10 indoor activities to keep your kids busy this winter

WASHINGTON — Whether it’s snowing, raining or registering single-digit weather, one thing is for sure: keeping the kids entertained during the winter months is a challenge.

If you’ve exhausted all of your usual indoor spots and are looking for new activities, travel and parenting writer Guiomar Ochoa has a few ideas:

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 18:  Children play in a 11 metre long swimming pool to celebrate the Australian premiere of The Pool exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria International on August 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  The exquisitely designed pool is complete with wooden decking and bespoke pool lounge chairs, with visitors invited to dangle their feet in the water and sit poolside to reflect on one of Australia's greatest cultural icons - the pool. The Pool debuted at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, where it received more than 100,000 visitors.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Hit the pool Sure, it’s freezing outside, but at the region’s collection of indoor pools, it’s a balmy 80 degrees (at least once you’re in the water). “A lot of people concentrate on swimming in the summertime, but this is a great opportunity to have [the kids] practice before summertime hits,” Ochoa said. In D.C., Ochoa recommends Wilson Aquatic Center in Tenleytown. The pool has plenty of laps for serious swimmers, plus diving boards, a whirlpool and a leisure pool with splash features. The Germantown Indoor Swim Center in Boyds, Maryland, has a water slide, as does the Claude Moore Recreation Center in Sterling, Virginia. Best of all, the cost for local residents is minimal at these locations, and swimming is guaranteed to tire out the kids. “It also gives you that sense of being in a warm place,” Ochoa said. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Scott Barbour)
Baby girl in ball pool
Indoor play spaces Visiting an indoor play space isn’t the cheapest of activities, but it’s a fun way to shake up an otherwise blah weekend. For smaller kids, BusyBees in Falls Church, Virginia, and Chevy Chase, Maryland, offers soft play surfaces and interactive moving toys. Badlands, in Rockville, Maryland, evokes the feeling of being outdoors, plus Ochoa said there’s a cafe for parents. And older kids can rock climb and jump on trampolines at ZavaZone in Sterling, Virginia, and Rockville, Maryland. For lower-cost options, check your local recreation center. Many offer open gym hours and playrooms for toddlers. (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/deucee_)
In this April 7, 2017, photo, children's librarian Chere Brown reads to toddlers during a story time at the main Josephine County library branch in Grants Pass, Ore. The library system in Josephine County has been operating as a nonprofit on donations and volunteer hours since it lost public funding, but a measure on the May 16, 2017, ballot could restore limited tax dollars by creating a special library tax district. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)
Don’t forget the library Public libraries in the region have story time for kids of all different ages, beginning with newborns. Beyond books, many offer other activities including arts and crafts classes, movie nights, chess lessons and more. Best of all, it’s free. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus) (AP/Gillian Flaccus)
Make the most of the movies  Kids and movies don’t always go together, but Ochoa said there are plenty of family-friendly movie options in the D.C. area. The Avalon Theater in Chevy Chase, D.C., hosts weekend family matinees. Sometimes, it’s a live musical performance by a local children’s artist, other times, it’s a movie. The Angelika Film Center encourages parents to bring their young children to its weekly “crybaby matinee,” held at both the D.C. Union Market location and at the Mosaic District in Fairfax, Virginia. And “Silver Babies” at the AFI in Silver Spring, Maryland, welcomes parents and caregivers to watch current films for a discounted rate. (There’s even stroller parking in the lobby.)   If your little one makes more than a peep, there’s no need to panic. “You’re in a safe environment where everybody’s in the same boat,” Ochoa said. (Getty Images)
Vistors walk through the rotunda of the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution, Tuesday, June 15, 2004 in Washington. The Museum marked its 100th anniversary, and is one of the most popular attractions in Washington, featuring a massive elephant called Henry in the rotunda. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Not the typical museums Washingtonians are fortunate to have so many museums in the area that are free, educational and entertaining. But sometimes, they can get a little old, a little crowded and a little overwhelming for a Saturday morning activity. Branch out from the typical museums with the following: (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS)
The Norfolk & Western Class J No. 611 steam locomotive crosses a bridge over the Yadkin River after leaving the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, N.C., Saturday, May 30, 2015. The train, which has undergone a year-long restoration, is returning to the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, Virginia. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Not the typical museums: The B&O Railroad Museum If you have a train-lover in your family, don’t miss the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. Ochoa said kids can board the trains and touch everything, plus there’s a dedicated kids’ zone. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) (AP/Chuck Burton)
