy.


Colorado Parent | December 2020


Santa’s Still Coming to Town!

Child in window: Getty Images.

At a jolly 1,750 years old, Santa is most definitely in the high-risk category for severe illness from COVID-19. (According to legend, Santa was born in 270 A.D.) So, many North Pole helpers are setting up creative ways to make pandemic-era Santa visits special. From online interactions to contactless visits, here’s how kids can safely share their wish list with Kris Kringle. “Many of us are going virtual,” explains Tom Carmody, who founded the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas. Carmody will host virtual visits through and its sister site, and will also don a mask for in-person events with special “Santa Zones” that allow for social distancing and one-way traffic flow. • offers families 1,000 storytimes, sing-alongs, tea parties and more. Virtual visits with Santa, personalized messages, and parties are offered for a fee.

• JingleRing expanded their online services in 2020 for ease of use on all devices. They offer a variety of options for kids to visit with Santa through their personalization engine, including different ethnicities, languages, faiths, and even Sensitive Santa for children with special needs.

Park, families can pose for digital photos in front of Santa, then wander through illuminated sculptures at Winter Wonderlights. Loveland is also running a Santa Letter Dropbox at The Marketplace at Centerra. Drop a note, and snap an unforgettable family selfie.

• North Pole Colorado, the Santa-themed amusement park in Cascade, Colorado plans to operate at limited capacity with advanced ticket purchase required. Santa will appear for photos behind a garland gate.

• November 27 through December 24, Santa’s Flight Academy at Cherry Creek Shopping Center will return in 2020 with masks, reservation requirements, and a new layout to allow for social distancing.

• Some Colorado towns are finding creative ways to help kids interact with Santa, no jolly elf escort required. Through Santa’s Quest, the city of Fort Collins challenges families to find Santa Claus figurines hidden in storefront windows of participating Old Town businesses. Loveland, meanwhile, moved its annual Santa’s Workshop at Centerra to an outdoor format this year: at Chapungu Sculpture

• Starting December 1, families can get “real-time” updates from NORAD, the beloved Colorado Springs Santa tracking company. Thanks to all these offerings, one thing is certain this season: Masks and distance won’t stop the magic. —Jamie Siebrase

December 2020 |


Good to Know

Toys, logo: Vtech. Illustration, grandmother on computer: Getty Images.

How to Connect with High-Risk Loved Ones This Holiday Season We all need to take special care this holiday season, especially around loved ones in the highrisk category. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to include them without putting them in danger. “We need to make the effort to say ‘we still want to be a part of your life,’ we just have to be creative about it,” says Amanda Beard, a nurse practitioner with Wheat Ridge-based Geriatric & Family Medicine Associates. Here are her ideas. PICK UP THE PHONE. You don’t need to wait for a special occasion to check in on your loved one. Ring them up once or twice a week for a 5- or 10-minute chat just to let them know you’re thinking of them. SET UP A FAMILY RE-ZOOM-ION. If Grandma or Grandpa has access to video technology, see if they would be up for a video call with the whole family. Schedule Zoom calls or Facebook Live during holiday traditions like opening gifts, giving a toast, reading a special holiday story, or lighting candles to make older or at-risk relatives feel more a part of the celebration.

GO POSTAL. Brighten up your loved one’s day with a card sent via snail mail. You can even get creative—and put your little helpers to work!—with construction paper ornaments or paper snowflakes.

a window. If you do visit with them indoors, follow CDC guidelines, as well as state and local recommendations, and make the interaction as short as possible. Limit the number of people who visit and always wear a mask.

TAKE PRECAUTIONS WITH IN-PERSON VISITS. Try singing carols or chatting through

—Courtney Holden

Recycle Those Toys! If you plan to declutter the toy box after the holidays, here’s some good news. Vtech and LeapFrog have partnered with recycling organization, TerraCycle, to offer free recycling of select electronic learning devices and toys. Just check the online list of accepted Vtech and Leapfrog items, box them up, and send them to TerraCycle using a free, printable shipping label. Families earn rewards points (100 points for every pound returned for recycling) that can turn into cash for the charity or school of their choice. TerraCycle also accepts Hasbro toys and L.O.L. Surprise toys and packaging.

This is Not Easy This pandemic is leaving us all irritable, stressed out, worried, sad, and for some, hopeless. Even if your family is physically well, COVID-19 is likely putting a strain on your mental health. AllHealth Network launched the Colorado Spirit Program to


Colorado Parent | December 2020

offer free psychological support to Coloradans during the pandemic, until late June 2021. Individuals of all ages can call and talk to trained counselors and find a variety of supports, for free.

Good to Know | Home

Deck Your Holiday Shelves By Aristea Brady


s a working mother, the thing I value about Christmas is how it forces me to be present. I stop. (First Christmas miracle there.) But then, I actually wait...with baited breath and raised shoulders, to see the twinkle in my twins’ eyes as they experience a little holiday magic. Here’s a simple way to evoke that familiar twinkle in your kids’ eyes, and hopefully yours as well: transform a shelf into a holiday delight.


Tip 1: Stick to the rules of composition. A good tip is to arrange items in odd numbers. Use two larger items, and one smaller “connector” item to make your grouping look deliberate. Leave space between clusters for the eye to rest. Vary heights. Mix vertical and horizontal. Layer, layer, layer. Place a neutral frame in the back of an arrangement to help items pop and make your composition look more intimate.


Tip 2: Search your everyday collection. Don’t limit yourself to items labeled “holiday.” Search your dishes, decor, even the children’s toy box for items that create a holiday feel. I wrap ordinary books in neutral colors to give height and dimension. I add ornaments to my favorite statement pieces. Even a beautifully wrapped present can elevate holiday shelves.


Tip 3: Follow one color scheme. Pick a couple colors that work well together and stick to ’em. I chose emerald, gold, and white. This immediately helps your shelf flow and your bold color pop.

Shelf: Ashley Smith Photography.

Tip 4: The triangle method. Avoid placing similarly shaped arrangements above or beside each other, instead create a triangle pattern. For example, in my shelf, many of my “compositions of threes” can be found diagonal to one another. This is an easy way to provide immediate balance and visual interest to your shelf.



Tip 5: Hide some surprises for the kids. (There’s that elf!) Another favorite tradition of ours? Wrap Christmas books from the library for the kids to open each December night leading to the big day. Aristea Brady is the evening news anchor weeknights on Fox31 News. To find more of Aristea’s tips on her hobby of all things holiday and home, follow her Instagram @aristea.brady.

December 2020 |


Good to Know | Let’s Go


Get “Out There” with Space Odyssey 2.0

Learn about Mars exploration technology, then program a small model to rove the Mars diorama red dust.

The longstanding Denver Museum of Nature & Science exhibit, now more streamlined and interactive. Space Odysey (2): Denver Museum of Nature & Science. VR headset, rover: Getty Images.

By Anna Sutterer VIBE: Curiosity and adventure on overdrive DRIVE TIME: Nestled in City Park’s massive block of activities, 10 minutes from the Capitol TIP: Snag a “Give Me Space” face mask from the museum’s online shop as a social distance reminder and memento of your visit. Ever lost yourself in a night sky layered with infinite stars? Do you wonder what it would feel like to experience the forces at play in the cosmos? The reimagined Space Odyssey exhibit at Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS), which reopened on November 13, gives kids a full-sensory space experience with more opportunities to play while learning. HISTORY OF THE HEAVENS Visitors are first invited around a campfire to ground themselves in folktales, from the Cochiti legend of the constellations to the ancient Chinese Milky Way origin story. With imaginations expanding, explorers of all ages can test their deepest space questions in the array of artifacts and activities.

Direct a space mission through light-years of stars in the Fantasy Spaceship.

INTERACTIVE OFFERINGS From there, the updated exhibit gives visitors a chance to program a Mars rover’s movements, or bend the space-time continuum with a single step. Older kids and adults will appreciate challenging games that test communication and dexterity, plus mind-stretching facts about the three different types of meteorites and galaxies trillions of miles away. FOR LITTLE ONES Little learners get their chance to play in the Astrotots area with cushioned craters to climb into and a solar system labyrinth puzzle to help build fine motor skills. Take a turn at the mini spaceship control center and be sure to press all the buttons—they’re wonderfully musical and include fun sound effects. PREPARING FOR LIFT-OFF To wrap up the visit, kids can take their new knowledge aboard the Fantasy Spaceship to captain a flight among the stars. Launch the vessel into hyperdrive from the ship’s bridge, or explore the corridor’s other attractions including a multiverse cam and a colorful, musical pattern matching game.


Colorado Parent | December 2020

Take a spacewalk, ride a Cosmos Coaster, or join the Apollo 11 team in a virtual reality adventure.

Full-body experiences and mind-blowing facts help visitors learn about space in a whole new way.

Reserve both museum admission tickets and timed Space Odyssey entry online. Planetarium will show Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity three times a day until late February (special ticket required).

Wild Symphony: Penguin Random House. Hosea Plays On, Musical Mac: Sterling Publishing. Pokko and the Drum, By and By: Simon and Schuster. Joni: HarperCollins Publishers. Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Holiday House.

Good to Know | Read to Me

Wild Symphony

by Dan Brown; illustrated by Susan Batori (Rodale Kids, 2020)

A mouse conductor gathers his animal friends to play in his orchestra; each animal plays a different instrument while sharing a little life wisdom. The author composed pieces of classical music to represent each animal’s personality, which kids can hear by downloading an app, scanning the QR code in the book, and holding a phone over each page. Kids can also search for letters hidden in the illustrations that spell out the instrument names. READ TO ME

Books that Inspire a Love of Music By Lydia Rueger

Musical Mac

by Brendan Kearney (Sterling Children’s Books, 2019)

Mac the millipede wants to enter the talent show, but he’s too shy to perform alone. He decides to find a band to join, but after asking one group after another, he’s not quite the right fit for any of them. In the end, he performs alone, playing multiple instruments thanks to his many legs, as his new musical friends cheer him on.

Listening to music has helped my family get through many tough days in 2020, and I’m sure we’re not the only ones. Even when we’re not listening, we can inspire kids to appreciate music’s history, creation process, and impact with these books.

Hosea Plays On

by Kathleen M. Blasi; illustrated by Shane W. Evans (Sterling Publishing, 2020)

Hosea takes the bus into the city each day to play his saxophone, collecting the money that people toss into his instrument case. In the end, Hosea uses the money to purchase a trumpet for a neighborhood boy. It’s based on the true story of Hosea Taylor, Jr., from Rochester, New York, who made a habit of purchasing instruments and offering free music lessons to neighborhood children.

Pokko and the Drum

by Matthew Forsythe (A Paula Wiseman Book, 2019)

Pokko’s parents regret their decision to give Pokko a drum—now they can’t hear anything else! They send Pokko outdoors to play, and a crowd of animals playing instruments follow her. The loud musical crowd carries Pokko’s quiet parents off into the woods, and in the end, they all agree that Pokko is pretty good on her drum.

Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illustrated by James E. Ransome (Holiday House, 2014)

Two men from very different backgrounds became the first black-and-white jazz band in history: Benny, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants from Chicago; and Teddy, a Black man who grew up in Tuskegee, Alabama. The story shows how music brought the men together and helped them contribute to the jazz style known as swing.

Find more books about music at

By and By

by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by Bryan Collier (Atheneum, 2020)

Written in rhyme, this book tells the life story of gospel composer Charles Albert Tindley, who learned to read from newspaper scraps and walked five miles barefoot to church. The story follows his journey from farmhand to student to pastor to musical composer, best known for the gospel hymn, “We’ll Understand It Better By and By.”


by Selina Alko (Harper, 2020)

Collage illustrations accompany the life story of singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell. The book shows how Joni took complex emotions and experiences and put them into song; it also pays tribute to the many musicians with whom she crossed paths. Excerpts from her famous lyrics are woven into the illustrations.

December 2020 |


Good to Know | Parenting 911

Illustration: Lauren Rebbeck.

Follow us for tips and tricks on all things parenting! @ColoradoParent PARENTING 911

My Child’s Back Talk is Out of Control THE PROBLEM: My eight-year-old daughter has started giving us a lot of back talk. I’ve let her know it’s not OK and even punished her for it, but it continues. It’s really annoying and I don’t want it to become a habit. How do I put an end to it? THE EXPERT: ​​​Dr. Amanda N’zi, licensed psychologist and owner of Growing Together Child and Family Therapy, THE SOLUTION: Back talk can feel exhausting and disrespectful. It’s also a part of growing up and happens as children learn independence and how to navigate complex emotions and relationships. Here are four strategies to help decrease back talk: Stay calm and avoid lecturing. The most common reason for back talk is to gain attention as kids are learning to assert themselves and to test boundaries, according to Michele Borba Ed.D., author of Don’t Give Me That Attitude. If you’re lecturing or negotiating, then kids learn this is a way to get your attention and will back talk more. Take a deep breath and stay calm. The more you react in the moment, the louder the back talk will become. Stay matter-of-fact by briefly saying, “That is back talk. We can talk about this when you are calm,” and avoid responding to anything else they say. Label feelings. Your child may be showing her sad or worried feelings through irritability or anger. Maybe a friend hurt her feelings or she’s worried about an upcoming test. When


Colorado Parent | December 2020

your child is calm and not back-talking, share what you have noticed and ask for more information about her feelings. Help her find words like “disappointed” or “worried” so she can understand her feelings better. Wait to problem-solve the situation until after you’ve talked about her feelings and perspective. This will make her feel heard and understood. Let them lead, and praise the positives. To help children find your positive attention and talk respectfully, set aside five to 10 minutes, four to five times a week where you focus on doing something your child wants to do. Maybe make something together or join her in an activity she loves. Praise positive things you see during this time like nice words, sharing, or being kind. Then, throughout the day, point out when your child is staying calm, has a good attitude, or is listening right away. What you pay attention to will happen more, even the positive things. Stay consistent. This one is really important. If back talk is still happening after you’ve said “no,” stick with it and try not to change what you said. You can discuss her concerns after she’s listened or calmed down. Kids want to be heard. If you’re negotiating when back talk is happening, then your child can feel unheard and will argue more. Back talk can be frustrating. When you prioritize the relationship and think of other things that may be impacting the back talk, you can navigate this together. —Edited by Courtney Drake-McDonough



EDUCATION AURORA CedarWood Christian Academy 11430 E. 19th Avenue, Aurora 303-361-6456

Our mission is to teach and train young people to know and serve God by building a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, nurturing godly character and developing the mind with excellent academics. K-12. Founded in 1983. Fully accredited.

