Today we are happy to welcome a guest post from Jake Cain, a local real estate agent who is passionate about community. Jake is here to share with us some great activities for families with toddlers to do in and around Madeira.
As a lifelong Cincinnatian and local real estate agent, I’ve come to really appreciate all of the diverse and unique neighborhoods we have in this town. Two different residents could live just a few miles apart and have a completely different community experience, simply because of the culture of their neighborhood.
My wife and I have called the town of Madeira home for the last 6 years. As a husband and father of 3 small boys, I’ve learned that often you don’t have to go far from home for some good family fun. While Washington Park is an amazing place to take kids, it isn’t always convenient to pack snacks, battle traffic, and haul kids across town just to run and play for a short time.
Here is a run down of 5 fun, creative things you can do in the 3.4 square miles of Madeira:
1. Be One With Nature
Since I am the father of 3 boys, I feel a responsibility to make sure they get dirty on a regular basis.
While you don’t think of Madeira as the great outdoors, there are a few opportunities to get your younger kids out in nature. The Nelle V. Hosbrook Bird Sanctuary is a 2 acre wooded area along Miami Avenue which has a short trail that makes for a very easy walk. The path leads back to a small wooded area with a couple of benches where you can sit to bird watch.
We also love to take the kids to Sellman Park, which is right behind Madeira Middle School, and let them enjoy the nice playground area.
In addition to the playground, there is a less noticeable trail that leads you back into the woods.
It makes for a very short hike, perfect for small children, and has a tiny creek at the bottom. Our boys love to step into the water to play around and throw a few rocks. Actually, they would stand there and throw rocks until it gets dark if I’d let them.
2. Stop By The Library
Like many of the great neighborhood libraries in Cincinnati, the Madeira branch has a number of programs and events for kids. A couple of the regulars are a toddler story time and a pre-school story time. Typically these are held on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, respectively.
In our experience they do a great job getting the kids to interact and mixing up the activities. We went for story time, but in addition to the story the kids sang a few songs, colored a picture, and got to work on their alphabet.
Beyond the scheduled events, the inside of the Madeira library has a kids area with a play house and a number of stuffed animals to use. There is also a small train set that kids can play with nearby. Our boys have such a good time that getting them to leave quietly is always a challenge!
Oh yeah… they have books too.
3. The “Choo Choo Place”
As mentioned, we have 3 boys (ages 3, 2, and 4 months) and they are big fans of the recently opened Root Beer Junction. It is located in the old train station in the heart of Madeira. The food is no frills (think concession stand), but may I recommend the chicken tortilla soup for the parents who aren’t in the mood for a hot dog!
The highlight for the kids is the model train set that runs inside of the building. It is near the ceiling, and basically runs from room to room around the perimeter of the interior. Our older boys are fascinated by it and love to follow it around saying “Dad! There it is!” as if I’ve never seen it before.
For us, Root Beer Junction quickly became known as the “Choo Choo Place” and the kids ask for it by name.
4. Be Artsy
Though Madeira is a relatively small place, there are a couple of great places that young people can work on their artistic abilities.
First is Cheers to Art, located near the corner of Camargo and Miami. This place simply does an amazing job of making painting fun, even if you are a novice. (I know because I’m a novice, at best).
Your canvas and all supplies will be provided, and you can simply follow along with the instructor as you watch the painting of the day come to life.
I’ll admit that I always look at the painting we are about to do and think “there is no way I can do that.” However, by the end I am surprised at how well I’ve done.
Their evening classes are for adults only, but they often have kid-friendly events on the weekend. You can check their calendar online to see what is coming next. Advanced registration is required, and prices vary.
Another place in Madeira to get inspired is at Creatives on Miami Ave. They do typical art classes such as painting and drawing for children, but also offer unique classes like sewing for your American Girl doll. They also offer sewing classes for adults and summer camps for kids.
If you and your kids love art, Creatives has a little bit of everything.
5. Coffee With Kids
There is a place in Madeira that is near and dear to my heart. That place is Coffee Please on Miami Ave. With a great, rotating selection of coffees to choose from, you really can’t go wrong.
I love to sit down on a Saturday morning with a cup of their Highlander Grogg. It is a little piece of heaven on earth.
While I generally take my coffee with cream and sugar – hold the kids, there are times when I’ve got to take a kid or two with me to Coffee Please. The good news is, this place has such a friendly vibe that you really don’t feel out of place bringing your whole family with you.
Besides that, in the front corner of the store they have a decent variety of children’s books, puzzles, board games, etc. to keep you and your family entertained.
I’ve spent of number of great Saturday mornings drinking my coffee and playing simple games with my son at Coffee Please. It doesn’t get much better than that!
About The Author
Jake Cain is a Cincinnati native with great affection for the Reds, Bengals, and Bearcats. Husband and father of 3 boys, he is also a local real estate agent and the creator of the community-focused site CincinnatiNeighborhoods.com