Thurston County Happenings: Rainy-Day Indoor Fun For The Four-And-Under Set

charlies safariBy: Stacee Sledge

We certainly get our share of rainy days in Thurston County. And anyone with a toddler or preschooler knows being cooped up indoors too long – oftentimes with too much television providing passive entertainment – can lead to a severe case of cabin fever for all.

The next time you find yourself stuck inside due to rainfall, consider some of these kid-friendly Thurston County excursions that will sway even the most resistant-to-turning-off-the-TV little ones to get out and get energized.


Hands On Children’s Museum

Downtown Olympia’s Hands On Children’s Museum should always be considered your first stop for rainy day fun for little ones. The entire museum offers hands-on exhibits that stimulate curiosity, creativity, and learning through play.

But for children ages four and under, the Hands On Children’s Museum also offers its TotSpot, a specially designed room full of activities geared toward the tinier set. A train set, dress-up clothes, lighthouse loft, age-appropriate arts and crafts, and much more fill the space.

There’s also a Parent Resource Library, which offers a plethora of parenting information resources.


timberline libraryTimberland Regional Library Programs and Events

The Olympia and Tumwater branches of the Timberland Regional Library both regularly offer Book Babies programs, for newborns up to 2-year-olds. Short stories, songs, rhymes, and knee bounces help babies discover the joy of early language.

For 2- and 3-year-olds, the libraries offer regularly scheduled Toddler Story Time, bringing together simple stories, rhymes, songs, and movement games.

Adults must accompany all children to either of these events.

And there’s plenty for little ones to discover at the libraries even when there aren’t specific events going on. Make a beeline for the children’s section and let them flip through pages of colorful tomes or play with puzzles.


charlie safariCharlie’s Safari

Located in Lacey, Charlie’s Safari is a 22,000-square-foot faith-based family fun center complete with laser tag, an arcade, and inflatable bouncy houses and slides.

Charlie’s Safari offers a separate Tykes Village, a safe fun zone exclusively for the 1- to 4-year-olds, which includes three inflatable toys, a slide, and a small jungle gym.

Food and drink are available for purchase in the Charlie’s Safari restaurant, The Watering Hole, and the facility is committed to maintaining a high level of cleanliness at all times. Military families enjoy a discount.


The Painted Plate

From finger-paint aficionados to budding Picassos, The Painted Plate offers creative fun for little hands. Pick out a piece of pottery – the array is impressive, from plates and cups, vases to mirrors, and more.

The Painted Plate opened in downtown Olympia in 1996, one of the country’s first paint-your-own-pottery places. They also offer kids parties and boast a friendly, helpful staff of artists who can enthusiastically help your child get creative.

The Painted Plate also offers Olympic Mountain ice cream – by the scoop or in a waffle cone – to give your little artist an extra energy boost during the creative process.

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