The kidscommons children’s museum in downtown Columbus is ready to make students’ winter break time a playtime.

One week into students’ vacation period, kidscommons has a variety of activities planned to educate and entertain children during the next week-and-a-half before school resumes Jan. 9.

For children interested in utilizing their creativity, the museum also has Art Time from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. each Wednesday.

Today’s art session will allow kids to create a unique holiday ornament to take home with them or it can be placed on the museum’s Christmas tree. The focus isn’t always on painting as the museum tries to tie in other aspects of art, such as collages, oil pastels and other mixed mediums, said Jessica Norcross, museum educator.

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“We try to make it whatever is going on that time of year,” Norcross said. “It’s a way for them to practice some of their eye and hand coordination … but make it fun.”

While not every child has the same skill set to create art, Norcross said she often tells visitors that the final product doesn’t have to be perfect.

“It may not turn out the way you liked, but you tried in the process,” Norcross said.

Children can learn about different holiday celebrations around the world that are observed during December from 1:30 to 2 p.m. Friday as part of this month’s Little Explorers program.

Little Explorers is focused on targeting preschool-aged children, and is offered at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and 1:30 p.m. on Fridays, Norcross said.

The museum tries to focus on something seasonal as part of the Little Explorers program when applicable, but typically has a math or science component tied to it. Educating children about different holiday celebrations is also meant to provide an educational experience for visitors, Norcross said.

The museum has several hands-on exhibits, including its famous giant toilet featured in its ExploraHouse, which highlights the workings of a home — inside and out — that children and their families can explore. In addition, a climbing wall, an early childhood garden and an area to allow to build their own city and learn about architecture are also among the other attractions available.

Wacky Science is offered at 3:30 p.m. every Thursday and is geared toward those ages 5-12, but it is open to everyone. The program focuses on demonstrations and different science experiments that can often be made at home, Norcross said.

Throughout the month of December, candy canes were used to demonstrate how they react to various liquids. Norcross said she wants children to think about science in a different way through the program.

“I like presenting the topic and guiding them to make the discovery themselves,” she said.

The museum also plans to celebrate National Static Electricity Day on Jan. 8 with different hair-raising experiments at 11 a.m., 2 and 3 p.m.

Columbus resident Alissa Hodge visits the museum on a weekly basis with her two sons, 5-year-old Lucas and 3-year-old Calvin, and her daughter Bella, who is 1½. Hodge, who has an annual membership, said she often comes on Tuesday for the Little Explorers program and thinks the facility offers a safe and educational environment for her children, two of whom are in preschool.

“It’s a really good fit for all of the ages,” she said.

Norcross said parents should utilize the winter break vacation from school to see what the museum has to offer.

“If you’re looking for something to do and burn off some energy indoors, this is a good place to do that,” she said.

If you go

What: kidscommons children’s museum activities

Where: 309 Washington St., Columbus

When: Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Will be closed Jan. 1-2.

Cost: $7 per person for ages 18 months and older

For more information: online at or call 812-378-3046

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or