Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine - December 2021

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December 2021 FREE!

NortheastOhioParent.com

Gift Guide FIND 100 TOYS, BABY GIFTS, TEEN STUFF & MORE!

Time to Shine 2021

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OPEN THE DOOR TO ARTS, ATTRACTIONS & MUSEUMS 2021 COVER KIDS

SHOUT-OUT TO OUR WINNERS!

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS

EVENTS FOR ANY CELEBRATION

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December

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NortheastOhioParent.com

ON THE COVER:

2020 COVER KIDS WINNERS, AIDEN YEE-LANE (LEFT) AND DOMINIC GATEJ (RIGHT) AT THE CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART (CLEVELANDART.ORG).

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EDITOR’S NOTE Family Comes First

PHOTOS BY MEMORIES BY STEPHANIE

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WORTH NOTING Say goodbye to the binky, recipes from the Northeast Ohio Bloggers, and Reading Room.

features

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YOUR LITTLE ARTIST

Imagination and pretend play is important. Create a play environment that sparks creativity in your home.

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TIME TO SHINE

Get back to the arts and learning experiences through these attractions and museums. PLUS, learn more with the museum profiles, starting on pg. 15

2021 COVER KIDS CONTEST WINNERS

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WINTER CAMPS

Need to keep the kids busy over holiday break? Consider these camps.

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FAMILY CALENDAR

Opportunities to learn, get out in nature, hear a story, make crafts and more family fun.

Get a sneak peek at the cute kiddos who will grace a future cover of Northeast Ohio Parent magazine.

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DAD MATTERS

Jason Lea shares three ways to enjoy the holidays, despite the ongoing pandemic.

HOLIDAY EVENTS

Fun, festive activities to entertain you and your crew this season, including ways to view holiday lights, New Year’s Eve for families and a parents’ night out.

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AGES AND STAGES Ways to entice your kids to widen their food choices.

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100 GIFTS OF THE SEASON

Gift ideas: You need ‘em, and we’ve got ‘em. See what’s trending this year, according to the National Parenting Product Awards.

28. MAKE-A-FORT BUILD KIT

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VOL. NO. 8 • ISSUE NO. 11

December 2021 Northeast Ohio Parent is a property of

PO Box 1088 Hudson, OH 44236 330-822-4011 NortheastOhioParent.com PUBLISHER - Brad Mitchell brad@northeastohioparent.com 330-714-7712 EDITORIAL: EDITOR - Angela Gartner angela@northeastohioparent.com 216-536-1914 ART DIRECTOR - Sherry Lundberg sherry@northeastohioparent.com MANAGING EDITOR - Janet Cho janet@northeastohioparent.com ASSISTANT EDITOR - Georgia Lattas georgia@northeastohioparent.com DIGITAL MARKETING SPECIALIST/ SALES CONSULTANT - Samantha Olp, 330-636-6127 sam@northeastohioparent.com ADVERTISING SALES: Chris Geer, 330-614-8471 chris@northeastohioparent.com Janyse Heidy, 330-671-3886 janyse@northeastohioparent.com Michelle Vacha, 440-463-0146 michelle@northeastohioparent.com Sherrie Kantarovich, 216-299-5455 sherriek@northeastohioparent.com Yvonne Pelino, 440-971-0595 yvonne@northeastohioparent.com OFFICE MANAGER: Kathleen Mitchell, 440-533-1208 kathleen@northeastohioparent.com EVENTS MANAGER: Lilia Lipps, 440-724-0559 Lilia@northeastohioparent DISTRIBUTION INQUIRIES: info@northeastohioparent.com

Family Comes First

The holiday season has finally arrived, and we are weeks away from a new (and hopefully better) year. With last year’s celebrations a bit bleak, I’ve been reflecting over the last few months about family. I think due to the pandemic, a lot of people have also reprioritized what they value. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, when they asked nearly 19,000 adults across 17 advanced economies the meaning of life and what they valued – “Family” was the top answer. “In 14 of the 17 advanced economies surveyed, more mention their family as a source of meaning in their lives than any other factor,” according to the study. “Highlighting their relationships with parents, siblings, children and grandchildren, people frequently mention quality time spent with their kinfolk, the pride they get from the accomplishments of their relatives and even the desire to live a life that leaves an improved world for their offspring.” In the U.S., the top values chosen were “Family,” the first choice, followed by “Friends,” “Material well-being,” “Occupation” and “Faith.” Have you thought about what you value the most? Also, maybe it’s the time of year where we can think about other people’s values, too. In this issue, we touch on what we do as a family, whether discovering new recipes to cook together or heading out to holiday happenings, no matter what or how you celebrate. I think we have to support our communities, especially the arts, museums and local attractions that have been hit hard by the pandemic. We let them shine – and provide ways to visit and spark creativity in your little ones. We are also proud to announce our 2021 Cover Kids winners and finalists. There were so many tough choices this year, and we thank all of our readers who nominated their children. With family coming first, I have to let you know that a big part of mine is the Northeast Ohio Parent editorial and design team, which consists of staff and freelancers. These colleagues of mine deserve recognition for their hard work – and they got it with many awards this year, including this past month, when the team received eight Parent Media Association national awards. We want to thank you, too, readers. I’ve seen many of your faces at events or on social media. The support you have provided has truly made a difference. In 2022, I want to make sure we are touching on issues you think are important. Feel free to email me your ideas at editor@northeastohioparent.com. I know for you, family comes first, too. We want to make sure that we are providing resources that help you and yours.

PHOTO BY PRELUDE PHOTOGRAPHY

Editor's NOTE

Happy holidays to everyone! See you next year! Proud member of

Parenting Media

Association

2021

2021

2021

PUBLISHER OF:

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Bye

Worth NOTING

Bye Bi nk y: By Malia Jacobson

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TIPS TO HELP YOUR CHILD BREAK THE PACIFIER HABIT.

hether they’re crystal clear or neon-bright, pacifiers are the modern baby’s accessory of choice. Thanks to studies showing that they reduce the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), most pediatricians have given pacifiers the green light. A study in Pediatrics found that a whopping 68 percent of parents give them to their babies before six weeks of age. Babies aren’t the only ones who love them. Parents quickly become addicted to the pacifier’s soothing effects on their offspring. Unfortunately, pacifiers often become a habit that overstays its welcome.

problems.” Potential problems extend beyond the teeth. Pacifier use is also associated with otitis media, or middle ear infections. Minor health upsets like gastrointestinal infections and oral thrush are also more common in pacifier users. Parents may be persuaded by medical data and dentists’ recommendations, but kids often need some coaxing to give up the long-held habit. Guilt-inducing lectures about dental problems or germs may be counterproductive, causing them to dig in their heels. Instead, help them become confidently pacifier-free with these tactics:

WHY WEAN? While some children give up non-nutritive or comfort sucking on their own, others cling to the habit well into their preschool years. According to Lotus Su, D.D.S., of Pediatric Dental Associates in Lakewood, Washington, using a pacifier too much or for too long can contribute to dental problems, including deformation of the palate and shifting of the teeth, as well as mouth-breathing and dry mouth, which may increase susceptibility to tooth decay. Many doctors and dentists recommend ending the habit before permanent front teeth begin to emerge, which can happen before kindergarten. “I recommend stopping pacifier use by age 3,” Su says. “The earlier a pacifier habit is stopped, the less likely that there will be any dental

BOOK ENCOURAGEMENT Before embarking on a pacifier purge, check out some children’s books on the topic. After listening to stories like “The Last Noo-Noo” by Jill Murphy or “Pacifiers Are Not Forever” by Elizabeth Verdick, your child may be more receptive to the idea. PACIFIER BEAR When 3-year-old Violet was ready to give up her pacifier, mom Bec Langham took her to a popular build-your-own-stuffed-animal store. Violet deposited her last pacifier safely inside her teddy bear before it was sewn up. The bear now serves as both a cuddly friend and a unique reminder of Violet’s younger days. BABY CHARITY Your child may be willing to donate her

pacifiers to a good cause. Gather up the pacifiers, and pay a visit to a friend with a young baby. Have your child “gift” her pacifier collection to the baby, and shower her with praise for her generosity. THE PACI FAIRY Steal this idea from Supernanny Jo Frost: have your child place his or her pacifiers in a large envelope to mail to the “pacifier fairy”, and put the envelope in the mailbox together before bed. Once your child is asleep, swap the envelope for a new toy. When he or she wakes up, excitedly take them to the mailbox to find the new treasure. OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND Parents seeking the quickest route to pacifier freedom can simply throw them all away. Kelly Stallings opted for the cold-turkey approach with daughter Taylor. “The first night was rough, but after that, she didn’t care,” Stallings says. Just make sure to get rid of each and every one, so your child isn’t tempted to relapse (and you’re not tempted to cave). No matter how stubbornly your child clings to the beloved binky, eventually it will be a thing of the past. Once your child is free of the pacifier habit, you’re free as well—from relentlessly searching for them, washing them, and buying them. Enjoy your well-earned liberation. At least, until the next must-have item comes along.

Malia Jacobson is a nationally published sleep expert, health journalist, and mom. She blogs about sleep and family health at thewellrestedfamily.com

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Recipe Picks from Northeast Ohio Bloggers

READING ROOM

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

(Makes 36)

Melissa Koski Carney, Northeast Ohio Parent blogger of “I Crashed the Web.”

“My mom is 100% Italian, so biscotti were plentiful all year round,” Koski Carney says. “But I especially love biscotti around the holidays. They are the perfect cookie to enjoy any time of day (even breakfast!) This cranberry pistachio biscotti is my mother-in-law’s recipe.”

Carla and the Christmas Cornbread By Carla Hall

Superstar chef Carla Hall shares the story of young Carla, who tries to make things right after eating one of Santa’s Christmas cookies.

Ingredients: ½ tsp baking powder 2½ C flour ½ tsp salt 1 C sugar 3 eggs ½ tsp baking soda 1 tsp vanilla Instructions: Preheat oven to 300° F. Grease a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Combine first five ingredients (flour through salt). Add eggs and vanilla. Work into dough using hands. Drain cranberries and add to dough with pistachios. Roll the dough into two logs. Flatten logs slightly and place on greased pan. Brush dough with egg wash and water mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and slice each log into about 18 pieces. Put each piece on its side. Put back into the oven and bake an additional 10 minutes per side.

Dutch Apple Pie

1⅓ C dried cranberries (soak 5 min in hot water) 1 C pistachios, chopped

(Serves: 8)

Leah Artman, Northeast Ohio Parent blogger of "NEOhio Frugal Living"

“Discovering what the difference was between an apple pie and a dutch apple pie was a game changer: the crumble topping and caramel drizzle bring a traditional apple pie to the next level, and it’s absolutely to die for," Artman says. Prep Time: 30 min, inactive time: 2 hours. Cook time: 1 hour. Total time: 3 hours, 30 min Ingredients: Pie Crust: 1 1/4 cups flour 1/4 tsp salt 10 tsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes (1 1/4 sticks) 2-4 tsp ice water, as needed

Stuntboy, in the Meantime By Jason Reynolds Numerous award-winning author Jason Reynolds brings us a new chapter book about superhero Portico Reeves, who must battle an archnemesis, fighting parents and anxiety all while keeping those he loves safe.

Directions: Pie Crust: 1.) Add flour and salt to food processor and pulse to combine. 2.) Add butter to food processor and pulse until bean-sized crumbs are formed. 3.) Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough just begins to form. 4.) Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.

Filling: 5-6 large apples, peeled and cut (I like to use Gala since it adds additional sweetness) 1/3 cup honey 3 T flour 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Pie: 1.) Preheat oven to 350° F. 2.) Mix apples, honey, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg, toss to coat. Set aside. 3.) In a separate bowl, mix the topping ingredients. Set aside. 4.) Roll out one disk of dough to 1/4 inch, or desired thickness, and press into pie plate. 5.) Cut off excess dough from sides and crimp edges.

Topping: 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup flour 1/2 cup rolled oats 3/4 tsp cinnamon 3/4 tsp nutmeg 1/3 cup butter, softened 10 Werther’s brand caramel candies

6.) Spoon apple mixture evenly into the crust. 7.) Spread topping evenly over apples. 8.) Place pie dish on a cookie sheet, and bake for 1 hour. 9.) Remove pie from oven. Melt caramel candies in a small saucepan over low heat. 10.) Drizzle caramel over pie, then

let cool for 1 hour. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Sweet Kugel Ada Twist, Scientist: The Why Files: Exploring Flight By Andrea Beaty Take off with this new nonfiction series that is also a new Netflix show. This first volume explores flight, from creatures that fly to the technology that allows humans to soar through the air. – Book Recommendations Courtesy of Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library, we247.org

Michelle Dickstein, Northeast Ohio Parent blogger of “Life Coaching, LLC.” Pronounced: KOO-gull, Origin: Yiddish, traditional Ashkenazi casserole frequently made with egg noodles or potatoes. “Kugel can be sweet or savory and can include anything from apples and raisins to herbs and cheese,” Dickstein says. “It is versatile and can be eaten as an appetizer, side dish, or dessert. I enjoy leftover kugel for breakfast! This is my favorite kugel recipe and reminds me of my childhood every time I smell it in the oven. Enjoy hot, warm, room temperature or cold!” Ingredients: ½ lb. fine or medium egg noodles ½ lb. low-fat cottage cheese 4 oz. cream cheese, softened 4 T butter, softened 2 cups milk (skim, 1% or 2%) 1 tsp vanilla 3 eggs

½ cup sugar Pinch of cinnamon Topping ingredients: 4 T butter, softened 1 tsp sugar 1 cup graham cracker crumbs Pinch of cinnamon

Instructions: Cook noodles according to package, and preheat oven to 350° F.. Blend remaining ingredients through pinch of cinnamon (up to topping ingredients).Mix in cooked noodles. Pour mixture into a 13” x 9” pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Mix topping ingredients together. Sprinkle on top of pan Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour

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TODDLER TIPS:

How to Tackle

Y K C PI EATERS

A Cleveland Clinic pediatrician shares advice for getting your child to widen their choices when it comes to meal time.