DENVER French American School of Denver 2280 E. 16th Ave. | 720-506-4589

Welcoming students in grades K-3 (K-8 at full build-out) from all language backgrounds, the French American School of Denver is a tuitionfree DPS charter school offering a proven, research-based bilingual French/English immersion curriculum.

International School of Denver 7701 E. First Pl., Unit C | 303-340-3647 |

We are more than a school—we are an inclusive, globally-minded community that develops compassionate and curious global citizens through language and culture. Our remarkable, diverse students, from Pre-K to grade eight, are at the heart of all we do.

Montessori Children’s House of Denver Mayfair, Stapleton, and Park Hill campuses 303-322-8324 MCHD is a private Montessori school for toddlers through middle school. We help children develop a strong academic foundation, self and community awareness, and a love of learning. MCHD is not just a school, it’s an investment in your child’s future.

Ricks Center for Gifted Children 2040 S. York St. | 303-871-3715 |

Located on the University of Denver campus, Ricks Center is a school, preschool to eighth grade, dedicated to gifted learners. Flexible, differentiated curriculum designed around the whole child. Teachers who know, understand,

and care deeply about gifted education and each individual student. Low student to teacher ratio.

St. Elizabeth’s K-8 School 2350 N. Gaylord St. | 303-322-4209

We are a welcoming and intentionally inclusive community dedicated to providing equal access for all students to an excellent and wellrounded K-8 education. Our global-minded approach to education is preparing tomorrow’s changemakers!

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS New Horizon Academy Preschool and Early Education Multiple Denver area locations

New Horizon Academy provides high-quality care and education to young children. While focusing on developing a healthy sense of self in each child, we strive to provide your child with the necessary skills to succeed not only in school but also in life.

ENRICHMENT ART artSPARK Creative Studio 2630 W. Belleview Ave., Ste 160 303-795-7897

A unique art making and sewing space for ages one to adult. artSPARK teaches you to think and work like artists through techniques, process, and play. Purchase themed playdough kits and enroll in School Break Camps and Seasonal Workshops.

COOKING Flour Power Kids Cooking Studios 2030 E. County Line Road, Highlands Ranch 720-656-9405 Our weekly classes offer a hands-on kids cooking experience and recipes to try at home. Your Lil’ Chef will gain skills that are designed to appeal to the abilities of most children. Tuition includes recipe handouts to take home, and all supplies.

MARTIAL ARTS ATAFMA 4510 S. Reservoir Rd., Aurora, CO 80015 303-690-0560 |

Traditional Martial Arts classes for ages four & up. We focus on teaching discipline and respect in a fun, active environment. ATAFMA has reopened and is operating under the State Safety Guidelines. Join us as we celebrate 25 years of service.

Tiger Kim’s Academy Taekwondo & Tang Soo Do 1480 Steele St., Denver | 303-388-1408

Our mission is to inspire each member to strengthen their mind and body through taekwondo, tang soo do, and hapkido, striving for excellence. We provide individualized attention through understanding student needs and encouraging them to attain their best.

SINGING Young Voices of Colorado 99 Inverness Drive East, Suite 150 303-797-7464 |

YVC is in its 30th year as a premier non-profit children’s choir. We have in-person and remote learning opportunities for Kindergarten to 10th grade boys and girls. We have created a safe place for children to sing and learn music together.

SWIMMING Ocean First 3015 Bluff St. | 303-444-7234

Launch into the underwater world with our TIDES program available for ages eight to 11 and 12 to 15. These programs instill the skills necessary to become a safe and responsible scuba diver while building a strong knowledge in marine science.

Tell Colorado Parent readers about your school or classes! For more information, contact

December 2020 |


Your Turn

Mother and son, mother cooking with children: Getty Images.

Post-Traumatic Growth How local parents found the good in 2020. By Kim Fleischman


ach December, my social media feed fills with negative sentiments about the year we’re about to leave behind. I remember seeing numerous posts at the end of 2019, with everyone hoping that the coming year would be better. Recently, I’ve been thinking that as 2020 comes to a close, there will certainly be no shortage of “good riddance” sentiments. I was talking about this with a friend, who said, “Everyone seems to be aware of post-traumatic stress, but no one ever seems to talk about post-traumatic growth.” That got me thinking. As we recognize that 2020 has been extremely difficult, what is some of the good that resulted from the bad? Natalie Johnson, clinical director and therapist at Rocky Mountain Counseling Collective, says that since the onset of the


Colorado Parent | December 2020

pandemic, many people have felt like their world was flipped upside down. “I have observed a significant increase in the number of individuals experiencing trauma in a variety of ways,” says Johnson. “The simplest definition of trauma is anything that causes extreme distress. And this year, there seems to be an endless surplus of disruptive situations contributing to very high levels of distress on a widespread level.” But Johnson says it doesn’t have to stop there. “Although it’s difficult not to get stuck in the challenging emotions resulting from trauma, the encouraging news is that we can experience positive post-traumatic change and growth.” Post-traumatic growth is generally defined as experiencing positive change as a result of negative or challenging experiences/adversity. “While trauma resulting from the pandemic might be more subtle than something like experiencing a

war or terrorist attack, it can still affect our kids in lasting ways,” says Elizabeth Easton, regional clinical director for child & adolescent services at Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center. “But, we have the extraordinary capacity as human beings to find meaning in the challenges we overcome. Often that meaning can foster incredible growth, change, and resiliency in the face of future struggles.” I asked families how they have experienced growth in the face of intense challenges this year. Here’s what I found out. LOVE THY NEIGHBOR The most common feedback that I received from parents was that, as a result of closures and restrictions that kept them close to home, they finally got to know their neighbors better. Christy Schaefer, Erie mother of three and founder of the family activity website,

Your Turn

Slides & Sunshine, says her kids struggled with the inability to see teachers in person, as well as changes to athletics—each of her children had been excited to play sports again since the previous season ended. Instead, her family became extremely close with their neighbors. “The kids play together and our families have truly bonded through the experience,” Schaefer says. “We’ve come together to make the most out of a tough time by having movies in the park, themed dinners in the street, water balloon fights, daily walking groups, and even camping together. We went from being a street of acquaintances to being lifelong family friends.” After having to postpone their family vacations, Arvada parents Jessica and Dave Morrison used their time in quarantine to build a “fence bar” with their neighbors. A section of the fence between the two neighbors’ houses folds down into a bar table at which they can sit and visit. “The whole experience made me feel super blessed to get to know our neighbors better,” says Jessica. The Morrisons, who have one child, also instituted “Sunday Social Distancing” gatherings in neighbors’ driveways where neighbors have been getting to know each other beyond just a wave and a quick “Hi.” LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE Nearly every parent I spoke with also expressed how much they enjoyed the slower pace of life—and that it was something that never would have happened, if not for the circumstances of this year. “I’ve always been a ‘go, go, go’ kind of person and used to get really anxious during downtime,” admits Holly Yanker, a mother of two from Arvada. “Now, I have learned to intentionally embrace the downtime and realize how much the other members of my family really enjoy those relaxing times, as opposed to always rushing from one activity to another.” Pandemic worries hit close to home for Arvada mom of two Jenn Hamel, but she says a slower-paced family schedule helped her manage what was going on. Both her parents were hospitalized due to COVID-19 last spring. She also juggled the stress of what her firefighter husband might be exposed to during his shifts, while working to build a new business herself. But, she says, “I love not running the kids around to activities every night of the week. We had time to run errands for my parents, time to go on walks, and decompress. Even when the pandemic is behind us, I don’t think we’ll go back to that many activities. Space for down time—and for the kids to be bored—has been gold.” NEW TRADITIONS As for my family, we’ve been home together since March. My husband has been working from home and our boys attending school via remote

learning. Being the primary adult caregiver making sure that my kids are accountable for finishing their work has been frustrating. Getting out of the house into new surroundings has always helped me clear my head and better organize my thoughts, and I miss being able to do that. I have felt very confined at times. But, we’ve taken this time to try some things that are new for us. My husband and I started cooking breakfast together every morning. It was something that at first seemed quaint (and thus likely to be short-lived) but we’ve kept it up for months now. We traded our already rare date nights in for more frequent moments throughout each day to catch up, laugh, and connect. These moments have been more gratifying with less pressure. No longer were we trying to pack all of our meaningful interaction into a two-hour date. We finally made family games a part of our routine, and it’s been such an easy way to laugh and connect with our kids. We’ve also all learned to be more respectful of each others’ need for space, since our time together is not so limited. And this Colorado

native who had never been camping before (shocking, I know) was finally willing to give it a go this summer. We ended up going on five camping trips in two months. FINDING MORE GRATITUDE Easton says that she’s noticed the pandemic has increased many people’s gratitude practice. “Whether it’s hugging their kids closer or sending reminders to a loved one that they appreciate them, people have become more aware and truly grateful for the people in their lives. We appreciate what we have when we are at risk of losing it or forced to be separated from it,” she says. In spite of the challenges Hamel has faced with her parents’ health and work, “joy is a choice,” she says. “There is a bittersweetness to it all. I appreciate the good things, but it’s also hard to know that the reason behind them is because something bad is happening, and a lot of people are hurting. Yet we can still choose joy and gratitude for what we can—no matter how small that thing may be.” Kim Fleischman is a Colorado native and mother of two boys.

December 2020 |


Fun & Activities

SUPPLIES: • One cylindrical canister with a bottom and top (oatmeal or disinfectant wipes container) • Fabric or construction paper • Markers or crayons • Scissors • Tape, glue, or Mod Podge • Glitter, beads, stickers, twine (optional)


Kuumba Means Creativity Celebrate and learn about Kwanzaa with this hands-on craft.

1. Cut fabric or construction paper to fit the sides of the canister. Note: If you chose paper, draw a Kwanzaa symbol (kinara, unity cup, corn, flag) or a unique design on your paper. 2. Adhere fabric or paper around the sides of the canister with tape or glue. 3. Use glue to affix glitter, jewels, beads or twine (optional). HAVE FUN USING YOUR DRUM! Put on some music—check out Ghanian drummer Emmanuel Nii Bortey Annang, owner of South Rhythm African Drumming in Colorado Springs. On Facebook @soulrhythmafricandrumming and YouTube at Soul Rhythm African Drumming.

By Anna Sutterer


reak out the drums, paints, poetry, and delicious food. Kwanzaa, a celebration of life and harvest, is here to close out the year. The holiday began in 1966, introduced by Dr. Maulana Karenga, as a way to help Black Americans focus on their honorable history and pride in the midst of struggles for liberation and equity. Kwanzaa is a cultural, ethnic, and spiritual holiday featuring seven days of self-reflection. On each day between December 26 and the first of January, a candle, first black then alternating red and green, is lit on a candeholder called a kinara to represent a moral value or principle in pan-African life. The words for each day, in the east African language Swahili, are: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative


Colorado Parent | December 2020

economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith). Singing, dancing, African drumming, storytelling, poetry reading, and feasting runs throughout the week. Handmade gifts and books are given across generations to develop communal affection and strength, says Donna “Jawanna” Norris, Denver artist and Kwanzaa Project Weaver. “Kwanzaa provides an opportunity for all people regardless of race and ethnicity to learn about the lives of Black people. To reflect on self and community by way of the Black experience, drawing from its strength to realize new futures,” Norris adds. “Kwanzaa is a reflective time to shine a light on recommitting to the good.” Norris encourages getting kids into the Kuumba (creativity) spirit by making a drum and contributing to the joyful noise.

Denver’s Five Points neighborhood is a gathering spot for Kwanzaa celebrations each year. Community members gather around the Kinara at night to share in traditions and reflect on the lives of Black people. According to Norris, the gathering may still take place with social distancing or online. Follow Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center or Cleo Parker Robinson Dance for news about Kwanzaa in Denver this year.

Drum, supplies: Heather Gott. Illustration: Getty Images.

Kwanzaa Drum


Screen Time

PA R E N T L I K E A P R O Find out new ways to replace screen time. Plus, at home craft ideas, new ways to use imagination, creative ways to get your kiddo up and moving—and a whole lot more! DON’T MISS THIS! YOU CAN NOW READ THE FULL ISSUE OF COLORADO PARENT ONLINE.

  


WALK THROUGH YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE SCENES IN AN ALL-NEW, MULTI-SENSORY EXPERIENCE NOW - JANUARY 3 A CHRISTMAS STORY, NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION, THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS and all related characters and elements © & ™ Turner Entertainment Co. (s20) ELF and all related characters and elements © & ™ New Line Productions, Inc. (s20) THE POLAR EXPRESS and all related characters and elements © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s20)

Family Food

Candy Cane Dreams Cocoa. Cookies. Candy. Need we say more? These delightful combinations are sure to make your holidays sweet. By Kara Thompson


Colorado Parent | December 2020

Above: Santa and Littlest Elf mugs,

Cocoa, cookie:s Kara Thompson.


eing homebound for the holidays offers an unexpected opportunity to make the season all the more merry. Serve up some delicious fun with these simple yet customizable treats. We visited Hammond’s Candy Factory, a Denver-based family business known for colorful candy canes, to source some inspiration and ingredients. The verdict: candy, cookies, and cocoa make for a trio that’s as flavorful as it is festive.

Family Food

COCOA FOR ALL Cold, snowy night? Cozy up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa, but take the seasonal drink up a notch by setting up a serving station. These clever tips will help you kick things off:

• Make Hammond’s Candy Cane Crunch Cocoa rather than plain hot chocolate to really get into the spirit. You and your kids will both love the subtle hints of peppermint.

