Colorado Parent December 2021

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December 2021

Growing Great Families Since 1986

Magical Holiday Decor for Kids Rooms Cozy Colorado Sleigh Rides Help! We Just Want Holidays at Home This Year Gift Books for Little Artists, Chefs, and More

126 Ideas for Family Fun




ins g e b n io s is m e h T th 9 1 r e Novemb

Follow Buddy the Elf on his journey to muster enough Christmas cheer to power Santa’s sleigh and save the holiday by completing challenges inspired by the iconic film in this all-new, multisensory experience.

NOV. 19 - JAN. 2 | WELCOME TO MORE ELF and all related characters and elements © & ™ New Line Productions, Inc. (s21)




Décor: Heather Smith/Fortuitous Photography. Calendar: Disney on Ice.


CONTENTS December 2021 features




Charter School Guide


Deck out your kid’s space this season with these easy and impactful designs.

departments 6













The latest tips and news on


Lessons Learned

Make Your Travel Dollars Matter





GiGi’s Playhouse

6 New Children’s Books To Give this Season

on the cover



How Can We Balance Holiday Visits With Extended Family?

Baking Through the Holidays

Momentix Toys Redefines STEM Audience

Become a More Positive Parent


Sleigh It This Season

16 Gift Books for Little Artists, Chefs, and More 18 Help! We Just Want Holidays at Home | 30 Magical Holiday Decor for Kids’ Rooms 35 126 Ideas for Family Fun | 46 Cozy Colorado Sleigh Rides

Colorado Parent | December 2021


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

Cover: Griffin photographed by Heather Smith.

On the Web

Colorado Parent Online

These resorts are decking their halls and offering jolly activities to help families make memories away from home.

Inclusive Gift Guide Find apparel, toys, equipment, and experiences designed with accessibility and fun in mind.

5 Awesome Spots to Snow Tube Take sledding beyond the neighborhood hills with this much-loved winter activity.

Easy-to-Make Pastries for a Toasty Holiday Breakfast Warm up bustling holiday mornings with these simple, festive pastries.





Colorado Parent | December 2021


Sign up for our E-NEWSLETTER at

Resort: The Broadmoor. Gift guide: Patti+Ricki. Pastries: Heather Gaumer. Tubing: D. Milchev/Keystone Resort.

5 Holiday Getaways for Denver-Area Families



Channel 3 on your TV






From the Editors

What We Learned…



EDITORIAL Editor Deborah Mock Senior Associate Editor Kara Thompson Editorial Assistant Anna Sutterer Copy Editor Lydia Rueger ADVERTISING SALES Advertising Director Brigette Swartz Account Manager Hilary Angel Advertising and Marketing Coordinator Tamara Curry

GiGi’s Playhouse brings together children with Down syndrome and their families to build community. Page 14




STEM is the “It” subject. Learn about the new barrier-breaking STEM toy and the two Colorado College grads who created it, on page 20.

Section icons: Getty Images.

Just when we think we’ve seen it all, we are stopped in our snowy tracks by new ways to sprinkle holiday magic in our families’ lives. For this issue, Denver-based interior designer, blogger, and mom of two, Rachel Hoback, inspired us with her ideas for decorating a child’s bedroom. The twinkling lights and jolly touches are sure to make bedtime an unforgettable part of the season. Page 30


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

Don’t give blah books for the holidays. We found some of the season’s best musical, how-to, and pop-up books for the kids on your list. Page 16

CAN’T WAIT Even when snow isn’t falling in the city, it’s still possible to glide through a wintery wonderland scene. Check out our list of cozy mountain town sleigh rides, on page 46.

PRODUCTION Art Director Heather Gaumer BRAND SERVICES Brand Services Director Carly Lambert Print Operations Director Megan Skolak Creative Services Manager Chelsea Conrad Digital Advertising Manager Shundra Jackson Graphic Designer Caitlin Brooks Production Coordinator Alyssa Chutka Design Coordinator Mylie Hiraoka Creative Services Intern Dzifah Danso MARKETING Director of Marketing Piniel Simegn ADMINISTRATION Billing and Collections Manager Jessica McHeard Printed by Publication Printers Please recycle this magazine. 5280 PUBLISHING, INC. 1675 Larimer Street Suite 675, Denver, CO 80202 P (303) 832-5280 | F (303) 832-0470 Visit us online at

YOU SAID IT Act like a parent but think like a child. —Dr. Candice W. Jones, pediatrician, author, and mother of two, on how parents should approach conflict with their child. Page 28

Share your feedback and ideas! Email us at


Colorado Parent | December 2021

CEO & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Daniel Brogan VICE PRESIDENT AND PUBLISHER 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.

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December 2021 |


This holiday season explore Aurora’s winter activities. There is something for all to enjoy at one of the city’s multiple parks, reservoirs, markets, libraries, theaters, and more!

We encourage you to Love Your Local

this holiday season.

COVID-19 CHANGED OUR LIVES. YOU MIGHT BE ... Juggling work from home with remote school for your children. Feeling anxious about the vaccine. Trying to understand your children’s stress reactions. Mourning the loss of someone. Or you may be experiencing something else. WE’VE ALL BEEN AFFECTED.

GET FREE + ANONYMOUS SUPPORT TODAY! Our crisis counselors are here for you. The Colorado Spirit Crisis Counseling Program is a free and anonymous program with trained crisis counselors who are people from the community, just like you. Our counselors can connect you to community resources, help you develop coping strategies to manage and reduce your stress, and teach you how to recognize and support the reactions your children may be having.

To access support resources please visit COLORADOSPIRITCCP.COM


Colorado Parent | December 2021


Hotel: Inn at Riverwalk.

Make Your Travel Dollars Matter There’s nothing better than a mini winter getaway to de-stress from the holidays…especially one that also helps send a child with a serious illness to camp. The Inn at Riverwalk, in Vail’s pedestrian village, partnered with Colorado artist Marley Seifert, who designed a mural for the hotel’s Roundup River Ranch Room. Each time a guest stays in the room, decorated with the colorful 92 by 92-inch artwork, 20 percent of the proceeds will be donated to Roundup River Ranch’s medically-supported camp programs. Along with the cheery room, families booking a stay at The Inn at Riverwalk have convenient access to world-class skiing, a heated pool, and a loaded gear garage with all sizes of bikes, snowshoes, and sleds, plus board games, lawn games, and even a Polaroid camera to borrow at no added cost.

December 2021 |


Good to Know

If your child can hold a crayon, then it's time to teach them to send thank-you notes, says international etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore. “It might not be the most eloquent thank you, however it will still be heartfelt if the child created, designed, or made a note, even if it's just on white paper.” Parents can also write a note to go along with a child's creation. Write something like, “Dear Mom and Dad, we appreciate and acknowledge your thoughtful gift and so does Danny.” When it comes to an appropriate turnaround time to send a thank-you, Whitmore says that sooner, rather than later, is best. “If a month has passed and you're trying to decide if it's too late, no, it’s never too late. Receiving a thank-you note late is better than not receiving one at all.”

Source Help This Holiday Season To-do lists grow exponentially this time of year and having an extra set of hands to help out is crucial—it might even score you some more time with your kids. If you could use some help grocery shopping, organizing your house before hosting, or finding the perfect holiday outfit, that's where TULA steps in. The Denver and Boulder-based business offers on-demand personal assistants who take on everything from gift-giving and meal planning to decorating and wrapping. Founded by a working single mom of two, the

company strives to take some of the burdens off of busy parents. Here’s how it works: · Send TULA a task request through their easy-to-use app. · They’ll assign you an assistant and sort out your timeline—tight deadlines are no problem. · Enjoy having one (or two, or three) fewer things on your to-do list. Pricing starts at $50 an hour (two-hour minimum), but subscribing to a monthly package will score you the best rate. —Kara Thompson

4 SIMPLE THANK-YOU NOTE IDEAS FOR KIDS: · A two- to three-year-old can color or use stamps on a piece of paper. · A four- to five-year-old who is learning to print can write their name after a message they dictate to you. · Elementary-age kids can write a simple message on a preprinted note card or one that they design themselves. · Kids who struggle with handwriting skills, or have a disability that hinders their ability to write or draw, could type a note on the computer for you to print and mail. —Kara Thompson

Young Designer Wins Cirque Dreams Costume Contest And the winner of the Colorado Parent and Gaylord Rockies Resort Cirque Dreams Holidaze Costume Contest is: Northglenn resident Lucy Small. Out of an array of submissions from kids age five to 12 across the state, a panel of judges picked Small’s colorful “Christmas King and Queen,” featuring a masculine red and green outfit complete with Christmas tree-printed pants, and a feminine ensemble with a poofy blue skirt and multi-colored tiara. “The committee felt that Lucy’s Christmas King and Christmas Queen had fantastic detail for an eight-year-old,” Deanne French, director of marketing at the Gaylord Rockies, says. “She may have a future in costume design!” Small’s brother, Eli, found the contest call in this magazine; he made a copy of the entry form online and they both got creative.


Colorado Parent | December 2021

Before she knew it, Small’s use of crayon, colored pencil, and sparkles brought her imagination to life on the page. “I wanted to make the design pop and look beautiful,” she says. “I wanted to make it have lots of colors and textures, plus I love glitter.” Small won her family a stay at the Gaylord and tickets to see the Cirque Dreams Holidaze performance on December 2. The spectacular performance features acrobatics and highflying stunts with a dreamy, seasonal backdrop and costuming. “I'm grateful that my brother Eli found the contest and helped me enter it,” she says. “This is my first prize and I'm excited about it! My family has wanted to go [to the Gaylord] since it was built… I'm so glad I get to bring them.” —Anna Sutterer

Thank you card: Getty Images. Assistant: Tamara McTavish/Tula. Cirque: Lucy Small.

Teaching Kids To Say Thanks

th e


N ut c ra c k er


Ballet Ariel *

Celebrate the return of our annual holiday tradition!

Dec 11 – 23 A magical experience for children and adults of all ages! LAKEWOOD

CULTURAL CENTER 470 S. Allison Parkway

Tickets Box Office: 303-987-7845 More info at

December 2021 |


Good to Know | Let’s Go

LET’S GO Photo: Gigi’s Playhouse.

