Harry Potter Hamlet: Something Is Silly in the City of Culver

One of my favorite things about August in LA is Culver City's annual Shakespeare in the Park, courtesy of the Actors' Gang. Each year the Gang gives an upbeat, modern makeover to a different Shakespeare play aimed at families; recent highlights have included the Superhero Twelfth Night, the Star Wars Romeo and Juliet, and the My Little Pony Midsummer Night's Dream. This summer, Media Park comes alive every Saturday and Sunday morning with the Harry Potter Hamlet; and to go or not to go is hardly a question.

Best Places for Sports-Themed Birthday Parties in Westchester

Whether your child is sports-obsessed or simply extremely active, having a sports-focused birthday is a great way to host a large group of kids and keep them entertained. There’s also the added bonus of sending worn-out kids home to happy parents!

We've rounded up our top picks for sports-themed parties, most of which are all inclusive, so all you have to do is show up with the birthday boy or girl. Many of them also allow you keep costs down by bringing your own food (also helpful for for parents of children with allergies). For even more birthday ideas, check out our Party Planner Guide.

Family-Friendly Vineyards and Wineries in New Jersey

When planning a family day trip, vineyards and wineries may not be the first destinations that come to mind. Believe it or not, New Jersey is home to relaxing and scenic vineyards that are family-friendly, and even pet-friendly! These vineyards offer outdoorsy fun that includes food truck events, music, farm activities, spacious fields, and of course, the Garden State’s homegrown wines. Not all local vineyards and wineries permit children on the premises, but raise your glass to these five that do. And be sure to check the policies on children in the tasting areas.

Best Destination NYC Sandboxes for Preschoolers

 

There's no denying it—kids love diving into a sandbox, running their shovels and hands through the grains of sand, dumping a full bucket over and generally getting their hands dirty.

Though NYC parents might get grossed out at the thought of what could be lurking in our uncovered, urban sandboxes, it's hard to forbid preschoolers one of their most beloved sensory experiences. So pull up a bench (and your latte; you'll be here a while!), and check out these seven toddler-tested, mom-approved NYC sandboxes. We've done our best to find the cleanest ones across the city. Besides, you can always wash their hands in the nearby sprinklers or park bathrooms when you're finally able to get them out.

And hey, you don't have to hoof it out to the local beach to reach this sand, which just means more time for other NYC kid activities.

Kayak, Rowboat and Paddleboat Rentals for Westchester Families

Westchester County boasts plenty of pools and spray parks to keep kids and adults splashing their way through the sticky summer months. But for New York families seeking a more active outdoor adventure, paddling down one of the state's many natural local waterways can't be beat for a little more summer—or spring or fall—water fun.

Novices can take guided tours or lessons offered by kayak companies, and children as young as three can help power a paddleboat with some of that energy they never seem to burn off. More adventurous paddlers can take on half-day tours of the Hudson River and its aquatic ecosystems or conquer something new—stand-up paddleboarding.

Read on: We've got seven nearby spots where you can flex those rowing arms with canoeing, kayaking, paddleboating and rowboats.

Last-Minute Childcare Options for Families in the Hamptons & North Fork

Your babysitter has bailed and your night out is in jeopardy. Fortunately on the East End of Long Island there are a number of emergency child care options that just might preserve that essential date night. Some are local companies whose sitters are known to other parents in the community, while others are parts of larger national companies with well-earned reputations for reliability and security.

Most require registration on the firm’s website. Be aware that most sitters are independent contractors and not employees of their firms. so company liability varies.

Still, with less than a day’s notice, these services offer experienced sitters with recommendations that can be accessed online or by email. Prices are as of summer 2015 and vary depending on time, distance and services provided. Cancellation policies also vary.

For other information on activities and events in the area, be sure to check out our Hamptons & North Fork Family Guide.

Weekday Event Picks for NJ Kids: Growing in the Garden, 4-H Fair, August 17-21

With a few weeks left of summer vacation, get outside and soak up the great outdoors as much as possible. This week, nature exploration is in the spotlight at Lunch & Learn with a Naturalist, Growing in the Garden and Nocturnal Neighbors. Festival season continues both outdoors at the Hunterdon County 4-H Fair and indoors at the Superhero Super Carnival. And don’t forget to check out our Event Calendar for even more options!

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