Special Needs Classes and Enrichment Programs for NJ Kids

As we learn more about how kids develop and play, it has become evident that one size does not fit all. Parents of children with special needs often face a great challenge in finding after-school and weekend recreational and enrichment programs; most community-based programs are not designed to accommodate a range of abilities. Yet extracurricular programs that promote socialization, friendship building, and other enrichment opportunities can be of great benefit to children with autism, developmental disabilities, social challenges, or sensory sensitivities.

Luckily, we live in a very inclusive state that offers many classes, social skills groups, and enrichment programs that provide structured, supportive, and judgment-free environments where children with special needs can grow and learn while having fun. Here, we've compiled a list of special spots and activities where you can know that your child will feel welcomed and loved, just as they are!

Bounce Houses and Trampoline Parks for Long Island Kids

If you find your high-energy kids are bouncing off the walls, it might be time to head to one of the many bounce houses and trampoline parks on Long Island.

From inflatable slides to obstacle courses and high-flying trampolines, these play spaces are great ways for kids to work off their energy and have some indoor fun when it’s too hot, cold, or wet to play outdoors. Whether you’re looking for an impromptu bouncing session or want to schedule a birthday party, most of these venues offer a variety of play options. Just be sure to check out their websites for all the specifics.

The sky might be the limit at these venues, but be advised that most of them require socks and some require completed parental waivers before participating.  

Music Classes for Philly Area Kids & Families

Kids march to the beat of their own drums, so why not help them keep their rhythm with some music classes? Some studies have shown that early music education helps children develop academic, physical, and social skills, and it also gives them an introduction to arts and culture. We have put together a list of music classes for kids in the Philadelphia area, but be sure to visit their websites for updated schedules. Visit our Classes Directory to keep up on the latest additions.

Destination Playground: Chelsea Waterside Park in New York City

Chelsea Waterside Play Area has been a mainstay on our list of the city's best playgrounds for years, and thanks to its recent $3.4 million overhaul, the aging play area has a whole new look that just opened to the public on Tuesday.

Once known for funky, chess-like, blue structures that spewed water sky-high, Chelsea Waterside Play Area has a colorful new star: A 22-foot, rainbow-hued pipefish who winds through the multi-level playground bringing joy to kids of all ages. Read on for more features that cement this spot's place among our favorite destination playgrounds.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Natsumatsuri, Wings over Camarillo, Tacos, & Rocket Fever

You hear that? Of course you don't, because that sound is the peaceful nothingness of the children being back in school. Weekdays are for reading, writing, and 'rithmetic, plus momma chillin' with her tasty drink while she finally gets something done around here. But don't fret; there's still lots of time for fun. That's why the calendar invented weekends, so we could have Saturdays and Sundays (and occasionally holiday Mondays) filled with concerts, festivals, and movies. There may even be a chance to learn something as well, but we will call it entertainment.

What are your options for fun this weekend, you ask? You can go full Little Tokyo at the closing weekend of the Nisei Week and at JANM's annual Natsumatsuri Festival (it celebrates summer, which in this case means back to school). You can chow down on BBQ and tacos. You can take flight, soaring through the skies, or reaching for the space just beyond that. (I'm told there are stars there.)

There's lots of music making and moving pictures (as well as some pictures that are moving). Plus things get smashed to bits. Just a typical weekend round these parts. Now that school has started.

Keep reading for our not going quietly back to school weekend picks.

Weekend Fun for Boston Kids: Feasts, Fairs, and Hunts, Aug 18-19

​Let's hope the weather gets back to summer sunshine this weekend with all of the outdoor fun Boston has to offer! From one of the biggest feasts in the North End to a fair that people have been flocking to for over a century, this weekend has more of our August favorites. Explore some trails, catch a lion dance, and celebrate on the waterfront with a lobster bake. Want to exercise your mind as well as your legs? Check out not one but two "hunts" for the whole family. 