GiGi’s Playhouse A place for individuals with Down syndrome and their families to gather and grow. By Anna Sutterer VIBE: Lively, supportive, and inclusive TRAVEL TIME: 10 to 15 minutes west of the heart of Denver TIP: This free center has regular programming, but during office hours (based on staff availability, check the website for updated schedules), folks can use the space as needed for general socialization or sessions with their own tutors and therapists. Colorado’s first GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center, which opened in October 2021, is tucked in a quiet commercial center in north Lakewood. Its windows feature portraits of local individuals with Down syndrome, and its walls are painted in happy plum, cobalt, and lime hues. A family greeter helps visitors check in, then toys, books, exercise equipment, and study spaces await to facilitate both open-ended and instructed developmental play. The space itself signals something about the Down syndrome community: “It shows that we are proud of them and they’re bringing joy to our lives,” Beth Jeub, president of the center, says. “And that we’re here to support [families]. When we share our resources, it’s a lot less scary.”

Club GiGi’s in the rear of the building offers teens and young adults a safe and cool place to hang.

PLAY AND LEARN GiGi’s 50 programs have been developed over the past 18 years with the help of therapists, educators, and physicians. The programming supports physical, mental, and social well-being for newborns to young adults. Lakewood’s location will start with four core curricula: LMNOP for language and communication (newborns to 36 months), Destination Discovery for motor and social skills (all ages), GiGiFIT Teen exercise classes (ages 13 to 17), and One-to-One Literacy tutoring (age three and up). As the center grows, it will incorporate cooking classes, math tutoring, and other activities according to families’ needs. A SOFT PLACE TO LAND According to GiGi’s founder Nancy Gianni, Playhouses are a “soft place to land” for parents and siblings who are adapting to a Down Syndrome diagnosis in the family. Jeub intends the center to be a special place for siblings, too, and not just another place where their brother or sister has an appointment. “My hope is that siblings get opportunities to be leaders,” she says. “[They’ll] have a space where [they] can speak and volunteer if interested.”


Colorado Parent | December 2021

Join the #GenerationG Down syndrome acceptance movement and find ways to take action at Bright, positive spaces at GiGi’s set the scene for therapeutic play and programs.

Put hope on your wish list! The difference ABA therapy can make is a gift for the whole family. Call us today and unwrap the possibilities.


December 2021 |


Good to Know | Read to Me

by Jan Brett (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2021)

The latest book from beloved author and illustrator Jan Brett was inspired by her travels to snowy Russia and features a girl and her adventures with a special Christmas nutcracker. Brett’s signature illustration style offers an abundance of details that children can explore on each page.



6 New Children’s Books To Give This Season By Lydia Rueger


by Robert Sabuda (Candlewick Press, 2021)

The latest creation from master paper artist Robert Sabuda will show your kids expressions of love through six captivating pop-up spreads. It’s a great gift for a loved one that you’ll want to pull off the shelf and pop up again and again.


Bake, Make, and Learn to Cook

by David Atherton; illustrated by Rachel Stubbs (Candlewick Press, 2021)

Find whimsically illustrated recipes from Great British Baking Show winner David Atherton to cook together throughout the holiday season. The book includes breakfast recipes, lunches, speedy suppers, bite-size treats, and teatime bakes, along with tips and a glossary of cooking terms.

Holidays with young kids at home always adds a bit of wow factor to the season. This year, give the gift of children’s books that offer different kinds of “wow”—from pop-ups to sounds to breathtaking illustrations—for children with a variety of interests.


Jingle Bells: A Musical Instrument Song Book

by James Lord Pierpont; illustrated by Nicola Slater (Nosy Crow, 2021)

Very young “readers” can press the buttons in this board book to hear the musical instruments depicted in the story, as a band goes on a sleigh ride. The story ends with a festive finale in which all instruments play together.

Find more books at


Colorado Parent | December 2021


Opposites Abstract

by Mo Willems (Disney Books, 2021)

The bestselling author of the popular Elephant & Piggie series has released a stunning new book filled with abstract paintings, paired in opposites. It includes questions to get kids curious about what they see. “I love questions and I want to invite my audience to participate in the looking and the doing and perhaps even the making,” Willems says in a video about the book.


The Strangest Thing in the Sea

by Rachel Poliquin; illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler (Kids Can Press, 2021)

Inquisitive children can learn about a wide range of bizarre animals of the sea, accompanied by gate-fold elements revealing facts about each creature. Learn about the yeti crab, goblin shark, and vampire squid, among others, through detailed illustrations and information that aligns with elementary level life sciences curriculum.

Jan Brett’s The Nutcracker: Penguin Random House. Bake, Make, and Learn to Cook, Jingle Bells: A Musical Instrument Song Book, Love: Candlewick Press. The Strangest Thing in the Sea: Kids Can Press. Opposites Abstract: Disney Books.


Jan Brett’s The Nutcracker

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December 2021 |


Good to Know | Solutions

How Can We Balance Holiday Visits With Extended Family? It’s just impossible to meet everyone’s expectations during the holidays. A parent, grandparent, and family therapist weigh in on how to connect with loved ones while building your own holiday traditions. Edited by Courtney Drake-McDonough

“We used to take turns traveling to see family prior to having kids and agreed to travel with kids when they were young. But once our kids started understanding holidays, we started our own traditions at our house, which we really enjoy. Anyone is welcome to come see us. It’s important for both you and your partner to agree and be very matter-of-fact with each family. You have to say, “This is what we’re doing and, don’t worry, we’ll see you another time of the year.” We started planning a spring or summer vacation with each family. This is way more fun and less stressful for everyone. I think I have a better relationship with them because of the changes we made.”

THE GRANDPARENT SAYS… “Talk to grandparents sooner rather than later about your need for flexibility in scheduling time, as they may not fully realize the extent of your challenges and potential conflicts. Be up front if it’s a matter of logistics or cost, especially when it comes to longdistance issues; this may soften the blow if you can’t spend the holidays with grandparents. Schedule a video chat to open gifts from Grandma and Grandpa before or after the busiest festivities take place. Simply knowing they were considered, and time was set aside for them during the big day, assuages some of the disappointment of not participating in person. Try to create plenty of positive interactions throughout the year between parents, grandparents, and the children. That makes it easier to accept less-than-ideal arrangements at the holidays, as the strength of relationships doesn’t depend on seasonal celebrations.“ —Lisa Carpenter, author of The First-Time Grandmother’s Journal and founder of


Colorado Parent | December 2021

—Lane L., Denver, mom of a five-year-old daughter and four-year-old son.

THE FAMILY THERAPIST SAYS… “Many parents feel guilty, or encounter guilt trips or negative comments from family members, if they don’t travel for the holidays. Remember, these are your holidays too, and it’s your job as the parent to make the best decisions for your family. This may include not traveling, or traveling before or after the actual holiday. If you’re dealing with passive-aggressive comments, first remember that the comments are not actually about you, even if they’re aimed towards you. Second, be on the same team with your spouse regarding handling problematic family members. The parent whose family member is being difficult needs to be the one directly interacting with that person, whether it’s setting boundaries or asking the family member not to speak in a negative way.“ —Katie Godfrey, Ph.D., licensed marriage and family therapist, child and family team coordinator at the Catalyst Center in Denver.

Hightlight, family with tablet, family lighting candless, father and child baking: Getty Images.


Good to Know | Good Stuff

Baking Through the Holidays

Top tasty holiday creations with the pretty ballerinas, friendly nutcrackers, and poised soldiers in this Nutcracker Cupcake Kit. It comes packed with four of each of the six topper designs, plus a green fringed crepe paper Christmas tree and 24 shiny gold foil cupcake wrappers. $14,

Jolly finds to add to your kitchen and pantry this season. By Kara Thompson

Sprinkles make their way into your kitchen during the holidays—as well as every other corner of the house. Keep the decorations where they belong with these fun Holiday Sprinkle Stickers. The edible stocking and hot cocoa shapes are made with royal icing and stick to any slightly moist treat. $12,

This 40-piece metal Christmas Cookie Cutter Set will certainly diversify your creations for a cookie swap. The cutters have deep sides that leave desserts with a defined, intact shape—so your snowman cookie will look more cool and collected and less like a melting blob. $13,

BackgroundL Getty Images.

You’ve made your goodies and now it’s time to deliver them to teachers, friends, and family. Wrap them quickly with this Holiday Packaging Gift Set. The festive kit comes with 15 yards of red and white twine, gift tags, stickers, cellophane bags, red ribbon, and boxes. There’s also a recipe for white chocolate cranberry pistachio bark, in case you need more baking inspiration. $30,

Keep the cookie dough and gingerbread-house icing off the kids’ clothes with this Darling Dinos Children’s Apron. The apron, which flaunts a herd of dinosaurs donning Santa hats and scarves, comes in two sizes suitable for kids ages four to 12. Personalize it with an embossed leather tag for no additional cost. $36,

Before you and your kiddo sneak a bite, let your baked goods cool on this cheerful Gingerbread Cooling Rack. The non-stick steel rack is dishwasher safe and makes a chipper addition to your countertop. Keep it at home for the holidays or send it to grandma’s house for a cookie baking day. $20,

December 2021 |


Family Next Door

Women smiling: Momentix.

Momentix Toys Redefines STEM Audience

Anna Gilbertson and Alana Aamodt, co-creators of the STEM toy Momentix, are teaching kids about scientific process in a colorful way.

The company’s founders are on a mission to introduce physics concepts in a new, inviting way. By Anna Sutterer


here’s a new toy in town, and despite its simple wooden design, its power shouldn’t be underestimated. Co-creators Anna Gilbertson and Alana Aamodt, who studied physics at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, noticed a difference between the way STEM is taught in classrooms and the way it has played out in their jobs. “A lot of science can feel kind of intimidating and lofty,” Gilbertson says. “That’s not how science in the real world happens. It happens in teams, and it happens with a ton of mistakes.” To help kids understand the STEM principles of trial and error, problem-solving, and hands-on work, they created Momentix kits—wooden toys that provide the building blocks for Rube Goldberg-style chain reaction machines. Colorado Parent caught up with the creators.


Colorado Parent | December 2021

CP: What is important about this kind of play and learning for any child’s development? AG: For a kid who doesn’t like to sit down and do math problems or sit down and code, they get to learn this problem solving in three dimensions. They use their strengths of being social and active. The more the culture of STEM emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and resilience, the more underrepresented kids feel comfortable in those spaces. Self-perception is so important. Once a kid decides, I’m not a science person, they’re going to stop pursuing that. I think it’s important to catch them and to start instigating that culture change in the school age. CP: What is it about the design of your product that convinces kids to try STEM? AG: It comes down to doing things that are hands-on

and fun, that leave kids with a positive feeling about what they just did. Engineering is all about big systems that are made of tiny cause and effect moments; whether that’s a mechanical moment, or chemical moment, or computational moment. Chain reaction machines are a good analog for that. AA: I think the trap of a lot of STEM toys is lots of instructions and little pieces and wires, and things that feel inaccessible or boring, or super masculine. We tried to make Momentix pieces colorful, easy to put together, and inviting. It looks really simple, [but] once you do start playing with it, there are a lot of possibilities. CP: As you’ve interacted with hundreds of kids through research and development, what kind of reactions are you seeing? AG: I think the coolest thing has just been seeing

Illustration: Lauren Rebbeck.