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By Lindsay McCoy

f your child is frequently leaving food on their plate, or refusing to take a bite of the meal you whipped up hoping they would chow down, it’s likely you’ve entered the ‘picky eater’ phase. “To some extent it’s developmental,” says Dr. Amy Sniderman, pediatrician with the Cleveland Clinic’s Beachwood Family Health Center. “They start to want to exert more control, and that’s one place where they can control what’s happening in their life.” As a parent you might be thinking, “Why don’t they like it? They used to eat this all the time.” But Sniderman assures parents this is normal. Textures, appearance and flavor can turn a toddler away from some of the usual

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staples or fruits and veggies that you’ve had success with before. “Some of the foods that we think are very healthy, like fruits and vegetables in particular, sometimes can have pretty strong tastes, maybe some bitter tastes. And those tend to be things that aren’t quite as favored by little ones,” Sniderman says. A sibling’s influence or wanting to exert control can also lead to your child limiting their diet.

BACK TO EATING

As toddlers begin exploring their independence, it may take some strategy to get them to try a variety of new foods. Sniderman suggests offering a wide variety of healthy foods at each meal. Allow your child to pick between two fruits and two vegetables. Offering the same food to the entire family as much as possible is important. “It’s best not to turn into a short order cook and have to make different meals for each person in the family. That’s really, really stressful and time consuming,” she says. The goal is to offer a

wide variety of foods from each healthy food group, including grains, produce and protein. It’s important not to make the process punitive, negative or stressful. The expectation should be that your child tries at least one bite. If your little one doesn’t like something, Sniderman says you should put a small amount on their plate to re-try that food, because sometimes they will surprise you. She says parents often find that what their child might like eating one week will change the next, so you don’t want to rule out entire food groups or options in case they change their minds later.


If you do eliminate foods, she says it could create a pattern where the child could dictate what they want each time, creating a power struggle and a limited diet. Once you come up with a game plan on how to tackle the picky eating, she says you need to stick with it and not give up, even though it feels like an endless fight. If your child isn’t gaining weight, you can add some butter to the vegetables to give them flavor. You can also focus on vitamin-rich options like whole-milk

children’s yogurt. Sniderman suggests speaking to your child’s doctor if gaining weight continues to be a concern. The toddler stage can be trying and worrisome at times, but Sniderman assures parents it’s part of a child’s development process. And this phase, like many of the others you’ve endured, won’t last forever. “Sometimes it can take 20 to 30 tries for someone to like something,” she says. “So I always tell parents, ‘Don’t give up.’”

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Your Little Artist: Encouraging Creativity through Play By Ginny McCabe

LEFT: Preschooler makes art at Fairmount Center for the Arts. PHOTO BY FAIRMOUNT CENTER FOR THE ARTS. RIGHT: Kids in class at Beck Center for Arts. PHOTO BY WETZLER PHOTOGRAPHY. BOTTOM: Music fun at The Fine Arts Association. PHOTO BY FINE ARTS ASSOCIATION.

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maginative or pretend play is important for young kids, because it encourages inventiveness, originality, and learning. Create a play environment that sparks creativity in your home. THE POWER OF PRETEND

Ed Gallagher, director of education at Beck Center for the Arts, says parents can foster learning for their kids by being role models. They can partake in the creativity and imaginative play hand-in-hand with their child, get down on the floor, get dirty, put on clothes, and be silly. In doing so, they’re going to show their child it’s fun, safe, and creative, and that so much can come out of it. At other times, parents need to step back and let the child run with it, and allow the child to be the leader and take control. One thing parents can do is have a box with different styles of hats and scarves, different types of clothing and jackets, or accessories that allow kids to be different than they are, Gallagher says. When it comes to art, specifically, you can give children a wide variety of crayons, markers, colored pens and pencils, and let the kids be messy. Set the stage with a huge drop cloth, or have plenty of cardboard available, and let kids be creative. If they only have an 8-inch by 11.5-inch piece of paper, it may be limiting to them, or when it comes to musical instruments, the kids aren’t making noise, they are making music. “The big thing is to give kids the tools they need to be creative,” he adds. “So when they’re imagining, and they have turned the refrigerator cardboard box into a ship, they’re imagining

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what it’s like to be out on the ocean, and they talk about the wind and the water blowing around, or that it’s hot and dry on the boat, even though they are surrounded by water.” Daniel Hahn, vice president of education at Playhouse Square, says parents should set aside time to play with their children, even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes, a half hour, or an hour. “Ten or 15 minutes can be very rewarding for kids,” he says. “So one, it’s the time, and two, it’s the space. I have a vivid memory of the time I spent with my daughters when they were toddlers. We took all of the cushions off of every couch and chair in the living room, and I just said, ‘Get to the moon,’ and it was as vague as that, and from there, they really were able to get creative. One daughter dragged in a kitchen

chair from the other room, and set up a whole space ship with cushions, and in their imaginations, one was driving and the other one was navigating, and they took off in this.” “So, when I think about space, I think about using everyday places in your house, whether it’s a kitchen table, or couch cushions, where kids can really go for it," he says. "It just takes a little nudge, or a little direction, and their minds will just go.” “When guiding a child’s imaginative play, parents can show interest in a child’s play by participating or sharing in their play sessions,” explains Alyssa Lombardi, manager of marketing and communications at The Fine Arts Association. She says parents can take advantage of a setting to demonstrate a simple if-and-then for them to build on – If I stack the sticks on top of each other and place the toy dinosaur in the middle, then it has shelter. This builds on their play, where they can branch off with other ideas and patterns they find. CREATING A SPACE

Gallagher adds it’s important for parents to provide a child with a space that’s their own. “Is there a small corner, or a small space, or whatever the parent can carve out for them, where all of those creative things can live?," he says. "Give them a place for all those things that will help them to write, dance, act and do music. Have all those things in a certain place that they have access to. The access is important and space is important, and the ability for them to do most of it, safely, on their own is important." - CONTINUED ON PAGE 12 -


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Hahn says the sky’s the limit when it comes to kids’ creativity. A large stuffed animal might become a car they ride around on. They can use building blocks to make a fort, or a seat cushion could become a doorway. Whether indoors or outside, he adds, there are plenty of opportunities to engage in imaginative play during the winter months. “Watching what kids build in the snow is such a delight, because it’s a new universe for them out there, and they can really surprise you with some of the things that they do, beyond making snowballs, or having a snowball fight,” he says. Hahn says at Playhouse Square, “Frozen” is always popular with kids and their parents. “Kids know all the songs and characters. So, you could just set it up and say, ‘do you want to play Elsa today?’ and that may be all you have to do. Then, the child is off to the races,” Hahn says. Lombardi says children can find sticks, rocks, and other items in an outdoor adventure, bring them inside and create a safe home-ina-box for a favorite toy or animal figure. This brings together real-life items with “play” items to create a unique imaginary story about how the figure stays warm during the cold winter weather. Parents can encourage the child to share why they chose certain items, what the figure is feeling, etc. A creative space for various props of different sizes, shapes, and colors. A small table and chairs, for example, can encourage dialogue. “Imaginative play is where the young child can be free to use whatever resources they have to be creative, to make the things they have at their disposal their own,” Gallagher says. “They can make something, be something different than it already is, or use it the way it’s intended to be used, so they can be as creative and free-thinking as they would like to be with whatever they have at their disposal.” For example, pots and pans are meant for cooking and making lunch or dinner. But when a kid flips them upside down and makes a drum set out of them, that is as imaginative as they can be with

those things in that moment, he says. So it’s repurposing everything they have to make it their own, and making it something different, possibly, from its intended use. In some ways down the road, “it can be the mother of invention.” A child is using their hands and feet, their minds, and all their senses. With the example of the drums, he says, they are going from banging to rhythms and patterns, and they are keeping a beat, or they are playing along to a song on the radio. “A parent can latch onto that and say, ‘Maybe the child is interested in drums,’ but if nothing else, they’re showing some interest in music, because that’s where they’re going,” Gallagher says. Kids can think outside the box. It also opens the door for learning how things work and interacting, finding out what things work together, and what things don’t. “If they are making a permanent project like a picture, they are learning how to put all the different colors together without someone telling them what to do,” Gallagher says. “They’re becoming explorers and testing things. Even if we already know that when we put two colors together, you get a different one, and when we put blue and yellow together, you are always going to get green, they don’t know that. So, when they get imaginative and creative, they are learning some of those things on their own, and they can make it their own, too." “It’s important for parents to think about how they can set those opportunities up, and it also helps to create good, healthy childhood environments,” says Jeannie Fleming-Gifford, executive director at Fairmount Center for the Arts. “Kids don’t have to have everything out all the time. They can work in themes, break out toys, or put away toys, and set up different stations.” She adds that toddlers are very much involved in parallel play, as they might not have the social skills yet to interact appropriately with another child or an adult. Hahn says it can be unscripted playing that children do. Role playing is a good example of that, where they act out different experiences. Imaginative play is


not literal, and there are no rules. Kids are experimenting, building social skills and making decisions. INTRODUCING THE ARTS

and be okay if they don’t. “Just let them play and be themselves and see what happens. I think our role as parents and educators is to provide a safe and supportive

setting and access to materials. There’s value in letting kids work through things in an imaginative way, to let them be where they are at, and to see what the outcomes are.”

THROUGH IMAGINATION

Lombardi says imaginative play is really an important part at the beginning stages of life, because it gives children similar experiences to real-life things, but it also boils it down to something that is more interactive for their specific age. She says in the arts sector, there are a lot of different ways to implement imaginative play. Acting, specifically improvisation, is one of many ways to encourage children ages 2-3, Lombardi says. Children can imagine that they are their favorite Disney character or superhero. Through dialogue and situational interactions, this can be at home or in a classroom setting. Fleming-Gifford says it is about providing them with things like uninterrupted time to connect with either a toy or art materials. This gives them an hour or two to slow down the pace. “I think that’s something we are all challenged with, considering the busy lives we lead, with so much stimulation,” she says. “It’s okay to give kids a moment. You don’t have to feel like you have to ask all the questions, or direct all the play, but see where they’re at, how or if they want to engage with you or another child,

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ONGOING ATTRACTIONS

AKRON ZOO

ONGOING Wild Asia. See the newest habitat area, the Lehner Family Foundation Wild Asia. Visit Sumatran tigers, red pandas and white-cheeked gibbons in addition to the more than 250 other species that call the Akron Zoo home. 505 Euclid Ave., Akron, 330375-2550, akronzoo.org

school children to experience, firsthand, the history of Cleveland and the region. 10825 East Blvd., 216-721-5722, wrhs.org

AKRON ART MUSEUM

THROUGH 5/15/22 The 10,000 Things. The 10,000 Things interweaves inspirations from traditional Chinese painting, Japanese manga and anime, video games and comic books with graphic design, iconographies, and Wong’s philosophical musings. The work is as metaphorical as it is referential, containing themes of perseverance, triumph, belonging, and growth. 1 S. High St., 330-376-9185, akronartmuseum.org

THROUGH 1/2/22 Wild Winter Lights presented by NOPEC. Featuring over one million lights across holiday-themed areas at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, including a dynamic musical light show. Drive-through and walk-through nights available. The walk-through event features dazzling walk-through displays, carousel rides, costumed characters, model train displays, and more. 5:30 p.m. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way, 216-635-3391, FutureForWildlife.org/lights

AKRON FOSSILS & SCIENCE CENTER

THE CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART

ONGOING Creation Education Museum. Dedicated to comparing and contrasting scientific models like evolution and intelligent design on the origin of the universe, and catastrophism and uniformitarianism models on the geologic record. 2080 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Copley, 330665-3466, akronfossils.com

CLEVELAND BOTANICAL GARDEN

ONGOING Costa Rica Glasshouse. Take a trip to the tropics — in Cleveland. Experience the year-round exuberance you can find only in a Central American rainforest. Their towering trees, ever-blooming shrubs, and rich vegetation lend a lovely, tropical retreat. 11030 East Blvd., 216-721-1600, cbgarden.org

CLEVELAND HISTORY CENTER

ONGOING Cleveland Starts Here. A place for Northeast Ohioans to locate their own stories and place themselves in the rich story of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. A place for

