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Things to do with kids this winter around York

Karen Bumbaugh, a mother from East Manchester Township, said there are a lot of kid-friendly activities in December, because of the holidays.

“Once you hit January, February, March -- it gets a bit harder, and you have to look a bit harder to find things to do,” said Bumbaugh, who writes about family-friendly trips at

But, she said, if you look hard enough you can find something.

Here are some ideas from Bumbaugh and others to help you get out of the house in winter when you have little kids.

Find an indoor pool

If your children only swim in the summer, they’re going to forget skills from year to year and get rusty, said Kathy Warner, aquatic director for YWCA York.

“It’s good to keep that continuity,” Warner said.

Her center offers American Red Cross certified lessons for parents and children, starting at 6 months. Instructors focus on getting young children used to being in a pool and having fun.

“It’s a good habit to get the children in so they’re not afraid of the water,” Warner said. “The younger they have water awareness, the better.”

Those lessons are for YWCA York members and cost extra.

Her center also offers family swim sessions.

Bundle up, head outside

You’ve probably already thought of or been to Christmas Magic, a festival of lights at Rocky Ridge County Park. But you’ve got other park options.

The York County Department of Parks and Recreation will host a “Marshmallow Hike” from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29 and again from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31. The hikes will start from Pheasant pavilion in the Hidden Laurel Picnic Area at Rocky Ridge County Park.

“There’s a lot going on in the woods that people aren’t aware of,” said Mary Ronan, a park naturalist for the county.

Hot chocolate will be served in an enclosed pavilion after the hikes, and there will be a fire to warm people up.

There is no fee for the hikes, but people are asked to register by calling 717-428-1961.

Head to the library

York County libraries offers cards to kids starting at birth.

“We want to encourage parents to understand that there should be reading in their child’s life every day,” said Paula Gilbert, director of youth services for the York County Library System.

York County’s public libraries offer a variety of free programs for young children, including interactive storytimes. Gilbert said the staff there emphasizes that young children learn through play.

Hit the road, see some sights

Bumbaugh has written about play areas, indoor swim centers and more. Her website includes tips for visiting local and out-of-county locations.

For instance, she has written that, if you go to the York City Ice Arena, remember to watch the ice resurfacer clean and smooth the ice. Your kids might like seeing the big machine.

Or if if you go to Curiosity Connection at The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, you’re also a close walk to the state Capitol building.

Bumbaugh has also recommended places in Maryland and other parts of Pennsylvania.

“We’ve gone an hour or two out of our way to find some really cool places,” said Bumbaugh.

Some more spots

Karen Bumbaugh writes about family-friendly places to visit at Here are some of her indoor favorites:

-Storyville, an interactive early literacy and learning center for children ages 5 and under, which is located in branches of the Baltimore County Public Library system.

-Hickory Falls, a family entertainment center, located at 110 Hickory Lane, near Hanover.

-Germantown Indoor Swim Center and Rollingcrest-Chillum Splash Pool, both located in Maryland.