Family Next Door

and hearing from people all over the world who are excited not just about the prospect of building a chain reaction machine, but the prospect of coming to that process with a lot of their own ideas. We give this thing, that we think we’ve thought so thoroughly about, to a child and they’ve always come up with a completely new way to use it. CP: Can you explain how the Ask, Brainstorm, Design process helps kids use Momentix’s elements to create unique physics machines? AA: We both studied physics, but we also studied design, and there’s this great practice in design-thinking of bringing your problem and turning it into “How might we?” So we try to phrase that back to kids with the materials we have, and also how we interact with kids. AG: Usually they have a half-baked plan that completely breaks the laws of physics, but they’ll try it anyway,

and they’ll see it fail and then they’ll come up with a new idea to change it and fix it. When they kind of do that engineering design process and eventually it works, there’s this universal, raw emotional celebration. And every kid we’ve ever seen, they always jump up in the air with their two hands and jump up and down.

TRY IT AT HOME! Here’s a simple chain reaction machine you can build with items around the house.

CP: Out of the different elements in a chain reaction machine, what is your favorite to use, and why? AG: I think my favorite to build are ramps because you can build a ramp out of literally anything, even a T-shirt. AA: I love a lever. I see levers everywhere in the world now. I’m like: everything is a fulcrum (the point on which a beam pivots). This little thing is so powerful. Preorders for the Momentix motionKit are currently available, with an expected delivery of May 2022.

A rolling object (toy car) + ramp (notebook) + lever (food box) + gravity = Rube Goldberg pet feeder

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10/14/21 8:28 21 AM December 2021 |

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 28 years and have grown to over 260 schools statewide.































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Charter School Guide







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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 24

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.


WE ARE A PUBLIC SCHOOL: TuitionSchool Free and Open to All Charter




B I L I N G UA L ? Welcoming students in grades K-4 (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.


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L E A R N M O R E ! W W W. FA S D E N V E R . O R G 720.966.1380 • INFO@FASDENVER.ORG 2280 E. 16TH AVENUE, DENVER, CO 80206

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

WE ARE A PUBLIC SCHOOL: Tuition Free and Open to All WE ARE A PUBLIC SCHOOL:3Tuition Freeinand Open County to All ENROLL BY LOTTERY: Campuses Douglas WE ARE ENROLL BY S.T.E.A.M: LOTTERY: Campuses Douglas EMPHASIZE Tech,inand Engineering, WE AMath PUBLIC SCHOOL:3Science, Tuition Free Open County to All Arts and WE EMPHASIZE S.T.E.A.M: Science, Tech, Engineering, WE ENROLL BY LOTTERY: Arts and Math WE TEACH CHARACTER AND3 Campuses MANNERS in Douglas County WE S.T.E.A.M: Tech, Engineering, WE EMPHASIZE TEACH CHARACTER ANDScience, MANNERS Arts and Math Learn more about ourAND highMANNERS WE TEACH CHARACTER

achieving and award Learn more about ourwinning high STEAM programming available achieving and award winning Learn aboutDouglas our high at our more 3programming beautiful STEAM available achieving and award winning County at our 3 campuses. beautiful Douglas STEAM programming available County campuses. at our 3 beautiful Douglas County campuses.

Join our K- and KindiePrep waitlist today! Join our K- and KindiePrep waitlist today! Join our K- and KindiePrep waitlist today! Charter School Guide



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 AURORA ACADEMY is the first charter school in the Aurora Public School District, opening its doors in the fall of 2000. It is recognized by the Foundation of Great Schools and has a “Performance” rating from the Colorado Department of Education. KEY COMPONENTS: • Full-day Kindergarten • Programming for specialized groups • Core Knowledge approach: putting knowledge at the heart of schooling • Music and Art an integral part of academics • One-to-one technology • Families play a vital role in our school community


INCLUSIVE SCHOOL COMMUNITY: Aurora Academy embodies a culturally and racially diverse student and family population who, together, create an important fusion of rich cultural, social, and economic backgrounds that assist in the learning process of acceptance, respect, and opportunity. DEMONSTRATION OF ACADEMIC SUCCESS YEAR AFTER YEAR: Aurora Academy students in grades 3-8 continuously show a higher percentage of students scoring at “Met” or “Exceeds” on state tests.


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


• A STEAM based before and after school program • Competitive middle school sports • High percentage of licensed teacher retention

Charter School Guide



Charter School




TWO ROADS Public K-12 Charter School TWO ROADS CHARTER SCHOOL partners with K-12 traditional and homeschool families. We offer both core and elective courses with small class sizes led by highly qualified, caring teachers. As a 21st Century School, our teachers work to provide engaging lessons that emphasize critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication. TWOROADS.JEFFCOPUBLICSCHOOLS.ORG Littleton Campus: 720-425-6163 Arvada Campus: 303-423-3377

100% OF STRIVE PREP SENIORS WERE ACCEPTED TO A POSTSECONDARY PROGRAM 100% DE LOS ESTUDIANTES DE BACHILLERATO DE STRIVE PREP TIENEN UN PLAN CUANDO SE GRADÚAN DE LA ESCUELA STRIVE Prep schools are some of the best K-12 schools in your neighborhood. Select us as #1 during DPS SchoolChoice for your best chance of enrolling.


Charter School Guide



Learn & Grow

Mother and toddler: Images By Tang Ming Tung/Getty Images.

Become a More Positive Parent Mindful practices to decrease power struggles and connect deeply with your child. By Anna Sutterer


o many parents start the day with good intentions to create playful moments and have sincere conversations with their kids. All too often, though, an inevitable stream of “Stop that! No!” and “Because I said so!” squash any chance of that. Is it possible to turn it around? According to Anat Geva, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist with the HealthONE Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, positive parenting is one of several popular concepts that has stemmed from the mindfulness movement. “[This approach] fosters a child’s sense of self-worth and empowers them to explore, utilizing the parental relationship to lean on,” Geva says. Read on to see how behavioral and developmental health experts suggest you can take the lead in parenting more positively, yielding closer parent/ child relationships and more well-adjusted kids. RESPECT AND AUTONOMY If possible, lay a foundation of mutual respect early. Kacie Morrish, Thornton mom and founder of The Village Parent parent coaching, often advises parents of toddlers. She employs the RIE (Resources


Colorado Parent | December 2021

for Infant Educarers) method in her work, which teaches that children should be seen as individuals, not just tiny people that are inferior. “It’s about having an awareness of the child’s perspective on life,” Morrish says. “I think a lot of parents go through child rearing and they’re seeing it all from their own perspective and what they want—being in control of their child as opposed to this mindset of facilitating and guiding their child’s journey in life.” In practice, RIE looks like allowing children to participate in self-care activities, such as dressing and bathing themselves, and making snacks and lunches. Encouraging self-directed play is also a key component. With safety parameters in place, let the child explore and experiment on their own, without reaching in to rescue or show them how to perform. “We can tend to forget that kids need to learn to solve their own problems, because as their prefrontal cortex is growing, they need those opportunities,” Morrish says. When they do well, try helping them cultivate intrinsic motivation by using observational comments such as: “You did it, you must be so proud of yourself,” or “How do you feel about that?”

Parents can then start asking more of their kids as they grow, adds Geva. “Parents who are more successful in eliciting their child’s cooperation are those who have invested in and built a foundation of trust and respect,” she says. In Geva’s work with middle and high school students in the Aurora Public Schools system, she sees parents who are at their wits’ end when it comes to their kids’ behavior. “The parents tried talking at them, tried putting boundaries and consequences—and everything in moderation works, but if there’s no foundation of that respect, and acceptance, that’s the problem. When children feel the adults on their “side”, they may not like the restrictions the adults impose, but they know that it is for their benefit, and the likelihood of the desired behavior generally increases,” Geva says. Kids who feel respected as individuals, “have more confidence going out into the world exploring who they could be, and then they also feel safer coming back. So ironically, by providing that acceptance, we’re actually increasing our influence on them,” Geva says.

Learn & Grow

EMPATHY AND COREGULATION When there’s conflict between you and your child, “act like a parent but think like a child,” suggests Dr. Candice W. Jones, mother of two, pediatrician, and author of High Five Discipline: Positive Parenting for Happy, Healthy, Well-Behaved Kids published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. “We need to learn to co-regulate, not co-escalate.” Some skills to employ: take a deep breath, count to 10, walk away and respond later. Saying, “I don’t know what to do about this,” or “I’m angry right now, let me take a moment to calm down and think,” models emotional intelligence and self-control. Guide kids’ awareness by allowing their emotions (positive, negative, or complicated) to happen, and help label their feelings. First, ask questions and wait for a response; extending curiosity rather than judgement helps them feel safe. “Then, give the child space to get through the emotion, to the other side of it,” advises Morrish. If they need a tactile way to process, try making a feelings collage with image clippings, or hold a hand over your chest to notice your heart rates, stretch and release muscle tension. HEALTHY BOUNDARIES AND DISCIPLINE Respecting a child and understanding them as a separate entity rather than an extension of oneself, Geva says, doesn’t mean taking a permissive

approach. There’s a difference between “anything goes,” and “we need to think through what the best fit is for this situation.” Create boundaries and expectations that honor the child’s autonomy and developmental stage while keeping their safety and well-being in mind. When introducing a boundary or a teaching moment, steer away from lecturing; this elicits a “fight, flight, or freeze” reaction, according to Morrish. Try using statements that elicit a response, and follow with a question: “I’ve noticed … have you noticed that too?” then, “I wonder how we could work through that. What do you need?” PATIENCE AND CONSISTENCY When it comes to becoming a more positive parent, experiment with different things, says Morrish. “There’s not necessarily a right or wrong, there’s just effective and ineffective, and sometimes it’s a unique combination for our kids.” Morrish tells her clients to start with their family values and goals, these will drive what tools they’ll need. For example, if a parent’s goal is for their kids to “come to them with anything,” they might focus on asking questions without judgement. Reach out for help; there is no reason to go down this road alone. Talk with your pediatrician,

POSITIVE INSTAGRAM FOLLOWS Check out quick tips and meditations for more positive parenting offered on these feeds: @curious.parenting @raisinggoodhumnaspodcast @latinxparenting @dr.annlouise.lockhart @biglittlefeelings who might offer an impartial perspective about certain behaviors, suggests Jones. She also offers a family discipline plan worksheet at the end of her book. The guide breaks down common developmental challenges at various ages, the “High-Five” discipline essentials, and a checklist of skills to apply when issues arise. The payoff for all this? Kids develop self-esteem, have reduced stress in the home, share control and responsibility, and have bonded relationships, according to Morrish. “You’re teaching the kid that they matter, that they’re an individual person whose opinions and experiences are important,” Geva adds. “You’re also teaching them how to accept other people for their differences and how to tolerate frustrations. These are good approaches for humans.”

