Best July Fairs and Festivals for New Jersey Families

Fairs and festivals and feasts, oh my! It’s non-stop action in NJ this month—read on for our recommendations and choose your favorite (or two). With everything from county fairs to music and food festivals, there’s something to entertain every member of the family. Mark the calendar now and have a blast all month long. For more summer fun, visit our Summer Activities Guide.

The BFG: How Scary Is Disney's New Movie About Kid-Eating Giants? A Parent Review

Although The BFG isn't as well known as some of Roald Dahl's other books (like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda), it definitely has its share of rabid fans. If your family is among them, you'll be happy to hear that Steven Spielberg is quite faithful to the source material in Disney's new CGI/live-action hybrid, The BFG—though some of the Dahl darkness has been replaced by the director's signature wide-eyed wonder. Even so, for parents of younger children the question is, just how terrifying are those tot-eating giants? We've got the answer (and a photo in case you want to see how your preschoolers react), plus the scoop on whether it's worth splurging for IMAX 3D.

July GoList: Best Things to Do with Kids in Boston This Month

July makes a grand entrance with Independence Day celebrations in and around Boston, including daytime July 4th festivities and fireworks filling the night sky. The family fun keeps going all month with lots of events and activities, and below are our top ten picks.

Of course, we have plenty more ideas for enjoying summer sun and fun with your kids: Free summer concertsfree summer movies, and great beaches. We'll keep adding to our calendar daily and sending our weekly newsletter in time for each weekend, but here's your chance to look ahead for these July favorites and get them on your calendar. In fact, if you click through to the full listings, you can automatically add them to your personal calendar. Easy peasy.

30 Fun Things To Do with Kids on Staten Island This Summer

Staten Island, the oft “forgotten” borough of New York City, may not offer the hustle and bustle of that other island, and that works just fine for isle residents. Staten Island has its own rich, vibrant community, and summer is the perfect time to explore it when FREE fun and outdoor activities are on tap for kids in every corner of the borough.

The ferry docks in St. George, home to the Staten Island Yankees, Snug Harbor, Staten Island Museum, and more. Head further inland with the kids to discover gorgeous parks and greenways, community events, beaches, fairs, and parades, as well as destination play spaces, museums, and even NYC's first indoor trampoline park and the city's only indoor skate park—all adding up to a summer full of family-friendly activities.

As a Staten Island resident raising two boys, I love discovering new ways to enjoy the isle with my family. Read on for our top picks for summer fun with kids on Staten Island. And be sure to check out NYC Summer Fun Guide for more summer planning ideas, and the 100 Free Things to Do in NYC This Summer.

10 Mostly Free Kids' Math Apps for Preschoolers to Tweens

A decade ago, keeping a kid from forgetting over the summer everything he or she learned in school that year meant flash cards. Solid, white paper stock that didn't actually flash.

Now, as my math teacher husband says, kids from toddlers to tweens who need to catch up or who want to get a jump on mathematics have a number of electronic options from which to choose. And some of them do actually flash.

We've compiled a list of our favorite go-to math apps, broken down by age and interest. These worked wonders keeping my kids thinking math over the summer. Best of all, half of them feature my favorite number: zero, as in FREE. Many are available on both Apple (iOS) and Android platforms; download prices are as of June 2016.

Looking for more ways to keep your kids engaged over summer break? Check out our brand-new Summer Slide Busters Guide, offering brainy NYC activities and at-home DIY projects.

Philly Skateboard Parks That Young Skaters Will Love

There's no doubt about it; the city offers plenty of events and activities to keep kids entertained and busy over the summer. If you've got a skater in the house, here's a roundup of the area's most kid-friendly parks where they can go this summer to shred, cruise around, and watch experts go to town. Park regulars agree that morning is the best time of day to bring young or novice skaters, as it's less crowded. Weekdays are better than weekends, of course. And, if the park does get too packed, no worries--watching the older, more seasoned skaters do their thing is really fun, too.  

Free Outdoor Entertainment for Long Island Families

Not all summer entertainment for children has to come with a hefty price tag. Several shows across Long Island are being offered for free. We've rounded up those local outdoor concerts and entertainment--now all parents need to do is grab a lawn chair or picnic blanket and get ready to shimmy, shake and smile with the little ones!

For more outside fun, be sure to check out our Outdoor Movie Guide. And for other kid-friendly activities this season, take a look at our Summer Fun Guide.

Weekday Picks: The Bard is Back, Shark Week, and the Beatles

Sea life is back on top with Dory’s big debut last week; our review can help you decide if this movie is right for you and yours. If animated sea life sparks an interest in real things aquatic, young marine biologists will want to catch Shark Week on the Santa Monica Pier at Heal the Bay’s Aquarium. From the adorable (darling baby shark pups) to the daunting (shark feeding), kids will learn that there is more to these creatures of the sea than a big set of jaws. Though small in scale, Santa Monica's aquarium is rich in substantive aquatic info and is a great way to introduce smaller children to the exploration of sea life (that's why it's a nominee for Best of LA!). Those who prefer land animals can finish the day riding horses on the Pier's classic carousel, which turned 100 this month.

Of course, nothing says summer like al fresco theater in Griffith Park. Revel in the tragedy of Shakespeare’s hunchbacked despot, Richard the III. Or, for some fab pop culture, the Grammy Museum opens an exhibit in honor of the Beatles this week. Travel back in time tp when music was recorded on vinyl and played on a record player. The Grammy Museum is one of those perfect family venues: we grown-ups get to reminisce about the music of our own youths while kids are entertained with multiple interactive and immersive musical activities.

Finally, participating Microsoft stores offer free coding camp this week with two hour sessions Monday through Thursday. Junior coders can learn to create their own games, utilizing the Kodu Game Lab.

Find more ideas in Mommy Poppins’ Event Calendar, Monthly GoList, and weekly newsletter.

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