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CLEVELAND METROPARKS ZOO

THROUGH 3/ 13/22 Picturing Motherhood Now. Brings together works by a diverse range of contemporary artists who reimagine the possibilities for representing motherhood. Picturing Motherhood Now focuses on art made in the past two decades, while integrating work by significant pioneers to narrate an intergenerational and evolving story of motherhood. 11150 East Blvd., clevelandart.org

CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

THROUGH 7/ 24/22 100 Years of Discovery: A Museum’s Past, Present & Future. Celebrate the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s centennial at their new exhibit. Through an interactive journey, you’ll experience some of the most awe-inspiring moments in their history and a preview of what the future will hold. 1 Wade Oval Drive, cmnh.org

GREAT LAKES SCIENCE CENTER

ONGOING Youth Exhibits. Science is all around us, and no one is too young to start

exploring! Feed young scientists’ curiosity with special youth exhibits like the Polymer Funhouse, Port Polymer, early childhood workshops and a new infant area. 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland, 216694-2000, greatscience.com

the-art computer interactives, film, special effects, individual stories and oral histories. 2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood, 216-593-0575, maltzmuseum.org

GREATER CLEVELAND AQUARIUM

ONGOING Cleveland Amplified. This exclusive exhibit features artifacts that speak to the long-standing connection between music and sports. 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., Cleveland, 216-781-7625, rockhall.com

ONGOING Shark Gallery & Sea Tube. With 230,000 gallons of water, this impressive space features three species of sharks, stingrays, eels and many other species of fish. Walk through the 175-foot underwater sea tube. 2000 Sycamore St., Cleveland, 216-862-8803, greaterclevelandaquarium.com

MALTZ MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE

ONGOING An American Story. Visitors to the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage step into a world filled with inspiring and moving stories of Jewish immigrants — perhaps even their own ancestors — and modern-day heroes. State-of-

ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME

STAN HYWET HALL & GARDENS

ONGOING Restoration: If This Hall Could Talk. Celebrates the extensive restoration projects completed throughout the estate since 2015. Funded by the 2nd Century Campaign, these restoration projects are complete after six years of tireless, dedicated work. 714 N. Portage Path, Akron, 330-8635533, stanhywet.org


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Looking for a fun, educational outing? Northeast Ohio is filled with museums, art centers and family-friendly attractions to try. Check out some of these options to visit with family and friends.

PHOTO BY MEMORIES BY STEPHANIE

Great Lakes Science Center 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland

216-621-2400 GreatScience.com

G

reat Lakes Science Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit institution, is home to the NASA Glenn Visitor Center and makes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) come alive for guests of all ages through hundreds of hands-on exhibits, temporary exhibitions, the Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater, historic Steamship William G. Mather,

daily science demonstrations, seasonal camps and more. Since opening in 1996, their vision of a community where all people value STEM to inform decisionmaking and enrich lives has impacted an entire generation of young people in Northeast Ohio. Through free admission, programming and scholarships, they provide access to those underrepresented in STEM to boost their confidence and transform their future. In addition, they inspire the future STEM workforce by partnering with local companies and entrepreneurs to allow students to explore STEM professions and develop the skills industry leaders will look for in the leaders of tomorrow. The Science Center is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. Visit greatscience.com for more information.

Now through January 2, 2022

Special exhibition “Above and Beyond” presented by Parker Aerospace, included with general admission.

Fall/Winter hours:

Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

General admission:

$16.95 for adults and $13.95 for youth (ages 2-12).

Face masks are required

for staff and all guests ages 3 and older.

December 2021 - NortheastOhioParent.com

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605 Market Ave. North Canton

cantonpalacetheatre.org

330-454-8172

UPCOMING EVENTS

The Canton Palace Theatre is celebrating 95 years of bringing entertainment to Northeast Ohio.

T

he theatre was designed by the noted Austrian-born architect, John Eberson of Chicago, who achieved fame during the 1920s through his creation of “atmospheric” theatres located in cities across the United States. The Palace seeks to re-create a Spanish courtyard on a midsummer night. Its ceiling, a starry night with wisps of clouds, creates a dream effect. The original cloud machine is still in place, making the clouds march continuously across the sky during movies and events. And the Kilgen Theatre Organ, which is featured during silent film events and prior to movies, is the only one in the country that is in its original home and still regularly played. The Theatre includes an ornate columned proscenium arch over its stage, an elaborate fly system for the numerous stage curtains and theatrical backdrops, eleven dressing rooms, a chorus room, a musician’s lounge, a music room, one shower room, and an orchestra pit with seating for eighteen musicians. Moreover, at 21ft. x 46ft., the Palace’s silver screen remains the largest movie screen in Canton.

Though it once stood amidst nine other local movie theatres, the Canton Palace Theatre is the only surviving theatre in downtown Canton. Thanks to the efforts of the Canton Jaycees, the theatre was saved from the wrecking ball just one week before the building was slated for demolition after closing in 1976. The Palace was held in trust until The Canton Palace Theatre Association was formed. The building reopened in 1980 and the restoration of the theater has been ongoing since. Today, the Canton Palace Theatre serves as both the literal and figurative cornerstone of the Downtown Canton Arts District. A vital multi-purpose entertainment facility, its marquee burns brightly sixty feet above Market Avenue, welcoming you to enter its grand foyer and to become a part of Canton’s nostalgic past. Hosting a variety of events including movies, concerts, comedy shows, dance performances, wedding ceremonies and receptions, private parties, fundraisers, and more annually, the Palace strives to be an important part of Canton’s future.

The Canton Palace Theatre:

where the stars come out!

16 | Family Living at Its Best

UPCOMING EVENTS:

12/4

95th Anniversary Event: The Wizards of Winter – at 7:30pm

11/26 - 12/22

Holiday Movie Series


December 2021 - NortheastOhioParent.com

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10825 East Blvd., Cleveland email: info@wrhs.org • social media: @CleStartsHere

www.wrhs.org • 216-721-5722

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Visit wrbs.org for hours, safe visit guidelines and a full listing of additional online experiences.

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18 | Family Living at Its Best

Face Masks Required Pr a

Health Guidelines: Western Reserve Historical Society’s top priority is the safety of its visitors, volunteers and staff. Adhering to all policies set forth by the state, local officials and the Centers for Disease Control, WRHS is currently open to the public. Face masks are required for all. For more information, visit wrhs.org.

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what the Cleveland History Center has to offer on site or at home. Through activities and programs, rarely seen images, films, art and historical artifacts, guests are invited to celebrate local legacies as well as revel in the region’s promise and possibilities. The Cleveland History Center welcomes and encourages everyone to come together, explore, discover and make meaningful, long-lasting connections with the community and each other.

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he Cleveland History Center (CHC), headquarters for Western Reserve Historical Society, is dedicated to connecting the community with the rich history of Northeast Ohio. The CHC continues to expand its in-person and online experiences to inspire guests in finding their own voices in the ever-evolving story of Northeast Ohio. By exploring the history of the region and immersing themselves in the triumphs and tragedies that define Cleveland, guests are encouraged to explore the role they play in their community. These stories of innovation, immigration, entrepreneurship and diversity create a connection to the past that can help inform the present and inspire us to shape the future. At the Cleveland History Center, guests are encouraged to explore “Cleveland Starts Here,” sponsored by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. This in-person and digital exhibit takes visitors on a journey through Cleveland’s history from 1796 to today. The CHC is also home to the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museurn, which features significant automobiles, planes, boats and other transportation artifacts. The exhibits within the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum work in tandem to weave together the intricate story of Northeast Ohio’s crucial role in the development and continuing innovation of the transportation industry. In addition, guests can explore CHC’s online features. Online classes, lectures, activities, exhibits and learning resources offer yet another opportunity to find something that brings the past to life. History buffs, sports enthusiasts, parents, grandparents, students, educators and Cleveland lovers around the world experience the region’s collective stories when they explore

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December 2021 - NortheastOhioParent.com

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2000 Sycamore Street Cleveland, OH 44113

216-862-8803 greaterclevelandaquarium.com

I

“Our mission is to energize curiosity about aquatic life and the environment to inspire positive action and getting upclose views of these amazing animals helps you understand and appreciate them.”

– General Manager Stephanie White

20 | Family Living at Its Best

t was ten years ago when the Greater Cleveland Aquarium opened its doors on the West Bank of the Flats. The family-friendly destination is located on the ground floor of a powerhouse constructed in 1892 to provide electricity to streetcars. The historic building’s distressed brick walls and exposed ductwork juxtapose Northeast Ohio industrial past with the Aquarium’s nature and conservation focus. Many of the Aquarium’s exhibits are freestanding and offer 180- to 360-degree views perfect for little ones. Experience highlights include the opportunity to touch stingrays and the chance to walk in a 175-foot underwater seatube through a 230,000-gallon shark exhibit. Each of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium’s immersive galleries is themed with regional décor, sounds and even scents. Guests are transported from a forested Ohio Lakes & Rivers Gallery to a weathered Coastal Boardwalk over the course of their visit. The Aquarium features both Northeast

Ohio freshwater animals and saltwater fish from around the globe representing some 300 species. Visitor favorites include poison dart frogs, weedy seadragons, moon jellyfish, live coral, archerfish, and the giant Pacific octopus. Throughout the day, guests are likely to see SCUBA divers at work, exhibit feedings and popup outreach animal encounters. For those unable to visit, the Aquarium offers live and interactive Educator-led online programming. Parking is plentiful and admission is $0 - $19.95. Annual passes ($45 -$130) offer year-round admission for 1 – 8 guests, special programming, and gift shop and event discounts. So, if your family would enjoy seeing a sea star’s tiny tube feet in action, watching a giant gourami gulp air, or examining the toothy grin of a sand tiger shark gliding overhead, you just might want to take a closer look at Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Nature. It’s a curious thing.


- SPONSORED CONTENT -

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Learn about the different components of the prestigious Stop the Hate program, celebrating diversity and inclusion! Known nationally for awarding $100,000 S ANDto Northeast Ohio in scholarships RIZEprizes Pand IN 0 0 ,0 0 0 $1 , TSStop students and schools, the the Hate R STUDtoENinclude museum tours, FOgrown program AWARDShas SCHOOLS and more. , AND workshops, classroom writing TE ACHERS Stop the Hate Learning Every school and every student wwins money s tool e on our ne education Learn mor e anti-bias earns auscertificate. With the chance to win big! access fre pl al rt Po gital Tour Educators,opparents the Hate Di and students are invited Take a St es iti to watch a recording of the info session online l activ with optiona p withmany ways to and learn more oo about the ksho or W m sr Book a Clas ongwriting) (s ic us participate. M of American Roots writing) ie Ink (essay or Lake Er contest op the Hate Enter the St t) or Ou ng (Youth Si k Out) as a class (Youth Spea al du vi di as an in

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December 2021 - NortheastOhioParent.com

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100 GIFTS he

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FOR YOUR HOLIDAY GIFTING NEEDS, HERE ARE THE NATIONAL PARENTING PRODUCT AWARDS’ PICKS FOR THE TOYS AND FAMILY PRODUCTS THIS YEAR.

Play & Create

1. BATMAN ALL-TERRAIN RC BATMOBILE

Water, snow, mud, rocks and grass are no match for this Batmobile built with performance tires for unstoppable fun. $49.99, ages 4 and older, various retailers.

2. ORBEEZ CHALLENGE

TikTok-inspired, these original soft and squishy, fun and wacky colorful water beads provide addictive fun. $24.99, ages 5 and older, various retailers.

3. AMERICAN GIRL’S WORLD BY US DOLLS & BOOKS

Meet Makena, Evette and Maritza whose diverse stories reflect social issues of racial equality, environmentalism and immigration. Each doll includes a book. $110, ages 8 and older, americangirl.com

4. MARSHALL’S TRANSFORMING CITY FIRE TRUCK

An all-new toy from the PAW Patrol Movie. Best suited for the city streets, with two different modes $54.99, ages 3 and older, various retailers.

5. RAINBOCORNS FAIRYCORN SURPRISE

Collect seven new characters, all featuring 10 magical surprises. $24.99, ages 3 and older, various retailers.

6. BIG HORSE SHOW

Features 100+ accessories with Sarah and Tori and their Tennessee walking mare and Lusitano stallion. $99.99, ages 5 and older, various retailers.

7. PLAYMOBIL DINO RISE T-REX: BATTLE OF THE GIANTS Featuring a robot machine on a destructive path. A dino-human team is needed to stop it before it’s too late. $69.99, ages 5 to 12, playmobil.us

8. MAGIC MIXIES MAGIC CAULDRON

Mix the potion to create real mist, revealing a surprise creature that will respond to touch, lights up, and wishes. Kids can continue to create potions using household items. $69.99, ages 5 and older, moosetoys.com

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e’ve had fun at National Parenting Product Awards (NAPPA) unboxing, testing and playing with lots of toys. And now, we’re bringing you the best of the best. We have something for everyone on your list — from books for a kinder world, toys focused on creative play and learning, games for family night, cuddly friends, outdoor time and baby fun.