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Dragon Boats, Fairs, and Country Fairs, August 18-19

What's your favorite part of a country fair? Is it the animals? The music? The carnival rides? The fried dough? All this and more is on offer at the array of country fairs happening all over Connecticut this weekend  from Bridgewater to Wolcott to Hamburg, not to mention the Oyster Festival in Milford or a Dragon Boat Festival in Hartford. Or maybe check off one of your summer bucket list items with a Lunchtime Cruise along the Mystic shoreline. 

If all this fair-going has left you looking for something a little more sedate, catch your breath at the Bike Safety Roundup at Chelsea Piers in Stamford or the Stuffed Animal CARE-ium at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk.

For the latest and best family-friendly goings on around the state, keep checking in on our frequently updated events calendar and follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Have a great weekend!

Weekend Fun: Math Fest, Kites, Sand Sculptures, and Harlem Week

Statistically speaking, we're due for a dry weekend, and that would be an excellent thing, since we're counting on having a great time at the third annual Math Festival hosted by MoMath on Saturday. Laser cutting, giant mazes, music, and roller coaster design make STEM as exciting as sunshine after a long, soggy stretch.

Also this Saturday: Watch the colors fly at the Upper West Side's annual Kite Flying Festival. Bring a good kite and some string, or take advantage of the materials supplied on site (while supplies last). Down at Coney Island, enjoy the sunshine and artistry at the annual Sand Sculpting Contest, and learn some sand sculpting tricks of your own at Kaiser Park on Neptune Avenue, where the NYC Parks and Rec team awaits with a sand creature building program from 11am-12:30pm on Saturday.

Harlem Week romps through uptown all weekend long, with a children's festival on Saturday and Sunday. Daily performances run from hip hop to poetry to tap dance. And do visit our favorite new art installation, dusk.space, at the Seaport. It's magical to lie under the grid as the sun goes down and smell freshly mown grass, listen to crickets, and watch the "fireflies."

All this, plus over a hundred other events (50+ each day) are baked into the Mommy Poppins Calendar. Check out our list of the 50 best places to cool off this summer, and don't forget the fun-packed August Go List. And the outdoor movies that were canceled due to all the rain are now being scheduled through September—follow our August Movie page, updated frequently, to see what's playing (for free!) near you.

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Houston Food Fest, Galveston Family Beach Challenge, Aug. 18-19

Here at Mommy Poppins, we love a good opportunity to help, and this weekend there are two excellent opportunities happening where YOU can make a positive impact:

Have you found yourself in an activity slump? We have several different resources to help you out. The Mommy Poppins event calendar is the place to go when you're looking for daily kid-friendly activities, and it's constantly being updated with as many events happening in and around the city as possible. Our August GoList is also an excellent resource, highlighting the best events happening around Houston throughout the month. For a quick, easy resource, we recommend signing up for our weekly newsletter so you can have everything that gets published on Mommy Poppins delivered to your inbox.

For anyone who is planning an activity, we would love to make sure it has a spot on our calendar as well! All you have to do is submit your event to our calendar. Once it's submitted, we'll review it and publish it so it gets shared with all of our readers. 

Let's see what this weekend has to offer. 

Weekend Fun: Lighthouse Celebration, Peach and Beach Fests

Have a peachy keen time at the Harbes Family Farm Peach Festival this weekend. Visit Montauk Point Lighthouse for Colonial games, leather making and traditional pottery. Argghy mateys, some pirates might even make an appearance.

Make some waves at BeachFest at North Hempstead Town Park. Or watch some theater in the park at Planting Fields as the Wizard of Oz takes over the lawn. Visit The Whaling Museum during its Scrimshaw Week kickoff and create an inked scrimshaw keepsake box.

Explore outdoors at a boardwalkbeach, pool, sprinkler park, or perhaps cool off at a water park

Visit our Summer Family Fun Guide and our August GoList for the best in seasonal entertainment, including day trip ideas and plenty of FREE events and activities. As always, our Event Calendar is loaded with fun, daily happenings for Long Island kids. 

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