December 2021 |



Bedroom Decor Deck out your kid’s space this season with these easy and impactful design ideas.

Words by Kara Thompson Decor by Rachel Hoback Photos by Heather Smith


Colorado Parent | December 2021


long with the first snowfall of winter, decorating our home is one of the most magical things about the holiday season. Fresh garland, twinkling lights, and cute accents add cheer to everyday spaces, making them feel extra cozy on cold nights. However, while most houses are decked out in the living room and front yard, one area that gets forgotten is the bedroom. That’s why we asked Rachel Hoback, a Denver-based interior designer, blogger, and mom of two, to spruce up her son’s bedroom for the season. While you might think that decorating your child’s room is just another to-do list item during an already stressful month, starting this tradition will undoubtedly make for heartfelt memories. If decorating the whole room isn’t feasible, let your child choose one favorite element. “I was a little hesitant at first to put this much work into a five-yearold’s bedroom, but I’m so happy I did! The smile on his face when he saw it all was priceless,” says Hoback. See how she pulled together her son’s room in an afternoon, and find inspiration for your own dazzling decor.


DRESS UP THE BED Adding a festive touch can be as simple as incorporating signature colors and patterns to a child’s bed, no matter which holiday you celebrate. Search the house for blankets and pillows in red, white, and green or blue and white, and don’t be afraid to layer solids with plaid and stripes.


1. Throw pillows are an easy yet impactful decor swap to make each season. This Merry Everything Lumbar Pillow is bright, festive, and oh-so-cozy. $25, 2. Hoback already had green bedding in her son’s room, which worked well with a Christmas theme, but she added this Multi Stripe Woven Throw Blanket to give the space more color and texture. $30,


GO BIG WITH LIGHTS If you choose to recreate only one element from this bedroom, twinkle lights are a timeless addition that require minimal effort. Plus, they’re easy to use in other spots around your home and don’t take up too much storage space.

Glitter: Getty imagse.

3. Try wrapping lights or garland, like this Multicolor Felt Pom Pom Garland, around mini faux Christmas trees for an affordable and quick touch. Then place them on your child’s dresser or nightstand. $10,


4. Glimmering LED String Lights always make a room feel more inviting. Hoback stuck hers in Glass Faceted Jug Vases to bring a Christmas light factor into the bedroom. Bonus: they make great nightlights! Glass jars: $25,; LED string lights: $18,

December 2021 |


DECK THE WALLS If your child has framed art hanging in their room, swap out the photos for something merry during December. Etsy is a great spot to source printable wall art, which can be saved and reused for years to come.



5. Hoback decided on these Nutcracker Christmas Printables, which look like they’re straight out of a children’s book. Don’t have art that’s easy to change? Purchase small picture frames and find appropriately sized graphics on Etsy. $11.75,

BRING THE SNOW INSIDE Want to make your little one feel extra special? Put a Christmas tree in their room! An artificial tree with white flocked branches turns an ordinary bedroom into a winter wonderland (without having to deal with the chill of an actual snow day). 6. This Pre-Lit Flocked Tree is under $40 and adds a snowy vibe to the space. Hoback didn’t like the basket that the tree came in so she placed it in this Decorative White Basket, which can be reused in another area of her home post-holiday season. Tree: $33,; white basket: $26, 7. Don’t forget to use your ceiling space. These 3D Snowflake Lanterns were easy to hang with push pins and ribbon and add dimension to the corner of the room. $15, 8. Hoback also tossed holiday throw pillows inside her son’s tent to make a comfy book nook. The jovial Woodland Gnome Lumbar Pillow will delight your child throughout the season. $30,


Colorado Parent | December 2021



December 2021 |




“Being a working mom

comes with its challenges... And it is also a privilege. I recognize I’m blessed to be able to do what I love and be a mom to a sweet baby boy.” – Erika

Watch Erika Gonzalez and Jeremy Hubbard Weeknights at 5, 9, & 10P.



Our Picks For Little Ones

SANTA AT THE STATION Through December 19 See page 41

Opener: Disney on Ice. Tweens: Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance. Teens: Matthew Murphy.

For Kiddos


For Tweens

GRAVITY & RELATIVITY December 3 See page 36

DEC. 2-5

Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen join a cast of characters in an inspiring show of Disney stories., in DIsney on Ice: Dream Big.

Disney On Ice: Dream Big Dec. 2 and 3, 7pm; Dec. 4, 11am, 3pm, 7pm; Dec. 5, 10:30am, 2:30pm. Join Miguel, Moana, and Anna and Elsa as they wow the audience with ice skating performances, and strive to make their dreams come true. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and stars from other classic Disney stories make special appearances too. $20-$100. Ball Arena, Denver.

For Teens

DISNEY’S THE LION KING December 2 See page 36

December 2021 | Colorado Parent


Calendar | December

Calendar What’s Inside

Superhero Engineering: Lego Build-Along with Play-Well TEKnologies 2-3pm.



Bring Legos to life and explore engineering principles alongside an experienced instructor from Play-Well TEKnologies. Save the world with your Lego superhero creations featuring motorized and architectural projects. Ages 6-11. Register online. Boulder Public Library, Boulder.








Gravity & Relativity See Dec. 3.



Demonstrating Artist: Latasha Dunston See Dec. 4.



Sunday Swing Supper Club

Budding entrepreneurs offer their wares at the YouthBiz Holiday Marketplace, Dec. 4.

HEADS UP! All events were correct as of press time, however, 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




6:30pm. Kids can bring school assignments or seedlings of stories, poems, and essays to this collective idea-generating space hosted by Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Age 8 and up. Reserve online.

9am-5pm. Admission to Trek Through Time, in the Dinosaur Ridge exhibit hall, will be waived on this free day. Guided bus tours available at a reduced rate: $8 adult, $6 youth. Dinosaur Ridge, Morrison.

VIRTUAL Brainstorm! 5:30-

On Stage

Disney’s The Lion King

Dec. 2-Jan. 2. Tue-Sat, 2pm and 7:30pm showings; Sun, 1pm and 6:30pm. Watch the Serengeti African ecosystem come to life on a Denver stage with The Lion King, created by Tony Award-winning artists. Age 6 and up. $50-$195. Buell Theatre, Denver.

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella Dec. 2-Jan. 9. Wed, 7pm; Thu and Fri, 7:30pm; Sat, 2pm, 5pm, 7:30pm; Sun, 2pm. Dec. 24, noon; Dec. 25 closed. This contemporary take on the classic story features beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner,” and “Impossible/It’s Possible.” Free museum admission is included in the cost of tickets. $20-$50. Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs.

Colorado Parent | December 2021

Dinosaur Ridge Free Day

Gravity & Relativity Dec. 3 and 4, 7pm; Dec. 5, 2pm. The beauty, strength, and agility of aerial dancers is on display in this 65-minute show that features multiple aerial skills. All ages. $23-$27. Dairy Arts Center, Boulder.

4-7:30pm. Join in an afternoon featuring the swingin’ music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and more. Festivities begin with free beginner dance lessons followed by two sets of live big band music. Food is available to order and there is a fully stocked cash bar. Singles and beginners of all ages welcome (under 18 with guardian). $20 at the door, $15 online. Buffalo Rose Event Center, Golden.


Around the World Storytime Dec. 7 and 14, 10:15-10:45am.


Celebrate world cultures through books, music, and play in this interactive storytime for all ages. Masks are required for all patrons over two years. Boulder Public Library—NoBo Corner Library, Boulder.

YouthBiz Holiday Marketplace

VIRTUAL Recipes for the Winter Solstice 4-5pm. Herbalist

Gravity & Relativity See Dec. 3.

10am-2pm. Buy local from young business owners who will sell unique, handmade products. Find beaded jewelry, greeting cards, bath products, home-baked goodies, and artwork. Free admission, vendor prices vary. Young Americans Center for Financial Education, Denver.

Demonstrating Artist: Latasha Dunston Dec. 4 and 5, noon-3pm. Visit

Tonja Reichley shares recipes for teas, herbal honeys, seasonal cocktails, and healing syrups based on Irish and European traditions. Learn some new rituals to weave into your kitchen magic this time of the year. Register online.

Book Queeries: The Nightmare Before Christmas 4:30-6pm. Watch The Nightmare Before

Market: Young Americans Center.

the Storytelling Studio on level 1 of the Hamilton Building for a behind-the-scenes look at Latasha Dunston’s creative process. Get inspired to explore your own creativity through hands-on activities. Denver Art Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

Calendar | December

Christmas with Out Boulder County’s Youth Services Team and peers. Hot chocolate will be served. Attendees are also welcome to participate in a book swap. Grades 6-12. Register online. Boulder Public Library, Boulder.


Homeschool Writing Club: The Craft of Writing Dec. 9 and 16, 10:30am-noon. Youth will gather to write and craft their words into pieces of art in this multimedia workshop. Make zines, chapbooks, snow globes, or puzzles. Ages 8-11. Register online. $60. Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Louisville. VIRTUAL Budget Friendly Recipes with Chef Maggie Wescott 4-5pm. Join in for a cooking

demonstration focused on healthy recipes that won’t break the bank. Chef Maggie Wescott will show guests easy, plant-based recipes. Age 18 and up. Register online.

farm animals. House Museum tours can accommodate up to 10 guests and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Four Mile Historic Park. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

The Stargazers Dec. 10, 7pm; Dec. 11, 2pm. Explore the depths of space from your seat as you are taken on an adventure through the cosmos with the Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance Student Company. $16-20. Dairy Arts Center, Boulder.


The Stargazers See Dec. 10. Project H.O.M.E. Dec. 11 and 18, 10am-noon. The Healthy Outcomes, Meaningful Environment program helps participants navigate neutral communication with children and the entire family. This month’s workshops: DNA is Not Destiny and Wounded Places. All ages. $25 each workshop. Robert A. Miller Educational Resource Center, Denver.

Winter Pop-Up Book Sale


Four Mile Free Day

10am-4pm. Travel back to 1859 to enjoy historic demonstrations, a tour of the Four Mile House Museum, and

Nutcracker: Amanda Tipton Photography. Studio: Denver Art Museum.