• Sip from celebratory mugs, like the Santa and Littlest Elf mugs shown left, to make simple treats special. Order a few holiday mugs to have on hand—and use them for the years to come.

• Garnish each mug with a finishing touch. Try peppermint sticks or whole candy canes, which will slightly melt and add even more flavor to your drinks.

• Place a variety of candy in bowls for your kids to top off their cocoa. Sprinkle crushed up candy canes, fluffy marshmallows, and chocolate shavings on top of whipped cream.

• Does the holiday stress have you feeling sleepy? Brew a cup of coffee and combine it with a scoop of hot cocoa mix to give yourself a boost. Top it with candy and whipped cream at the same time as your kids.

COOKIES FOR SANTA Kids love the tradition of setting out cookies for Santa. Let them in on the fun by making your own sugar cookies, frosting them, then decorating each with your favorite candy. Or, to limit the mess and save time on cleanup, order cookies from a local bakery and decorate them yourself. Try these ideas: • Use licorice laces to make bows, stripes, polka dots, and other patterns on your cookies. • Find a use for broken candy canes by crushing them up and sprinkling the pieces on top of your frosting. Some other festive toppings: peppermint pillows, gumdrops, or rock candy. • Taste test a few cookies, then set some on a plate for Santa. Don’t forget a glass of milk!

December 2020 |


50 Kid-Approved Holiday Toys Get your holiday shopping done with confidence! All of these toys wowed Colorado kids and their parents.




By Kara Thompson


How We Picked the Winners

With a slew of toys bombarding store shelves at the holiday season, it’s hard to know which presents will be a hit. To make your gifting easier, we spent months researching, testing, and ranking holiday toys to come up with this list of 50 tried-andtrue gifts that kids are sure to love.


Colorado Parent | December 2020

We've included toys that are beneficial for certain developmental needs. Find these toys indicated with the following symbols: Sensory-friendly Builds gross motor skills Builds fine motor skills STEAM project

Child with presents, icons: Getty Images.

Here’s how they scored a spot on our list: • Three local toy stores, Beyond the Blackboard, Grandrabbit's Toy Shoppe, and Timbuk Toys, submitted toy nominations to kick off our research. • We narrowed down the nomination list and gathered 25 Colorado families to take the toys for a test run. • Each toy was tested by three families, with kids ranging in age from five months to 14 years old. • After nearly eight weeks of testing and tallying scores, these 50 toys were given a stamp of approval from testers and their parents based on quality, educational and creative value, and their child’s interest level.

Best For Baby


Even our youngest testers were tough critics of the teethers, rattles, and blocks in this category.


1. Rattle Buddy

Infants were drawn to the noise made with this hand-knit Finn + Emma Rattle Buddy while parents were pleased that it wasn’t too loud. The dangly arms and legs were easy for small hands to grab on to, and one tester liked that even when her daughter chewed on it, no lint got in her mouth. $28,

2. Baby Fox

The Yoee Baby Fox proved to be best for parent-and-baby playtime. Parents enjoyed using the long and soft tail to tickle their babies, while little ones were intrigued by the crinkle sounds and silicone teether. $25,


3. InnyBin

Babies pulled and pushed the colorful blocks in and out of this stretchy Fat Brain Toys Co. InnyBin, problem solving along the way. One mom raved about the toy’s durability and unique textures. $25,

4. Sensory Balls + Beads

Stack, roll, and twist together these Lalaboom Balls + Beads to engage your baby in educational play. One tester’s one-year-old could put some pieces together on his own, while her toddler liked that it could be taken apart and put back together in different ways. $28,



Background, present illustration: Getty Images.

5. OombeeCube

Since all of the shapes are attached to the Fat Brain Toys Co. OombeeCube, parents didn’t have to worry about losing the different pieces (and cleanup was a breeze). Testers were fans of sorting the squishy silicone pieces, and yes, they found delight from putting them in their mouths. $17,


6. Turtle Ball Pit

For all of our tiny testers, unpacking this Melissa & Doug Turtle Ball Pit resulted in love at first sight. A highly-pleased parent said her daughter played in it for more than 20 minutes; unheard of for busy little babes. $80,

December 2020 |


Toddler Thrills


These toys kept curious tots busy—making them total standouts.

7. Roll and Play

Toss the plush Thinkfun Roll and Play cube, choose the matching color card, and have your little one complete the activity shown. Prompts range from “Moo like a cow” to “Find something white.” Parents appreciated that the toy made learning fun. $25,

8. My Little Farm

Our toy-loving toddler testers liked coming up with their own animal stories while playing with this SmartFelt set, which was developed by a speech therapist. One mom said her son “continues to play with it daily” while another feels confident that it will be “a family favorite for years to come.” $40,



9. Forest Blocks Box

The wooden, puzzle-like blocks in the Janod Forest Blocks Box are painted with cheerful characters that appealed to toddlers. The six-inone puzzle helped kids hone important skills, like counting and problem solving. $15,


10. Safari Bowl

This adorable Begin Again Safari Bowl set kept active kids entertained while inside. Parents loved that it’s constructed with eco-friendly materials, and had fun cheering and celebrating with their young bowlers when they scored a strike. $25, 11

11. Wagon

Toddlers got a thrill from pulling their favorite toys and stuffies behind them in this tot-sized Green Toys Wagon. Moms and dads were happy that it was made with 100% recycled plastic. $25,

12. Space A to Z Puzzle & Playset

Crafted in Colorado, this Begin Again Puzzle & Playset was a hit for aspiring astronauts. One tester said her child was fascinated by the vibrant colors and enjoyed sorting the chunky wooden pieces. $40,

13. My First Safari Animals

These SmartMax Safari Animals were fun for testers to color match, count, and use for pretend play. Parents thought they would be enduring favorites, as they can be used with other toys and games as kids grow. $23,


Colorado Parent | December 2020



Outdoor Fun


Cold weather can make it tough to play outside, but give your kids something to look forward to with these active toys and games.


14. Sky Dreamcatcher Swing


“It was a big hit,” one mom said about this colorful b4 Adventure Swing. Kids loved spinning, gliding, and pushing the swing high into the air. Adults felt comfortable with it because it’s “extremely stable” and was “easy for kids to get on and off of on their own.” $130,

15. Wicket Kick Giant Kick Croquet

Kids went crazy for the oversized balls that came with this b4 Adventure Giant Kick Croquet set. They also had fun building their own courses and creating their own games. Parents were pleased that the balls could be deflated for simple storage. $30,


16. Stunt Planes


When hyped-up kids jumped on top of the launch pad to send these Stomp Rocket Stunt Planes soaring, they felt pure joy. Innovative testers created a game with hula hoops and tried to get all the rockets to land in them. $30,

17. Spikeball

Landing a nearly perfect score, Spikeball proved to be the most versatile, family-friendly game from our list. A tester said: “It’s a game the kids can play, but once they leave it, the adults can get their competitive juices flowing.” $59, 19

18. American Ninja Warrior NinjaLine

Kids of various ages had fun balancing on the slackline and swinging across the rings on the NinjaLine from Colorado-based b4 Adventure. “It’s a huge bonus that it’s portable. We can’t wait to take it camping,” one mom noted. $120,

19. Scooter Balance Bike

Parents adored the unique design of the Janod Balance Bike Scooter and said they preferred it over the plastic bikes most kids use. The lightweight wooden construction made it easy for kids to get the hang of scooting. Another perk: It was quick to assemble! $109,

December 2020 |


Imaginative Play




These playful picks ranked high for their versatility and ability to spark budding imaginations.


20. Magnetic Blocks

One mom admitted that she wasn’t sure if the tiny Pixio Magnetic Blocks would be a hit, but she was surprised by how much her son loved putting together the 3D figures. The magnetic component to the blocks made for a refreshing new twist on traditional blocks. $40,

21. Cooker Reverso


The Janod Cooker Reverso has two sides to play with—a kitchen on the front and a laundry room on the back—making it a great choice for families with more than one kid. Our testers liked that it came with pots and pans and that the stove could light up and make noises. $209,

22. Courtney Doll

It came as no surprise that all reviews of the American Girl Courtney Doll were positive. Kids were elated that the ’80s-inspired doll had “fashionable shoes and a real scrunchie” and were pleased that her eyes could open and close. $110 and up,

23.Top & Bake Pizza Counter A four-year-old tester acted like a waitress as she took orders and prepped “pizzas” with the Melissa & Doug Top & Bake Pizza Counter. The wooden set comes with different tools and toppings, as well as pretend money that kids loved counting. $50,

24. Creator Cam

Creative kids got a kick out of the VTech KidiZoom Creator Cam while they planned out scenes and plots like movie stars. The buttons and camera settings were “pretty intuitive for a six-year-old” as one parent said. Kids found the camera stand and flippable lens to be helpful to their little hands. $60,


Colorado Parent | December 2020




25. Story Pirate Ship

The Janod Pirate Ship was an imaginationinducing toy. Kids found it fun to put together the sturdy cardboard ship pieces, and liked playing with the wooden pirates. One tester’s child “made up silly stories and had the characters act them out.” $33,


26. Squigz

Parents noted the Fat Brain Toys Co. Squigz as “long lasting” and “a staple toy.” Kid testers stuck the suction construction pieces to windows and other household surfaces while building funny shapes. $26,

27. Ava Deer Plush 27

Ideal for a dress-up loving girl, the Kaloo Ava Deer Plush is small enough for your child to tote along on car rides. One mom was thrilled that it could be thrown in the washing machine after it got a lot of use. $31,

28. Shaving Set

Two toddlers thought it was fun to play with the Janod Shaving Set in the bathroom while looking at themselves in the mirror. The set comes with a pretend razor, shaving cream, comb, and more—perfect for kids who want to be just like dad. $31,


29. Airfort

Compared to a regular pop-up tent, the Airfort blew testers away. When attached to a box fan, the Airfort becomes a big tent for the entire family to play in. One mom of a two-year-old said that her son’s eyes light up every time they play with it. $50, 29

December 2020 |


Creative Projects


Harness your child’s creativity with these crafty finds. 31

30. Catapults & Crossbows

Calling all Lego lovers: This Thames & Kosmo Catapults & Crossbows set got rave reviews. It kept one family’s “very energetic son” occupied for hours, and got bonus points for turning into toys after all ten models were built. $25,

33 32


31. Pom Poms 3 Little Animals

This Janod 3 Little Animals kit proved to be a more challenging craft for kids, so it’s best for those age 10 and up. Once the yarn animals were put together, testers enjoyed playing with them and putting them on display. $18,


32. DIY Surprise Balls

Our trial of the Craft Tastic DIY Surprise Balls made for the perfect afternoon activity, keeping kids busy for a solid hour. One mom said she’d be purchasing it for her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop for the holidays. $20,



33. Mega Cyborg Hand


Although it turned out to be a lengthier project, robot fans found the Thames & Kosmo Mega Cyborg Hand to be a blast to put together. Once kids were done building it, they got to wear the mechanical hand and operate it with their fingers. $30,


34. Hey Clay Birds

These goofy Fat Brain Toys Co. Hey Clay Birds landed perfect scores from all of our testers. It wowed parents because unlike traditional clay, it had no smell and resulted in no mess. Kids were excited to follow along with the free app that taught them how to make the birds, and were pleased with their finished products. $17,


35. Tool Essentials Dough Set

37. Storybook Maker

36. Bubble Machine

38. Ooze Labs Chemistry Station

Made with organic flour, the Green Toys Tool Essentials Dough Set comes with three tubs of dough, seven tools, and a two-sided activity mat. One tester’s four-year-old daughter loved making “spaghetti” with the spaghetti extruder, while mom liked that each tool could be put in the dishwasher. $18,

When one mom asked her child to rate the Kiwi Co. Bubble Machine out of five stars, he gave it a solid ten! Other reviews revealed that the directions were easy to follow, and parents liked that it came with a booklet of fun science facts. $30,


Colorado Parent | December 2020

Little crafters enjoyed writing their own stories and bedazzling this Story Magic Storybook Maker with gems, sparkles, and stickers. One mom mentioned that it would be perfect for a child who is learning to spell and write, and another said her daughter was obsessed with the unicorn mask. $20,

Aspiring scientists enjoyed watching the transformations that resulted from the many projects they created with this Thames & Kosmo Chemistry Station. Parents found it refreshing that the activity didn’t result in a big mess, and that it was fun and educational. $30,

39. Make Your Own Tiny Camper

Colorado kids sure love to camp, which made it no surprise that the Klutz Make Your Own Tiny Camper was a total win. Kid testers ranging from eight years old to 13 thought it was fun to make a “puppy pal” and parents liked that it got kids away from their screens. $22,

40. Monster Mix and Match Art Pack

Another Kiwi Co. win: the Kiwi Co. Monster Mix and Match Art Pack. Kids learned about the science of pencil rubbing art while creating friendly-looking monsters. One mom was glad her kids could do it independently, and pointed out that it would be great for restaurants or car rides. $18,

Family Games 41

All of these products appealed to a variety of ages and took family game nights to the next level.