9. MY FAIRY GARDEN LIGHT UNICORN PARADISE

A toadstool house sits beside a sparkly rocky cave for fairy fun. Includes a shiny light-up rainbow and a glittery unicorn friend. $29.99, ages 4 and older, playmonster.com

10. ANIMAL PLANET DEEP SEA SHARK RESCUE SUBMARINE

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40.

Experience the ultimate underwater sea adventure. The killer whale and the great white shark, both with jaw-chomping action. Features lights and glow-in-the-dark sea animals. $39.99, ages 3 and older, various retailers.

11. PAINT & CREATE EASEL CASE A portable, dual-sided, painting studio allows little artists to create their own masterpieces anywhere. Includes a portable travel art case. $24.99, ages 4 and older, shop.crayola.com

12. MAGNA TILES BUILDER 32-PIECE SET

Engage in real engineering and construction. Includes light printing of roads, bricks and caution signs to enhance imagination. $49.99, ages 3 and older, magnatiles.com

13. GEOSTIX® LETTER & CONSTRUCTION SET

Linking engineering, art and mathematics for unlimited imaginative play. Straight and curved flexible sticks snap together for endless creations. $34.99, ages 3 and older, various retailers.

22 | Family Family Living Living at at Its Its Best Best

By Elena Epstein

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Play & Create

14. PURSE PETS

Fabulous interactive pets packed with purse-onality. Pets blink, respond to touch, and have fun sounds and reactions. $24.99, ages 4 and older, various retailers.

15. PETS ALIVE PET SHOP SURPRISE

With Speak & Repeat animal sounds and over 10 surprises inside. Six pets to collect. $14.99, ages 3 and older, various retailers.

16. RYAN’S WORLD CHEF RYAN’S FRIDGE SURPRISE

Mini figs, oozes and compounds, a working ice cube dispenser and more. $49.99, ages 3 and older, justplayproducts.com

17. SPIRIT UNTAMED: SWING & SADDLE BARN PLAYSET

Inspired by the film Spirit Untamed, this set brings the friendships, bravery and adventure home. $39.99, ages 3 and older, shop.mattel.com

18. DISNEY JUNIOR MICKEY MOUSE FUNHOUSE WACKY WHEELER DUMP TRUCK

22. CODING CRITTERS™ MAGICODERS

Enchanting creatures teach STEM skills through screen-free storybook coding adventures. The playset and spell book take kids on a journey to decode the magic inside. $54.99, ages 4 and older, learningresources.com

23. GABBY’S PURRFECT DOLLHOUSE

Packed with features and characters, including a dollhouse delivery tower, working Cat-A-Vator, Gabby Girl collectible figure, Pandy Paws figure and furniture for each room. $55.99, ages 3 and older, various retailers.

24. ON-THE-GO STORY PAL™

Take story time wherever you go, and spark imagination through books, poems, songs and lullabies. $27.99, ages 3 to 8, shop.leapfrog.com

25. MARBLE RUSH™ ULTIMATE SET™

Mickey is in the driver’s seat with an oversized dump bed and wheels. Drive forward, backwards, spin and do wheelies. $49.99, ages 3 and older, justplayproducts.com

Roll through thrilling stunts and exciting challenges with this 145-piece, color-coded building set, which includes a spinning Ferris wheel, thrilling ramps, fast tracks and extreme launchers. $44.99, ages 4 and older, vtechkids.com

A robot-shaped carrying case on the outside, an adventure-filled factory of robot pals on the inside. $19.99, ages 3 to 8, lakeshorelearning.com

Sparkly dance accessory perfect for indoor and outdoor play. Use the light-up feature to add some magic to your nighttime dance activities. $9.99, ages 6 and older, kess-co.com

19. CARRY AROUND ROBOT TOWN

20. ROBLOX 15TH ANNIVERSARY GOLD 4-FIGURE PACK

Assemble four collectible figures and get ready for an epic adventure. $19.99, ages 6 and older, various retailers.

21. KIDKRAFT BLUE’S CLUES & YOU! COOKING-UP-CLUES PLAY KITCHEN

Four-sided play with a sink, fridge, snack table, stove and oven. $79.00, ages 3 and older, various retailers.

29.

26. ICE RIBBON TWIRLER

27. GOT2GLOW FAIRY FINDER

Catch them in your bedroom, in the kitchen, outside, in the dark and even upside down. There’s always a fairy around. $39.99, ages 5 and older, wowwee.com

28. MAKE-A-FORT BUILD KIT

Never hear “I’m bored” again. With this kit, what happens next is totally up to your imagination. A maze? A mansion? An igloo? $77.00, ages 4 and older, makeafort.fun

29. SMART TEDDY

An innovative toy controlled by parents through a mobile app that can lead your little ones through educational games and activities designed to promote literacy, math and social-emotional learning. $149.95, ages 3-6, smartteddy.store/inctruction

30. JUST ADD SOAP

Make science and art at home easy with supplies you already have. Loaded with at-home experiments and new discoveries. $24.95, ages 8 and older, griddlygames.com

31. DISCOVERY #MINDBLOWN CAREER PLAY DOCTOR KIT

Features a wide variety of games, activities and medical-style tools, for real world medical, pretend play fun. $32.50, ages 6 and older, discoverymindblown.com

32. 5 SURPRISE TOY MINI BRANDS MINI TOY STORE

Build, store and display with the ultimate toy store. Includes shelves, accessories and magical extras to build out an extraordinary shopping world. $29.99, ages 4 and older, zuru.com

33. COUNT ALONG BASKET & SCANNER

Shop with play food, shopping lists and scanners. Carry the basket or expand into a rolling cart while learning about food groups, colors, shapes and numbers. $34.99, ages 2 and older, store.leapfrog.com

34. BAKUGAN GEOFORGE DRAGONOID

Features six exclusive Geogan to build the ultimate Dragonoid. Watch as it pops open from its unique shape into a fierce creature. $39.99, ages 6 and older, various retailers.

35. SORT & RECYCLE RIDE-ON TRUCK™

Do your part to help the earth with this recycling truck made from 90% reclaimed plastic. Beginner recyclers will love hopping on this lean, green recycling machine. $29.84, ages 2 to 5, various retailers.

36. SNAPSIES MIX AND MATCH SURPRISE

Offers a whole world of animal characters, each with its own distinct personality, looks and accessories that you can customize in a snap. $9.99, ages 3 and older, various retailers.

1.

37. MOSAIC PHOTO FRAME CRAFT KIT

Colorful mosaic pieces made from mother-of-pearl shells. Everything kids need to create a unique frame. $15.99, ages 6 and older, plbfun.com

38. SCRIBBLE SCRUBBIE OCEAN PETS LAGOON PLAYSET Use the washable markers to customize the crew: shark, octopus, whale and clownfish pets. $29.99, ages 3 and older, michaels.com

39. SKETCH PALS DOODLE BOARD

Clippable board characters for backpacks, lunchboxes or carry-on luggage. The doodle board instantly clears itself with the push of a button. $19.99, ages 4 and older, myboogieboard.com

40. CHOPPIN’ FUN LEARNING POT

Kids can chop the food, set the temperature dial, and start cooking. $21.99, ages 1 to 4, shop.leapfrog.com

41. GIFT BOX ORNAMENT DECORATOR

A DIY craft to embrace the holiday season, inspiring kids to make hand-decorated ornaments for the tree. $27.99, ages 4 and older, eggmazing.com

42. STEAM PAPER BUTTERFLIES SCIENCE KIT Create beautiful paper butterflies that explode with color while learning about capillary action. $22.99, ages 7 and older, various retailers.

43. PIXTER ELECTRONIC DRAWING COACH

Kids can select an image, and the electronic drawing coach will show them how to draw it, step-by-step, one line at a time. $19.99, ages 6 and older, pixtertoy.com

44. MINDFUL ANIMALS CALMING ACTIVITY CARDS

The 50 animal-themed mindfulness and relaxation techniques for kids. Help calm and soothe after a busy day or even in the middle of one. $12, ages 4 and older, petitcollage.com

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39. 20.

35.

December 2021 - NortheastOhioParent.com

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Tweens

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45. ASYMBOL

Explore imagination and creativity as you build 3D forms from the 47 wooden shapes. Assemble “things,” “beings,” “places,” “events” or “activities,” and challenge others to guess your vision. $36, ages 8 and older, simplyfun.com

46. OUISI (“WE-SEE”) GAMES

A set of 210 visually-connecting photo cards, with games and activities that foster creativity and ignite curiosity. Find your “aha!” moment. $35.00, ages 4 and older, ouisi.co

47. POKÉMON LABYRINTH

Explore with Pikachu, Squirtle, Charmander or Bulbasaur. Be the first to catch all the Pokémon. $34.99, ages 7 and older, ravensburger.com

48. TACO BELL PARTY PACK CARD GAME

Gather crunchy tacos, freezes, and other menu items in a card game. Satisfy your crew’s specific cravings to collect crave chips, and win the most points. $16.99, ages 8 and older, tacobelltacoshop.com

49. CORNER CRUSH

Game of memory and strategy – with a twist. Drop your tokens into the rotating tower, and play around the corners to score four in a row. $19.99, ages 7 and older, biggcreative.com

Game On!

50. MASTERCHEF FAMILY COOKING GAME

Family fun and learning come together as you cook your way through a series of challenges, such as Mystery Ingredients, Game Changers and Mad Skills. Discover new dishes with 22 family-tested recipes as you laugh and bond together. $19.99, ages 8 and older, wildertoys.com

51. DISNEY RING IT ON

Race to find matches for your favorite characters. When you complete a four-of-a-kind, ring that bell. $14.99, ages 6 and older, playmonster.com

52. ZOMBIE CHASE

Imagine being trapped inside an amusement park with the janitor-turned-zombie. This strategy game challenges you to find an escape before becoming zombified. $19.99, ages 7 and older, playmonster.com

53. STORYTELLER’S CARD GAME

Boost kids’ vocabulary and creative storytelling with this hilarious card game. Developed with childhood literacy experts and Hollywood artists. Includes 300 word cards and 200 story prompts. $29, ages 7 and older, mrswordsworth.com

54. DISNEY 5-SECOND RULE

Seems like it would be easy to name three Disney characters, but can you do it in under five seconds? Be quick, while having fun. $24.99, ages 6 and older, entertainmentearth.com

56.

24 | Family Living at Its Best

Features Lava LED technology, light-up wheels and body deck, plus Active Balance Technology for a smooth ride. Top speed of 10 mph. $199.99, ages 12 and older, ridejetson.com

56. KIDIGO™ BASKETBALL HOOP

It’s “Game on!” with this hoop and ball. An interactive scoreboard keeps score and cheers you on. Make a basket and pass the ball before the music stops. $29.99, ages 5 and older, vtechkids.com

63. ARTSY FARTSY

Nothing is off-limits in this fastpaced game where you team up to draw, guess and steal clues that will have everyone laughing out loud. $24.99, ages 10 and older, twopointohgames.com

57. MY FIRST MATH DICE

Build pre-kindergarten math confidence. Children will be delighted when they roll the big dice and get rewarded with colorful chips. $12.99, ages 2 to 4, various retailers.

64. ALPHA JETKART

Upgrade your ride with this gokart featuring light up wheels and built-in Bluetooth speaker. Top speed of 9 mph. $349.99, ages 12 and older, ridejetson.com

58. CANDY COLLECTIONS!

A beginners’ board game with a sweet theme. Roll the dice and start collecting. Extra bonus – the youngest player goes first. $24.99, ages 5 and older, cybelesgames.com

65. WHAT CAN YOU GIF?

A phone-meets-card game. If a gif is played, others caption it; if a card is played, others match with a gif. Easily adapted for remote play. $24.99, ages 14 and older, twopointohgames.com

59. BOLD MADE

Flip the script with this game featuring bold women who made a huge impact on our world. $19.99, ages 3 and older, boldmade.com

66. JOGOBALL INTERACTIVE GAME CONSOLE

60. MARVEL EYE FOUND IT! ™ CARD GAME

A screen-free tech gaming console filled with over 1,000 hours of content – active, trivia, social games. Throw, shake, tap, spin and twist. No subscription fees. $119, ages 8 and older, jogoball.com

Explore the Marvel Universe as you take turns searching for specific hidden objects. $7.99, ages 3 and older, barnesandnoble.com

61. AKEDO ULTIMATE BATTLE ARENA

67. LASER X REVOLUTION MICRO BLASTERS

An arcade electronic arena where any warrior can come for next-level battle action. When not battling, train and practice the perfect split-strike. $29.99, ages 5 to 9, moosetoys.com

55. NUT NUT SQUIRREL!

The pesky squirrel is going after your hard-earned stash of nuts. Outsmart your opponents to win this game of squirrelly snacks, suspense and surprises. $11.99, ages 4 and older, pbnjgames.com

62. LITHO X HOVERBOARD

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A laser tag arena right in your own backyard. Blast opponents up to 200 feet away – inside or out, in darkness or bright sunlight. $19.99, ages 6 and older, getlaserx.com

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& Teens

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68. COOL MAKER SHIMMER ME BODY ART

A DIY studio to create flawless temporary art designs. Magically transfer beautiful iridescent foil onto the body. $25.99, ages 8 and older, various retailers.

