The holiday season is the “most wonderful time of the year,” as claimed by the famous song, but for many parents, it means having the children turning the house upside down looking for creative and engaging things to do and fighting boredom. So, to keep sisters and brothers from turning on each other, the South Florida area has various activities where parents can take the children to exhaust all of that energy or apply it creatively by watching experts demonstrate amazing things. Finally, what makes it all worthwhile is when the child gets back to the house and begins to quietly experiment, daydream or draw on what he or she saw during the day and the parent can watch their mind and world grow.
Magical Snowfall at Dolphin Mall
11401 N.W. 12th St.
Sweetwater, FL 33172
Date: Nov. 26, 2014 through Jan. 4, 2015
Dolphin Mall gives children here in South Florida something that, unless they go on a trip up north, they will only see on TV — snow. At 7 p.m., kids under the age of 12 will get wands to wave in the air and see the snow magically fall to the ground. For those who can’t make it at 7 p.m. during the week, the snow will fall again Thursday through Sunday at 9 p.m. so the parents can feed the kids after getting home from errands and get them to the mall in time. Parents should be prepared to answer questions like “What is a snowflake?,” “Where does snow come from?” and “Why doesn’t it snow around here?” after several trips to the mall to see the snow, which lasts until January 4.
Santa’s Enchanted Forest
7900 S.W. 40th St.
Miami, FL 33155
Date: Now through Jan. 4, 2015
At Santa’s Enchanted Forest in Miami, kids can take a picture with Santa early and then return again and again to ride roller coasters and enjoy holiday lights. Kids can sing holiday karaoke, listen to holiday music, see the holiday light show spectacular and watch the frisbee dog show.
PAMM Art Storytime
1103 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33132
Date Fourths Saturday of every month
Parents can take their kids on November 27 and December 27 to the Art Storytime at the Perez Art Museum where the kids (ages 3-5) can sit and listen to a wonderful story and take part in an engaging art activity. On the drive home, and for the rest of the day, the child can marvel at his/her creation.
4th Annual Fort Lauderdale Turkey Trot and Paddle
D.C. Alexander Park
501 Ft. Lauderdale Beach Blvd
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33304
Date: Nov. 27, 2014
The Turkey Trot is a fun event the whole family can enjoy. Either participate or watch people run, walk and/or paddleboard in a 5K race to benefit local charities (iTRACE and Emerge Broward) to promote Health & Wellness. The event is accepting canned foods for donation so parents can make the event a teaching lesson for children to learn how important it is to give rather than receive.
The Creative Station
Broward County Main Library
100 S. Andrews Ave.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
On Monday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., kids can learn about technology and can make things with the help of technically trained librarians on applications like Google’s SketchUp, Leap Motion, iMacs and Snap Circuits. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the hours are from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and classes are held on the 2nd floor of the Main Library. The child will stop bouncing around the car and teasing their sister or brother and snap into a focused, engaged state for the duration and give the parent some repose.
Eric L Labrador is a freelance writer covering all things Miami. His work can be found on Examiner.com.