When you have little ones at home, you know how active they can be. Toddlers and preschoolers need planned activities as an outlet for all of that excess energy. Harrisburg, nestled along the Susquehanna River, is Pennsylvania's state capital. This city of around 50,000 has an assortment of family activities to keep your kiddos busy.
Get the family outside for some fresh air and sunshine at one of the area parks. Take your little tyke to a Harrisburg city playground (harrisburgrec.com/info/facilities) with toddler play equipment so he can play safely. Head to the Riverfront Park (no website; Front Street, Harrisburg; 717-238-5180) for carriage rides, riverboat rides and an arcade. Spend the day at Tavern House in Fort Hunter Park (no website; 100 Fort Hunter Road, Harrisburg; 717-599-5188) where your family can participate in events like the annual egg hunt or Indian Festival and programs like Small Wonders. This program through the Dauphin County Parks and Recreation Department (dauphincounty.org/government/Parks-and-Recreation/Program) is for families with preschoolers and includes stories and a walk through the woods to learn about nature.
Explore the activities available through the Harrisburg Parks and Recreation Department (harrisburgrec.com/info/activities). On New Year's Eve, the city and local businesses put on a family celebration, complete with music, games and activities for everyone. The Harrisburg Area YMCA (ymcaharrisburg.org) offers some fantastic family activities as well. Go for a swim with your cutie pie at the indoor swimming pool or sign up for one of the swim lessons so you can help your little one become more comfortable in the water and teach her about water safety. Check out the Volleytotz Camp or the Multi-Sports Camp for your 4- to 5-year-old. You can also participate in Adventure Guides with your 5-year-old, to strengthen the relationship between you and your tot through discovery.
3. Rainy-Day Activities
Stuck inside on a rainy day and trying to find something to do? Don't worry, you can take the family to one of the Dauphin County Library branches (dcls.org). Attend Toddler or Preschool Storytime to enjoy stories, music, rhymes, crafts and family activities. Check out the Discovery Programs at the library. These help prepare your little guy for school, focusing on science, math, art and other subjects to benefit your cutie pie. Choose from programs such as Discover Math and Science, Family Fun and Explore Art. Visit the State Museum of Pennsylvania (statemuseumpa.org) with the family. Learn about dinosaurs, Native Americans, fine art and technology. Stop in Curiosity Connection for hands-on activities designed for kiddos 1 to 5. Play in the Living Forest, Construction Zone and the Farmland.
Find a class you and your sweetie pie can participate in. The Artistic Sports Academy Plus (artisticsportsacademyplus.com) has a variety of classes to choose from. You could try one of the Kids Zone programs, like Tots for your 3-year-old or Tykes for your 4-year-old. In these classes, your kiddo will work on coordination and large motor skills, while learning about the basics of gymnastics. Consider signing your little princess up for a dance class at The Harrisburg Academy of Dance (hadtodance.com). Your 3 1/2- to 6-year-old can take the preschool class to get exposed to ballet and tap through floor stretches and fun dance moves. Join right in with her and be the ballerina you've always dreamed of being. She is sure to get a kick out of that!
- The City of Harrisburg Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Parks, Recreation and Enrichment
- Dauphin County Pennsylvania: Parks and Recreation
- The City of Harrisburg Pennsylvania: Activities
- YMCA Harrisburg: Home
- Dauphin County Library System: Kids
- The State Museum of Pennsylvania: Exhibits
- Artistic Sports Academy Plus: Home
- The Harrisburg Academy of Dance: Class Info
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images