Nuts for Nutcracker

10am-4pm. Shop for gifts, or just for fun, with the DPL Friends Foundation. Find used children’s books and adult titles available at bargain prices. Free entry, book prices vary. Ross-Cherry Creek Branch Library, Denver.

A Colorado Nutcracker

Dec. 21, 7pm; Dec. 22, 2pm and 6pm. Step back in time and experience a 1907 Christmas Eve celebration at the Glen Eyrie home of General William J. Palmer, amongst the city’s founding families. Young Clara, an orphan visitor, receives an enchanted Nutcracker doll from Nikola Tesla, inventor and special guest at the party. Travel with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince as they journey through a wintry Garden of the Gods wonderland to the Land of Sweets where she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy. $22-$49. Pikes Peak Center, Colorado Springs.

Ballet Ariel’s The Nutcracker Dec. 11, 12, 18, 19, 22, 23; 2pm; Dec. 17 and 18, 7pm. Tchaikovsky’s

Make your own art at the DAM with guidance from local artist Latasha Dunston, Dec. 4 and 5. Magic the Gathering 1:30-3:30pm. Magic players of all abilities, grades 6-12, can duel against friends or find new people to challenge, get deck-building tips, strategies for card play, and more at this teen-led event. Register online. Boulder Public Library, Boulder.

Avs Family Pack 6pm. Take the

7pm. Enjoy an evening of original aerial dance works created by artists in Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance

ages. $38-33 adult, $30-25 ages 3-12. Lakewood Cultural Center, Lakewood.

Colorado Conservatory of Dance presents The Nutcracker Dec. 10, 6:30pm;

5, 1pm and 4pm. The Boulder Ballet and Longmont Symphony Orchestra team up this year to perform The Nutcracker, a magical treat for the entire family. $18-40. Vance Brand Auditorium, Longmont.

opulent score accompanies Ballet Ariel’s professional company in a production of this classic holiday tale. Travel through the Land of Snow to the Land of Sweets with the brave and beautiful Clara and her handsome prince. All


family to watch the Avalanche face off against the Florida Panthers. Get one meal and Pepsi per person included with this family package. $35-$108 per ticket. Ball Arena, Denver.

Flying Lessons for Humans

Boulder Ballet’s The Nutcracker Dec. 3, 7pm; Dec. 4 and

The Boulder Ballet performs the classic in Longmont this year.

programs. This show explores what it means to be human through acts on the trapeze, lyra, silks, rope, and slings. $16-20. Dairy Arts Center, Boulder.

Colorado Ballet Presents The Nutcracker Nov. 27-Dec. 24; most Thu-Sun; 1pm, 6:30pm, and 7:30pm showings. The beloved holiday favorite returns in a production featuring new sets and costumes created especially for Colorado Ballet. Age 5 and up. $40 and up. Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver.

Dec. 11 and 18, 1pm and 6:30pm; Dec. 12 and 19, 1pm; Sensoryfriendly show Dec. 17, 6:30pm. This production, presented yearly since 1993, includes professional guest artists from around the world. A sensory-friendly and social/learning disability inclusive show is available. $29-$49 adult, $24-$44 ages 13-18, $20-$40 age 12 and under. Performing Arts Complex at PCS, Denver.

The Nutcracker Student Ballet Performance Dec. 4, 6pm. Enjoy a performance of The Nutcracker ballet by students from Neighborhood Music & Theatre. Stanley Marketplace, Aurora.

December 2021 | Colorado Parent


Calendar | December


Around the World Storytime

First Friday Yoga Dec. 3; 8-9am. Join Special Olympics Colorado for yoga with office manager and yoga instructor, Jenn Dormann. Contact Jenn with questions at:

See Dec. 7.

Low Sensory Morning at History Colorado Dec. 11, 8-10am. History Colorado Center opens its doors for families who prefer a lower sensory museum environment. Register online. History Colorado Center. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

Anime Club: Tokyo Godfathers 4:30-6pm. Watch a

Sensory-Friendly Morning at the DAM Dec. 12, 9-11am. Kids with neurodiversity or sensory processing disorders, and their families, can visit the museum in a safe and fun way. The museum will open early, dim the lights, and provide tools to aid the experience. Don’t miss the newly-reopened Martin Building galleries, Learning and Engagement Center, Creative Hub, and sensory garden. Included with admission. Denver Art Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.


Sensory-Friendly Playtime Dec. 13, 3-5pm. Children with autism spectrum or sensoryprocessing disorders are welcome to enjoy the museum at limited capacity, with the sounds and lights turned down and adaptive equipment available for play. Register online. $1. WOW! Children’s Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 44. VIRTUAL Youth Support Group Through Dec. 11. Ongoing, second Saturdays, segundo sábados; 11am-noon. Learn, meet, and have fun with like minded people ages 13-27. By Grupo Vida, an organization for families with special needs. Register online. // Reuniones amenas de una hora con jóvenes de tu edad. Aprende, descubre y disfruta. Por Grupo Vida, una organización para familias con necesidades especiales. Registro en línea.


Santa outline, reindeer: Daniel A. Leifheit/Getty Images.

Special Families

Free Day at the Denver Art Museum 10am-5pm. Visit the Denver Art Museum and enjoy free general admission for all. Reservation encouraged. Denver Art Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

special holiday-themed anime movie with friends, siblings, and like-minded peers. Snacks will be provided. For tweens and teens. Register online. Boulder Public Library, Boulder.

Homeschool Writing Club: The Craft of Writing See Dec. 9.


Project H.O.M.E. See Dec. 11 Adult + Child Gift-Making Workshop 10-11am. Join in a festive holiday gift-making workshop that includes painting, ornament crafting, and prints. Ages 3-6. artSPARK Creative Studio, Littleton.

Schweiger Ranch Open

Day 1-5pm. Visit the historic property and explore the ranch with a selfguided tour. Schweiger Ranch, Lone Tree.

Legally Blonde the Musical Dec. 18 and 19, 2pm and 7pm. The Apex Performing Arts Collective, featuring a cast of youth ages 11-15, presents the story of Elle Woods, who charms her way into Harvard Law to get back her boyfriend but then discovers her potential and sets out to prove herself to the legal world. $30 adult, $20 age 18 and under. The Schoolhouse Theater, Parker.

kids away from computer screens and into hands-on exploration this winter break at WOW! Sign up for one or all three days, each focusing on a different topic. Grades K-3. Register online. $50 each day, $40 member each day. All three classes: $135, $105 member. WOW! Children’s Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.


Winter STEM Classes @ WOW! See Dec. 20. VIRTUAL Yoga for Kids

10-10:30am. Children will playfully move their bodies as they learn traditional yoga poses through their favorite stories and music. Taught by a certified children’s yoga instructor. Ages 5-12. Register online.

Day at the DAM Dec. 21 and

See Dec. 18

29, 10am-3pm. This new program invites kids to spend school days off at the museum exploring galleries, discussing, and creating art in the new Creative Hub classroom spaces. Ages 6-11. Register online. Denver Art Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.




Legally Blonde the Musical

Winter STEM Classes @ WOW! Dec. 20-22, 8:30-11am. Get

Colorado Parent | December 2021

Winter STEM Classes @ WOW! See Dec. 20.


VIRTUAL Reindeer Encounter with the Greater Vancouver Zoo 1-2pm. Learn all

about reindeer, members of the deer family that are native to northern parts of North America and Eurasia. Register online.


New Year’s Eve @ WOW! 10am-noon and 1-3pm parties. Ring in the new year before bedtime; join WOW! for crafts, live entertainment, and the countdown to 2022. Ages 5-11. Register online. $6 adult, $11 youth, $7 member youth. WOW! Children’s Museum. See Wheret the Kids Are, page 44.

Happy Noon Year 11am-12:30pm Ring in the new year early with an outdoor dance party and countdown at noon. All ages. Register online. Koelbel Library, Centennial.


Santa Visits for All There's a place to meet with St. Nick no matter your family’s needs—low-sensory stimulation, language, racial or ethnic representation. Check out our list of inclusive options around Denver and the Front Range at

Calendar | December

Holiday Fun

A Christmas Carol Through

Dec. 26, select dates; 2pm and 7:30pm showings. Take in the joyful, opulent musical adaptation that traces money-hoarding Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. Includes period language and ghost scenes that may frighten younger guests. Stage fog, haze, and strobe lighting are used. Age 6 and up. $30 and up. Wolf Theatre, Denver.

A Christmas Carol Dec. 18, 7:30pm. Celebrate the true spirit of Christmas with a theatrical production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol that’s filled with haunting special effects and heartfelt sentiment. All ages. $15 and up. The Lincoln Center, Fort Collins.

A Colorado Christmas Dec. 10, 7:30pm; Dec. 11, 2:30pm, 6pm; Dec. 12, 1pm. Sing along to carols and contemporary winter tunes, and enjoy newly arranged surprises by the Colorado Symphony Chorus. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will be on hand for visits with families. $15$89. Boettcher Concert Hall, Denver.

Aprés Ski Holiday Market at Dairy Block Through Dec. 19. Fri-Sun, noon-5pm. Held in the Dairy Block Alley and inspired by a European ski village, the market features a variety of vendors offering clothing, home goods, and more. Shop local (and national) retailers. Enjoy food and drink specials plus a lineup of holiday entertainment including performances by the Jingle Belles and visits from Santa Claus. Dairy Block Alley, Denver.

A Christmas Carol: The Lincoln Center.

Blossoms of Light Nov. 19-Jan. 8, 4:30-9pm; Closed Nov. 25 and Dec. 25. Stroll through a twinkling wonderland full of festive lights. Don’t neglect the warm drinks and holiday treats from Hive Garden Bistro in the center of the gardens. $18-21, $16-19 members, (purchase tickets in advance online); free age 2 and under (no ticket required). Denver Botanic Gardens York Street. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

Butterfly Pavilion’s Living Lights Dec. 17-Jan. 2, 6-10pm. Check out this bright and shiny holiday event where guests are immersed in an enchanted indoor festival of lights and embark on a quest to meet the Firefly Princess. Aerial artists and performers and a kid’s glow-in-the-dark dance party add to the fun. Age 5 and up. $20 adult, $12 youth. Butterfly Pavilion. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

Camp Christmas Through Jan. 2. Select dates and times. Immerse yourself in a holiday event spread across a six-acre landscape. Visit Santa’s Glampsite, drink hot cocoa (or seasonal cocktails) while collecting virtual Merry Badges and enjoying a free audio tour. Snap the perfect holiday photo to remember the experience. Dress warm for the outdoor event. Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park, Lakewood.