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69. HEYKUBE

An all-in-one smart cube that helps users solve the puzzle with no app required. Personalize for a STEM-filled, fun experience. $79.99. ages 8 and older, heycube.com

70. MY FIRST WORKOUT®

Specialty-designed, kid-focused exercise equipment and step-bystep programming to begin your fitness journey. $149, ages 5 and older, myfirstworkout.com

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71. KIDS MARINER REVERSIBLE HOODIE

75. UPPABABY COZYHANDMUFFS

72. KOOSH® SHARP SHOT

76. CLEA BAMBOO LONG-SLEEVE CLASSIC PAJAMA SET

Features bold patterns and reversible designs inspired by land, sea and sky. Double layered, double knit, double soft, and double durable. Made in U.S.A. $49, ages 8 and older, landerlife.com Features three interactive game modes — criss cross, lightning flash and target toss. Play with a friend or against the Sharp Shot’s built-in AI. $29.99, ages 6 and older, various retailers.

73. ONE BY WACOM

This pen tablet takes digital creativity to the next level. Sketch, draw and edit photos with a great digital ink experience. $69.95, ages 8 and older, wacom.com

74. CREATE YOUR OWN BEESWAX FOOD WRAPS

Creative and eco-friendly. Make food wraps out of pure cotton and 100% beeswax. $15.99, ages 14 and older, plbfun.com

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Baby & New Mom

Keep your hands cozy and warm while strolling. Stays secured to your stroller handlebar for easy on/off. $44.99, parents, uppababy.com

This soft pajama set is made of premium bamboo fabric that can be worn from pregnancy to breastfeeding and beyond. Perfect to wear in cold or warm weather. $69.99, kindredbravely.com

77. PIPER RECLINER AND SWIVEL GLIDER

Enjoy a smooth, 360-degree swivel motion and easy gliding. Features a plush leg rest and reclines for ultimate comfort when rocking baby back to sleep. $399, davincibaby.com

78. STORKCRAFT 3-IN-1 ACTIVITY WALKER AND ROCKER WITH JUMPING BOARD AND FEEDING TRAY A combination of a 360-degree, entertaining swivel seat, toy tray, jumping board and feeding tray. $139.99, ages 3 to 36 months, storkcraftdirect.com

79. PHILIPS AVENT SOOTHIE SNUGGLE

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A lightly weighted plush toy with a pacifier attached to calm baby with a cuddly source of security. Easy to detach to keep clean and safe. $14.95, ages birth and older, usa.philips.com

80. MUNCHKIN’S AIR PURIFIER

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Help protect growing lungs by creating a bubble of clean air wherever you go, with this travel-sized air sanitizer. $100, munchkin.com

81. GRUB HIGH CHAIR

Feeding time is a challenge, so make clean-up simple. Developed for busy parents, this not only converts to a toddler chair, it can go right in the dishwasher. $149.99, ages 3 months to 6 years, various retailers.

82. EARTHBABY AROMATHERAPY CALMING MIST

Hydrating calming mist helps promote health and well-being not only for the baby, but for the entire family. Created with natural and certified-organic ingredients and enriched with lavender and chamomile. $5, ages birth and older, earthbabystore.com

83. THE PARENT’S HOODIE

The perfect sweatshirt for pregnancy and postpartum. Can also be worn by dads as a baby-carrier and hoodie. $99, love-radius.com

84. MAM EASY START MATTE ANTI-COLIC BOTTLES

The perfect bottle with a vented base to allow for an even drinking flow. Helps reduce symptoms of colic with an elongated nipple that feels just like mom. $7.99-$17.99, ages birth to age 2, mambaby.com

85. SENA AIRE

Quick and easy set-up with Advanced air design™ providing 360 degrees of ventilation for ultimate airflow. $379.95, ages birth to age 2, nunababy.com

87. SWEET BABY BANANA

Cute mini baby with a soft and cuddly body and fresh baby powder scent. The perfect size for a nap and bedtime buddy. $12.99, ages 1 and older, various retailers.

88. COCOMELON BEDTIME JJ DOLL

Bring nursery rhymes to life. This adorable and soft plush is inspired by the popular show character and is a sweet bedtime friend. $45.99, ages 18 months and older, various retailers.

89. RED & OLIVE CO. DOLL

A fair-trade brand that handknits fashionable friends, encouraging positive values. Each BFF promotes emotional development and comes with a matching head accessory for your child. $78, ages 1 to 10, redandoliveco.com

90. POTTY TIME ADVENTURES – FARM ANIMALS, DINOSAURS AND BUSY VEHICLES

Combine the design elements of an Advent Calendar with a potty-training chart to reward children with hidden treasures. Available in farm animals, dinosaurs, unicorn, and busy vehicle themes. $25.99, ages 18 months and older, liladvents.com

79.

86. CHICCO DUO HYBRID BABY BOTTLE

The purity of glass and the convenience of plastic in one. Lightweight, break-proof and advanced technology that permanently bonds micro-thin layers of Invinci-Glass™ to the interior of a plastic exterior. $19.99/2-pack, ages birth to 12 months, chiccousa.com

December 2021 - NortheastOhioParent.com

| 25


91.

92.

95.

Books

97.

98.

100.

96. 91. THE COLOR OF YOUR SKIN

This creative tale celebrates diversity by taking readers through a conversation between children about the wide color palette that is life. $16.95, ages 4 to 8, cuentodeluz.com

92. LEAPREADER® LEARN-TO-READ 10-BOOK MEGA PACK™

Ten books with lively characters help kids progress at a reading pace that feels just right to them. $54.99, ages 4 to 8, store.leapfrog.com

93. BYJU’S MAGIC WORKBOOKS FEATURING DISNEY KITS

This kit blends physical and digital tools to create a learning adventure. Build fundamental math, language and reading skills alongside your favorite Disney characters. $199, ages 3 to 8, byjus.com

94. MINDFULNESS FOR KIDS BUNDLE

Build emotional intelligence with this interactive gift set. Includes guided mindfulness exercises, affirmations, and a whimsical book to start the day on a positive note. $40, ages 2 to 10, boundlessblooms.world

95. DISCOVERY: ROCKS AND GEMS

From sparkling gemstones to molten lava, this introduction to the world of rocks and gems is a must-have for future geologists. Includes six rock and gem samples to start your collection. $17.99, ages 6 and older, silverdolphinbooks.com

96. FOR YOU

A poetic tribute to parents and their journey through the ups and downs of life. Highlight children’s gratefulness toward loving parents. $16.95, ages 4 to 8, cuentodeluz.com

97. A SMART GIRL’S GUIDE: RACE & INCLUSION

Gain racial fluency, normalize conversations around race, question your biases, and take positive action individually, as well as collectively. $12.99, ages 10 and older, americangirl.com

98. OWLCRATE JR.

A book subscription box featuring a newly published hardcover novel, a letter from the author, an activity, game, or additional book, plus an assortment of fun goodies related to each month’s theme. $29.99, ages 8 to 12, owlcratejr.com

99. COOPER’S STORY

A Malamute-Great Dane puppy finds his forever home and purpose as he assists Burke in and out of his wheelchair. $16.99, ages 8 to 12, us.macmillian.com

100. SOUL RIDERS: DARKNESS FALLING

Step into the final installment of the fantasy trilogy based on the popular online game. Follow four friends who discover their magic powers and learn that every girl can be a hero. $8.99, ages 9 and older, starstableentertainment.com

26 | Family Living at Its Best


- SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION -

2021

Foster Brown

Holiday Gift Guide

“Howdy Do” Belongs in Every Child’s Christmas Stocking! Northeast Ohio singer/songwriter and naturalist Foster Brown just released a new collection of children’s nature songs titled “Howdy Do.” This compilation of folky, lively, original songs are educational, entertaining and upbeat. Foster’s infectiously fun songs ‘edu-tain’ listeners about cicadas, beavers, sugar maple sap and more about the natural world right outside their door. Purchase and listen to this new CD or digital download at fostercbrown.com.

FilterQueen

Goldfish Swim School

Give the Gift of Goldfish!

This holiday season, give a gift that will last a lifetime! Kids learn water safety skills while having fun, making friends and building confidence. Kids love Goldfish Swim School’s fun, tropical environment and 90 degree pools. Parents get the peace of mind of knowing that kids are learning an essential life skill. There’s no better gift than that! Visit goldfishswimschool.com to purchase your holiday package while supplies last! Goldfish Swim School has locations in: Cleveland East Side, Hudson, Strongsville, Fairview Park, North Canton and Strongsville.

December 2021 - NortheastOhioParent.com December 2021 - NortheastOhioParent.com

| 27 | 27


COVER KIDS CONTEST 2021

Jacobi, 2

Logan, 3

Juliana, 4

Grace, 5

T

he winners are in for the 2021 Northeast Ohio Parent magazine Cover Kids contest. We received dozens of entries of children ages 2-15 from across the region. The judges — which included Parent staff, editors, designers and freelancers — had a difficult time deciding on the winners. We couldn’t go without saying that we appreciate all those who entered! Parents around the region stepped up their game by sending photos that made us say “Wow!” We had to make some tough choices this year. We chose six winners across the categories. Each winner will receive a cover photo shoot for a future issue of Northeast Ohio Parent magazine. We also named 12 finalists, who we felt deserve credit, so we decided to show you all these wonderful kids! Missed this year’s contest? That’s OK, check out next year’s contest in October.

2021 COVER KIDS CONTEST WINNERS

Jace, 6

Jaimeson, 12

2021 COVER KIDS CONTEST Semi-Finalists

Benjamin, 2

Carson, 5

Leo, 2

Anna, 6

28 | Family Living at Its Best

Benjamin, 3.5

Alice, 5

Ava, 5

Aria, 7

Haley, 9

Kaden, 10

Gianna, 5

Rocco,11


December 2021 - NortheastOhioParent.com

| 29


Holiday Happenings for All

Pick -a-Day THURSDAYS

Candlelight Tours. Tour the Hay-McKinney Mansion by candlelight, then enjoy festive refreshments to ring in the holiday season before exploring our museum galleries. 5:30-8 p.m. The Cleveland History Center, 10825 East Blvd., Cleveland, wrhs.org

FRIDAYS

Miller Woods Holiday Express. Grab your ticket for a memorable ride on the Little Green Choo through the woods to Santa’s village. Enjoy the lighted displays, sounds of the season, and possibly a glimpse of the man in red. 12/3, 10 & 17. 5-9 p.m. Miller Nature Preserve, 2739 Center Rd., Avon, 440-937-0764, loraincountymetroparks.com

FRIDAY-SUNDAY

Christmas on the Farm. Indoor ice skating, light display, craft with elves, cookies with Mrs. Claus, visit with Santa and more. Fridays 2-8 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sundays 1-7 p.m. Nickajack Farms, 2955 Manchester Ave., Canal Fulton, 330-323-9714, nickajackfarms.com

SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS

Breakfast with Santa. Includes breakfast, entrance to the Akron Children’s Museum, ice skating, skate rental, photo with Santa, and more. 9:30-11:30 a.m. 12/11-12/19. Lock 3, 200 S. Main St., Akron, lock3live.com

SUNDAYS

The Toy Soldier Mini Previews. Enjoy the magic of the Toy Soldier with 20-minute mini shows every Sunday through 12/19. Noon and 3 p.m. Crocker Park, (Across from the Cheesecake Factory), Westlake, crockerpark.com Breakfast with Santa at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. 12/12 and 12/19 from 10 a.m.-noon. 11030 East Blvd., Cleveland, 216-721-1600, cbgarden.org

Ongoing

THROUGH 12/11

Miracle on 34th Street. This Christmas, CVLT brings the magic of “Miracle on 34th St.” to River Street! Adapted from the classic 20th Century Fox film, this story about the power of believing will brighten your whole family’s holiday. Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, 40 River Street, Chagrin Falls, 440247-8955, cvlt.org

THROUGH 12/18

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors vibrantly comes to life in this delightful musical parable. Tuesdays-Sundays. Weathervane Playhouse, 1301 Weathervane Lane, Akron, 330-836-2626, weathervaneplayhouse.com

THROUGH 12/19

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad- North Pole Adventure. Families can climb aboard and join this journey of a lifetime to a North Pole Adventure. Weekdays and Weekends, Rockside Station at 7:30 p.m. and Akron Station at 7 p.m. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, 330-439-5708, cvsr.org Miracle On 34th Street. A holiday classic filled with humor, spectacle, and such beloved songs as “Pinecones and Holly Berries,” “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” and “My State, My Kansas,” this joyous, heartwarming musical is pure family entertainment. Friday 7:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m. The Fine Arts Association, 38660 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, 440-951-7500, fineartsassociation.org

THROUGH 12/22

Light it Up! A New Holiday Musical. This musical event features original pop, rock, gospel, and jazz holiday tunes and new arrangements of Christmas favorites. Light It Up! is a celebration of family, friends, community, and each person’s ability to make every day brighter. Allen Theatre, 1407 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, clevelandplayhouse.com

