Child's Play

There’s no shortage of fun stuff for short stacks around southwest Montana during the winter. Branch out and try something new with your little one: ice fishing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, skating. Plus, learning has never been better disguised as fun. With this list of safe, family-friendly weekly programs and special events, staving off cabin fever will be a cinch.

Kids' Ice Camp
This education program on February 2 at 10am on Hebgen Lake in West Yellowstone features in-class and on-ice ice-fishing tutorials. Participants learn about fishing equipment and safety, as well as conservation and the environment in relation to fishing. Best of all, kids who sign up get free ice rods and tackle. This free event is aimed at kids, but parents are encouraged to attend as well.

Wild West Winterfest
Kids under 10 get free admission to this annual Bozeman tradition at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds. Taking place February 16-17, this event features kid-friendly attractions like a petting zoo, kids’ art displays, horse-drawn wagon rides, and, of course, lots of hot cocoa and cookies. Step back in time with your family and experience the Old West at the Wild West Winterfest.

Kids ‘N’ Snow
During four separate weekends—December 15, January 19, February 2, and March 2—Kids ‘N’ Snow provides a fun and safe environment for kids and families to try new winter activities. Strap on snowshoes, clip into cross-country skis, or lace up ice skates for the first (or fiftieth) time. Watch sled-dog demonstrations, take snowcoach rides, and meet raptors at this fun family event—all at little to no cost.

R.E.A.D. to a Dog
At Bozeman Public Library, R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) pairs Intermountain Therapy Dogs with children, as kids read out loud to the pooches to improve the kids’ reading and communication skills. Stop by the Children’s Room at the library with your little one from 4-5pm on Wednesdays.

Master Naturalist Course
Montana Outdoor Science School (MOSS) and the Montana Natural History Center present this class that meets every Tuesday and Thursday for 12 weeks starting February 26. You and your older child will learn about geology, how to identify elements in nature, and keep a field and sketch journal. Sign up early as spots fill up fast. MOSS also has lots of other classes for kids ranging from Kindergarten to 8th grade.