Castlewood Library Holiday Open House Dec. 12, noon-2pm. Take a library tour, settle in for kid crafts and Makerspace demos for adults, and enjoy a live performance of holiday music by a violin and cello duet. Castlewood Library, Centennial.

Cherry Creek Holiday Market Through Dec. 24. Sun-Wed, 11am-7pm; Thu-Sat, 11am-9pm; special hours Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Find your winter treats and holiday gifts at this outdoor market featuring 30 pop-ups from local makers, designers, and creators. Register online. Free entry, vendor prices vary. Cherry Creek Shopping Center, Denver.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze Through Jan. 2 Select dates; 1pm, 2pm, 3pm. This awe-inspiring family holiday spectacular features acrobatics and high-flying stunts with a dreamy backdrop. $19-$110. Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, Aurora.

December Delights Through Jan. 2. Wed, Thu, Sun; 5-9pm; Fri and Sat, 5-10pm. Join a winter scavenger hunt and participate in kids crafts, outdoor video games, and ice skating. Enjoy

A Christmas Carol hits the Lincoln Center stage this season. seasonal snacks and beverages to keep up the sweet energy. $8-$16, free age 6 and under. Four Mile Historic Park. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

Denver Christkindl Market Through Dec. 23. Thu-Sat, 11am-9pm; Sun-Wed, 11am-7pm; special hours on Thanksgiving and close to Christmas. Sip warm Glühwein (mulled spiced wine) or hot chocolate, shop artisan gifts, and savor holiday treats. The German American Chamber of Commerce Colorado Chapter’s annual market is setup in Civic Center Park this year to allow for more social distance. View health and safety measures online. Free admission, vendor prices vary. Civic Center Park, Denver.

25-Jan. 1; 5-8:30pm. Celebrate the holiday season with sparkling lights, animals, and fun for the whole family. See more than 85 unique light sculptures cozy up at a hot cocoa station, and take a photo with Santa (Dec. 3-23). You can even be a secret Santa for the animals—view a safari wish list online and bring a toy or treat for your wild friends. $14 adult, $12 senior, $11 military, $10 child, free members and age 2 and under. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs.

Elf in Concert Dec. 18, 7:30pm; Dec. 19, 2:30pm. Relive this heartwarming holiday classic on a giant screen as every note of John Debney’s score is played live by the Colorado Symphony. $15-$89. Boettcher Concert Hall, Denver.

Dickens: A Family Holiday Experience Dec. 11, 4-8pm.

Elf: The Musical Through Dec. 23.

Immerse your family in a festive “choose your own adventure” experience inspired by the classic tale, A Christmas Carol. Be transported to the 1800s through music, lights, theatrical performances, and holiday traditions including a holiday market, ice skating, and a visit from Santa. $50 age 12 and up, $25 ages 4-11, free age 3 and under. Four Mile Historic Park, Denver.

1pm. ASL interpreted performance Dec. 11, 2 and 7:30pm. Embrace your inner elf and laugh along as Buddy the Elf finds his true identity while helping New York City rediscover its Christmas cheer. Age 6 and up. $53 and up, $20 sensoryfriendly. Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Arvada.

Englewood Holiday Express

Disney’s A Muppet Christmas Carol in Concert Dec. 22 and 23, 7pm. While the Muppets perform the classic Dickens holiday tale (on screen), the Colorado Symphony will perform every note from the original full film score. $15-$89. Boettcher Concert Hall, Denver.

Electric Safari Dec. 3-5, 10-23,

Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11; 3-8pm. Take a spin through the park on a festive train, then enjoy a craft, hot cocoa and s’mores, and a visit with Santa. Free parking at the park and Pirate’s Cove. Find tickets online. $12 age 2 and up, free under age 2. Englewood Farm & Train at Belleview Park, Englewood.

December 2021 | Colorado Parent


Calendar | December

Nov. 26-Dec. 12. Sat and Sun, 4:30 and 7:30 or 8pm showings. Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre will show a lineup of films to celebrate the holidays, including How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Christmas Story, and Scrooged. Tune in via FM radio from your vehicle and watch on the large screen located in the Lower South Lot 2. Visit website to check movie schedule. $60 per vehicle; includes Coca-Cola, popcorn, and candy. Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, Morrison.

Garden of Lights Dec. 10-26; 5-9pm (closed Dec. 25). Stroll through a half-mile loop of twinkling wonderland. Perennial flower beds, sculptural flowers, butterflies, and a holiday village are constructed entirely from holiday lights. Grab a festive beverage from the bar and enjoy live entertainment most nights. Santa will be present December 10 through 23. $10, $5 ages 5-11; $8 members, $4 members ages 5–11, free age 4 and under. The Gardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins.

Granny Dances To A Holiday Drum Dec. 11 and 18, 2pm and 7pm; Dec. 12 and 19, 2pm; Dec. 16 and 17, 7pm. The Cleo Parker Robinson Dance team presents the story of Granny, who remembers her time dancing in winter festivals for Christmas, the West African Harvest, Native American Winter Solstice, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and more. Each year highlights new stories from her rich life dancing around the world, making way for new twists and scenes for an artistically fresh production every time. $45 adult, $35 youth. Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theater, Denver.

Holiday’s Evening Dec. 12, 5:308pm. Be transported to the winter holidays of the 1800s as you and the family follow the glow of luminarias throughout the living history farm at the Littleton Museum. Enjoy a wagon ride, snack on cornbread and cookies, and sip hot cider next to a bonfire


Las Posadas Dec. 24, 4-5:30pm. Celebrated in Mexico and throughout the United States, the Las Posadas celebration commemorates Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of shelter on the night of baby Jesus’ birth. Tesoro partners with The Fraternas to present this traditional event. Enjoy Mexican hot chocolate, hot cider, and biscochitos. Dress warmly for the outdoor event. The Fort Restaurant, Morrison.

Film on the Rocks: Holiday Drive-In

Light sculptures sprinkled across the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo campus light guests’ way at Electric Safari. while looking up at the stars. Costumed interpreters will demonstrate or teach about life in Littleton in the 1800s. A video message from Santa will play inside as children write letters and make art. Dress warmly for the outdoor portion. $10 adult, $4 ages 2-16 (activities and refreshments included). Littleton Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

Holidays at the Movies Dec. 17, 7:30pm. Hear the scores from holiday movies live from the Arapahoe Philharmonic. Feel the love of family with music from Home Alone, the excitement of the holidays with Nightmare Before Christmas, or the bittersweet memories of Meet Me in St. Louis. $30 adult, $5 youth age 12 and under; $15 per household livestream. Denver First Church, Englewood.

Holiday Gift Making Workshop Dec. 4 and 18, 1-2:30pm; Dec. 10, 6-7pm. Drop off your child at artSpark Creative Studio so they can get crafty and create gifts for family and friends. Grades 1-5. $59. artSPARK Creative Studio, Littleton.

Holiday Teas at Hotel Boulderado Dec. 12-20, 11am-2pm. Have a seat for a fancy, festive tea party in the historic Mezzanine overlooking the decorated Hotel Boulderado lobby. Enjoy live music and various flavors of pastry and sandwiches with black, herbal, or green teas. $37 adult (includes pastries and two pieces of each sandwich), $25 child (includes

Colorado Parent | December 2021

scone, cupcake, and one piece of each sandwich). Hotel Boulderado, Boulder.

Holigay Dec. 11, 4:30, 5:30, and 6:30pm time slots. Celebrate the season with Rainbow Alley, The Center on Colfax’s LGBTQ+ Youth program. Explore the Camp Christmas extravagant outdoor installation, then stop by the Holigay party in the private Orchard Room to meet Queer Santa and pick up a gift. Ages 11-21. Register by December 2. Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park, Lakewood. Home for the Holidays Dec. 16-23. Dates and times vary, see online for details. Dec. 19, 7pm sensoryfriendly performance. Celebrate being together again with this old-school variety show featuring dancers, singers, and celebrity appearances by Mr. and Mrs. Claus. $36-$63. Lone Tree Arts Center, Lone Tree.

Hometown Holidays Through Dec. 19. Visit Candy Cane Lane at Discovery Park, Toyland on Mainstreet, and Santa’s Workshop at O’Brien Park. You might run into a live elf on the weekends during the Elf Around Town Scavenger Hunt. Downtown Parker.

Homestead for the Holidays Dec. 18, 5-8pm. Experience holidays the pioneer way. This family event allows you to stroll through the Golden History Park, take in colorful lights, and try a craft. $10, $5 members age 5 and up, free age 4 and under. Golden History Park, Golden.

Lights of December Parade Dec. 4, 6-7:30pm. For more than 30 years, spectators have enjoyed floats, marching bands, lit fire engines, and holiday carolers, presented by local Boulder groups. Enjoy the promenade of merriment, culminating in an appearance by Santa Claus. Downtown Boulder.

Menorah Lighting at Stanley Marketplace Dec. 5, Sundown. Taste latkes and watch as the Chabad Denver North Jewish Life Center Menorah is lit to celebrate Hanukkah. Stanley Marketplace, Aurora.

Merry & Bright Dec. 4, 1pm; Dec. 5, 6pm. Hear children sing songs of Christmas, Hanukkah, and snow in this chorale show. Special guests from the North Pole will make an appearance as well. Age 4 and up. $14-$80. Boettcher Concert Hall, Denver.

Mission: Save Christmas featuring Elf™ Through Jan. 2. Daily, 10am-8:45pm with timed entry. Journey into a multisensory experience full of interactive challenges to help save Christmas. Join Buddy the Elf and answer the call from Santa to help muster enough Christmas cheer to power the Kringle 3000 and help Santa’s sleigh fly. $32, $20 ages 4-11. Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, Aurora.

Olde Golden Candlelight Walk Dec. 3, 7pm. Experience the beauty of the holiday season with a walk down Washington Avenue, candle in hand, singing holiday carols during

Electric safari: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Holiday Fun

Holiday Dolls Tea: the Oxford Hotel. Santa: Denver Union station.

Calendar | December

this annual tradition that culminates in a short, live entertainment program. Commemorative 2021 candles are available for purchase at the Golden Visitors and Information Center. Foothills Art Center, Golden.

Photos with Santa Dec. 4, 11, 18; 2-3:30pm. Children of all ages are invited to take photos with Santa at Stanley Marketplace. Stanley Marketplace, Aurora. VIRTUAL Poetic Kwanzaa

Dec. 15, 4:30-5:30pm. Master storyteller Oba William King teaches the history of Kwanzaa and encourages an understanding of African American heritage through rhythmic and rhyming poetry. Register online.

