Free Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Monkeying With Robots and Zoo Animals, Sept 26-30

Calling all fans of fall in New England: The apples are ready for picking, the corn mazes are ready for solving, and the pumpkins are ready to be turned into jack-o-lanterns. Local farms can get crowded during the weekends, so if you have little ones and can swing a weekday visit, we highly recommend it. Most apple orchards are open during the week, the Marini Farm and Connor Farm corn mazes are open daily, and low-key pumpkin picking, without all the bells and whistles, is available daily at a handful of farms. If you can sneak away for a day trip, we have five great ideas for combining a short getaway with an apple picking excursion. Get all the farm-tastic details in our Fall Fun Guide.

If you're already thinking about a family vacation to someplace warm this winter, we have a deal for you: tell us about your favorite, go-to family spots in Boston, and you'll be entered to win a swagalicious trip and other super-snazzy prizes.

Check out our top, FREE picks for kid-friendly fun in Boston this week. Our Event Calendar is always full of cool things to do, too. Have a great week!

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Weekday Fun: Cirque du Soleil, Little Prince, Teen Lit

The coming week is full of fantastic family theater. Cirque du Soleil returns to New York City, a classic adventure tale comes to life at the New Victory Theater, and The Little Prince is reinvented with the use of whimsical physical theater in Flight.

Teens! Enjoy a launch party and meet the authors of two new mystery novels at Books of Wonder. And families, now's the time to take in all the wonders of Madame Tussauds as kids get in FREE.

Read on for details on all of our top picks for the week, and remember to peruse our Event Calendar for even more options. And don't forget that NYC public school kids have two long weekends coming up. Check out our Day Trip and Getaway Guide for inspiration. Staying local? We just updated our 100 Things to Do in New York City with Kids and just released our very first 100 Things to Do in New York State with Kids list.

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Weekday Picks for Philly Kids: Nature, Free Fun, September 26-30

With cooler temperatures and low humidity settling into Philly and the Delaware Valley, many families seek outdoor fun to keep children engaged and occupied. Thankfully, this week's event calendar offers many opportunities to help children learn about the world around them.

Explore the grounds of Bucktoe Creek Preserve by participating in a Nature Playgroup. Visit Tyler Arboretum for its hour-long Toddlers in Nature program in which kids learn about fall leaves. Or, head to Briar Bush Nature Center for its Magic Morning where little ones listen to stories, take walks, and make crafts. Afterwards, check out one of the local museums, gardens, amusement parks, or zoos in the area. Many of them are free for young children, and if you live in the suburbs, you may be able to check out a membership pass from your local library.

Remember to plan out additional fall fun by browsing through our Fall Activity Guide which includes information on apple picking, harvest festivals, autumn train rides, and fall runs/races.

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Weekday Fun in NJ: Nature Walks, The Wiggles, Italian Fests

Early fall is the perfect time of year for nature exploration, and two great nature hikes are in the spotlight this first full week of the season. Put on the walking shoes, and bring the little ones outdoors for Great Swamp’s Toddler Trek: Going on a Seed Hunt and Tiny Tots Walks with Miss Allison. Find more easy fall hikes in our roundup of area trails just right for little legs.

If you’re hungry for Italian food and fun, check out the Wildwood’s Ole Time Italian Festival and St. Michael’s Festival at Palisades Park. Peruse our NJ Farm Guide for apple and pumpkin picking spots (yes, they're open!), corn mazes, and more fall fun. We're also getting a head start with Halloween: check out the costume parades and more at NJ amusement parks, cool jack-o-lantern displays and events, and these Halloween trains about to depart!

Read on for our best children's events the week of September 26-30, and don’t forget to check out our Event Calendar and these upcoming harvest festivals for early long weekend planning.

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Where to Find Mommy and Baby Music Classes

Babies love music. Music can feel like a secret weapon when you discover a song that soothes or excites your baby. My husband and I found that singing the "skinnamarinky dinky do" song worked wonders in stressful moments and usually led to a happier baby. If you don't know it, the song is from "The Elephant Show," which is an 80s gem - and it's on YouTube! Because my daughter seemed so interested in music, and research shows there are many benefits of early music education, I decided to enroll my 2-month-old daughter in a mommy and baby music class. Her dad attended the class frequently as well, and we found that the class taught us playful ways to interact with her and ways to incorporate music into our lives at home. It was a hit with our family and was a great opportunity to meet other new parents with babies close in age to our daughter. There are lots of options for music classes to choose from in the greater Houston area, and many offer a free demo class. 

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Pick Your Own Apple Farms For Families On Long Island

Believe it or not, it's apple picking time already. The apple picking season typically lasts from mid to late August to late October. Apple picking is a great family outing filled with fresh air, a little exercise, a bit of a treasure hunt, and a bounty at the end. Whether searching for an orchard with all of the bells and whistles or one with trees perfectly sized for wee ones, there are plenty of pick your own apple farms to choose from. Call before going to ensure that each farm is open, and to confirm that there is enough fruit for picking that day. Check out our Pick Your Own Guide for more suggestions on apple picking farms in the tri-state area.

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Best Pick-Your-Own Orchards for Families with Toddlers in Fairfield Area

Apple picking is a favorite fall activity with kids and Connecticut has dozens of wonderful apple picking orchards and farms that make a great day trip. If you’d like to stay in Fairfield County, you have only a small selection to choose from, which may be why all of the orchards get busy on the weekends. My kids and I like to head out first thing in the morning to beat the crowds. For even more orchards, be sure to check out our Apple and Pumpkin Picking Guide. No matter where you go, you'll find that apple picking is a great outing for toddlers especially when you combine it with cool activities like corn mazes, hay rides, petting zoos, and farm markets with fresh pressed cider, donuts and pies.

Keep in mind that crop conditions change from day-to-day, so it’s always a good idea to call a location or check the website before you head out. You'll have to help your little one pick according to the rules of the farm, but you'll always find helpful, friendly farm workers willing to lend a hand and demonstrate the proper picking technique. Be prepared for a port-o-potty, since most locations don't have bathroom facilities out in the orchards. Make sure to dress in warm layers and wear comfortable shoes. And bring your appetites! 

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25 Ways to Play Princess in New York City

If you have daughters, you know it is hard to shield them from the cotton-candy pink frocks, tulle-filled tutus, sparkly wands, and gleaming tiaras of princesses for long. Of course, many kids, not just the girls, are captivated by the swirl of a princess dress or a blinking fairy wand.

With two daughters at home, we have a closet of dress-up flocks, bins of teeny, tiny princess figurines, and shelves chock-a-block full of Disney DVDs. Playing princess is a constant state of being around here. Sometimes my princesses frolic at home; other times we enjoy a night on the town. But no matter where our princess adventures take us, we always have fun.

So, from my princesses to yours, here are 25 ways to experience NYC in royal style.

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Amazing Corn Mazes at New Jersey Farms

Get ready….get set….get lost in an amazing New Jersey corn maze! The Garden State is home to oodles of spectacular corn mazes, ranging from massive 10-acre labyrinths to simpler, child-friendly courses, including hay bale mazes just right for toddlers and preschoolers. Games, clues and even techie bonuses enhance many of the more elaborate maze experiences. Got a tween or teen? Check out those courses open after hours for a nighttime and sometimes spooky adventure.

Many of these 15 corn mazes we've rounded up are day trip worthy on their own, but you'll also likely find apple and pumpkin picking options, hayrides and even fall festivals, plus petting zoos in some instances. So get out your fall to-do list, and navigate your way through one of these great New Jersey corn mazes. Hope you find your way out.

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