February Family Fun in Kansas City

February may be the shortest month of the year, but it’s jam-packed with holidays and occasions for fun.

Feb. 2: Groundhog Day

Out & About: Every year on Groundhog Day the Kansas City Zoo celebrates with their resident hedgehog. Why the hedgehog? It is believed that the early Romans observed Hedgehog Day. If the hedgehog saw its shadow, the prediction was that six more weeks of bad winter weather would occur, a second winter. When the tradition moved to North America, Groundhog Day became the moniker because hedgehogs are not a native species.

At Home: Make shadow puppets. Trace your favorite animal shapes using stencils or cookie cutters onto black construction paper then cut them out. Tape the silhouette of the animal to a straw or Popsicle stick. To use the stick puppets, shine a flashlight behind them as they cast shadows onto a white wall or sheet and put on a shadow puppet play.

Feb. 4: Super Bowl Sunday

Out & About: On Sundays through the Super Bowl, Paradise Park in Lee’s Summit hosts Football Fun Days. With 15 televisions mounted throughout the park, the venue invites football fans to enjoy the game while kids play and explore. With arcades, the foam factory, laser tag and the EduTainment Center, kids have a blast while fans cheer for their favorite teams. Favorite family snacks and adult beverages are served at Paradise Café.

At Home: Invite a few friends over for a Super Bowl Sunday sundae party. Ask your guests to bring their favorite ice cream sundae topping, you provide the ice cream and let everyone create their own dream desserts.

Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day

Out & About: Treat the kids to a heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's, then enjoy a crafty outing to make cards or gifts for loved ones. Visit a local pottery shop to paint gifts. Paint valentine paintings at a BYOB painting shop. Take the kids to a free family session at Kaleidoscope at Crown Center, where they may use materials to create their own cards.

At Home: Make a special family meal serving everyone’s favorite dish. After dinner, have everyone put on pajamas, pop some popcorn or serve ice cream and watch A Charlie Brown Valentine.  Spend time together doing what you enjoy most.

Feb. 19: Presidents Day

Out & About: Celebrate the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln at Pancakes with the Presidents at Mahaffie (Feb. 24, 8:30-10:00). Eat a delicious pancake breakfast and meet the first and 16th presidents. Participants enjoy a craft and educational activities. Cost is $8/person ages 3 and up; all participants must register. Admission includes one photo and admission to Winter on the Farm. Pre-register at Mahaffie.org.

At Home: Build a log cabin for Lincoln using pretzel sticks as logs and either cheese spread, cream cheese or peanut butter as mortar. Graham crackers and frosting may compose the roof. After creating your cabin, enjoy it as a fun snack.

February is Library Lovers Month:

Out & About: We love all our local libraries, but our favorite is the Central Library of the Kansas City Public Library (14 W. 10th St., Kansas City, MO), housed in the former First National Bank of Kansas City. This library is an architectural masterpiece with reading rooms, research areas, a cafe and a rooftop view of the city skyline, complete with a giant life-size chess set! But the best section of the library for families is the Children's Department. Enter through the pages of a book to a place where kids will discover a wonderful reading area organized by ages and interests and offering many hands-on activities, as well.

At Home: Bring home a few favorite books and snuggle up with some popcorn and reading. Choose one night each week in February to host a family night and ask each child to choose a game, movie, snack or craft inspired by a favorite book. Reading Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs? Serve spaghetti and meatballs. Read a classic like The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan or Mary Poppins and then enjoy the corresponding film. Compare the film and book for similarities and differences. Read Little House on the Prairie and spend the evening playing marbles. Let the books inspire the fun.

February is Black History Month:

Out & About: Celebrate Kansas City’s rich African American heritage in the 18th & Vine District at the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The American Jazz Museum celebrates the history of the African American experience on 18th & Vine and its contributions to Kansas City, and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum features interactive exhibits for all ages.

At Home: Read biographies of famous African Americans in history and discuss them as a family. Discuss their impact on today.

Bonus: Beat the Winter Blahs:

Out & About: Challenge your friends and family to the ultimate puzzle. Escape rooms are an interactive game where teams of friends are locked into a small room for an hour while they solve puzzles and clues to unlock the room. The rooms typically include props and a series of puzzles each unlocking the next until you escape—hopefully in an hour or less. If you fail, the staff releases your team and takes a photo wishing you the best next time. Tick Tock Escape Games in Overland Park is one of our favorites. Their Bailey’s Billions and Pyramid Paradox rooms are both outstanding for their special effects and the diversity of the puzzles. They even offer duplicate rooms so you may divide into two teams and race to see who completes the puzzle first. This is a great way to combat winter “brain drain” and have fun with the family. Read our review of Tick Tock Escape Games here.

At Home: Break out the board games and host a family game night every Friday. Let your children take turns choosing the game and the menu (but keep it simple). Looking for a new game to freshen things up? Read our guide to “KC Board Game Shops.” 

Tip: For MORE ideas, read “Free (and Cheap) Winter Fun in KC.”

Kristina Light writes all year long on KCParent.com, where you’ll find hundreds of great ideas to beat the winter blahs!

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