With TENZI, everyone gets ten dice and rolls them as fast as they can until someone gets all their dice on the same number. This simple, crowd-pleasing game turned out to be a fun frenzy for kids and parents alike. $15, 43 45 44

45. I Got This!

I Got This!, by Fat Brain Toy Co., pulled out all of the competitive vibes in the families who tested it. Different challenges get kids in on active play, with prompts varying from “catch the ring on your foot” to “bounce the ping pong ball ten times.” $25,

46. Polar Panic

The simplicity of AMIGO’s five-rule Polar Panic matching game appealed to parents who had kids with big age differences. “My four-year-old and ten-year-old enjoyed it,” one mom shared. Another parent revealed that her five kids played the game “over and over.” $12,




48. Clack!


49. Santa Cookie Elf Candy Snowman

TENZI's BUILDZI requires kids to construct unique towers as fast as possible—without letting them fall. One mom, who is also a teacher, liked that this game encouraged her three kids to work on their spatial reasoning and hand-eye coordination. $25, 50

Setup, play, and cleanup were all easy with the Blue Orange Where’s Mr. Wolf memory game. Kids liked it because it was easy to understand, and since there isn’t really one winner, it makes playtime more enjoyable than stressful. $20,

41. Sloth in a Hurry

Kids loved watching their parents act out different scenarios while playing the improv-inspired eeBoo Sloth in a Hurry game. It didn’t take long for families to find themselves laughing at some of the downright outrageous scenes. $22, 49

47. Where’s Mr. Wolf?

43. Tell Tale Fairy Tales

The beauty of Blue Orange's Tell Tale Fairy Tales is that it can be played for as long or short as you’d like. Kids picked cards and created their own stories to share with family and friends. “It was fun to see their imaginations at work and how goofy they can be,” a mom of a six- and eight-year-old said. $16,

Results showed that Clack! by AMIGO was a fast game that engaged and entertained everyone. The goal: Build the tallest stack of magnetic disks by rolling the dice and matching up the colors and shapes. Kids were fans of the clacking sound the game made. $18,

The festive Santa Cookie Elf Candy Snowman game by Dolphin Hat Games is ideal for kids who enjoy something fast-paced. Players take turns slapping down their cards while calling out “Santa!”“Cookie!”“Elf!” and so on until the card they put down matches what they say. $10,

50. Bear Down!

“This will be in our regular game rotation from now on,” one parent said about AMIGO’s Bear Down! Her kids were excited to try and get their bears to collect the most fish without falling over the waterfall. But when they did go over the edge, she said they all “had a good laugh.” $29,

December 2020 |


Colorado Parent



Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that provide families additional educational choices for their children. Charter Schools have been in Colorado for 27 years and have grown to over 260 schools statewide.

 7








 3







  

























  2




 6












Pg. 37 |



Pg. 39 |


Pg. 35 |












Charter School Guide


Pg. 36 |








Global VillaGe academy Learning Through Language and Culture

NǏ HǍO! Bonjour! Privet! ¡HOLA! From Caleb and Samuel’s Family:

We come from a Hispanic family who speaks Spanish. We love that our kids learn proper Spanish and love and embrace the language of their grandparents. I love that GVA strives to give each student what they need. We love GVA and know that our kids love it too!”

Our Students Learn Another Language and So Can Yours! K-8th Grade, Tuition-free, Public Charter Schools GVA Douglas County is K-5th grade.

Learn More About Our Schools Here!

Now Enrolling for the 2021-22 School Year Global Village Academy students become fluent and literate in English and a second world language, excel academically in core content subjects and develop 21st-century skills, including cross-cultural understanding.

Aurora • Northglenn • Parker •


Charter School





R idge


K8: 720-399-0300 | HS: 720-723-2100 |

Voted #1 High School in the Adams 12 Five Star Schools and the top 3% in the nation by US News and World Report, Prospect Ridge Academy is a K-12 tuition-free public charter school with a vision to create academic, social, and ethical leaders. The school is committed to providing a comprehensive foundation of rigorous coursework, social leadership, competitive athletics, and community service. Expectations are set high for PRA students to achieve their full potential as lifelong learners. In 2019, 100% of PRA 109 seniors graduated; they received 124 scholarships resulting in $8,785,771; and they served 15,000+ hours as community leaders. Choose PRA and attend an Open Enrollment Session to learn more about its elementary, middle and high school.



GRADES: K–12th Grade | ENROLLMENT: 1,423 OPEN ENROLLMENT: Nov. 17, Dec. 5, Jan. 12 AVERAGE CLASS SIZE: ES: 25, MS: 26, HS: 23

Now Enrolling for the 2020-2021 School Year

re ign La

ho nguage Sc



ho nguage Sc



re ign La

Montessori del Mundo is dedicated to developing and preparing tomorrow’s bilingual leaders through a racially, linguistically, and socioeconomically diverse community that makes the educational experience rich and equitable for all students. Serving ages 3 years - 6th grade.

(720) 863-8629 • 36

Charter School Guide


15503 E. Mississippi Ave., Aurora CO 80017

Charter School








Providing a well-rounded, rigorous curriculum with high academic standards for Kindergarten through 8th grade students. | 303-367-5983 | 10251 East 1st Avenue, Aurora, CO 80010

INCLUSIVE SCHOOL COMMUNITY: AURORA ACADEMY is the first charter school in the Aurora Public Aurora Academy embodies a culturally and racially diverse student and School District, opening its doors in the fall of 2000. It is recognized by family population who, together, create an important fusion of rich cultural, the Foundation of Great Schools and has a “Performance” rating from the social, and economic backgrounds that assist in the learning process of Colorado Department of Education. acceptance, respect, and opportunity. KEY COMPONENTS: • 41.7% of the student population is African American • Full-day Kindergarten • 35.1% of the student population is Hispanic • Gifted and Talented Program • 14.8% of the student population is Caucasian • Core Knowledge approach: putting knowledge at the heart of schooling • 0.4% of the student population is American Indian/Asian • Music and Art an integral part of academics • 2.7% of the student population qualifies as Other • One-to-one technology • 60% of the student population are English Language Learners • Families play a vital role in our school community • 31 different languages represented among the student population • A STEAM based before and after school program • 14% of the student population identified for Exceptional Student Services • Competitive middle school sports Quick


GRADES: Kindergarten through 8th Grade AVERAGE CLASS SIZE: 26




Charter School








Our students SHINE with strength, humility, integrity, nobility and empathy in an environment that both challenges and supports students in their growth as learners, performers and leaders. | 720-709-7400 | 15035 Compark Boulevard, Parker, CO 80134 PARKER PERFORMING ARTS SCHOOL is a K-8 charter school in the Douglas County School District. The school is unlike any other school in DCSD, Colorado, and the Mountain Region providing a unique mix of academic rigor along with daily training in the performing arts. An exciting one-to-one iPad environment, differentiated digital curriculum, and daily performing arts instruction at PPA will inspire student passion and engagement, and help foster valuable 21st Century Skills such as creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. In addition to classes in language arts and math, elementary students rotate between different “specials� that we call Encores to enhance their academic and performing arts studies. These classes include: science,



GRADES: Kindergarten through 8th Grade ENROLLMENT: 735 AVERAGE CLASS SIZE: 26 38

Charter School Guide


social studies, theater, dance, music, visual art and tumbling. Our middle school students study core academics of literature, math, science and history with 3 elective classes. Electives choices include dance, vocal music, theater, musical theater and instrumental music. Students also have the opportunity to select electives in technology, consumer and family sciences, debate, multi-media productions, yearbook, and Shakespeare. Our students SHINE with strength, humility, integrity, nobility and empathy in an environment that both challenges and supports students in their growth as learners, performers and leaders.

Charter School





Discover a TUITION-FREE public middle school for ALL young people in grades 6-8. Committed to preparing students for futures in the aviation and aerospace industries with STEAM-focused project-based learning. OUR BRAND NEW LEARNING CENTER! Personalized deeper-learning projects geared toward knowledge and skills acquisition while meeting or exceeding education standards.


Now enrolling grades 6-8!

Located at the Centennial Airport. In partnership with Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum & the Boeing Blue Sky Exploration of Flight Center. 13025 Wings Way Englewood, CO 80012 720-400-7612




Welcoming students in grades K-3 (K-8 at full build-out) from all language backgrounds, the French American School of Denver is a tuition-free DPS charter school offering a proven, research-based bilingual French/English immersion curriculum shown to enhance academic achievement in all disciplines.


Come learn, grow and achieve at ODB! Omar D. Blair Charter School prides itself for ensuring that all K-8 scholars are educated, empowered and ready for continued success!

L E A R N M O R E ! W W W. F A S D E N V E R . O R G 7 2 0 . 5 0 6 . 4 5 8 9 • I N FO @ FA S D E N V E R . O RG 2280 E. 16TH AVENUE, DENVER, CO 80206

Enroll Today! Charter School Guide



14 Days of Winter Break

Two weeks of themed activities to entertain house-bound kids.


chool breaks just aren’t the same this year. With COVID-19 cases on the rise and more precautions needed to keep everyone safe, the days over winter break will probably feel more like a repeat of every other day. There is nothing we would love more than to offer a list of unrestricted, pandemic-free adventures for winter break. (Oh, how we would love that!) Instead, we’ve come up with a list of themed activities that incorporate a little something new into each day. Try the simple version of each activity or, if you have more time to fill, take the amped up approach. No mask or social distancing is required, as long as you try them at home with your family.

Dare You Day


Colorado Parent | December 2020

Build It Day

See what you can build with items in the recycle bin, plastic blocks, or maybe even cookies or cakes. Be ready for some mighty failures and big laughs as you experiment and test your materials and skills. Take It Further: If you remember the Checker Trading Stamps episode of The Brady Bunch (“54-40 or Fight”), in which the Brady kids settle a stalemate by building a house of cards, you know the activity takes skills. Try building your own house from playing cards or set the stage for a friendly building competition to see who can stack the most marshmallows or blocks.

Try a New Hobby Day

We’re all tired of staring at screens, which is why interest in hobbies has risen. Revell USA, the maker of model kits since 1943, saw a surge in sales of their model kits for cars, planes, ships, and sci-fi licensed items this year. Don’t just think model cars though, kids are learning to

crochet, weave, carve, and do origami. Pick up an inexpensive kit at a craft store to test drive a new hobby before making a huge investment in tools and supplies. Take It Further: If your child’s interest in the hobby sticks, watch for classes at area craft and hobby shops like Michaels or Fancy Tiger Crafts, or maker spaces like The Craftsman & Apprentice or TinkerMill.

Gratitude Day

There will be thank-you notes in need of writing and sending after the holidays. Why not make a day of it? Pull out the art supplies and have the kids customize personal notes. Add a thank-you note for a kind neighbor, staff at a local hospital, or essential business. Take It Further: Show your child how to properly address an envelope and place the stamp, or decorate the envelope with stickers.

Outdoors Day

A little bit of fresh air each day will help the family. Numerous studies show that time spent in the great outdoors reduces the risk for cardiovascular

Illustrations: Getty Images.

Increase the fun factor, and your child’s adventurous side, with a day designed to test everyone’s comfort zone. Set the ground rules for a day in which each family member has to accept at least one parent-approved challenge from someone else in the family. Brainstorm some simple ideas, like walk a balance beam, eat a bite of broccoli, step barefoot in the snow, or say the ABCs backwards.

Take It Further: Invite the kids to come up with a dare for parents to do, too.

disease, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, preterm birth, asthma, and stress, among other things. It could also improve mental health, short-term memory, and focus. The list goes on. Just two hours per week spent in green spaces, according to one study published in the journal Scientific Reports, is enough to reap the benefits. Colorado has endless opportunities to be outside, even in urban areas. So, take those walks, go to the park, and pick one day to really explore a new outdoor space. Take It Further: Try out a new-to-your-kids outdoor activity like Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, walking a new city trail, or bird watching. Create a nature scavenger hunt by making a list of things you might find outside—a red bird, a squirrel, a stick shaped like a Y, white tree bark, etc.—then set out to see what you can find.

Sloth Day

Don’t underestimate the joy of a day with no set plans. Call a day during break to honor the slow-moving sloth. Sleep in, take your time getting breakfast and getting dressed, let the chores sit for a day, and let the kids know it is their day to entertain themselves. Take It Further: Do a little research on the slowest animals on the planet.

Designer Day

Change can feel good in this marathon of sameness and feeling boxed-in. One positive change that could bring a little excitement: updating the kids’ bedrooms or play spaces. No need to spend a lot (or any) money; kids can make their own art or select a few toys to hang on the wall. Work together to arrange books on shelves or clothes in their closet by color—everything red on the left, then orange, yellow, and so on, until you see the rainbow. Take It Further: Rearrange the rooms—letting kids take the lead on where their desk, toys, or bed go—to make the spaces feel fresh.

Nothing but Snacks Day

No cooking today – the menu is all about simple snacking foods. But don’t default to sugary treats or granola bars, create a list together of some kid- and parent-favorites that will give everyone necessary energy: cheese slices, deli meat and pepperoni slices, a veggie tray, hummus, fruit kabobs. Take It Further: Enlist your child’s help in cleaning and chopping fruits and veggies. See how many different shapes you can create—try cutting apples or pears into flat slices and remove the core with mini cookie cutters, or cut carrots into medallions or matchsticks, or with a crinkle cutter.

Become an Expert Day

How do whales sleep? Why do thunder and lightning happen together? Are there real princesses and knights? Kids have so many questions. Take a day over break to guide your child on a quest for answers. Brainstorm together to come up with a

question they would like answered. Then discuss the ways they might be able to find information, such as books, the internet, or observation, and see what you can learn together. Take It Further: Go beyond an internet search. Explore the library database for books or documentaries on the subject that you can borrow.

Movie Day

animal friends. Give them a spot at the dinner table, throw a tea party, or set up a holiday scene just for them with real holiday lights and a tiny tree, handmade menorah, or kinara. Take It Further: Break out the craft supplies to create a holiday diorama from an old gift box, or use shoeboxes to make furniture and accessories for dolls and stuffies.

No, this is not another movie watching binge. Instead, encourage your child to make their own movie on your phone. Let them take the lead on the subject, costumes, and camera angles. Take It Further: Edit the video and make a trailer to share with friends and grandparents. Try a free kid-friendly app to make it happen, like Toontastic, LEGO Movie Maker, or Magisto. Then set up a special family screening, with popcorn, to watch the finished creation.

Invent Your Own Holi-Day

Declutter Day

Chill Out Day

With new toys and clothes coming into the house from holiday gifting, it’s a good time to get rid of some of the old. Start a tradition of donating a couple toys or some outgrown clothes at the holidays. It might be easier for kids to let go knowing that new exciting things are on the way. Take It Further: Institute a “one-in, one-out” rule to keep from drowning in clutter. For every new item that kids receive, let them pick one worn out item to trash or recycle, or one gently used item to donate. Grown-ups aren’t exempt from the tradition, make your own “out” pile, too.

