BAND CAMP: MUSIC RESOURCE CENTERWhether your kids just want to drop in and toss up beats with their friends, or they have professional ambitions, Music Resource Center in Walnut Hills offers the guidance and the gear to help them realize their musical goals. And they can do it all for just $24 a year. mrccinci.org
PLAY DATE: RECREATIONS OUTLETThough “showroom” may not be synonymous with “fun” in most children’s minds, they definitely won’t mind visiting the gallery at Recreations Outlet in Milford. For $5, little ones can run loose around the room packed with playhouses, swing sets, trampolines, basketball hoops, and more. Better yet, purchase a Play Pass and swing by anytime you want. recreationsoutlet.com
SUMMER DEAL: CRC POOL PASSWhat’s better than a pass to the neighborhood pool? How about a pass to (almost) every pool in the city? With 26—and eight “spray grounds” available—the Cincinnati Recreation Commission’s $35 summer pass gives city dwellers the chance to beat the heat across the city. If you missed the fun this summer, you can still take advantage of the deal: Mt. Auburn’s year-round indoor pool reopens in January. cincinnati-oh.gov
AFTERNOON TEA: THE CRICKET LOUNGEWhen was the last time you used your finishing school manners? Take them out for a spin this month at the Cincinnatian Hotel’s Cricket Lounge: That’s where they serve tea from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (throughout December). The menu always includes finger sandwiches, fresh scones, miniature tarts, and other comestibles from the Palace Restaurant’s pastry kitchen, plus a wide selection of teas, with plenty of hot chocolate for junior members of your party. Reservations are a must, and the tab ($40 for an adult; $20 for a kid’s Teddy Bear Tea) puts this experience squarely into the “special occasion” category. But isn’t that what party manners are for? cincinnatianhotel.com
KID CRAFT CLASS: AMERICAN GIRL DESIGN, CREATIVITIESSure, your child made a lanyard at camp. But is that going to get her into DAAP? A better choice: the American Girl Doll Design classes at Creativities craft studio. Kids as young as 5 can learn how to make furniture and simple hand-sewn garments for 18-inch dolls; second graders with the Coco Chanel gene can begin designing and stitching in earnest. Project Runway is just around the corner. artsandcreativities.com
SLEDDING SPOT: GIBSON GREETINGS HILLSeems like every neighborhood in hilly Cincinnati has its own best sledding spot. Our favorite is on the old Gibson Greetings property at the corner of Section and Elbrook roads in Amberley Village. Families from nearby neighborhoods trudge (or drive, since Amberley clears its roads fast!) over on snow days. This spot is both big- and little-kid friendly because the grass is always mowed, so sleds go super-fast, but there’s plenty of slow-down space at the bottom where the ground levels off. Parking is limited, so arrive early for a good spot! 2100 Section Rd., Amberley Village
KIDS’ FURNITURE: TREEHOUSE KIDSJust south of Tri-County Mall in the old Arhaus, Scott and Samantha Jasper have been quietly growing a fantastic children’s furniture store for almost a decade. The baby furniture is so pretty, it will almost make you want to have another child. But the truly wonderful things here are the custom bedroom sets for older kids—full/twin bunk bed sets, lofts, and bed-dresser-desk sets (one even has a built-in playhouse). Buy your kids’ furniture here and “Go to your room!” will never be an effective punishment again. (513) 671-7750
SPLASH PAD: PARKY’S ARKAt $2.50 a head (plus the $20 season-pass wristband), this Disney-worthy, animal-themed water park is loads less expensive than most local, pay-to-play water parks. The playground’s centerpiece is (obviously) a giant ark, but the under-12 set will especially enjoy the massive spraying butterfly and lengthy squirting snake that winds throughout the playground. greatparks.org/activities/playgrounds
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