Santa at the Station Nov. 28Dec. 19. Sun, 11am-4pm. Visit with Santa & Mrs. Claus in a classic downtown setting. Grab St. Nick Express skip-the-line tickets, which include a keepsake Union Station ornament. $50 per family Skip-theline Express tickets (advanced online purchase). Denver Union Station, Denver.

Schweiger Ranch Austrian Christmas Dec. 4, 11am-5pm. Celebrate Christmas traditions from Austrian heritage including a Christkindl Market featuring local handcrafted goods, a visit with Santa and his reindeer, face painting, live band, crafts, and a tree lighting ceremony. All ages. Register

online. Schweiger Ranch, Lone Tree.

St. Nick on the Bricks Dec. 4 and 18, 11am-2pm; Dec. 11, 11am-4pm Kids of all ages can visit with Santa and share their wish lists. Bring a camera to capture the holiday memory. Take a free ride on the Electric Snowflake Express; children age 10 and under (with accompanying adults) will chug along Pearl Street. Santa visits may be moved inside the Visitor Information Center and the Snowflake Express may be canceled in the event of excessive precipitation. Pearl Street Mall, Boulder.

The Holiday Show Dec. 4. 2pm Santa reception, 3pm concert. Join in for songs of the season and holiday cheer from musicians and performers, including the Rocky Mountain Ringers, the Boulder Klezmer Consort, and Hazel Miller and the Collective. The matinee performance will be preceded by a special Santa reception with cookies and hot cocoa. Longmont Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

The Klez Dispensers

Trio Dec. 3, 10-11am. Take in

the melodic sounds of traditional klezmer music from local trio, The Klez Dispensers, in celebration of Hanukkah. Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center, Denver.

The Magic of Christmas Dec. 18 and 19, 2pm. The Denver Brass and special guest performers will share stirring sounds of the season. Saint Nicholas will also appear with a special message. $14-$40, $35 livestream.

Santa is in town for meet-ups at Denver Union Station. Newman Center for the Performing Arts, Denver.

The Oxford Hotel Doll’s Tea Party Dec. 5. 11am and 2pm. Enter this historic hotel’s grand ballroom and be whisked into a party featuring a ballet performance by the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. Bring a favorite doll. $75 age 13 and up, $55 age 12 and under. The Oxford Hotel, Denver.

The Polar Express Train Ride Through Dec. 16. Select dates in November and December. 5pm, 6:30pm, and 8pm. 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. Of course, a silver bell is included to help you ring in this magical time of year. Don your coziest pajamas and most festive mask. $100 adult, $80 ages 2-15. Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden.

Trail of Lights Through

Sip tea and watch as Arvada Center dancers perform a short ballet at The Oxford Hotel Doll’s Tea Party.

Dec. 12, Fri-Sun; Dec. 17-Jan. 2, nightly; 5-8:30pm. Wind a mile through the illuminated countryside at Chatfield Farms (shorter route available) and find a children’s play area, singing Christmas trees, light tunnels, and antique farm equipment on display. Treat yourself with hot beverages, plus nuts and kettle

corn. $10-15. Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

We Banjo 3: A Winter Wonderful Dec. 1, 7:30pm. Enjoy a special holiday performance by We Banjo 3 that combines Americana, bluegrass, pop, and Celtic music to create a unique sound. $35-$50. Lone Tree Arts Center, Lone Tree.

Winter Wonderlights Through Jan. 2. Nightly, 5-9pm. Wander through a park full of illuminated art set to the tune of six songs. Don’t miss the 20-foot tall LED Christmas tree or large inflatable igloo. Local vendors will be on-site and special programming will take place during select weekends. Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra, Loveland.

Zoo Lights Through Jan. 2. Nightly, 5-10pm. This sparkling event features over a million LED lights spread across the Zoo’s 80 acres. Don’t miss this year’s new installations and offerings including a champagne toast (for adults) in the hospital plaza, a watering hole, and blue lagoon. Outdoor animal viewing is limited to cold-weather species but the Tropical Discovery building will be open. $15-$25. Denver Zoo. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

December 2021 | Colorado Parent


Calendar | December


Marine Biologist for a Day Dec. 21 (grades 1-4), Dec. 22 and 29 (grades 9-12), Dec. 23 and 30 (grades 5-8); 9am-2pm. See if you have what it takes to be a marine biologist. Help prepare food, feed some exhibits, and learn how the aquarium’s biologists take care of the animals. Preregistration required at least two weeks in advance. $65 per child. Downtown Aquarium. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

Zoologist for a Day Dec. 21


Creative Playgroup Adult + Toddler-K Ongoing. Fri, 9:3010:30am and 11am-noon. Share some creative, messy time with your little one. No formal lesson will be given. Children will move freely between different art-making centers set up with drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, sensory, and play materials. $18, $30 two-pack. artSPARK Creative Studio, Littleton.

Discovery Days Through Dec. 10. Wed-Fri; 9-10:15am, 10:30-11:45am, 12:30-1:45pm. Learn together through monthly hands-on activities that build language development, fine motor skills, emotional regulation, and social abilities. Ages 2-6 and caregivers. $4.50 per child, $4 member child. Scholarships available. Longmont Museum, Longmont. VIRTUAL First Friday Youth Phoenix Rising Workshop Ongoing. Fri, 6-6:30pm.

Hear from youth poets who are part of the Art from Ashes programs. Participants ages 12-24 can sign up and get paid to perform on the organization’s Instagram Live @afaphoenix.


weekdays, 2-4pm; see website for schedule. Pick up free, healthy snacks for all the youth in your family. Youth do not have to be present. Athmar Park Branch Library, Denver.

Kids Art Nite Dec. 3 and 18, 6-8pm (grades 1-5); Dec. 11, 4-6pm (ages 3-6). Leave your kiddos at the studio for an art experience while you enjoy a relaxing evening out. Reservation required. $35. artSPARK Creative Studio, Littleton.

Music for Sanity’s Sake Ongoing. Fri, 3:30-5:30pm. Connect with other creatives in a safe space where you can talk about music that helps you make sense of the world, try out free tools to build your artistry, and practice stress management. Join Youth On Record’s Bianca Mikahn in this workshop for youth ages 14-20. Register online. Youth on Record, Denver.

Sun, 4-5:30pm. Teens will explore a variety of scripts and learn techniques they can use to produce TV shows or unforgettable movies. Ages 13-18. Reserve online. $30 each session.

Tales for Tots Ongoing. Second and fourth Tue, 9am. Join in on storytime complete with finger plays and a self-guided tour of the Denver Firefighters Museum. Ages 2-5. Included with admission. Denver Firefighters Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

and express themselves through art. Supplies and snacks provided. Ages 12-17. The Center on Colfax, Denver.

Wee Wednesdays Ongoing. Wed, 9am. Take part in a six-week fire safety series. The playdates teach fire safety concepts: My Friend the Firefighter; Crawl Low Under Smoke, Get Low and Go; Stop! Drop! and Roll!; Safe For Play! Keep Away!; and Meet a Real Firefighter. Ages 3-5. Register online. $7 per child, per session. Denver Firefighters Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

Voz y Corazón Ongoing.

VIRTUAL Writing for Happiness and Stress Relief

Tue, 5:30-7:30pm. LGBTQ+ teens can drop by this social group where they can learn from a professional artist

Through Dec. 19. Sun, 2pm. Get to know your inner creative writer and discover how the practice can reduce Crafting: Andrea Rollins/ArtSpark.

and 29 (grades 5-8), Dec. 23 and 30 (grades 1-4), Dec. 28 (grades 9-12); 9am-2pm. Learn how the aquarium handles and trains creatures that live outside of the ocean. Help prepare food and participate in positive reinforcement training. Registration required 2 weeks in advance. $65 per child. Downtown Aquarium. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

Healthy Food for Denver’s Kids Ongoing. Most

VIRTUAL Screenwriting Lab for Teens Through Feb. 6. First

Music Together Demo Class Ongoing by appointment. Plant the seeds for musical growth through singing, movement, and instrument play. Mixed age classes; sibling welcome. For infants-age 8. Reservations required. Free for first class. Boulder and Northern Colorado.

NXT: Mental & Sexual Health Program for LGBTQ+ Youth Ongoing. Mon, 4-6pm (ages 12-15); Wed, 5-7pm (ages 18-22); Thu, 4-6pm (ages 15-17). Denver Element facilitates access to sexual health resources, technology, mental health services, housing resources, and peer support through this social program. Drop-ins welcome. The Center on Colfax, Denver.

Open Studio Ongoing. Second and fourth Sat, first and third Sun; 10-11:30am. Experiment, play, tinker, invent, and create at artSPARK studio. All ages. Reservation required. $18. artSPARK Creative Studio, Littleton.

Colorado Parent | December 2021

Budding artists can try their hands at a variety of creative tasks during Open Studio at artSPARK.

ReVisión: Jorge Pineda

Calendar | December

Own an Original: Together (Again) Through

anxiety and increase happiness and resilience. Make gratitude lists, take mindfulness journaling walks, share challenges and success stories, set goals, and more. Ages 12-14 and 15-18 (sessions alternate). Register online.

Dec. 31. Tue-Sat, 9am-5pm. The City of Littleton Fine Arts Board presents the 56th Annual Own an Original art competition, featuring 36 Colorado artists. The exhibition displays a variety of art mediums and aspires to bring people together again. Littleton Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

Youth On Record FEMpowered Ongoing. Wed, 4-5pm. Shape and pursue your own artistic vision alongside encouraging peers and music industry professionals. Join weekly virtual gatherings for creative women, including queer, trans, and nonbinary. Enjoy periodic networking opportunities and workshops. Ages 14-20. Register online. Youth on Record, Denver.

The Power of Horses Through May 9. This exhibition will reveal strength, majesty, and diversity in Colorado’s history with horses, from prehistoric animals and Ute tribal traditions to contemporary Black horsemanship and therapeutic rides. View artifacts, enjoy pop-culture references, and engage in activities, including a ride on bouncing toys, braiding toy horsehair, and creating a leather craft. Included with admission. History Colorado Center. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

Youth On Record Open Lab Ongoing. Fri, 3:30-5:30pm; Sat, 11:30am-2:30pm. Interested in creating music, learning about the business/marketing side, hearing from guest speakers, and being part of a community of like-minded individuals? Participate in music seminars and workshops for youth, led by local professionals. Ages 14-20. Register online. Youth on Record, Denver.

Returning: Contemporary Works by Arapaho Artists Dec. 3-Feb. 14. A group of Arapaho artists in the region created a popup exhibit exploring the notion of indigenous artists coming back to their historical territory. Returning features the contemporary work of ten artists, with their individual perspectives displaying exclusive visual stories told in their personal styles. Included with admission. Museum of Boulder. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.