30 | Family Living at Its Best

THROUGH 12/24

‘Black Nativity.’ A Karamu Classic. Langston Hughes’ famed retelling of the Nativity Story, performed in a gospel style and including popular Christmas carols. Thursday-Saturday 7:30 p.m. and matinees Saturdays and Sundays. Karamu House, 2355 E. 89th St., Cleveland, karamuhouse.org Santa’s Village at Crocker Park. Visit Santa throughout the season for festive holiday pics, take a ride on the express train around Crocker Park to view the magical experiences in person, stop in to shop at a variety of local vendors, and more. Located across from East Park next to The Cheesecake Factory, crockerpark.com

THROUGH 1/2

Winter RiverFest. Winter RiverFest presented by Troy-Bilt will transform Rivergate Park and Merwin’s Wharf for the holiday season. New this year: enjoy an authentic ice-skating rink and appearances by Santa (Fridays-Sundays). Experience festive decor, a beer garden and firepits, retail shop and igloo village along the Cuyahoga River in The Flats. clevelandmetroparks. com/WinterRiverFest A Garden Holiday. It’s the most wonderful time of the year at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. A Garden Holiday will delight the senses and transport visitors to a holiday wonderland filled with the colorful plants and towering trees that bring the most festive time of year. Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays noon-5 p.m. Cleveland Botanical Garden, 11030 East Blvd., Cleveland, 216-721-1600, cbgarden.org Elf the Musical. Based on the beloved holiday film, this hilarious big-elf-living-in-a-small world comedy follows Buddy the Elf in his quest to find his true identity in a holiday bedazzled New York City. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Beck Center for the Arts, 17801 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-521-2540, beckcenter.org

Day-by- Day

12/3-5

The Nutcracker. After one year in hiatus, the holiday favorite ballet “The Nutcracker” returns to Playhouse Square’s Connor Palace. With only five performances, this magical production of the Cleveland Ballet promises to enchant and inspire all audiences. 12/3 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., 12/4 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., and 12/5 at 1 p.m. Connor Palace at Playhouse Square, 1615 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-7714444, playhousesquare.org

12/3-18

The Holiday Channel Christmas Movie Wonderthon. Enjoy the sugar rush of six Christmas movies all at once. Welcome to Hopewood Falls, Vermont, where singles in adorable sweaters converge to look for love. Stow Players, The Heritage Barn at Silver Springs, 5238 Young Rd., Stown, stowplayers.net

12/3-19

A Christmas Carol. This ingenious telling of Scrooge’s redemption, complete with live music, is delightful and filled with surprises. Fridays at 7:30 p.m. Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Magical Theatre Company, 565 W. Tuscarawas Ave., Barberton, 330-848-3708, magicaltheatre.org

12/4

‘The Nutcracker Ballet,’ Sensory-Friendly Performance. To provide a supportive and welcoming environment for children and families, performance reduces loud or jarring sounds, flashing or strobe lights, and modifies the house lights. 2-4 p.m. Lorain Palace Theatre, 617 Broadway, Lorain, 440-723-8598, northpointballet.org P.A.L.S. Big Screen Sensory-Friendly Movie and Talk. P.A.L.S. stands for Programs for All Lives, a series of adapted programs created especially for customers with special needs. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Families, teens, children and adults. Parma-Snow Branch Library, 2121 Snow Rd., 216-6614240, cuyahogalibrary.org - CONTINUED ON PAGE 34 -


- SPONSORED CONTENT -

Think Hudson for the Holidays! As the weather turns from falling leaves to magical snowflakes, our minds turn to holiday traditions with our families and friends. Hudson is no stranger to tradition. The annual holiday walk began in 1984 when the area merchants joined forces to spice up the holiday shopping traffic. Businesses went all out in decorating, serving refreshments and having drawings and customers came out in force to support their local businesses. Fast forward to 2021, and now more than ever, our 80 plus local merchants are gearing up for the holidays and encouraging all to shop and dine locally this holiday season. With $68 of every $100 spent at a local merchant staying in the community, your support helps to keep our unique local shops, award-winning restaurants and superior services businesses humming. This December, they hope you will share in the traditions of downtown Hudson as they celebrate the season with music, “Shop Late, Shop Local” promotions on Thursday evenings, and a variety of “live” windows featuring interactive characters

each weekend. The annual Holiday Walk, held on Sunday, December 5 features a hot cocoa warm up station, horse drawn carriage rides, a toy drive to support local military families, and the ever-popular live nativity scene with “Shadrach” the camel. Enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of Germany at the Christkindlmarkt December 10-12 or start your resolution early with a 1-mile fun run or 5-mile race during the Frosty 5 on Christmas Eve morning. These are just a few of the many events that will take place throughout the holiday season. For a complete list of events visit hudson. oh.us/events. The members of the Merchants of Hudson invite you to shop, eat and support local this holiday season and share the experience of Hudson and all it has to offer.

Happy Holidays from your friends in Hudson!

December 2021 - NortheastOhioParent.com

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Holiday Lights to See O ngoing

Through 12/12

Holiday Lights Cruise Thru. This drive-through family-friendly event will feature classic lighted features such as Santa’s Castle and the Carousel. New this year will be even more lights and new features such as the lighted train and the twinkling Christmas tree that can be seen during the mile-long drive from the comfort of your vehicle. 5:30-9 p.m. Carlisle Reservation, 12882 Diagonal Rd., Lagrange, loraincountymetroparks.com

THROUGH 12/22

Country Lights Drive-Thru. Experience some new and some familiar lighting displays throughout the Farmpark as you enjoy the festivities from the warmth of your own vehicle. 6-8:30 p.m. Lake Metroparks Farmpark, 8800 Euclid Chardon Road, Kirtland, 440-256-2122, lakemetroparks.com

THROUGH 12/29

Nature’s A-Glow. The gleaming glow of Christmas lights takes this beautiful botanical garden and turns it into the winter wonderland of your dreams. 5-9 p.m. Friday-Sunday through 12/19 and Sunday-Wednesday 12/26-12/29. Beech Creek Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve, 11929 Beech St. NE, Alliance, beechcreekgardens.org

THROUGH 12/30

Deck the Hall 2021: Lights, Camera, Christmas! Come see the estate illuminated inside and out with over one million lights with the Manor House interiors decorated to reflect the theme of “Lights, Camera, Christmas!” 12/2-5, 12/9-23 and 12/26-30. 5-8 p.m. Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, 714 N. Portage Path, Akron, 330-863-5533, stanhywet.org Wild Lights. Come enjoy the wildest lighting display this holiday season. Nearly the entire zoo is decorated and several animals will be out. Visit with Santa Claus, take a photo at Candy Cane Way, stop by Panda Treats, and more. 11/26-28, 12/3-5, 12/10-12, 12/17-23, and 12/26-30. 5-9 p.m. Akron Zoo, 505 Euclid Ave., Akron, 330375-2550, akronzoo.org

THROUGH 1/2

Wild Winter Lights presented by NOPEC. Featuring over one million lights across holiday-themed areas at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, including a dynamic musical light show. Drive-through and walkthrough nights available. The walk-through event features dazzling walk-through displays, carousel rides, costumed characters, model train displays, and more. 5:30 p.m. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way, 216-635-3391, FutureForWildlife.org/lights

32 | Family Living at Its Best

Magic of Lights. A dazzling, drive-through holiday lights experience featuring favorite holiday scenes and characters of the season using the latest LED technology and digital animations. Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, 19201 E. Bagley Rd., Middleburg Hts., magicoflights. com, cuyfair.com

Day-by-Day 12/4

Festival of Lights. Children and families will have the opportunity to snap their holiday selfie with Santa, enjoy cookies, and drop their letters off in the North Pole mailbox. 6 p.m. Downtown Kent, kentbiz.com Light Up Lakewood. The most joyous of Lakewood traditions is returning to Downtown Lakewood for the 15th annual celebration. This free, family-friendly event on Detroit Avenue in Downtown Lakewood features a holiday parade, lighting ceremony, winter fireworks, The Roundstone Beer Garden, Holiday Train, live music, ice carvings, hot chocolate, food trucks, children’s games and more. 4-8 p.m. lakewoodalive.com

12/9

Christmas Cruise Thru. Cruise on through Sippo Lake Park North’s drive for some lights and holiday music for a great cause. Stark Parks and Stark Library are teaming up to help spread the holiday spirit with Toys for Tots this year. Noon -8 p.m. Sippo Lake Park, Exploration Gateway, 5710-5712 12th St., Canton, 330-409-8096, starkparks.com

12/16-30

Lights on the Lake. Experience a free lakefront drive-thru lighted holiday display at Lakeview Park! Enjoy “Lights on the Lake’’ with classic holiday scenes, festive décor, and thousands of twinkling lights spanning this 26-acre park. 5:30-9 p.m. Lakeview Park, 1800 West Erie Ave., Lorain, loraincountymetroparks.com



- CONTINUED FROM PAGE 32 -

12/4

Christmas on the Canal. Stroll through the streets of historic downtown Canal Fulton, visit Santa, see an electric lights parade and more. Noon-6 p.m. 125 Tuscarawas St., Canal Fulton, 330-854-6835, cityofcanalfulton-oh.gov Santa on the Green. Ushered into town in a shiny red fire engine, Santa and Mrs. Claus welcome all the good girls and boys to the gazebo on the green. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. firstandmainhudson.com/play Young Family Hanukkah Havdalah. All families with young children are invited to join to celebrate Hanukkah with candle lighting and Havdalah. This service will be full of fun and music and there will also be a craft and a goody bag. 5-6 p.m. The Temple-Tifereth Israel, 26000 Shaker Blvd., Beachwood, ttti.org

12/4, 12/10-11, 12/1719, 12/21-23

Holiday Lantern Tours. Take a lantern-lit tour of the village and visit historic homes bustling with holiday preparations. Experience the sights and sounds of the season through a series of charming holiday vignettes. Hale Farm & Village, 2686 Oak Hill Rd., Bath, 330-666-3711, wrhs.org

12/4-5

Ballet Theatre of Ohio presents “The Nutcracker.” This classic has become a treasured holiday tradition for families of all ages. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Akron Civic Theatre, 182 S. Main St., 330-253-2488, akroncivic.com

12/4 & 12/11

Holiday Ringers. December 4th at 4 p.m. at First Moravian Church, 319 N. Walnut St., Dover. December 11 at 3 p.m. at St. Stephen Martyr Lutheran Church, 4600 Fulton Dr. NW, Canton, harmonyringersofoh.org

12/5

Hudson Holiday Walk. Hot cocoa warm up stations, children’s crafts and activities, local choir and community band performances, Stuff the Humvee Toy Drive, and more. Noon-5 p.m. First and Main, Hudson, firstandmainhudson.com

34 | Family Living at Its Best

Chanukah Hoopla! A new twist on age-old traditions. Light a menorah, sing and dance to favorite songs, share holiday objects from home, plus write letters to friends and family who have helped create holiday memories Online program. 1:30 p.m. Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, maltzmuseum.org

Christmas on Hoover Farm. Visit with Santa, hear live music, watch ladies in vintage attire baking cookies, and enjoy Christmas carols on a horse-drawn wagon. 1-4 p.m. Hoover Park, 1875 E. Maple St., North Canton, 330-244-4667, walsh.edu Hands-On Holidays at the Akron Children’s Museum. Kids can design their own reindeer antlers, visit the snow sisters, build a wooden toy, make a snowman and holiday felt ornaments and more. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 216 S. Main St., akronkids.org

12/6

Hanukkah Concert. Join Latin Grammy Award-winning musician Mister G and his international band of Jewish music-makers from Israel, Mexico, and Argentina for a special family engagement Hanukkah concert, filled with ruach (spirit). 5-6:30 p.m. Beth El Congregation, 750 White Pond Dr., Akron, jewishakron.org

12/7

Holiday Family Skate. Welcome the holiday season and spend quality time with your family at this fun event. 6-8 p.m. Mentor Civic Ice Arena, 8600 Munson Road, Mentor, cityofmentor.com Mentor Community Tree Lighting Ceremony. The grounds will come alight with holiday cheer at 6:15 p.m. sharp as members of City Council and guests count down in front of the 30-foot Norwegian Spruce. Santa will then arrive for photos while choirs from Mentor Schools perform a selection of holiday favorites. 6-7:30 p.m. Mentor Muni. Center, 8500 Civic Center Boulevard, cityofmentor.com

12/10

The World’s Greatest Christmas Band at the Akron Art Museum. Ring in the holidays with the Christmas band, Missile Toe. This evening of festive fun will include mistletoe-making, as well as the chance to sing along. Sweet treats and drinks will be available for purchase. Concert will begin at 6:30 p.m. 1 S. High St., 330-376-9185, akronartmuseum.org Bright Lights, Reading Nights. Join this special outdoor reading of Santa in the City. Refreshments and free autographed copies while they last. Stick around to stroll the pop-up StoryWalk in Public Square under city lights. 6-8:30 p.m. Cleveland Main Library, 325 Superior Ave., 216-623-2800, cpl.org