Stuffie Party Day

They may only be stuffed with fluff, but you can still honor your child’s special stuffies and plush

It seems like there is a special “Day” for everything. Chocolate Chip Day? May 15. Ice Cream Day? July 18. World Smile Day? October 1. Create your own special day from your child’s favorite food, game, movie, or toy. Ask your child what colors, decorations, and themed food and activities they would incorporate into their commemoration day. Take It Further: Create the actual celebration. It may become an actual winter break tradition. We’re all struggling with pandemic stress, kids included. Explore some ways to let it all out. One no-special-equipment-required method to try is meditation. Light a candle and check out Headspace for Kids, or the free Stop, Breathe & Think or Smiling Mind apps. Take It Further: Experiment with silly dancing, yoga, and time with pets to see what brings a sense of relief from basic stresses and frustrations. If stress and anxiety are more serious, take time to find a therapist or counselor who can help. Bonus Idea: Mix a few of these theme days with a virtual or in-person camp to break up the winter break doldrums. See for updated lists of local camps and classes.

December 2020 |


! r e e B











202 0










t Restauran s pumpkin Olivia’ fraîche me and crè triangoli

Ways icious s, 68 Del do Chef Colora neurs, And re ep tr En bors Neigh Good ue To Contin Us All h Nouris


N’ T R AN O D U “YO FO WAITTUNIT Y. R OPPO TAKE I er’s summ 9 -1 is past How th nd the COVID a in a d s st re te pro ic ushe ck pandem ation of Bla r. er ve en new g ership in Den HE Z SA NC lead RT BE RO BY


98 SP EC






0 OBE R 202


BER 202










staye e once *For us e orders ar at-homof course lif ted,





0 JUN E 202m



ponse itial Res do’s In Pandemic Colora Inside e COVID-19 GH AN E MO NA To Th





ve a W t s r The Fi SP EC


0 RY 202










202 0 EMB ER


. History s. ars Of 161 Ye ft Brewerie 416 Cra ss St yles To Countle Your Thirst Quenchrado. In Colo

izmos, gets, G Your r st Gad The Be And Tools Fo res tu en Toys, dv or A Outdo I M H A B I C H T




. d e n w yo l l . a d c e o m L i cla c a y l l a n ra do. o o i l t o a C o N ut



conne 0 8 2 5

s Street taco Calle from La ia Y Taquer s Carnita


c t s yo

crib s b u s o .com t


e. 0 JULY 202









|| 528 528 20200 CH 202 MAR MARCH











The U


: ghtsee s ie roll & Si The Pe And Your u For Yo ime Guests! Springt

Sip, St ect Intinerar  rf

PAG E 90

e Explor n fte This O ed ok Overlo Slope rn Weste Gem!


Our Picks For Little Ones

Opener: Dairy Block. Kiddos: Ali Braithwaite and Jeffrey Hebron. Tweens: NASA/Photo Journal. Teen: Deepali Lindblom.


For Kiddos


For Tweens


Stroll through the Dairy Block Alley, brimming with festive cheer throughout December.


DEC. 31

For Teens

Holidays at Dairy Block

Head to Dairy Block for a generous dose of yuletide cheer this holiday season as the LoDo micro-district transforms into a European village with an après ski vibe and a full schedule of festivities. Don't miss caroling by The Jingle Belles each Saturday, chalk art installations, and a Parade of Lights float. Dairy Block Alley, Denver.


December 2020 |


Calendar | December

10:45am, 1pm, or 2:30pm. Create a seasonal wreath using wintry colors and natural elements. Then bundle up and stroll around the Denver Botanic Gardens with a scavenger hunt that explores the common varieties of evergreens onsite. Ages 3 and older are required to wear a mask. $15 per project; $12 per project for members. Denver Botanic Gardens York Street. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

Calendar What’s Inside SPECIAL FAMILIES


VIRTUAL CU Wizards: Humanity Needs Dreamers



9:30am. Watch a screening of Humanity Needs Dreamers: A Visit with Marie Curie, followed by a live Q and A with living history scholar and performer Susan Marie Frontczak in character as the two-time Nobel Prize winning scientist. All ages.





Adult+Child Gift Making Workshop Dec. 5 and 19, 10-11am.



HEADS UP! All events were correct as of press time, however, with rapidly changing restrictions, please phone ahead to confirm event details.

Get listed! Items to be considered for the monthly printed calendar must be received at least six weeks before the month of publication. Email event information to Information cannot be accepted by phone. See our calendar online at and use it to post your own events at any time.

Make handmade gifts with your kids at artSPARK, on Dec. 5.


VIRTUAL Dome to Home: A

Soft Landing 1pm. Explore different

ways rovers have landed on Mars, and how the latest, Perseverance, will make a graceful entrance after flying over 24,000 mph at top speed. Find corresponding activities for 3rd-8th graders online.


VIRTUAL Musical Storytime

Dec 3, 10, 17 4-4:45pm. Dance and sing during this live, virtual storytime full of tunes and musical tales. All ages. VIRTUAL Transkids Movie is available

to watch beginning 7pm on Dec. 3, through 9pm on Dec. 9. Transkids follows four Israeli teenagers as they deal with typical teen drama through the lens of transgender youth. The on-demand video is part of the Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies, and Music Festival (JAMM) by the Jewish Cultural Center Denver. $12 per household.


VIRTUAL Aspen Academy Open House Dec. 4, 11; 9am. Join a


Colorado Parent | December 2020

virtual chat about the Aspen Academy experience. See classrooms in action, and explore the pre-K-8th grade school.


Fort Collins Toy Shop

9am-2pm. Parents are invited to bring a large sack to the toy shop, where they'll find toys and stockings for their children, ages birth to 18, who might not otherwise receive gifts this year. Toys are available first come, first served. A child’s birth certificate (from anywhere) is required, along with the parent's picture ID. No children will be admitted due to COVID-19 restrictions. Knights of Columbus Hall, Fort Collins.

Denver Toy Shop 9am-4pm. Low-income families can find new toys for their children, ages birth to 18, at Kenzies Causes’ toy shop. Birth certificates of children are required, plus the parent's photo ID. Only one person from each family can go inside, no children are permitted. Masks required. National Western Complex, Denver.

Join your pre-K or kindergartner for a festive holiday gift making workshop. $35 per class. Reservations required. artSPARK Creative Studio, Littleton.

Winter Wonderland Cake Class 11am and 12:30pm classes. Decorate a delicious cake that reflects the sparkle of the winter season. All ages. $55. Reservations required. My Make Studio, Edgewater.

Holiday Gift Making Workshop Dec. 5, 12, and 19. 1-3pm. Drop off your child for one or all of these sessions. They'll get crafty and create gifts for family and friends. 1st-5th graders. $59 per class. Reservations required. artSPARK Creative Studio, Littleton. VIRTUAL Storytime with Santa Zoomeez 3pm. Travel through

imagination (and Zoom) to the North Pole where Mr. and Mrs. Claus cozy up to two wintertime story books. Afterwards, check your mailbox for a personalized note from your friends up north.


Family Make and Take: Winter Wreaths See Dec. 5

Craft: artSPARK.

Family Make and Take: Winter Wreaths Dec. 5 and 6. 9:15am,

Calendar | December

HOT TIP Happy Holidays Learn more about holidays celebrated this season by folks from many cultures. Watch the episode "Nina’s World: Nina Learns About Holidays" on Universal Kids to explore Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Diwali.

VIRTUAL Grandparents are Great Program Series: Gift-Giving 10:30-11:30am.

Grandchildren are invited to make art, share with grandparents, and create memories. Stream live or watch later on YouTube and Facebook channels. VIRTUAL Family Holiday Clay

Noon-1:30pm. Work together, big hands and little hands, to build special holiday ornaments. Pieces can be decorated with textures and designs, and painted with underglaze. Ages 4 and up. $30 per person, supplies included. Registration required. VIRTUAL St. Elizabeth’s K-8 School Admission Info Session 4-5pm. Join the Director of

Admissions, Head of School, Middle and Lower School Heads, and current students and parents to learn about St. Elizabeth’s mission, program, and admission process. Call or email for the event link.


VIRTUAL Bilingual Storytime 10:30-11:15am. Join

Ornaments: Getty Images. Mother and child: Getty Images.

Second Star to the Right Bookstore on Instagram live for a celebration of the

Spanish language and hispanic culture. This special storytime will include songs, activities, and stories in Spanish and English for kids of all ages to enjoy with their parents or caregivers. Celebra el idioma Español y la cultura hispana. Sera una hora especial que incluirá: Cuentos e historias, canciones y actividades en español e inglés para que los niños de todas las edades disfruten con sus padres o cuidadores. VIRTUAL Drop-In Drawing Online 1-3pm. Find

something that sparks your creativity, then capture that moment in a sketch, photo, or other expression using your choice of materials. Learn techniques with instructor Anna Kaye. VIRTUAL Mindfulness for the Madness Zoomeez 7pm.

Welcome joy into the holiday season with Colorado Children’s Chorale alumna and mindfulness teacher Jaq Poussot. Reframe the year and glean comfort and joy this winter.


Seedlings: Pine Cones Galore! 9:15am, ages 18-24 months; 10:30am or 1pm, ages 2-6 years. Discover the importance of the pine cone in the life cycle of pine trees. Enjoy a story and nature walk. Programs will take place outdoors as much as possible. All or portions of the program may be moved indoors as needed, without prior notice. Registration required. $10. Denver Botanic Gardens York Street. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

Special Families VIRTUAL 3 to 5 Project: Writing An Effective IEP Webinar Dec. 1, 10am-noon; Dec. 3, 6-8pm. Learn what it takes to write an effective IEP. Help your child receive appropriate services and access academics and socialization needed to succeed.

Butterfly Pavilion Low Sensory Morning Dec. 10, 9-10:30am. Experience the Pavilion in a different way, with natural lighting, quiet tones, and limited admission so your child’s senses aren’t overloaded with fluttering and buzzing plus crowds. Enjoy a guided interpretation in each exhibit, optional activities, and an interactive storytime. $6-$10 adult, $4-$6 child. Butterfly Pavilion. See Where the Kids Are, page 50. Leading the Change: Equitable Access for Students with Special Needs Dec. 11, 9am-5pm. Engage with education leaders in a solutions-focused discussion about barriers students with special needs face in Colorado charter schools. Register online. com/view/cocharterschoolequitycon/ home VIRTUAL Neurodiverse Dungeons & Dragons Club Through Dec. 18, Fri, 6-7pm. Games Worth Playing presents an open adventure in Dungeons and Dragons available to all abilities and levels. Newcomers welcome, veterans can bring a character no higher than level 3. Email for the link. Ages 8 and up. Every Friday on Zoom. $5. autismcommunitystore

Sibling Clubhouse First Saturday of every month, 4-5pm. Hang out with other kids who have siblings with autism and understand the dynamic. Autism Community Store creates space for this peer moderated group. Participants should be old enough to have a meaningful conversation about being a sibling of someone with Autism. Email support@autismcommunitystore to

get on the sibling clubhouse email list. Autism Community Store, Aurora. Special Needs Tae Kwon Do Dec. 1-29. Tue and Thu, 3:50-4:30pm. Participate in a class designed to help students improve balance, concentration, self-control, and confidence. All ability levels. $100$115. Northridge Recreation Center, Highlands Ranch. VIRTUAL Spectrum Parent Adventures Second Saturday of each month, 6-8pm. Join Autism Community Store’s parent support group where you’ll share challenges and triumphs of being a caregiver of someone on the autism spectrum. Laugh, cry, and spend time with people who just get it. Join the live event on Zoom. VIRTUAL Virtual Grupo de Apoyo: Aurora Dec. 12, 12:30-3:30pm. The Aurora Life Group is a support group for parents with children, youth, and adults with different abilities or special needs. El Grupo de Vida - Aurora es un grupo de apoyo para padres con niños, jóvenes, y adultos con habilidades diferentes o necesidades especiales. Únete a El Groupo Vida en línea. VIRTUAL Virtual Grupo de Apoyo: Broomfield Dec. 19, 12:30-3pm. The Broomfield Life Group is a support group for parents with children, youth, and adults with different abilities or special needs. Join El Groupo Vida online. El Grupo de Vida-Broomfield es un grupo de apoyo para padres con niños, jóvenes, y adultos con habilidades diferentes o necesidades especiales. Únete a El Groupo Vida en línea.

December 2020 | Colorado Parent


Calendar | December

VIRTUAL Everything Dinosaur Talks: Ceratopsians 10-11:30am.

Tune in to this talk featuring the spike-adorned, plant-loving dinos that roamed during the Cretaceous Period. $2 per person.

9NEWS Parade of Lights Nov. 27-Dec. 4. Visit the dazzling floats you know and love on display during this multi-week, socially safe tour. Make your way from Denver Pavilions to Denver Union Station to take in the lights and activities. Tune in to 9News on Dec. 4 at 8pm to see a telecasting. Denver Pavilion, Denver. Blossoms of Light Through Jan. 16, 4:30-9:45pm. Closed Nov. 26. Twinkling lights and gardens are a perfect match to bring beauty and wonder this holiday season. Start your celebration with this extravaganza featuring treats, warm drinks, and plenty of photo opportunities. $18-$21 nonmembers, $16-$19 members, free children 2 and under (no ticket required) Denver Botanic Gardens York Street. See Where the Kids Are, page 50. VIRTUAL Camp Christmas Through Jan. 5. Experience holiday magic from home. This year, Camp Christmas is an interactive collection of virtual illustrations and physical items shipped to your door. Explore an expansive fictional land and earn badges as you complete activities. Daily broadcasts counting down to Christmas will take place in the app starting in December. Ages 4 and up. Register online.

Catch the Glow Festival of Lights Nov. 27-Dec. 5, weekends. Flip the script on a classic parade; now you and the family are the ones promenading through Estes Park. Enjoy lights, holiday scenes, and music on your FM radio as you drive through this stationary parade. Estes Park Events Complex, Estes Park. Cherry Creek Holiday Market Through Dec. 23. Sun-Wed, 10am-6pm; Thu-Sat, 10am-8pm. Shop local at this outdoor market featuring artisan pop-ups set in shipping containers decorated chalet-style. Find winter outerwear, travel posters, craft honey, and much more. Health precautions are in place and basic information


Dome to Home: Preparing for Humans on Mars 1pm. If humans are going to travel to Mars someday, what would it take to make a safe journey, landing, and stay? Learn with Fiske Planetarium by tuning in to their YouTube channel, and find corresponding activities for grades K-12.

