Toddlers are so easily swept away by the magic of the holidays – and it’s a delight to be swept away along with them. Bellevue has plenty of things for toddlers and their families to do this time of year.

Overlake’s Top 5 Toddler To-Dos Over the Holiday Season

Here are our staff’s Top 5 picks for families with wee ones.

Visit Santa’s Workshop

If you’re like our family, you get photos with Santa every year. They’re the holiday season equivalent of the school picture. Fortunately, we can all avoid the high-cost of travel to the North Pole by visiting Santa’s Workshop, conveniently located inside the Bellevue Square.

We highly recommend visiting during a weekday – late-morning, if you’re able – as this is when it’s the least crowded, and minimizes long waits that make for crankier little ones on Santa’s lap.

Enjoy the magic of lights and life

What do you get when you pair thousands of lights with beautiful plants and trees? Bellevue Botanical Garden’s Garden d’Lights of course. This one made our Favorite Holiday Activities list – because it is just as exciting for adults as it is for the kids. While the event runs from 4:30 to 9:30 (lights go out at 9:30…) every evening, the 4:30 end of the spectrum is far less crowded than the 7ish and onward times.

Visit the Kid’s Quest Children’s Museum

toddle activities

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You’re never too young, or too old, to visit the Kid’s Quest Children’s Museum. It’s a wonderful way for tots to burn energy on a rainy day. This time of year, the museum hosts a variety of Gingerbread Workshops.

While the “real” gingerbread house workshops sell out pretty quick (calendar a check-in for November of next year…), everyone is welcome to visit ArchLUG’s whimsical gingerbread house building project, which will be on display for the rest of the year.

Story Time at the University Bookstores

Both the U District and the Mill Creek Stores offer Story Time for Kids, ages 3 to 7. In addition to dramatic readings of both new children’s books, as well as the classics, the staff always have other activities and entertainment lined up to enhance the fun. This can be a quieter way to escape the holiday madness.

Take a trip through Kelsey Creek Farm

Are funds tight ‘round your house? Then your family will especially love Kelsey Creek Farm. Part of the Bellevue Parks System, this historic farm is FREE and offers all kinds of attractions both you and your toddler(s) will love – and this time of year means extra special decorations.

Of course, their barnyard is the biggest attraction – featuring the typical farmyard animals for your viewing and petting pleasure. You can even adopt an animal, a particular favorite for families who are unable to have animals of their own. After that, feel free to roam the park’s ample paths and trails, which traverse their 150 acres of forest and pastures. Plus, there are picnic areas for snacks and lunch.

What are some of your favorite activities this time of year? We’d love to read your comments and suggestions.