As the holiday season approaches, festive activities for kids and families abound. From crafts and cooking classes to story time and fitness, these kid-friendly events offer a chance for families to play and enjoy time with one another.
Turkey Fun Fest
The Thanksgiving celebration lasts an entire week at Bellaboo’s Play and Discovery Center in Lake Station. Designed for children ages 9 and under and their families, Bellaboo’s features Thanksgiving-themed activities during their Turkey Fun Fest, November 25-29.
“Bellaboo’s ‘Turkey Fun Fest’ is a great way to immerse your little ones in Thanksgiving play,” Bellaboo’s General Manager Kara Mackey explained. “We aim to endear our young guests to Thanksgiving by keeping the holiday exciting, interactive and tangible for our pint-sized players.”
Activities include handprint turkey art, a children’s Thanksgiving treat cooking class, a parade, a turkey hunt, a turkey feather relay, a reading of “Turkey Surprise” by local author Peggy Archer and more, and the family is invited to join in on the fun.
“Parents and grandparents can sit back and enjoy their little turkeys’ happy gobbles or better yet, play right along with them,” Mackey encouraged.
Tuesdays in November, adults who bring in two cans of non-perishable and non-expired food receive one free adult admission for each paid child. Bellaboo’s will be closed Thanksgiving Day but reopen for a full day of Thanksgiving fun on Black Friday.
Annual Turkey Trot
Since 2003, runners, walkers, supporters and volunteers alike have joined together Thanksgiving morning for the Valparaiso Turkey Trot, hosted by Porter-Starke Services.
Porter-Starke Services Foundation Coordinator Jessica McFadden said the annual event, held on Nov. 28 this year, has become a holiday tradition for many families who come to participate together, volunteer or cheer on the racers.
“It’s a very inspiring event when you see the families who do come out to support,” McFadden said. “Last year we had 600 spectators just cheering people on.”
Participants can choose between a 10K run or 5K walk/run. The 5K walk/run is kid- and pet-friendly (dogs must be on a leash) and participants can push strollers. The race even features youth size shirts for those who preregister.
Families also can participate in the costume contest and compete for the best dressed family. A photo opportunity with a backdrop offers a chance for families to commemorate the morning.
Thanksgiving is not only a time to be thankful but also to give back to the community and the Turkey Trot always is looking for more volunteers. Families can help set up, distribute food, keep runners hydrated at a water stop, assist with clean up and more.
“There are really a lot of opportunities for families to give back and get involved on Thanksgiving morning,” McFadden said, plus families can be home by lunchtime.
The race takes place on the streets of Valparaiso and benefits the mental health and wellness programs and resources in Northwest Indiana.
Children can enjoy Thanksgiving-themed cooking, crafting and story-time activities throughout the Region this month.
Keeping with the spirit of Thanksgiving, children can create a work of art about the things they are thankful for at the Lake County Public Library in Cedar Lake on Saturday, Nov. 9. On Nov. 20, children in kindergarten and up can make an Indian corn craft and hear a story at the Lake County Public Library in Lake Station/New Chicago.
Children ages 4-12 will enjoy an evening of Thanksgiving crafts at the Sandridge Community Center in Calumet City.
Schererville Parks and Recreation offers two festive options at the Schererville Community Center on Nov. 25: a Thanksgiving story and holiday-themed craft for children ages 3-6 and a holiday treat and craft for children ages 7-12 later that evening.
All day Nov. 26-27, children can make and take home a free Thanksgiving craft at the Valparaiso Public Library. The library closes at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27.