Help your kids make the most out of a day off with CA’s School’s Out programs

School kids walking in the hallway


By Tripp Laino

Sure, your kids can spend their days when school is closed playing hours of Madden or Minecraft. But why not get them away from their screens and take full advantage of the day off?

If you’re looking for a little bit more structure on days when Howard County public schools are closed, Columbia Association has quite a few options — so you can find a great fit whether your kids want to make art, be active, get in the pool or just have fun!

Check out some of the great ways to keep your kids occupied when schools are closed below. (Not all programs are available on all closed dates; please check listings for schedules).

And there are even more options than what’s listed here. Other CA facilities — including Columbia Ice Rink. Columbia Skate Arena and Columbia SportsPark — may offer special hours on days when schools are closed. Contact your favorite facility for more information!

If your kids want to explore their artistic side, try Columbia Art Center’s School’s Out programs!

Columbia Art Center offers two programs for kids to explore their artistic sides — whether by themselves or with a parent.

School’s Out: Art Expedition is for children ages 6 through 14, who embark on a design exploration where everyone is an artist and everything is art. Kids create and experiment while earning achievements for demonstrating skills and techniques in a variety of mediums. After each quest, a design challenge is issued by a visiting artist in the second half of the day. Pizza lunch is included for full-day and morning half-day participants.

Full-day programs run from 7:30am-5:30pm and are $55 per child per day. Half-day programs run from 8:30am-1pm or 1-5:30pm and are $30 per child per day. Registration is open until the day before each class.

Classes this fall are variations on the theme of Eco-Friendly Upcycle Art:

Friday, October 19 — Paper Costuming: Develop and Construct Headpieces
Tuesday, November 6 — Container Vehicle: Imagine Future Travel
Wednesday, November 7 — Found Object Futurescapes: Creating Eclectic Hybrid Environments

School’s Out Family Art Quest is for children ages 5-14 to enjoy alongside an adult — bring friends or family to create unique art projects at each event. All sessions run from 9:30-11:30am and cost $25 per family for CA members and Columbia Cardholders, and $35 per family for non-members.

Classes this fall include:

Friday, October 19 — Upcycled Monsters: Make 3-D Creatures with Found Objects
Wednesday, November 7 — You, Me and the Zoo: Lion Portrait Partner Painting

For more information on Columbia Art Center classes or to register, visit and click “Columbia Art Center’s School’s Out Program” on the left column.

If your kids like to be active and play games, try KidSpace Adventure Day!

When schools are out, students in kindergarten through sixth grade can visit KidSpace for a fun-filled day of games, arts and crafts, swimming, skating, and much more — a pizza lunch is also included. The full-day program (7am-6pm) is $55 per child; the half-day program (9am-1pm) is $30 per child.

KidSpace Adventure Day is available on:

Friday, October 19
Tuesday-Wednesday, November 6-7
Wednesday, November 21
Friday, November 23
Monday, December 24
Wednesday-Friday, December 26-28
Monday, December 31

Registration is available at any KidSpace location; call Columbia Gym at 410-531-8984 or Supreme Sports Club at 410-381-7559. (Columbia Athletic Club is closed until late fall — school’s out programs should resume once the club reopens.)

If your kids need more time in the pool, try SplashDown Snack-n-Slide!

SplashDown is normally open from 1:30-6pm on Saturdays, and from noon-5pm on Sundays, but Snack-n-Slide is SplashDown with a twist. Admission at these special events goes beyond unlimited rides on both waterslides, adding chips, a small drink and an ice cream of your choice!

The price for CA Fit&Play, Play, 5Day Golf&Play, and Golf Fit&Play members is $3 per person; other CA members are $8 per person; Columbia Cardholders are $13 per person, and non-members are $18 per person.

Snack-n-Slide is offered from noon-4pm on the following dates:

Friday, November 23
Thursday, December 27
Friday, December 28
Monday, January 21
Monday, February 18
Monday, April 22

For more information, or to register, visit

If your kids are enrolled in School Age Services, try their School’s Closed Programs!

On most days when schools are scheduled to be closed, a program is offered at one consolidated location, rather than individual schools. Enrollment in these programs is available to School Age Services students only and available online.

Registration for full-day programs is required for all children planning to attend. Full-day programs are available to children in the Pre-K 4-year-old program through eighth grade. Children enrolled in the Pre-K 4-year old program can only attend the Junior Club program.

Visit to see everything CA has to offer when Howard County Schools are closed.