12/11

Reindeer Day in Peninsula. Live reindeer will be behind the Bronson Church from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Join in the reindeer fun by purchasing Rudolph antlers. There will be a sing-a-long at noon and 1:30 p.m. Costumed characters will also be present. 1712 Main St., Peninsula, peninsulaohio.com Santa’s Wild Workshop-Adaptive Programming. Make a toy, ride the Wildwood Express, see outdoor displays, visit with Santa and decorate cookies. 10 a.m.noon. Wildwood Cultural Center & Park, 7645 Little Mountain Road, Mentor, 440-974-5735, cityofmentor.com Hand-Sewn Felt Ornament: Kids sewing. Come make a hand-sewn felt ornament. This program is geared toward first through fifth graders. No sewing experience needed.10:30 a.m.-noon. Richfield Branch Library, 3761 S. Grant St., 330-659-4343, akronlibrary.org Family Gingerbread House Fun. Sugar abounds at this holiday event for the whole family. Choose a 10 a.m., 1 p.m., or 3 p.m. time slot and join your child as they create a gingerbread masterpiece. Avon Lake Public Library, 32649 Electric Blvd., 440-933-8128, alpl.org

Autism Society of Greater Akron: S’mores with Santa. Yes, Santa Claus is coming to town. ASGA invites you to make s’mores, create crafts with Elves, and visit with Santa. 1-4 p.m. Wingfoot Lake State Park, 993 Goodyear Park Blvd., Mogadore, mcbdd.org

12/11-12

Canton Ballet Presents “The Nutcracker.” A Northeast Ohio holiday tradition for more than 50 years. This classical ballet, from its dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy to its iconic snow scene, is all set to the music of Tchaikovsky. 2 p.m. Canton Palace Theatre, 605 Market Ave. North Canton, cantonpalacetheatre.org

12/12

Make-Believe Holiday Party. Pictures with Santa, unlimited attractions, arcade, pizza, pop, glitter tattoos, crafts, games, activities, Christmas music, an ugly sweater contest and more. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Make Believe Family Fun Ctr., 8303 Day Drive, Parma, makebelieveparma.com

12/13-18

Makerspace Ornament Making. Join all week long in the makerspace to create festive ornaments to take home. South Branch Library, 340 15th St., Elyria, elyrialibrary.org

12/14, 12/16 &12/18

Virtual Polar Express. Families are invited to join us virtually this year, live on Zoom, for this very special holiday program of crafts, songs, and a reading of Chris Van Allsburg’s award-winning book. Tuesday at 7 p.m. Thursday at 7 p.m. Saturday at 11 a.m. Hudson Library, 96 Library St., 330-6536658, hudsonlibrary.org

12/29

Menorah Lighting Ceremony. All are invited to come enjoy this fun and festive community event filled with food, song, dance, and more. The celebration will conclude with the ceremonial lighting of the Menorah to kick off the eight-day Chanukah festival of lights. 6-8 p.m. 28699 Chagrin Blvd., Woodmere, etonchagrinblvd.com

12/18-22

Scuba Claus is Coming to Town. Guests explore the Aquarium and complete an animal seek-and-find activity before spending a few minutes chatting with Scuba Claus while he’s underwater. Saturday and Sunday 8:30-10 a.m., and Monday-Wednesday 4:30-7 p.m. Greater Cleveland Aquarium, 2000 Sycamore St., Cleveland, 216-862-8803, greaterclevelandaquarium. com

12/21

“It’s A Wonderful Life” Holiday Movie. The show is about an angel sent from heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed. 7:30 p.m. Canton Palace Theatre, 605 Market Ave. North, Canton, cantonpalacetheatre.org

December 2021 - NortheastOhioParent.com

| 35


2022

New Year’s Eve Events FOR FAMILIES

12/1-31

NYE Celebration Kit. These New Year’s Eve celebration kits have something fun for everyone. Celebrate in style with hats, noisemakers, activities, and surprises for all ages. Noon-8:30 p.m. Amherst Public Library, 221 Spring St., 440988-4230, amherst.lib.oh.u

12/30

Happy Noon Year Party. Let kids “stay up late” to see the ball drop on New Year’s Eve at noon. Celebrate with music, games, dancing, snacks and a balloon drop. 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Mentor Public Library, 8215 Mentor Ave., 440-255-8811, mentorpl.org

12/31

New Year’s Eve Party. Buffet for the whole family with live music and dancing. Wagner’s of Westlake, 30855 Center Ridge Road, Westlake, 440-871-8800, wagnersofwestlake.com Noon Year’s Eve. Ring in the new year early at this family-friendly party with games, crafts and snacks. 11 a.m. at Ellet Branch and 1 p.m. at Green Branch. akronlibrary.org

New Year’s Eve Party. Ring in the New Year with silly dances, minute-to-win-it type games, life-sized Scrabble, a goofy party blower craft, and a balloon drop at noon. 11 a.m. Wadsworth Public Library, 132 Broad St., 330-3345761, wadsworthlibrary.com

Countdown-to-Noon Family Storytime. A special family storytime, along with a craft and early countdown to noon. 11:30 a.m.-noon. Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Road, 440-871-2600, westlakelibrary.org Zoo Year’s Eve. At the stroke of noon, celebrate with the whole family and enjoy special crafts, resolution walls, live music and more. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Akron Zoo, 505 Euclid Ave., Akron, 330-3752550, akronzoo.org New Year’s Eve Nature Celebration. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with fun activities for all ages. There will even be a “toast” at 12:00 (noon)! Pizza and beverages provided. Program mostly indoors but may be partially outdoors if weather permits. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The West Woods, 9465 Kinsman Rd., Russell, 440-286-9516, geaugaparkdistrict.org

36 | Family Living at Its Best

FOR PARENTS

12/31

New Year’s Eve Bird Walk. End 2021 on an avian note. Search the banks of the Cuyahoga River for resident and migratory birds, like red-breasted nuthatches, golden-crowned kinglets and some floating waterfowl. 1-3 p.m. Bike & Hike Trail, summitmetroparks.org

Tangier New Years Eve Dine & Dance Party. Come to the Tangier Restaurant for their grand New Year’s Eve final countdown.They are ringing in 2022 with their premium plated dinner, open bar, a balloon drop, champagne toast, dancing with a live DJ and an exciting countdown performance by Disco Inferno! 6:30 p.m. 532 W. Market St., Akron, thetangier.com Sapphire 54: New Year’s Eve. Enjoy a funny fresh disco throwback to welcome 2022. Food stations, passed appetizers, streamer guns at midnight, breakfast buffet at 12:30 a.m. 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Sapphire Creek, 16965 Park Circle Dr., Chagrin Falls, sapphire-creek.com ‘90s New Year’s Eve with Fool House. Thirsty Cowboy and Fool House presents The Ultimate ‘90s New Years Eve party on Friday, Dec. 31. Come for the biggest ‘90s NYE party Ohio has ever seen. 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Thirsty Cowboy, 2743 Medina Rd., Medina, thirstycowboy.com

Cleveland Pops New Years Eve Party & Dance. Ring in the New Year with Conductor Carl Topilow and the Cleveland Pops Orchestra’s fabulous celebration with guest vocalist Connor Bogart O’Brien and Shining Star Winners Ethan Peterson and Calista Zajac! Plus midnight balloon drop, dancing to the Pops Jazz Ensemble and the No-Name Band. 9 p.m. Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, clevelandpops.com NYE After-Show Party at the House of Blues. Come and join a special NYE after-show party featuring Tropidelic. 11:59 p.m. 308 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, houseofblues.com/cleveland Irish New Year’s Eve Fundraiser. The Rotary Club of Strongsville is partnering with the Rotary Club of Honduras to build and furnish a school building for the Big Dreamers School in Nuevo Pariso, Honduras. 5-11 p.m. Crowne Plaza, 7230 Engle Rd., Middleburg Hts., strongsvillerotary.org


WINTER BREAK CAMP AND PROGRAMS 12/20-12/24

Camp Curiosity Winter Break Camp: Sphero. Get hands-on with technology as you tinker with BOLT, the most advanced coding robot ball Sphero has to offer. Endless opportunities to be creative and have fun while learning. Grades 4-8. Great Lakes Science Center, 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland, 216694-2000, greatscience.com

12/20-31

Holiday Break Snowman Scavenger Hunt.Thirteen snowmen are playing hide-and-seek around the library and throwing snowballs at the staff. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mogadore Branch Library, 144 S. Cleveland Ave., 330-628-9228, akronlibrary.org

12/27-31

Camp Curiosity Winter Break Camp: Building Masters. Get creative with LEGO bricks while exploring science, technology, engineering, and math concepts in three dimensions. Experiment through dozens of play-based design challenges. Grades K-3. Great Lakes Science Center, 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland, 216-6942000, greatscience.com

School’s Out Respite for Children with Special Needs. Designed to give campers a safe place to go on days they don’t have school, while parents/guardians/caregivers may still have to work. 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Akron YMCA Rotary Camp, 4460 Rex Lake Dr., Akron, gotcamp.org

12/28

Middle School Career Day at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Try hands-on activities to discover what you like about daily tasks. Meet aquarists, SCUBA diver and team members. Come for this half-day adventure and leave with information and career inspiration. 9 a.m.-noon. 2000 Sycamore St., Cleveland, 216862-8803, greaterclevelandaquarium.com

Archery Mini Day Camp. Introductory-level archery program for youth ages 10-15 emphasizing safety, proper shooting form, and recreational target shooting. 10 a.m.-noon. Sippo Lake Park, Exploration Gateway, 5710-5712 12th St., Canton, 330-409-8096, starkparks.com

12/28-30

Winter Break Nature Camps. Children aged 6-10 years will get up-close views of local wildlife, try their hand at STEM-based science experiments, and explore the trails of Cleveland Metroparks. Campers will participate in activities that will foster their creativity and curiosity about nature. 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. or 12:30-4 p.m. South Chagrin Reservation, Look About Lodge, 37374 Miles Rd., Bentleyville, clevelandmetroparks.com

12/28-29

STEAMing Through the Holidays Mini-Camp. Day 1: Learn about Antarctica as we engineer and race penguin toboggans. Day 2: Engineer an avalanche mountain ride. 9 a.m -noon. Western Reserve Academy, 115 College St., Hudson, challenge-island.com/ summit-medina

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December CAlenDAR

Find more events at NortheastOhioParent.com

12/4

“C is for Cookie” Storytime. Celebrate National Cookie Day with a sweet storytime and activity. 10:30-11 a.m. Medina County District Library, 210 S. Broadway St., 330-725-0588, mcdl.info

12/7

Adopt a Reading Buddy. Beginning readers are invited to adopt a reading buddy. These plushies need a forever home where they will be loved and read to every day. Adoptions start 12/7 at 4 p.m. and will continue until all the stuffed animals have been claimed. Noble Neighborhood Branch Library, 2800 Noble Rd., Cleveland, 216-2915665, heightslibrary.org

12/14

Book Babble. Students in grades 2-3: Have you been waiting to be old enough for book clubs? Meet to discuss “Thank You, Mr. Falker,” “The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! by A Wolf,” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” with no advanced reading necessary. 7-8 p.m. Rocky River Public Library, 1600 Hampton Rd., 440-333-7610, rrpl.org

Time to Read

Ongoing

THROUGH 12/31

Wild Hikes Challenge. Walk, hike, skip, jog, run or stroll on eight designated trails before Dec. 31 to earn a hiking staff (first year) and/or a 2021 Wild Hikes medallion. portgageparkdistrict.org

THROUGH 2/21

Real Ice Skating Rink presented by the Cleveland Monsters. Made with real ice, the rink will be in Union Square in front of Regal Cinemas. Crocker Park, Westlake, crockerpark.com Winterblast Lock3. Ice skating, igloos, bumper cars, indoor putt-putt golf, Archie the talking snowman, firepits, ice bikes and more. Lock 3, 200 S. Main St., Akron, lock3live.com

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12/16

Paws 2 Read. Come hang out in the library with a therapy dog as your reading buddy. Registration and masks required for this event. Please call 440352-3383 to reserve your 15-minute reading slot. 4-6:30 p.m. Morley Library, 184 Phelps St., Painesville, 440-3523383, morleylibrary.org

pick - a - day

TUESDAYS

Pre-K Circus Tumbling Class. Learn from Emily, a certified instructor teaching ages 2 and up. She teaches everything from acro to aerial and loves performing with her own kids. 10 a.m. Sky Aerial Studios, 4700 Lakeside Ave E, Cleveland, skyaerialstudios.com WRD: Write Read Discover for Teens: Virtual. Are you a middle schooler or high schooler who likes to write poetry, short stories, or any other form of creative writing? Look at relevant texts to explore and produce your own writing to learn more about ourselves and the world. 12/7 and 12/21. Shaker Library, shakerlibrary.org

Family Living at Its Best

WEDNESDAYS

Magic: The Gathering. Play Magic: The Gathering with friends on Wednesdays after school. Play in person and online (hybrid). New and experienced players are welcome. Grades 7-12. 2-5 p.m. Through 12/15. Twinsburg Public Library, 10050 Ravenna Rd., 330-425-4268, twinsburglibrary.org