Boogie down to the Electric Safari at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Dec. 4-Jan. 1. will be recorded for contact tracing. Reservations encouraged. Free entry. Cherry Creek Shopping Center, Denver. Christmas in Color Nov. 20Jan. 3. Mon-Thu, 5:30-9:30pm; Fri-Sun, 5:30-10pm. WaterWorld will sparkle once more this holiday season with Christmas in Color, a drive-thru light show. Take your time rolling through lighted tunnels and past decorated trees. There will be new fixtures and music this year. $30 per vehicle. WaterWorld, Federal Heights. Christmas in Color Nov. 20Jan. 3. Mon-Thu, 5:30-9:30pm; Fri-Sun, 5:30-10pm. You will not want to speed through this racetrack during the holidays; go slow through the winter wonderland filled with LED light displays set to music. $30 per vehicle. Bandimere Speedway, Morrison. December Delights Dec. 4-24, Fri-Sun, 5-8pm. Join a winter scavenger hunt, and participate in kids crafts, outdoor video games, and ice skating. Enjoy seasonal snacks to keep up the sweet energy. Purchase tickets online. $16 adults, $10 youth ages 7-17; $14 members, $9 member youth ages 7-17, free children 6 and under, additional costs for skating. Four Mile Historic Park, See Where the Kids Are, page 50. Denver Christkindl Market Through Dec. 23. Sun-Wed, 11am-7pm; Thu-Sat, 11am-9pm; special hours on Thanksgiving and close to Christmas.

Colorado Parent | December 2020

Sip warm Glühwein (mulled spiced wine) or hot chocolate, shop artisan gifts, and savor holiday treats with the German American Chamber of Commerce- Colorado Chapter’s market. The Market will set up in Civic Center Park this year to allow for more social distance. Civic Center Park, Denver. Electric Safari Dec. 4-6, Dec. 11-Jan. 1, 5:30-8:30pm; closed Christmas Eve. Celebrate under the glow of 85 light sculptures across 50 acres at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Find warming fires, indoor animal exhibits, a sky ride, carousel, and hot cocoa stations. $14 adults, $12 seniors, $11 military, $10 child, free members and age 2 and under. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs. VIRTUAL Festival of Wreaths Display & Fundraiser Through Dec. 11. Support the Aurora History Museum by bidding on specially-decorated wreaths at an online auction. The wreaths are created and donated by local businesses, organizations, and individuals.

Garden of Lights Dec. 9-27, 5-9pm; closed Christmas Day. Take in the twinkling lights covering nearly half a mile of garden landscape. Flower beds, butterflies, a holiday village, and garden creatures are all constructed entirely from LED lights. $8-$10 adults, $4-$5 youth ages 5-11, free ages 4 and under. The Gardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins.

Kids Pour Painting Workshops Dec. 9, 4:30-5:30pm; Dec. 13, 4-5pm. Mix and pour paint to create a unique design on canvas. For 1st-8th graders. $39. Reservation required. artSPARK Creative Studio, Littleton.


VIRTUAL Musical Storytime See Dec. 3.

VIRTUAL Parent University: Mental Health in Our Kids 9:30am. Join Aspen

Academy for a discussion with Alex Yannaconne, director of education and community programs at CU Johnson Depression Center. Learn about anxiety and depression in youth, identify associated signs and symptoms, and discover new approaches and tools in understanding these mental health conditions. VIRTUAL Virtual Little University: Aluminum Foil Painting 3:30-4pm. Use supplies

provided in Take & Make Kits—or your own supplies from home—to experiment with painting on aluminum foil. Appropriate for ages up to 5.


VIRTUAL Aspen Academy Open House See Dec. 4.

Winter Wonderlands 6-7:30pm. Drop the kids at artSPARK for a special event where they’ll create their own magical winter scene using a variety of materials. For 1st-5th graders. $35.

Electric Safari: Cheyenne Mountatin Zoo.

Holiday Fun

Kwanzaa: Ali Braithwaite and Jeffrey Hebron; Union Station: Sam Gentry.

Calendar | December

Reservation required. artSPARK Creative Studio, Littleton.

Holiday Cupcake Class 6-7:30pm. Sprinkle some fun into holiday baking with a variety of icings, candies, and tools in this cupcake decorating class. All ages. $55. Reservations required. My Make Studio, Edgewater. VIRTUAL The Nutcracker Sweet

Dec. 11, 6:30pm; Dec. 12-13, 1pm and 6:30pm. Enjoy the classic Christmas ballet as you cuddle with loved ones at home. Colorado Conservatory of Dance’s smaller, socially-distanced cast provides this reimagined holiday experience with a livestreamed performance. An optional basket filled with holiday treats gives families an opportunity to share the goodies during interactive moments with the characters. $34.95 per streaming link, treat baskets additional.


I Love Christmas Movies Through Jan 3. Walk through 13 immersive scenes from favorite holiday movies, with replicas of film props, audio clips, and more. Then stroll the Gaylord resort for twinkling light displays, festive decorations, and other exciting holiday activities like snow tubing and ice skating. $25 adults, $14 youth ages 4-11. Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, Aurora. christmasatgaylordrockies.

Holiday Gift Making Workshop See Dec. 5.

Stories & Selfies with Santa 9-10am, 10:30-11:30am, noon-1pm in-person sessions; noon-1pm virtual session. Warm up your winter holiday with a storytime and contactless photos with Santa. Families will be seated at their own tables, and children spaced on the floor. Hand Santa a special letter (provided by Foothills) to take with him to the North Pole. Goody bags available. Attend a limited-capacity in-person event, or tune in to a live storytime online from home. $10, $14 nondistrict member. Peak Community & Wellness Center, Littleton.


Celebration Dec. 12, 11-11:30am; Dec. 21, 5:30-6pm. Learn about Kwanzaa through songs and stories performed by Culture Queen. Award-winning author, educator and entertainer Jessica Hebron, AKA Culture Queen, captivates young audiences and inspires cultural confidence in children with her innovative performances.

Travel to Union Station’s Plaza to see a 9News Parade float and enjoy a variety of activities. Nov. 27-Jan. 3. VIRTUAL Latkes and Light, a Virtual Family Chanukah Celebration Dec 13, 10-11:30am. Join a fun, family-friendly Chanukah celebration, including lighting and blessing menorahs as a community. Sing and dance with Judaism Your Way, enjoy activities from Jewish Explorers, and participate in a tzedakah (giving) project for JFS Weinberg Food Pantry. Ages 2-10.

Mile High Tree Through Jan. 2, program viewings from 5-10pm most Thu-Sun. Step inside the massive and magnificent Mile High Tree immersive art installation to experience a light show set to music of the season. The tree moved to the 16th Street Mall this year, leaving its previous spot with the “Dancers” outside DCPA. 16th Street Mall, Denver.

VIRTUAL Art of Cultura: Papermaking 10-11:30am. Learn

from local fiber artist Jill Powers during this virtual workshop on papermaking. Transform vegetative pulp into artwork. Create a smooth surface or patterned design with special inner bark fiber. Material kits are included in the price, and must be picked up at Museo December 7th-11th. $15 members, $25 non-members. VIRTUAL Brickworld Virtual

10am-4pm. Show your love for LEGOs and celebrate the holidays with this themed convention. Build, watch vendor presentations, and interact live with fascinating displays. $9.

Holiday Fun Cont.

Holiday on the Plaza at Denver Union Station Nov. 27-Jan. 3. Visit Denver Union Station for an extensive schedule of activities on the Plaza, including carolers and a display of two Parade of Lights floats. Find family photo opportunities with Santa’s Elves (reservation required) and more events listed online. Union Station, Denver.

Celebrate Kwanzaa and learn about the holiday alongside Culture Queen. Dec. 12, 21.

Trail of Lights Nov. 27-Jan. 3, FriSun; Nov. 27-Dec. 13, nightly; 5-9pm. Wind through Chatfield Farms as glistening lights guide you along enchanting paths. A shorter route takes visitors directly to the children’s play area where synchronized music will add to the experience. An extended route covers the Green Farm Barn and silo area as well. Enjoy the three-sided light tunnel, illuminated

tractors, and hot beverages you can pair with nuts and kettle corn. $11.5013.50 adult, student, senior, military; $9-$10 child (3-­12), free 2 and under (no ticket required) Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms, See Where the Kids Are, page 50. Winter Wonderlights Through Jan. 1, 5-9pm. Cozy up to your family, walk through the park, and enjoy 80,000+ lights blinking back at you. Winter Wonderlights employs string lights, twinkling bulbs, LED mappable snowflakes, and illuminated sculptures, and a 30-minute music and light show each night. Visitors are encouraged to donate canned food to benefit the Food Bank for Larimer County or unwrapped toys to benefit Santa Cops of Larimer County. Health and safety measures will be in place to keep families physically distanced. Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra, Loveland. Zoo Lights 30th Anniversary Through Dec. 31, 5-10:30pm; Nov. 23-Dec. 3, members only. Closed Christmas Day. Don’t miss this year’s historic celebration, with more than a million lights sparkling over 80 acres, plus special measures to keep your family safe and healthy. $25 adult, $15 child, free 2 and under. Denver Zoo. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

December 2020 | Colorado Parent


Calendar | December

On Stage

Appropriate for ages up to 5. Conoce a tres animales impresionantes. En este programa virtual aprenderás qué comen, dónde viven, y de sus habilidades especiales. Para niños 0-5.

A Child’s Christmas in Wales Nov. 30-Dec 27. Tune in to a radio play of the classic and cozy tale told through the eyes of a young boy at Christmas time. Envision snowy hillsides, warm fires, and heartening holiday memories. Listen online. Pay what you want starting at $10.

VIRTUAL LEGO Build-Along with PlayWell TEKnologies: Jedi Adventures 4:30-5:15pm. Connect

with other young Jedi engineers while learning new LEGO building techniques. Construct your favorite Star Wars ships and creatures. Ages 6-11.

VIRTUAL Comfort and Joy

Dec. 18-Jan. 1. Stream on the Chorale’s Vimeo throughout the season. Settle in with a cup of hot cocoa to enjoy a holiday concert with the Colorado Children's Chorale. Through the gift of song, explore snowy mountain tops and twinkling lights of the city. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will pop in to say hello. All ages. $25. Ballet Ariel’s The Nutcracker Suite Dec. 10 and 17, 4pm and 7pm; Dec. 11 and 18, 1pm, 4pm, and 7pm. Watch the brief and beautiful one-act performance celebrating the magical journey of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince. All ages. $30 adult, $28 student/seniors, children $25. $4 ticket fee applies. Lone Tree Arts Center, Lone Tree.


VIRTUAL Everything Dinosaur Talks: Non-Dinosaur Archosaurs 10-11:30am. Meet

Dancer/storyteller Deepali Lindblom shares stories honoring Diwali and the stories of seven Coloradans in Satrangi: Stories of Light. Dec. 13.

“non-dinosaur” relatives of our fossilized dino friends. We’re talking about the archosaurs, the crocodilians, pterosaurs, and birds. $2 per person.

the Denver Children’s Choir YouTube channel to hear a special concert filled with favorite songs from DCC’s past 25 years. All ages.

VIRTUAL Kindness Club 4-4:30pm. Find a way to feel

VIRTUAL The Nutcracker Sweet

See Dec. 11. VIRTUAL Virtual Little

VIRTUAL The Family Tree:

A Virtual Holiday Comedy Dec. 2-20. Choose a character to follow through the story of one Colorado family that comes together during the holidays despite extraordinary circumstances. Secrets come to light, traditions are questioned, and the quirks of virtual interactions bring everyone closer together. Find tickets online. Starting at $20.

Put on those dancing pants and join an interactive hip hop class with The Queenz of Hip Hop. Appropriate for ages up to 5.

from Amy Brown, co-founder of Black Lives Matter 5280, on her long journey in activism and the recent balance of parenthood. Register online to receive the Zoom link.


Kids Pour Painting Workshops See Dec. 9.

VIRTUAL Satrangi: Stories of Light 1pm. Join storyteller Deepali

This election year brings a reminder that individual people have limited power, but the collective can help build a better nation. Join local artist Rian Kerrane in this work of art by casting your own hand in plaster to contribute to the sculpture. History Colorado Center. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

Lindblom in honoring Diwali, an Indian festival of lights, through theater and dance. She will highlight seven true stories of inspiring Coloradans, with a glimpse into their humanity, vulnerabilities, and indomitable spirits. All ages.

VIRTUAL Songs of the

Ornament Felting Workshop


VIRTUAL Black Lives

Matter & Amy E. Brown on Parent Activism 6-7pm. Hear

VIRTUAL The Nutcracker Sweet

Season 4-5:30pm. Tune in live to


University: Dance Class with Queenz of Hip Hop 10:30-11am.

See Dec. 11.

Hand Casting for We The People Sculpture 10:30am-4:30pm.

ornament and add some texture to your tree or other hanging decor spots. 1st graders-adults. $35. Reservations required. artSPARK Creative Studio, Littleton.

1-3pm. Craft your own needle-felted

Colorado Parent | December 2020


connected with the community through this sharing of kindness and stories. All ages.

Reindeer Cake Class 6-7:30pm. Create a tasty, artistic cake that resembles Santa’s trusty reindeer. All ages. $55. Reservations required. My Make Studio, Edgewater.


VIRTUAL Musical Storytime See Dec. 3.

VIRTUAL Jiggle Jams

2:30-3pm. Wiggle, jiggle, and giggle to seasonal songs with Jodi Koplin, children’s music educator and entertainer. Imagination will spark and self-esteem will soar through the silly, interactive session. Bring or create an instrument to play. Bubbles are encouraged. Ages 0-12. VIRTUAL Diversión en español: Animales impresionantes con Nature’s Educators 3:30-4pm. Meet three

awesome animals. In this virtual program you will learn what they eat, where Get your tiny dancer grooving with local group Queenz of Hip Hop. Dec. 12. they live, and their special abilities.

