Kids Play for Free at These New York City Stores

Looking for a new rainy-day play destination? With Toys "R" Us back in Times Square for the holidays and a brand-new American Girl store opening soon, there's no shortage of stores in New York City where kids can play for free. You'll find options as varied as building Lego friends, exercising on the Wii Fit, or getting their train fix for the day, and the kids will be so exhausted by day's end, they might not even whine about leaving the Nintendo system behind (fingers crossed).

For more indoor play options, check out our guide to Indoor Play Spaces and Fun Zones in NYC.

What Ages Get in Free at Philly Museums, Zoos, Gardens, Amusement Parks

Let's be honest, having kids can be expensive. Entertaining kids can be even more expensive. Museums, zoos, and amusement parks can be fun and even educational, but not always economical. Sometimes the best time to go is when the littlest ones can still get in with free admission. Maybe you can even check a few things off of your bucket list. To make it easy, we've created this list of which places offer free admission for what ages. We've even included some more obscure museums so you can broaden your horizons and try some place new! So hurry up and plan that outing while the kids are still little.

Cool Pumpkin Displays, Festivals, and Decorating Events in NJ

Are your kids already preparing for Halloween, with visions of candy, costumes, and pumpkins dancing in their heads? Kick off the festive fall season at one of the many wonderful pumpkin-themed events happening around NJ, from elaborate pumpkin exhibits and carving competitions to good old-fashioned pumpkin picking and decorating fun.

Read on for our top picks, plus a bonus event that’s worth a drive across the state line. You can find even more even seasonal events in our Fall Fun Guide

Insider's Guide to Exploring Katy, TX with Kids

It's no secret that there are no shortage of things to do in Houston. The city is known for being richly diverse in both its people and its activities, and that includes the surrounding cities and towns. A straight shot down I-10 West will take you to Katy - a city that mixes quaint, small town charm with bustling big city sophistication. Read on for the best things to do in Katy, TX with your kids!

Why Every Harry Potter Fan Should See Puffs

My 10-year-old daughter is a Harry Potter fanatic. She’s read the series six times, watched all the movies, and still sincerely hopes for an acceptance letter from Hogwarts when she turns 11. We’ve both taken online quizzes to figure out which Hogwarts house we’d belong to. (She got Gryffindor, and I got Ravenclaw.) When I heard about Puffs, a play that recounts the Harry Potter story from the perspective of the Hufflepuffs, who were mostly background characters in the Harry Potter saga, I knew we had to see it.

Puffs is charming, entertaining, and fast-paced. The premise is simple: No one really wants to be a Puff, not even the Hufflepuffs. When the characters receive their house assignments, the new Puffs feel a little bewildered. What is being a Puff really about?

Read on for our full review, or check out our NYC Theater Guide for more family shows playing now, and coming soon, such as Frozen and SpongeBob.

5 Fall Foliage Trips with Extra Fun for Families in New England

Other regions around the country might be a bit superior for, say, soaking up the rays or skiing through powder. But when it comes to leaf peeping, I don't think it's biased to say that New England might be tops. With rolling hills, a high density of deciduous, mature trees, and, probably most importantly, relatively crisp late September and early October temps, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, as well as Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, kick off the fall foliage season with early, vibrant, and lasting color.

Sure, kids might not thrill to the wonders of changing foliage quite the way grown-ups do. But most enjoy trips to pretty destinations, with fun stops to hike, eat, and play along the way. While choices are plentiful in these parts, we're highlighting a few especially lovely fall locales that combine great fall color with fun family activities. Now all you have to do is convince the kids to put down their devices and appreciate the scenery. For more autumn hotspots around the country, check out our complete fall leaves and foliage guide.

Weekday Picks: Sea Otters, Paw Patrol Live, Movies, & Pumpkins

Animals, real and imaginary, headline this first full week of fall. The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is celebrating Sea Otter Awareness Week to raise the profile of the adorable and endangered species. After learning about these furry, back-floating creatures and exploring all the facility has to offer, families can check out the tidepools at Cabrillo Beach Coastal Park. The aquarium is open every day but Monday. For more animal fun, Paw Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue—the first-ever live tour featuring the popular rescue dogs from Nickelodeon—comes to Thousand Oaks for two days. Before heading out, take a look at our 25 Things To Do Around Thousand Oaks with Kids for other activities to do while in the area.

Check out some highlights for the week ahead below, and then head over to the Mommy Poppins Event Calendar for more.

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Banned Books, Fun Physics, and Giant Pumpkins; Sept 25- 29

What would we do without our libraries? For one thing, we wouldn't necessarily know about all the interesting, commemorative months and weeks being celebrated around the country. This week kicks off with a nod to Hispanic Heritage Month with an event to open preschoolers' eyes (and ears) to Spanish music, when Berklee dynamo Naty Hernandez leads a singalong on Boylston. A day later, older kids can take a stand against censorship with a clever craft project for Banned Books Week in the North End. 

You wouldn't know it by the balmy temps outside, but some outdoor programs are ending for the season, and a public arts' program on the Greenway closes with a showing of a Tim Burton classic. Physics takes the spotlight with a new program in the south 'burbs, while up north, the Topsfield Fair gets going with our favorite fall spectacle of all: gargantuan pumpkins

For more interesting activities this week in Boston and beyond, check out our Events Calendar.

Ultimate Halloween Guide for NYC Kids: Parades, Costumes, More

For New York City kids, Halloween doesn't just take place on October 31. The entire month is filled with a terrifying number of costume parades, pumpkin festivals, and plenty of FREE Halloween happenings leading up to the big night of trick-or-treating. You think getting your kid to choose a costume is hard? Trying to figure out which celebrations to hit is enough to make you run screaming into the night, which is why we've rounded up the absolute best ways to get into the spirit of the season.

You'll find top picks for Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, and several fun family day trips to the nearby Hudson Valley and New Jersey. As always, we included only our favorite events, and many are FREE or inexpensive. To make sure your brood is truly prepared, we've also included info on where to get children's costumes and professional makeup done in NYC. Booyah!

Top 10 Free Things to Do this Week with Westchester Kids

It’s a banner week for Westchester kids; with so many great programs to choose from, we’re expanding our list of top picks—all of which are free!

From free movies to cosmic journeys to seasonal fall fun like making apple crisp, there’s something for every taste and age ahead from Monday through Friday.

Interested in yet more kid activities? Consult our Event Calendar and sign up for our newsletters to get early notification about all the amazing fall programs coming to our county!

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