Teen Crowd. Video games, arts and crafts, and exploratory activities to entertain, engage, educate, and just have fun. 3:304:45 p.m. Through 12/15. Ellet Branch Library, 2470 E. Market St., Akron, 330-784-2019, akronlibrary.org

THURSDAYS

Friendship Social. Participants will play fun games to enhance social skills, build self-confidence, and form friendships. Virtual 6:15-7:15 p.m. Through 12/15. Friendship Circle, 27900 Gates Mills Blvd., Pepper Pike, friendscleveland.com

Life Hacks for High Schoolers. Learn how to communicate better with your parents, siblings, teachers, girlfriend/boyfriend, and more. This is a casual, small group setting and very interactive. Select Thursdays. 6 p.m. That Place for Teens, 1480 Pearl Rd., Brunswick, thatplace4teens.com


Gen Z Pottery. Calling all teen artists. Learn the fundamentals of working in clay, with both hand-building and wheel. 3-4:15 p.m. 1/20-3/10/22. Wayne Arts Center, 237 South Walnut St., Wooster, wayneartscenter. org

FRIDAYS

Family Craft Night to Go. Families are invited to pick up a box containing supplies for three collaborative craft projects beginning December 1. Library staff will share instructional videos for each craft on the first three Fridays in December at 4:30 p.m. Noble Neighborhood Branch Library, 2800 Noble Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216-291-5665, heightslibrary.org Kids’ After-School Skate. Looking for something fun to do after school? Look no further. Kick off the weekend with roller skating at this open skate. 4-6 p.m. United Skates of America, 30325 Palisades Pkwy., Wickliffe, unitedskates.com

day - by - day

12/2

Storytime in the Garden with Mr. Jesse. Join outside in the garden for stories, songs, rhymes and interactive fun. Designed for children 3-6 and their caregivers. 11 a.m.-noon. Oberlin Public Library, 65 S. Main St., 440-775-4790, oberlinpl.lib.oh.us

12/4

Fire Building & Camp Cooking. Use a host of methods to build fires and learn to cook delicious food over a campfire using pie irons and Dutch ovens. 2-4 p.m Big Creek Reservation, Lower Fern Hill Picnic Area, Parma, clevelandmetroparks.com Greens for Giving. Join Geauga Park District for this makeand-give event to create 300+ evergreen decorations to be given to seniors along with the Geauga County Department on Aging’s home-delivered meals. 11 a.m.-noon. The West Woods, 9465 Kinsman Rd., Russell, 440286-9516, geaugaparkdistrict.org

12/5

Library Puzzle and Games Sale. Don’t miss the fantastic bargains on pre-owned puzzles and games at the Friends of the Library Puzzle & Game Sale. Face masks are required and occupancy will be limited. 1-4 p.m. Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library, 3512 Darrow Rd., 330688-3295, smfpl.org

12/6-22

Winter Drop-In Crafts. Drop in and help decorate the Children’s department by crafting a paper ornament or a card. Avon Lake Public Library, 32649 Electric Blvd., 440-933-8128, alpl.org

12/9

The “Original” Teen Art Club @ Eastlake. Do you love to create art but never get the chance? Join other art-loving teens for Art Club where we will focus on a different artist or style each session. Grades 6-12 (Ages 11-18). 6:30-8:30 p.m. Eastlake Public Library, 36706 Lake Shore Blvd., 440-942-7880, we247.org

12/8-12

Monthly Makers: Trees. Make a tree or decorate a tree any way you like, as long as it is able to withstand being outdoors for at least two weeks. Each registrant will be limited to a five-foot by five-foot space in which to display his/her artwork. 9 a.m.5 p.m. Oenslager Nature Center, 6100 Ridge Rd., Sharon Center, medinacountyparks.com

Nature Art for Teens. Do you have a creative spirit? Teens ages 13 to 17 can join our interpretive artist for an online lesson in nature-inspired art. Noon-2 p.m. Summit Metro Parks, summitmetroparks.org Second Saturday Science at Mentor Marsh. This program is open-house style with no reservations needed. 8 a.m. Mentor Marsh, Utility Pipeline Access Road at Woodridge Forest, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, cmnh.org Warrior Skills Competition. The choices you make throughout the course will determine which level you are. Earn your way into a level by completing at least eight obstacles. 9 a.m.-noon. Adrenaline Monkey, 26800 Renaissance Pkwy., Cleveland, 216-282-3100, adrenalinemonkeyfun.com Caturday: Cat and Kitten Adoptions. Come meet adoptable cats and kittens from Cats Cradle of Stark County at the Library. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. North Canton Public Library, 185 N. Main St., 330-499-4712, ncantonlibrary.com

12/12

Nature Story Time: Nightly Happenings. While we are sleeping, nature is still stirring. Join a naturalist to learn about nocturnal animals, the moon and the nightly world we miss while we sleep. Learn about the phases of the moon, batty nocturnal creatures, owls and more. Program includes a story, activity and hike. 11 a.m.-noon. The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, 2600 S. Park Blvd., 216231-5935, shakerlakes.org

12/13

Art in the Arctic. Come read a story and create an Arctic-themed craft as we learn about Arctic animals and the beautiful Northern Lights. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Parma Heights Branch Library, 6206 Pearl Rd., cuyahogalibrary.org M-Spot: Winter Paintings. Students in grades 6-8 are invited to join us for monthly meetings. Each meeting we will feature a different activity. This month, you’ll create your winter-themed painting. 7 p.m. Kent Free Library, 312 W. Main St., 330-673-4414, kentfreelibrary.org

12/9

Homeschoolers: Evergreens. Homeschoolers ages 11 to 14 are invited to join a naturalist to explore all about the evergreen trees and shrubs that bring color and more to the winter world. 1-3 p.m. Liberty Park Nature Center, 9999 Liberty Rd., Twinsburg, summitmetroparks.org

12/11

Cadette: Animal Helpers. Learn about animal heroes. Talk to Girl Scouts about how their pets help them emotionally. Learn how animals help people with disabilities and how scientists have been inspired by animals to make life better and easier for humans. 9:30-11:15 a.m. Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, 28728 Wolf Rd., Bay Village, 440-871-2900, lensc.org

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December CALENDAR Kids in the Kitchen Cooking Series. Kids and families will discover new recipes together in this monthly at-home cooking series. Registration is required, and kits will be available for pickup each month. Medina County District Library, 210 S. Broadway St., 330-725-0588, mcdl.info Pokemon Club. Join us for our monthly Pokemon Club and meet other Pokemon players. Whether you’re playing with cards or Pokemon Go, you can try catching them all. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Wadsworth Public Library, 132 Broad St., 330-334-5761, wadsworthlibrary.com

12/15

Homeschool Explorers: Snow & Ice. Learn all about winter weather with a lesson, activities and a hike. Grades 1-6. 10-11:30 a.m. French Creek Reservation, 4530 Colorado Ave., Sheffield Village, loraincountymetroparks.com Hot Chocolate Bomb Kits. Warm up this winter with some delicious hot chocolate in a fun new way. Stop by the University Heights Branch and pick up everything you need to make this fun, trendy treat. University Heights Branch Library, 13866 Cedar Rd., 216-932-3600, heightslibrary.org

12/17

Make and Take Science: Inflating Balloons with Candy. Stop by the library for a kit to see if you can inflate a balloon using candy. University Heights Branch Library, 13866 Cedar Rd., 216932-3600, heightslibrary.org Family Movie Night Kits. Warm up with a Family Movie Night kit. Each kit will feature a different movie on DVD, picture books to borrow, a bag of microwave popcorn, and hot cocoa mix. Twinsburg Public Library, 10050 Ravenna Rd., 330-425-4268, twinsburglibrary.org

12/18

Full-Moon Stroll at Big Swamp. Join this frosty frolic through the Museum’s Big Swamp Preserve. You will look for owls and other nocturnal animals, and if the weather cooperates, we can observe the full Moon in all its winter glory. 5 p.m. Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval Drive, Cleveland, cmnh.org

Super Science Saturday: Toy Technology. With so many toys and gadgets to choose from, this month, we will take a look at the cool toy technology that has engaged the minds of children for years. 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Akron Fossils & Science Center, 2080 S. Cleveland Massillon Rd., Copley, 330-665-3466, akronfossils.com Full STEAM Ahead. Schoolage children are welcome to explore themed activities in the subjects of science, technology, engineering, art or mathematics through games, stories and more. 2 p.m. Domonkas Branch Library, 4125 E. Lake Rd., Sheffield Lake, 440-949-7410, lorainpubliclibrary.org

12/28

String Art for Kids. Create your own string art masterpiece using cardboard and thumbtacks. Grades 1-5. 1-2 p.m. Mentor-onthe-Lake Branch Library, 5642 Andrews Rd., 440-257-2512, mentorpl.org

12/29

Last Kids on Earth Survival. Calling all fans of the Last Kids on Earth series. Let’s use what we’ve learned from Jack and his friends to create our own Monster Apocalypse Survival Guides. 2-3 p.m. Bay Village Branch Library, 502 Cahoon Rd., Bay Village, cuyahogalibary.org

12/21

Winter Tea Party. Practice pouring, table manners, and icebreakers while enjoying tasty refreshments. For children with special needs, ages 5-8. 3:30-4 p.m. Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Rd., 440-871-2600, westlakelibrary.org

12/27-30

Life-Size Candy Land. Come play a life-sized version of your favorite childhood game. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Cuyahoga Falls Library, 2015 Third St., 330-9282117, cuyahogafallslibrary.org

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40 | Family Living at Its Best


December 2021 - NortheastOhioParent.com

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Dad

By Jason Lea

Jason Lea has a son, a daughter and a full-time job at the Mentor Public Library. He also blogs for Northeast Ohio Parent in his nonexistent free time. You can find this East-sider on Twitter at @jasonmarklea or read his blog at northeastohioparent. com/bloggers

42 | Family Living at Its Best

MATTERS

3 Tips for Enjoying COVID-Mas

M

y wife tested positive for COVID-19 this November. Two hours later, she started putting up our Christmas tree. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I don’t mean that my wife wasn’t supposed to put up the tree. That’s her responsibility, per the Christmas Treaty of 2007. To wit, she puts up all the decorations, and I don’t get to complain about how many decorations there are. For what it’s worth, my wife’s feeling better already, and she still managed to cover every square centimeter of our home in holiday bric-a-brac. What I mean is we were supposed to be finished with COVID by now. Last year, many of us gave up big family gatherings to prevent Grandma or Grandpa (or ourselves) from getting sick. We sacrificed traditions we’d followed our entire lives – traditions that were Christmas for us – in hopes that things would be back to normal this year. Spoiler: Things aren’t back to normal. But this is our second year celebrating Christmas with COVID, which makes us veterans. So I’ve culled the most practical advice I could find to help you have a Merry COVID-mas. ❶ Manage Expectations by Promising Nothing Your kid wants a Magic Mixies Cauldron or a Mega Fossil Dig Kit? Don’t even tell them “maybe.” Instead, spend 45 minutes explaining a supply chain to

them. If necessary, you can provide a visual aid by linking together several LEGO blocks and crushing them with a sledgehammer. Your Mom wants to know if you’re coming over for Christmas dinner? Tell her that you’ll RSVP by the afternoon of December 24… maybe. Let’s be realistic. You don’t know what’s going to happen between now and Christmas, and there’s only so much that you can control. So you can either create a labyrinth of contingency plans for every possible outcome or just ride the chaos. I say, grab a saddle. ❷ Make Peace with What You Get Can I be honest with you? Last year was my favorite Christmas ever. My typical Christmas obligations involve dragging two kids to three houses across two states. Also, while I love my family in concept, being in the same room with them forces the issue. (If you happen to be a relative of mine, I’m not talking about you. I love you and really missed you last Christmas. Unless you’re Josh. Then you know what you did.) But last year… it was peaceful. My family woke up in the same place that we would go to sleep. We opened presents, built snowmen, and video-chatted with grandparents. It was relaxing, which is not an adjective that I often get to attach to my holidays. Don’t get me wrong. I want this all to be over, too. But for

now – whatever the holidays bring – I want to find the joy in it. If I get to gather with all my family, I hope to bask in their company and make up for missed time. If someone else in my nuclear family pops a positive test and we have to stay home again this year, I hope I enjoy the peace of quarantining with some of my favorite people. ❸ This Won’t Last Forever My family celebrates Christmas, but that’s just one of the holidays that lands near the winter solstice – the longest day of the calendar year. You also have Christmas, Hanukkah, Soyal, Saturnalia, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, Dongzhi, The Feast of the Unconquerable Sun, and Yalda. While each holiday has its own history and separate cultural associations, they also each allude to the same idea. The days keep getting darker and darker, earlier and longer. And just when you think the night will last forever, it starts to get brighter. It feels like a long night, y’all. And I’m not going to promise you that things will be back to normal next year. In fact, this has been going on so long that my kids think this is normal. But, I do promise that night can’t last forever. So let’s hope that this is our solstice – regardless of which holidays you and your family celebrate – and that our future is bright.


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44 | Family Living at Its Best


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