Satrangi: Deepali Lindblom. Instructor in gym: Queenz Of Hip Hop.


Calendar | December

Young Voices of Colorado 18 FRIDAY

VIRTUAL Nature Ornaments

2-3pm. Learn the science behind salt by making a salt dough and crafting your own festive and nature-inspired ornament. A take-home salt dough kit with video is available. Ages 2-12. $3. Majestic View Nature Center. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.


Holiday Gift Making Workshop See Dec. 5. VIRTUAL Christmas from the Attic 6-7:30pm. Embrace joyful

and magical music from Denver Brass during their Christmas concert, streamed live from their cozy attic abode in the historic Gebhard Mansion. $25 suggested donation.


VIRTUAL Drop-In Writing Online 1-3pm. Explore your word

mastery through this informal writing session with Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Open to all levels.


Be a part of something



VIRTUAL Diversión en español: Animales en invierno con el Parque nacional de las montañas rocosas 3:30-4pm. Join a ranger to

learn about three strategies Colorado animals use to survive the winter: hibernate, tolerate, and migrate. Bring a stuffed animal to share and be ready to move like animals. Appropriate for ages up to 5. Acompañe a un guardabosque para aprender de tres estrategias que utilizan animales de Colorado para sobrevivir durante el invierno: hibernar, tolerar y migrar. Lleva un peluche animal para compartir y esté listo para moverse como animales. Para niños 0-5.

Accepting new singers for Spring 2021 Call or go online for information We are offering size restricted in-person classes as well as an online option.


Join Young Voices 303.797.7464


VIRTUAL Happy Noon Year 11:30am-12:30pm. Ring in

the new year early with a virtual dance party and countdown at noon. Dressing up is encouraged. All ages.



Nutcracker Suite


Ballet Ariel

Sparkler" Getty Images.

VIRTUAL Everything Dinosaur Talks: Mammals 10-11:30am.

Learn about the prehistoric mammals that roamed the earth alongside the dinosaurs. Join this fun and educational discussion by Dinosaur Ridge. $2 per person.

at the

Lone Tree Arts Center December 17 7:00 pm

December 18

1:00 pm and 4:00 pm

Virtual Performances

Virtual $24 L o n e t r e e a r t s c e n t e r. o r g B o x O f f i c e : 720.509.1000 10075 Commons Street L o n e Tr e e C O . 8 0 1 2 4 December 2020 |


Calendar | December

Where the Kids Are

The following locations are referred to frequently in the calendar. Discounted annual passes are available at many venues. Note: Check websites for the latest health and safety information.

Aurora History Museum Tue-Fri, 9am-4pm. No more than 10 visitors at any time. Reserve tickets for a 1 hour and 20 minute visit. 15051 E. Alameda Pkwy., Aurora.

Butterfly Pavilion Daily, 9am-5pm. $13 adult, $11 seniors, $9 ages 2-12, free under age 2 and members. Timed-tickets reserved online are required in addition to face coverings. 6252 W. 104th Ave., Westminster.

Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus Thu-Sat, 8:30am-4pm. Four 90-minute play sessions each day. The Art Studio, Bubbles, Joy Park, Kinetics, Ready Vet Go, 3 2 1 Blast Off, Fire Station No. 1, and Water exhibits are open. $14 ages 2-59, $12 ages 1 and 60+, $1 Explorer Pass, Free members and under age 1. Reservation required. 2121 Children's Museum Dr., Denver.

CU South Denver Temporarily closed. Denver Art Museum Daily, 10am-5pm; $10-$13 adult, $8-$10 senior, military, and college student, free age 18 and under. Timed tickets reserved online are required along with face coverings, social distancing and hand washing. The cafe and coat check are currently closed. 100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy., Denver.

Denver Botanic Gardens York Street Daily, 9am-5pm. $15 adult, $11.50 senior and military, $11 ages 3-15 and student, free age 2 and under. Reserve tickets online, wear masks, maintain social distance. Mordecai Children’s Garden is closed. 1007 York St., Denver. Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms Daily, 9am-5pm (entrance gates close at 4:30pm). $7 adults, $5 seniors and students, free members and children 12 and under. The Children’s Play Area is closed. 8500 W. Deer Creek Canyon Rd., Littleton.

Denver Firefighters Museum Tue-Sun, 10am-4pm. $9 adult, $8 senior, military, and student, $7 ages 3-12 and firefighters, free age 2 and under. No hands-on experiences. Timed tickets and masks are required. 1326 Tremont Pl., Denver. Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys Fri-Sat, 10am-4pm, Sun 1pm-4pm. $5 adult, $4 child (4-16) and senior, free age 3 and under. Purchase advance tickets, wear a mask and follow social distance guidelines. 830 Kipling St., Lakewood.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science Daily; 9am-5pm, open until 9 p.m. on Fridays. $18.95 adult, $15.95 senior, $13.95 ages 3-18, free age 2 and under. Purchase timed tickets online. Face masks required. The Coffee Lab and TRex Cafe will offer prepackaged food and beverages. 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver.

Denver Zoo Daily; 10am-5pm. $15 adult, $15 senior, $10 child ages 3-11, free age 2 and under. Reserve timed tickets online. All purchases on the campus are cashless, and pathways are one-way. 2300 Steele St., Denver.


Colorado Parent | December 2020

Downtown Aquarium Mon-Thurs, 10am-8pm; Fri-Sat, 9:30am-8:30pm; Sun, 9am-8pm. $23.50 ages 12-64, $22.50 senior, $17.50 ages 3-11, free age 2 and under. The 4D theater will not be available until further notice. 700 Water St., Denver.

Four Mile Historic Park Fri-Sun, 10am-4pm. $5 ages 18-64, $4 senior and military, $3 ages 7-17, free age 6 and under. Small groups with timed tickets. 715 S. Forest St. Denver. History Colorado Center Daily, Monday members only; 10am-5pm. $14 adult, $12 senior, $10 ages 16-22 and student, $8 ages 5-15, free age 4 and under. Timed tickets for purchase online. Face coverings required. 1200 Broadway, Denver.

Littleton Museum Tues-Sat, 9am-3pm. Walkways will be open and the farm’s livestock will be available for viewing, but the historic buildings will not be open and no interpretive programming will be presented. Call to make a reservation. 6028 S. Gallup St., Littleton. Longmont Museum Tue-Sat, 9am-3pm. $8 adults, $5 students/seniors, free 3 and under and members. Hands-on areas of the Museum, including the third floor Longs Peak Room treehouse, will remain closed at this time. 400 Quail Rd., Longmont.

Lookout Mountain Preserve and Nature Center Temporarily closed. Majestic View Nature Center Closed for walk-in visitors, online tickets for limited in-person programs available. 7030 Garrison St., Arvada. Museum of Boulder Sun-Mon, Thu-Sat, 9am-5pm; Wed, 9am-8pm. $10 adults; $8 seniors, youth, students; free children under 2 and members. Masks required, and finger cots available for hands-on activities. Find admission tickets online. 2205 Broadway, Boulder. Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Grounds open daily 6am-6pm. The Visitor Center is closed. 6550 Gateway Rd., Commerce City. fws. gov/refuge/rocky_mountain_arsenal

University of Colorado Museum of Natural History Temporarily closed. Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum Mon-Sat, 10am-4pm; Sun, noon-4pm. $16.95 ages 17-64, $12.95 senior and military, $9.95 ages 4-16, free age 3 and under. Two-hour time limits and guest capacity. Face coverings required. Simulators and The Kid Zone are closed. 7711 E. Academy Blvd., Denver.

WOW! Children’s Museum Tue-Fri, 10am-noon; Tue, Thu, 1pm-3pm; Sat, 9-11am, noon-2pm, 3-5pm. $5 adult, $10 child (1-11), free members and under 1. Reserve a timed ticket online. 110 N. Harrison Ave., Lafayette.


THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride Select dates through Dec. 22, 5-9:30pm. Climb into a scene from the popular Christmas movie, The Polar Express, with this special musical show and train ride, complete with hot cocoa, cookies, and carols. A silver bell is included to help you ring in this magical time of year. Don your coziest pajamas and most festive mask. Reduced capacity and ticketing in pairs will be enforced for health and safety. $190 per pair (must be purchased in pairs), free for lap riders age 2 and under. Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden.

Holiday Toy Market Mon-Thu drop off, 9am-6pm. Celebrate the spirit of giving this year by supporting refugee families in the Denver metro area. Project Worthmore (PWM) is collecting toys and setting up a shop for parents to select gifts for their children. Drop off donations at PWM offices or gift a purchase online through their Target registry, and have items shipped directly. Donation varies. Project Worthmore, Aurora. NATURE PROGRAMS AND CLASSES

Marine Biologist for a Day 9am-2pm. Dec. 22 and 30, grades 9-12; Dec. 23 and 29, grades 5-8. See if you have what it takes to be a marine biologist. Help prepare food, feed some exhibits, and learn how biologists take care of animals. $65. Registration is required 2 weeks in advance. Downtown Aquarium. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

Nature Nerds Family Club First Sat, 10:30am-noon. Gather your curious kiddos and take note of what’s going on in nature during this workshop with the Butterfly Pavilion. Get your pressing questions answered and take home a craft. Best suited for families with children ages 4-10. Register online. $6-$14 adults, $4-$6 children ages 2–12, includes admission. Butterfly Pavilion. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

Zoologist for a Day 9am-2pm. Dec. 22 and 30, grades 5-8; Dec. 23 and 29, grades 9-12. Learn how to handle and train creatures that live outside of the ocean. Help prepare food, participate in positive reinforcement training, and learn how animals are cared for at the aquarium. $65. Registration is required 2 weeks in advance.

Nature Nerds: Butterfly Pavilion.

Calendar | December

Downtown Aquarium. See Where the Kids Are, page 50. CLASSES, CLUBS, AND PROGRAMS VIRTUAL Academic Writing Help Sessions Wed,

3:30-5pm. Need help with a school assignment or a particular type of writing? Drop in to an academic writing help sessions on Wednesday afternoons to get help from a Lighthouse Writers Workshop instructor. Ages 8-18. VIRTUAL Elevated Mind Rooted in Culture Homeschool Class

Rolling classes through the school year. The SCD Enrichment Program presents this virtual course opportunity for middle and high school gifted and talented students. Ethnic and cultural history is crucial to understand while growing up to resist all types of oppression. Enroll your child in an SCD Enrichment course to strengthen their history education throughout the school year. $20, scholarships available. VIRTUAL Family Fridays

with Rachel Barton Pine Fri, 10:30am. Dive deep into violin music history and enjoy expertly played compositions with Rachel Barton Pine. Each week, she’ll cover a different theme such as American fiddling, classical guitar renditions, and pioneers in the art of violin. The 20-minute weekly show streams live on Facebook and YouTube. FEMpowered 4-5pm bi-weekly virtual meetings; 4-6pm in-person Dec. 9. Hone your artistic abilities, collaborate on pieces, and learn skills relevant to the music industry. Teens ages 14-20 who identify as femme are invited to Youth On Record’s virtual and in-person space (with masks and social distancing). For more information contact Youth on Record, Denver. VIRTUAL Foster Care

Informational Meeting Dec. 5, 10am; Dec. 9, 6pm. Denver Human Services’ Foster Care 101 informational meetings guide individuals through the first steps in certification and

Lean in to see the intricacies of the insect world at Butterfly Pavilion’s Nature Nerds. First Saturdays. offer valuable information with an opportunity to hear from specialists about the experience. Register through Eventbrite. Contact 720-944-4000 or with any questions. VIRTUAL Kaleidoscope Season

Dates and times vary. Ovation West Performing Arts presents a holiday lineup of performances by Denver actors and musicians brought to you at home, online. Catch “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” featuring the Patrick Lee Trio’s takes on favorite holiday tunes, and “This Wonderful Life,” a holiday comedy based on Frank Capra’s iconic film, It's a Wonderful Life. $18 single viewer, $32 two or more viewers.

Kids Art Nite First Fri, third Sat; 6-8pm. During Open Studio Nite at artSPARK, kids in 1st-5th grades will enjoy self-led creative experiences while parents enjoy a relaxing evening out. $35. artSPARK, Littleton. Kids Wonder Friday Family Nights Second Fri of each month, 5-7pm. Second Friday fun is back at Kids

Wonder, featuring pizza, beverages, and play time. Reserve your 6-foot family table the Wednesday prior. Limited space available. Large one topping pizza $15, two toppings $18, child and adult beverages available. $12 child, $8 additional children, one free adult, $5 additional adults. Kids Wonder, Centennial. VIRTUAL Middle Grade Book Club One Sun per month,

2-3pm. Does your tween have opinions? Second Star to the Right would like to hear them! The Middle Grade Book Club is a safe space for kids ages 8-13 to read and discuss books before they’re published. Meetings are typically held on a Sunday at the end of the month via Google Meet. Sign up for the newsletter to receive each month’s date and link.

hablante en español. Para niños 7 a 13.

Music Together Demo Class Ongoing classes, year-round. Plant the seeds for musical growth through singing, movement, and instrument play. Mixed-age classes, sibling welcome. For infants-age 8 with caregiver. Reservations required. Boulder Piano Gallery, Boulder. VIRTUAL Plaza K-5th Grade Math Help Wed, 6-7pm.

Join the Plaza program staff to practice solving math questions together. Kids may submit questions in advance or bring material to work on. Plaza programs primarily serve families who identify as immigrants or refugees, but are open to all. Voice to text captioning available, in addition to sign language interpreters. Ages 5-10.

VIRTUAL “Mis Pininosˮ Spanish Conversation for Kids Mon, most Wed, 4-4:45pm.

Have fun playing, practicing, and learning with a native Spanish speaker. Ages 7-13. Diviertete, jugando, practicando y aprendiendo con nativa

VIRTUAL Prenatal Yoga Days and times vary. Ease tensions, strengthen your body, mind, and heart, and find joy in this amazing time in your life. Join the mama’hood online for guided breath-work, centering, asanas, sounding, and relaxation. Be prepared

December 2020 | Colorado Parent


Calendar | December

to share authentically from your heart in a community of women. Open to all levels and stages of pregnancy. $20 drop-in. VIRTUAL Reading with River Second Wed, 10-10:30am.