A stilted Uncle Sam, portrayed by Brian McNelis, stands in front of blow ups of proposed 1996 U.S. Postage Stamps during a news conference at the U.S. Postal Museum in Washington Tuesday Nov. 7, 1995 where the new designs were announced. (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi)
Not the typical museums: The National Postal Museum The Postal Museum is part of the Smithsonian collection, meaning it’s free for visitors. Ochoa loves it for kids because they’re encouraged to touch everything, “and to climb into things and to throw things.” Catch a craft workshop or just browse the extensive stamp collection. (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi) (Associated Press/CHARLES TASNADI)
A tent set up at a door of the the National Building Museum in Washington, Friday, Nov. 14, 2008, in preparation for the Summit on Financial Markets. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
Not the typical museums: The National Building Museum Ochoa said The National Building Museum is her favorite local museum for children. The atrium is open and perfect for kids who like to run, plus there are kid-specific rooms and exhibits where they can build and construct different structures. Parking is difficult, but the museum is right near the Judiciary Square Metro station. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Lauren Victoria Burke)
Two youngsters enjoy riding around in a toy plane as they ride in front of a Cessna T-50 "Bobcat" transport trainer plane, from 1939-1949, at the Commemorative Air Force Aviation Museum Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012, in Mesa, Ariz.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Not the typical museums: The College Park Aviation Museum “You may not have heard of it, but this is a great museum for kids that love airplanes,” Ochoa said. At the College Park Aviation Museum, there are planes that kids can crawl into and cockpits they can explore. Plus, the price is right at $5 for adults and $2 for children. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) (AP/Ross D. Franklin)
Close up of dummy cow, learning to milk
Not the typical museums: The Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum At the Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum, visitors can experiment with authentic farming artifacts, play produce and plastic animals. There’s also a puppet theater and library of farm books. The price is right at $5 for adults and $3 for kids. “This is really a hidden gem … and it offers a really unique historic experience,” Ochoa said. (Thinkstock)   (Getty Images/iStockphoto/MyImages_Micha)
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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 18:  Children play in a 11 metre long swimming pool to celebrate the Australian premiere of The Pool exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria International on August 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  The exquisitely designed pool is complete with wooden decking and bespoke pool lounge chairs, with visitors invited to dangle their feet in the water and sit poolside to reflect on one of Australia's greatest cultural icons - the pool. The Pool debuted at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, where it received more than 100,000 visitors.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Baby girl in ball pool
In this April 7, 2017, photo, children's librarian Chere Brown reads to toddlers during a story time at the main Josephine County library branch in Grants Pass, Ore. The library system in Josephine County has been operating as a nonprofit on donations and volunteer hours since it lost public funding, but a measure on the May 16, 2017, ballot could restore limited tax dollars by creating a special library tax district. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)
Vistors walk through the rotunda of the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution, Tuesday, June 15, 2004 in Washington. The Museum marked its 100th anniversary, and is one of the most popular attractions in Washington, featuring a massive elephant called Henry in the rotunda. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
The Norfolk & Western Class J No. 611 steam locomotive crosses a bridge over the Yadkin River after leaving the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, N.C., Saturday, May 30, 2015. The train, which has undergone a year-long restoration, is returning to the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, Virginia. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
A stilted Uncle Sam, portrayed by Brian McNelis, stands in front of blow ups of proposed 1996 U.S. Postage Stamps during a news conference at the U.S. Postal Museum in Washington Tuesday Nov. 7, 1995 where the new designs were announced. (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi)
A tent set up at a door of the the National Building Museum in Washington, Friday, Nov. 14, 2008, in preparation for the Summit on Financial Markets. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
Two youngsters enjoy riding around in a toy plane as they ride in front of a Cessna T-50 "Bobcat" transport trainer plane, from 1939-1949, at the Commemorative Air Force Aviation Museum Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012, in Mesa, Ariz.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Close up of dummy cow, learning to milk


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