B.E.A.T. | Boulder Experiments in Art and Technology Through Jan. 30. A gathering of artists, biologists, and technologists collaborated to create this exhibit showing the benefits and negative impacts of technology. Visitors will collaborate with each other and connect with person-made and natural tools. Museum of Boulder. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

Borderlands of Southern Colorado Ongoing. History Colorado’s exhibit centers Chicano, Indigenous, and Mestizo perspectives on the shifting geopolitical history of southern Colorado. It’s rich in oral histories and first-person accounts, and will be a core, ongoing exhibition. History Colorado Center. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked the World Through April 17. Daily, 9am-5pm,

From ancient art to contemporary works, ReVisión explores Pan-American culture. open until 9pm Fri. Explore the science, sound, history, and pop culture behind one of the world’s most popular instruments. This exhibition features more than 70 instruments, plus handson experiences (get the chance to strum the world’s largest playable guitar). All ages. Denver Museum of Nature and Science. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

Makerspace: Build! Ongoing. People of all ages can explore historybased questions through creative, hands-on opportunities in the History Colorado Center’s makerspace. Develop a better understanding of Denver’s built environment through

designing and creating your own cardboard building and add it to an imagined, communal city. Included with admission. History Colorado Center. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

Memory Mirror Through March 5. Step into this immersive installation and explore your relationship with memory through animation, dioramas, and interactive storytelling. Designed to evoke the memory of a relative’s living room, Memory Mirror transforms the museum's Precourt Family Discovery Hall into a surreal domestic den. Included with admission. Denver Art Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

ReVisión: Art in the Americas Through July 17. The first exhibition to open in the revamped Martin Building, this selection of nearly 180 objects from the museum's ancient American and Latin American art collections will tell a visual narrative about the formation of the Americas from 100 B.C. to today. Themes will explore land, people, and place by linking ancient and contemporary artworks that address political and social issues at the heart of the region's cultural heritages. Denver Art Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

Smoking Mirrors: Visual Histories of Identity, Resistance and Resilience Through Feb. 26. Tue-Fri, noon6pm; Sat, noon-5pm. Curated

December 2021 | Colorado Parent


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. Reserved Tickets Required Timed entry

Butterfly Pavilion Daily, 9am-5pm. $13 adult, $9 ages 2-12, free under age 2 and members. 6252 W. 104th Ave., Westminster. 303-469-5441. Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus Wed-Sun, 9am-4pm. Staggered entry every half-hour until 2:30pm. $15 ages 2-59, $13 ages 1 and 60+, $1 Explorer Pass, free under age 1 and members. 2121 Children's Museum Dr., Denver. 303-433-7444. Denver Art Museum Daily, 10am-5pm; $10-$13 adult, free age 18 and under. 100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy., Denver. 720-913-0130. Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms Daily, 9am-4pm. $10 adults, $7 ages 3-12, free age 2 and under and members. 8500 W. Deer Creek Canyon Rd., Littleton. 720-865-3500. Denver Botanic Gardens York Street Daily, 9am-4pm. $15 adult, $11 ages 3-15 and student, free age 2 and under. 1007 York St., Denver. 720-865-3500. Denver Firefighters Museum Tue-Sat, 10am-4pm. $9 adult, $7 ages 3-12, free age 2 and under and members. 1326 Tremont Pl., Denver. 303-892-1436. Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys Fri-Sat, 10am-4:30pm; Sun, 1-4pm. $5 adult, $4 ages 4-16, free age 3 and under and members. 830 Kipling St., Lakewood. 303-322-1053. Denver Museum of Nature & Science Daily, 9am-5pm; Fri, open until 9pm. $18.95$19.95 adult, $13.95-$14.95 ages 3-18, free age 2 and under and members. 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver. 303-370-6000. Denver Zoo Daily; 8:30am open for members, 10am open to the public; closing hours vary by day. $20 adult, $14 ages 3-11, free age 2 and under and members. 2300 Steele St., Denver. 720-337-1400. Downtown Aquarium Mon-Thu, 10am-9pm; Fri, 10am-10pm; Sat, 9am-10pm; Sun, 9am-8pm. $23.50 ages 12-64, $17.50 ages 3-11, free age 2 and under. 700 Water St., Denver. 303-561-4450.


Colorado Parent | December 2021

Power of Horses: History Colorado Center

Aurora History Museum Tue-Fri, 9am-4pm (closed noon-1pm); Sat and Sun, 11am-4pm. 15051 E. Alameda Pkwy., Aurora. 303-739-6660. history_museum

Ongoing Events

Four Mile Historic Park Wed-Sun, 10am-4pm. $5 adult, $3 ages 7-17, free age 6 and under and members. 715 S. Forest St. Denver. 720-865-0800. History Colorado Center Daily, 10am-5pm. $14 adult, $10 ages 16-22 with student ID, $8 ages 5-15, free age 4 and under and members. 1200 Broadway, Denver. 303-447-8679. Littleton Museum Tues-Sat, 9am-5pm. 6028 S. Gallup St., Littleton. 303-795-3950. Longmont Museum Mon-Sat, 9am-5pm; Thu, open to 9pm; Sun, 1-5pm. $8 adults, free age 3 and under and members. 400 Quail Rd., Longmont. 303-651-8374. departments-e-m/museum Lookout Mountain Preserve and Nature Center Fri, noon-4pm; Sat and Sun, 11am-4pm. 910 Colorow Road Golden. 720-497-7600. Majestic View Nature Center Tue-Sat, 10am-3pm. 7030 Garrison St., Arvada. 7030 Garrison St., Arvada. 720-898-7405. majesticviewnaturecenter. Museum of Boulder Sun and Mon, Thu-Sat, 9am-5pm; Wed, 9am-8pm. $10 adult, $8 youth, free children under 5 and members. 2205 Broadway, Boulder. 303-449-3464. Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Grounds and archery range open daily sunrise-sunset. 6550 Gateway Rd., Commerce City. 303-289-0930. mountain_arsenal University of Colorado Museum of Natural History Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm; Sat, 9am–4pm; Sun, 10am–4pm. $3 adult, $1 ages 6-18 suggested donation. 1030 Broadway, Boulder. 303-492-6892. Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm; Sun, noon-5pm. $16.95 ages 17-64, $9.95 ages 4-16, free age 3 and under and members. 7711 E. Academy Blvd., Denver. 303-360-5360. WOW! Children’s Museum Tue-Sat, 9am-4:30pm (closed noon-1pm). $5 adult, $10 ages 1-11, free under age 1 and members. 110 N. Harrison Ave., Lafayette. 303-604-2424.

Horses play a big part in Colorado history, view artifacts and play with themed toys at The Power of Horses. by the Chicano/a Murals Project of Colorado, this exhibit features works of various mediums created by more than twenty artists and muralists from Colorado and New Mexico. These pieces tell stories of Chicano/a identity, resistance, and resilience, from the first moments of European contact up through current abolitionist and decolonization social justice movements. $8 admission. Museo de las Americas, Denver.

Suited: Empowered Feminine Fashion Through March 6. Daily, 10am-5pm. Explore the evolution of the tailored suit for the female form over the course of the 20th century and beyond. This presentation highlights 70 looks from 1900 through the present day. Denver Art Museum. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

Survival of the Slowest Through Jan. 9. Explore dozens of habitats and meet live animals such as a two-toed sloth, green iguana, spur-thighed tortoise, hedgehog, and other species that manage to thrive in a world where large, strong, and fast animals are often at the top of the food chain. Included with admission Denver Museum of Nature and Science. See Where the Kids Are, page 44.

The Fantasy Show Wed-Fri, 10am-4pm; Sat, 11am-4pm. Colorful, larger than life installations created in a variety of mediums (light, sculpture, and illustration) pull viewers into a fantastical experience. This show features new artworks produced by the Museum of Outdoor Arts emerging artists program and their artists in residence. Englewood Civic Center, Englewood.


smarter PA R E N T L I K E A P R O Search out the best parenting hacks. Plus, online learning resources for every age, 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.

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Sleigh Ride: YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch/Scott Pope.

Sleigh It This Season Dash through the snow on one of these fantastic family sleigh rides.

Cuddle up for a 45-minute horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snowy landscapes around Snow Mountain Ranch near Granby, then stop for hot cocoa by the fire.

By Jamie Siebrase


t’s the coziest time of the year, and a scenic mountain sleigh ride just so happens to be the perfect place to snuggle up to your loved ones. So break out warm mittens, cuddle up with a blanket (BYO currently required), and get ready for an unforgettable winter adventure. All of the rides listed below are suitable for guests of all ages. Keep in mind that space will be limited, and advanced reservations are typically required. SNOW MOUNTAIN STABLES Granby Forty-five-minute public sleigh rides are offered daily at Snow Mountain Stables. Horse-drawn sleds depart from the YMCA of the Rockies’ Snow Mountain Ranch location to take families on a magical journey past frosted pines and scenic vistas, all ending at a crackling bonfire with hot chocolate. Private sleigh rides are also available.


TWO BELOW ZERO Frisco This family-owned operation has delighted Summit County adventurers for more than 30 years. Dinner rides include hearty food and live music, plus plenty of majestic views. There’s also a shorter, 50-minute hot chocolate ride option. Private rides—starting in midJanuary—are ideal for those looking for an intimate family experience.

Colorado Parent | December 2021

GOLDEN HORSESHOE Breckenridge Take a short-but-scenic seasonal experience, or opt for a memorable night including a hot meal—plenty of options await in one of Colorado’s most adorable mountain towns. In addition to its dinner theater and romantic sleigh rides, Golden Horseshoe offers 40-minute horse-drawn hot cocoa rides through the White River National Forest trails, plus private sleigh trips.

ASPEN CARRIAGE AND SLEIGH Aspen Families who sign up for a public sleigh ride are escorted by a horse-drawn sled on a 20-minute ride through a bona fide winter wonderland. Those looking to experience a Norman Rockwellstyle vacation might book a private ride; it’s longer and includes hot cocoa and special photo-ops as you wind through a wintry forest into a meadow bordering the Roaring Fork River.


A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens Adapted by Richard Hellesen Music by David de Berry Directed by Melissa Rain Anderson Spotlight Sponsors: Robert and Judi Newman




TICKETS $8 - $25 • NOV 18, 2021 – JAN 2, 2022

HERITAGE LAKEWOOD BELMAR PARK Hanzon Studios and DCPA Off-Center Present Camp Christmas Created By Lonnie Hanzon




We help kids get back to being kids. For children with asthma, allergies, respiratory and pulmonary illness, and those suffering from persistent symptoms of COVID-19, 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 any age 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

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