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Finding fun activities to do during pandemic, winter in central Ohio

 COLUMBUS, Ohio — Many places like museums, art centers and other family activity centers had to close their doors because of COVID-19 cases.

However, they didn’t let that stop them from providing and creating other options.

“We talk about our doors are physically closed for the public, but we are open. We have so much great content available,” said COSI president Frederic Bertley said.

When Bertley talks about the content available, he means family activities available, virtually.

“We 3D filmed many of our exhibits, so you can, right now, (go) to our website and you can do a 3D virtual dinosaur tour or little kids space. We have about seven different exhibits where you can do the tour and there are all these activated hot spots that you click on and you get enrichment of kinds of cool information,” Bertley said.

These virtual tours can be found here.

The Ohio History Connection is also jumping on board with the virtual activities and programs available for families.

“That page has a plethora of options for students K through 12, adult learners and it has a lot of cool content for families too,” Savannah Robles said.

They really increased the online options back in March.

“Since March, we have seen thousands of families participate with those recourses,” Robles said.

COSI is offering science activities every day with a video that will include an educator explaining how to do the activity.

They also have kits to buy and do at home.

Ohio History Connection has a kit too. It stems off of their Historian in Training program that originally was an in-person event.

“This year we moved it online, and we turned it into a kit. So the program gives kids a way to build their historical thinking skills,” Robles said.

The kits can be ordered and sent right to the home.

“You can then hop on Zoom and one of our educational experts will engage with the kids in some way,” Robles said.

Other activities to do during the winter during a pandemic would be visiting an art museum.

The Ross Art Museum, located on Sandusky Street on the campus of Wesleyan University in Delaware, is pushing their virtual activities as well.

All activities can be fold on their website.

People can also tune in for their Facebook live program with artist Andrew Wilson at 2 p.m. on Dec. 13.

“This is the last iteration of our In the Studio program that features regional artists of color talking about their practices,” said Erin Fletcher, the Director of Ross Art Museum.

Another activity to do as a family is visit one of the local metro parks.

The Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks have all of their normal winter activities, like sledding and cross country skiing.

However, this year their winter hikes started on Dec. 1 instead of January.

The hikes will include six different parks each month up until Feb. 28.

As part of that, the parks have put together a booklet that can be picked up in person or downloaded online. Once the booklet is filled out and completed, families will get a patch.

They have also set up a selfie station, which is currently in Blacklick Woods until Dec. 15. It will be rotated through all six parks during the winter hikes.

More information can be found here.

For families who live in Delaware County, there are options in the Preservation Parks of Delaware.

They have the typical sled riding, and cross country skiing as well.

Starting on Jan. 1, people can register for their Winter 100 program, which will encourage people to walk 100 miles between Jan. 1 through March 31.

They are finalizing details and will have those posted on their website in the middle of this month.

The Preservation Parks leaders are also getting together plans for their Winter Letter Box, which includes a PDF with clues for each park. Families can follow the clues around the park and come to a sign, put a phrase and have a chance to win a prize.

When the details are ready, they can be found here.

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