Second Star to the Right bookseller and educator Alethea is joined by licensed therapy dog River for a relaxing morning storytime to help kiddos practice their reading skills as the gentlemanly River listens and soothes any read-aloud nerves. VIRTUAL Sleep Squad On-demand through Dec. 31. Travel through dreamland with The Story Pirates in an interactive storytelling experience. Create a new bedtime ritual for kids along the way. Enjoy a “Dreamtime Travel Kit,” shipped to your door, complete with a dream journal, sleep mask, and star machine. Ages 4-12. $50 includes ticket and kit, $15 each additional kit. VIRTUAL Story PlayTime with Mr. Paul Wed, 10:30-11am.

Timbuk Toys has brought Story PlayTime with Mr. Paul to young audiences for four years. Now, they bring the fun to Facebook Live every Wednesday morning, engaging kids in song, magic, stories, juggling, slap-stick silliness, and puppetry. VIRTUAL Twirling Tech Goddess Fri, 11-11:30am. Catch each

new “Twirchshop” episode filled with STEM activities plus radical diversity and inclusion lessons. Watch and make along with her, discovering what’s possible with cutting edge tools and technologies. Tune in on YouTube. VIRTUAL Virtual Discovery Days

Wed-Fri, 10:30-11am and 12:30-1pm. Discovery Days encourages children ages 2-6 and their caregivers to learn together through monthly, live online crafting and storytime sessions. Register online for the craft kits, and receive your invitation to drop-in to the virtual events. December’s topic is Winter Wonderland & Ornaments. $18, $16 members. Scholarships are available.


Senga Nengudi: Timo Ohler.

Ongoing Events VIRTUAL Virtual Youth Open Mic Last Fri of each month,

4:30-5:30pm. Share your words with other young writers. Ages 8-18. VIRTUAL Well-Read Black Girl Book Club Second Mon,

6:30pm. The goal of the Well-Read Black Girl Book Club is to “support diverse voices and emerging writers of color.” Local chapters, like the one at Second Star to the Right Bookstore, connect indie booksellers, readers, and authors in a unique community of their own. This group meets second Mondays online, and includes Black women, non-black allies, adults, and tweens/teens. Most books read/discussed are adult-level but there are a few young adult titles mixed in.

Winter Break at the DAM Dec. 19-Jan 3. 10am-5pm. Walk your favorite gallery halls and get creative with games and activities set out for all ages to enjoy. Check out the Creativity Resource online and the Museum Web Quest: Virtual Visit for educational materials and activities. Denver Art Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

Winter Safari Camp Dec. 21-22, 28-29, 30-31; Jan. 4, 9am-4pm. Pick from four, one- or two-day programs at the Denver Zoo where K-5th grade students will discover animal adaptations, personalities, and habitat characteristics. Buy out a camp session for a group of up to 10 kids in one grade-range. Campers must be 5 years old by the start of camp. $62 one-day, $124 two-day; $57 one-day member, $114 two-day member. Denver Zoo. See Where the Kids Are, page 50. VIRTUAL Wreck This Book Club! Thu prompt days, with

discussions on the following Wed, 4-5pm. Follow a prompt from Wreck this Journal, a book featuring opportunities to fill the pages with mistakes and messes. Use it for inspiration in your own journal, talk to other artists, ask questions, and show off your work. Ages 8-12. VIRTUAL Writing in Color for Teens Every other Sat, 2-3:30pm.

Connect with literature and the spoken

Colorado Parent | December 2020

Peer into the mind of Black Arts Movement figure Segna Nengudi in a multimedia gallery. Through April 11. word, along with peers and a writing community. Led by local writers of color, this workshop encourages curious teens to explore their ideas and share writing while celebrating successes and processing challenges. This is a safe space that welcomes the experiences of teen writers of color. MUSEUM MEANDERINGS Breakfast Fly-In First Sat, 8-11am. Planes, pilots, and breakfast are a perfect combination for your time at Wings Over the Rockies. Enjoy Barrett and Pratt Provision food truck goodies, watch aircraft fly in, talk with pilots, and explore interactive exhibits and simulators. All ages. $10 adult, $8 senior and military, $4 ages 4-16, free members. Wings Over the Rockies Exploration of Flight. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

Citizenship: A Practice of Society Through Feb. 14. Head to the Museum of Contemporary Art for this politically-engaged display of works from more than 30 artists and organizations. The pieces date only so far back as 2016, and are responses to news events as well as art world trends. $10 adult, free age 18 and under. MCA Denver, Denver.

Colorado Backyard Ongoing, 9am-5:30pm. Butterfly Pavilion’s interactive exhibit invites guests to enjoy indoor play structures, live animals, a virtual reality experience, and a rotating exhibit area. Connect with unique

invertebrate habitats in Colorado’s ecosystems, including those in your backyard. Reserve entry tickets online. Butterfly Pavilion. See Where the Kids Are, page 50. VIRTUAL Director’s Storytime and Craft Third Tue,

10-11am. Get together with other young train enthusiasts for stories with a railroad theme, followed by a craft. Find the virtual program on YouTube:

Dogs! A Science Tail Through Jan 3. Dig into the world of dogs at the exhibit all about our canine friends. Find out how dogs see, hear, and smell their surroundings while testing your own skills. Identify the connection between humans and dogs, and how these pets strengthen communities. Finally, test your pop-culture knowledge during a game of "Jeopawdy!” Dated and timed ticket required, $6-$9, in addition to museum admission, free age 2 and under. Denver Museum of Nature & Science. See Where the Kids Are, page 50. Drawing Parallels: Community Art & Artifacts from 2020 Through March 1. Explore the relationships between simultaneous events—from world wars, to movements for civil rights, to pandemics—in Boulder’s past and present. The exhibit includes art gathered from the community that encapsulates and

Calendar | December

evokes the events of 2020. Museum of Boulder. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism Through Jan. 24. Take a journey through internationally renowned artists’ works of painting and photography to gain an understanding of the Mexican national identity and creativity post-1920 revolution. Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Lola Alvarez Bravo, and more are featured at the DAM. Find tickets online. $26 adult, $20 member adult, free 18 and under. Denver Art Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

Hecho en Colorado Cafecitos

Mind Matters: Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

Through Jan. 8. History Colorado welcomes guests to join curated intimate tours of the Hecho en Colorado exhibit. Groups of 10 or less will gather for some coffee and socialization followed by a guided tour from the founder of the Latino Cultural Arts Center and exhibit curator, Adrianna Abarca. The exhibit features art from Chicano, Mexican, and Native artists from across the state. $12. History Colorado Center. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

Raíces y Ramas: Roots and Branches Through Feb. 28. Marvel at master expressionist Tony Ortega’s artwork celebrating identity and tradition from Mexico to the U.S. Ortega explores the Chicano experience in American culture. Find it in the Gardens’ Freyer-Newman Center gallery. Denver Botanic Gardens York Street. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

Senga Nengudi: Topologies Through April 11. Witness a 40-year span of work by Segna Nengudi, a prominent figure of the 1970s Black American avant-garde and Black Arts Movement, featuring her responses to being Black and being a woman, mother, and caregiver. Enjoy performance art, sculpture, photography, and mixed media at this showing. Denver Art Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

Shantell Martin: Word and Lines Through Jan. 31. See an interactive multimedia installation featuring the work of London-born, New York-based contemporary artist Shantell Martin. The exhibition features Martin's signature black-and-white drawings, an interactive wall with

triangular boxes that rotate, and an animated video projection. Included with admission. Denver Art Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

Testigos/Witnesses Through March 20. Tue-Fri, noon-6pm, Sat noon-5pm. Witness this display of perseverance set in paper. Museo’s latest exhibit features Gaal D. Cohen and Genaro Fuentes Trejo (of the indigenous Otomi community) in partnered creations made from Amate paper, the original paper of Latin America. The work explores the Otomi people’s witness to millennia of conquest, enslavement, and hardship; and, their resilience. $8, $5 students/ military/artists/seniors, free ages 12 and under and members. Museo De Las Americas, Denver.

The Light Show Through March 7. See the exhibit that focuses on the quest by humanity and artists to understand physical light in the natural world as well as metaphorical, spiritual, and divine representations of light. Included with admission. Denver Art Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

Women Behaving Badly Through Feb. 28. Step into the mezzanine of the History Colorado center to find watercolor, photography, news clippings, and text highlighting women who’ve made history. Denver artist Adri Norris created the exhibit and hopes that people see themselves in the stories and consider how to think differently about women in general. History Colorado Center. See Where the Kids Are, page 50. VIRTUAL Women of Color on the Front Lines Through

Jan. 3. Honor the work women of color have done in health care by moving through this virtual exhibit. This project showcases physicians from around the country donning PPE, their portraits rendered in watercolor, pop art, and cross-stitch by local artists.

WWII and You Exhibit Through Dec. 31, 10am-4pm. Explore World War II’s lasting impact on life today. Take in the sights: aircraft, vehicles, and a retro living room, that will take you back to this pivotal time in history. Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

Mental Health: Mind Matters Through Jan. 10. WedSun, 10am-6pm. Talk about mental health with the whole family; use this exhibition’s hands-on experiences to explore different aspects and common misperceptions. Take a quiz to test your knowledge, hear about what psychosis events feel like, put your worries through the Worry Shredder, and watch heartfelt videos of individual stories. Reserve timed tickets online. Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

Playzeum Ongoing. The Museum of Boulder invites you to remember your playful self. Explore the Playzeum exhibit featuring a rainbow forest of musical steps, curiosity cabinets, and more imaginative ways to play. Young ones will discover age-appropriate opportunities to develop cognitive, social, emotional, and physical skills. The exhibit is built with prekindergarten to 8-year-olds in mind. Museum of Boulder. See Where the Kids Are, page 50.

Meditate on mental health while exploring interactive pieces in the Mind Matters exhibit, through Jan.10.

December 2020 | Colorado Parent



Tubing: Keystone Resort//D. Milchev.

Totally Tubular Fun

This winter activity takes sledding beyond the neighborhood hills. By Heather Mundt


ew winter activities elicit as much joy in children as sledding, so it’s no wonder that snow tubing—similar to sledding, but on large inner tubes and much larger hills—is plentiful in our Rocky Mountains. Here are a handful of spots no more than 90 minutes from Denver to try it out. Dress the family for tubing as you would for the ski slopes: long underwear, ski pants and coat, warm socks and waterproof boots, sunglasses or goggles, and, most importantly, a helmet. (If you don’t have one, we’ve noted which places provide rentals.) Also remember that procedures and restrictions are constantly changing due to COVID-19—all listings currently require or strongly encourage reservations—so be sure to contact any facility before heading to the hills. COLORADO ADVENTURE PARK Colorado Adventure Park features a wide hill of varying thrills, plus a Magic Carpet lift giving kids a smooth ride back up the hill. Be careful to hustle out of the way of other riders while heading back to the lift. Helmets are required for riders under 18 and are available free of charge. Single tube: $25 per hour; double: $40 per hour, kids ages three to five must ride with an adult. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 566 Co. Rd. 721, Fraser, 970-7265779,


HISTORIC FRASER TUBING HILL The Historic Fraser Tubing Hill offers a broad, open tubing hill with a lift that pulls you, tube and all, back up the hill. Helmets are recommended but are not provided, so bring one from home (a ski or bicycle helmet will work). The minimum age to tube at this location is three years old, and kids ages three to six must ride with an adult. $25 per hour, $30 for 90 minutes, tube rentals included. Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., 455 Co. Rd. 72, Fraser, 970-726-5954,

Colorado Parent | December 2020

Kids get an elevated sledding experience on the tubing runs at Keystone Resort.

ECHO MOUNTAIN RESORT The closest ski area to downtown Denver (36 miles), Echo Mountain’s tubing hill offers six lanes and a conveyor lift. If you lack ski apparel, you can rent it all on-site, from snow pants to helmets. Even better? There’s night tubing. The minimum rider height is 36 inches. $26 per hour, non-holiday, Monday through Thursday; $30 per hour, holiday weeks and Friday through Sunday; $10 per person for a second hour, based on availability. Open Monday through Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Night tubing: Wednesday through Saturday until 7 p.m. 19285 Hwy 103, Idaho Springs, 720-899-2100, TUBING HILL AT THE FRISCO ADVENTURE PARK This spot features several 1,200foot tubing lanes ranging from mellow to steep, as well as a lift to haul you up the hill. After a couple of runs, add to the fun by

asking tube operators for a “super spin.” A public sledding spot is also adjacent to the tubing hill. $28 per hour non-resident, $32 per hour non-resident holiday (December 17 to January 3, MLK Jr. weekend, Valentine's Day weekend). Hours vary by month and day. Riders must be 36 inches tall. Helmets are not available. 621 Recreation Way, Frisco, 970-668-2558, KEYSTONE RESORT Perched at the top of Dercum Mountain at Adventure Point, this tubing hill boasts a minimum of five tubing runs. Take a lift back up the hill for repeated entertainment. Riders must be at least 42 inches tall (usually around four years old). Single riders only. Ski boots are allowed. Linking tubes in “trains” is prohibited. Helmets are not available. $45/hour, $30/half-hour starting at 3:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.; One-hour sessions are available every 15 minutes, 10:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. with later hours in the spring. 100 Dercum Square, Keystone. 800-354-4386,

COLORADO PARENT DIGITAL EDITION IS LIVE! As the world continues to change, we change with it. We want to bring you all that Colorado Parent has to offer—and now you can have it right at your fingertips!



We breathe hope for kids of all ages. For children with asthma, allergies, respiratory and pulmonary illness, hope is right here in Denver. At National Jewish Health, the nation’s leading respiratory hospital, our pediatric specialists incorporate the latest research and treatments to help kids of all ages get back to being kids. We breathe science, so you can breathe life. To book an appointment for your child, call 800.621.0505 or visit

Peanut Allergy? Learn how to participate in our clinical trial at