December - the month when we look forward with excitement to a new year, but also try to make the most of the time that remains in the quickly-exiting one. The holiday break from school gives most families the chance to spend quality time together before the 2017 countdown begins. Whether you're looking forward to visiting light shows or gingerbread displays, there are many activities happening throughout the state, and the best news is that many of them are completely free. For more great ideas to keep the entire family entertained, check out the frequently updated Mommy Poppins Events Calendar and Holiday Fun Guide.
1. Engage in some friendly competition during Family Game Day at Ridgefield Library.
2. Feed the reindeer at the 8th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival and ride the Winter Wonderland Carousel.
3. Head to Avon Library for the Fairy Godmother's Holiday Magic Show, featuring silly comedy and audience participation.
4. Learn about the Samurai code and decorate a hat inspired by the armor collection during First Night Hartford at the Butler-McCook House & Garden.
5. Have yourself an Anime Holiday Celebration in Cheshire.
6. See a life-sized beaver lodge or a fluorescent rock cave at the White Memorial Conservation Center (adults have to pay admission, but children are free all week).
7. Boogie under a disco ball at Bristol Library's New Year's Eve Party.
8. Learn to ice skate for free at the pop-up rink in Bushnell Park (skate rentals are free, too).
9. Follow the Gingerbread Walk through Kent and solve a mysterious riddle while admiring dozens of creative works.
10. Sing Christmas Carols as part of Mystic Seaport's 70th annual Community Carol Sing (admission is free with donation of a non-perishable food item).
11. Enjoy a horse drawn carriage ride and witness some master ice carvers at the Winter Festival on New Haven Green.
12. Attend a menorah decorating workshop, and enjoy sufganiyot and latkes, courtesy of Chabad of Fairfield and Home Depot.
13. Relax with a Kidspace Afternoon Movie at Windsor Public Library.
14. Meet the resident animal ambassadors during the Creature Feature program at the Ansonia Nature Center.
15. Create virtual games, music videos, and art projects at Kids Scratch Club at The Mystic & Noank Library.
16. Have a blast at the Toe Jam Puppet Band Winter Variety Show at the Windsor Public Library (pre-registration recommended).
17. Explore the Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown while enjoying horse-drawn carriage rides and light refreshments.
18. Have an early New Year's Eve celebration with a Noon Year's Eve party at Trumbull Public Library.
19. Head to Barnes and Noble in Westport and listen to The Story of Ferdinand, the bull who would rather smell flowers than clash heads with others.
20. Kick off the new year with a hike in Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden.
21. Venture among thousands of twinkling lights at the Festival of Silver Lights in Meriden.
22. Put on your dance shoes and celebrate at the Kids' New Year's Eve Dance Party in Avon.
23. Get lost in stars and galaxies during Public Astronomy Night in Westport.
24. Check out the Christmas House in Torrington.
25. Learn all about the American Flyer trains designed by A.C. Gilbert at the Eli Whitney Museum in Hamden (admission is free, but for $10 kids can build their own wooden trains).
Photo Credit: Image courtesy of The IQuilt Plan at Winterfest Hartford.