Coding and Computer Science Classes to Prepare Kids for the 2030s

As parents, we hear about the growing importance of STEM education all the time. Specifically, Computer Science which is getting more and more attention as the technology boom shows no signs of stopping (and fears about robots snatching up our children's future jobs continues to grow...). But can parents rely on schools to prepare our kids? Technology is evolving so fast, it’s hard to stay on top of it all. Let alone, understand how it might impact our children’s futures.

To help provide insight into the best coding and STEM education practices, we sat down with Holly Horrigan, a computer science instructor at CS Recitations, a year round after school program in Natick that features a comprehensive curriculum for grades 3 through 12. Read on to learn why exactly these types of programs are so important, and how to make sure you're setting your child up for major STEM success.

42 NYC Summer Camps with Availability (Some with Savings Too!)

You've all heard the hype: Parents standing in line at the crack of dawn vying for a spot in their chosen summer camp. But the reality is, even if you haven't spent one minute thinking about summer camp, there's no need to panic—yet.

Sure, some programs fill up quickly with returning campers who get first priority, but there are so many amazing programs out there now. You'll find specialty camps for every interest, camps for preschoolers, and even toddlers, cooking camps, tech camps, arts camps, or traditional, general interest country day camps where you're kids will breathe fresh air all day and come home dirty and tired...you name it.  We've rounded up 39 NYC camps of all different kinds that still have spots for summer 2018 as of this writing. Some are even offering special discounts for Mommy Poppins readers. To find by location, click to open the map at the bottom of the post.

To find even more New York City-area camps, check out our comprehensive Summer Camp Guide and browse hundreds of programs by location, age and type in our NYC Summer Camp Directory.

Free Outdoor Summer Movies for Philly Families

Summer is the perfect time to spend quality time with family and friends, and nothing says "summer night" like attending a free outdoor movie under the stars. Many Philly families have made an outdoor film  a constant on their summer bucket list. But, if your family hasn't participated in this warm weather ritual before, no need to worry: Mommy Poppins Philadelphia has rounded up some of the best locations to see free outdoor movies both in the city as well as the 'burbs.

Generally speaking, most films begin at dusk, but be sure to arrive early to locate the optimal viewing spot. Pack some snacks, a blanket (and bug spray, too), and then sit back, relax and enjoy the show at one of these outdoor summer movie series in or near Philadelphia.

Be sure to check back often for the latest free movie series announcements.

Take the Subway to NYC Beaches: Coney, Rockaway, Orchard Beach

Fourteen miles of sparkling sand and crashing waves can be found in four of the five boroughs (sorry river-locked Manhattan), which is good news for NYC families. Because as much as we enjoy hitting the Jersey Shore, Fire Island, and other Long Island beaches, we're not big fans of renting cars and sitting in traffic.

New York City's beaches are just a subway, bus, or ferry ride away. From the "Bronx Rivera" to iconic Coney Island and the Rockaways, these urban seasides often offer just about everything suburban beaches do except the out-of-town commute.

The Best Beaches for Families on Long Island

Stretching along the north and south shores of Long Island are dazzling beaches known for their family-friendly vibes and natural beauty, and we don't mean just the Hamptons. Whether you have younger kids looking for tranquil shores or older kids looking to body surf, there is a Long Island beach for you. It's time to get ready for cool sea breezes and the feeling of sand between your toes.

At these Long Island's family beaches, you'll find picnic areas, swimming pools, and bathroom complexes along with food trucks and umbrella rentals. Use our guide to choose the best beach for your family's needs. These beaches are open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, unless noted. Prices listed are for summer 2018.

If you're in the mood to travel, check out our list of the best family beaches near New York City or our guide to the Jersey Shore area. For more family fun, see our guide to Long Island amusement and water parks.

15 Awesome Water Parks for New Jersey Kids and Families

New Jersey has several fantastic water parks, some of them right on the beach! From big-name parks and boardwalk favorites to the state's first municipal water park, we've rounded up 15 of New Jersey’s best water parks and an overview of what to expect from each one. We've even included a couple of fantastic indoor water parks to keep kids splashing on rainy days.

If you're looking for water fun on a slightly cheaper scale, check out our Best Water Playgrounds and Splash Pads roundup. For more summer awesomeness, visit our New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide and our NJ Theme Parks Guide.

Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Farms and Festivals in the Hudson Valley

If apple picking is the perfect fall activity, then strawberry picking is surely the early-summer equivalent. Not only are you able to stock up on the sweet stuff, but you’re able to visit and support local farms and, of course, spend time as a family.

Best of all, there are plenty of places throughout the Hudson Valley where kids of all ages can try their hand at picking their own strawberries. The season usually starts around the beginning of June, but be sure to call ahead first. Not into picking them yourself? Westchester and the Hudson Valley have a few strawberry festivals you can check out, instead.  

Share your picking photos with us on Facebook

Splash, Sprinkler, and Spray Parks in Fairfield County

If your kids are anything like mine, summertime is all about sunshine and splashpads. Seriously, where were these things when we were kids? We had the plastic kiddie pools and a fudgesicle or a trip to the beach and a sandy car ride home. Well, let's do ourselves a favor and skip the sand, slap on some sunscreen, and head to a sprinkler park for the day. Here's our roundup for splash pads in Fairfield County. And be sure check out our comprehensive guide to CT Beaches and Water Fun Guide for more ways to stay cool this summer. 

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