Best Winter Theater for NYC Kids 2019

New York City has tons of cool shows for families this winter, including the debut of two buzzed-about Broadway productions aimed at tweens: the Internet-fueled phenomenon Be More Chill and the big-budget musicalization of Beetlejuice. But you don't need to dig into your 401K to give your kids a memorable live theater experience in NYC—plenty of family-friendly productions are playing beyond Broadway for a lot less.

This winter there are wonderful options for kids of all ages from toddlers to teens, including shows aimed specifically at the preschool set (The Naughty Penguin, Sesame Street Live!), stage adaptations of popular picture books such as The Snowy Day, The Magic School Bus and The Stinky Cheese Man, and eye-popping spectacles for the whole family (Thunderbird American Indian Dance Concert and Powwow, Jedi Academy).

Best of all, most of these 28 shows are priced at $25 and under, so you can take the whole family for less than the price of one Broadway ticket.

48 Free Things to Do with Kids in Chicago This Winter

Say what you want about Chicago winters, but the fact is, this town knows how to pack a lot of fun into the coldest months of the year. And best of all, much of that family-friendly winter fun is totally FREE.

Some of the city's best attractions offer free admission during the winter, with free Illinois resident days at the Shedd Aquarium and the Museum of Science and Industry—plus, the entire month of February is FREE at the world-class Field Museum. Winter is prime time for exploring culture and history with Chicago kids, with free and just-for-kids celebrations of MLK's legacy around Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and no-cost Chinese New Year celebrations lighting up Chicago. There's a blizzard of free kids' concerts, shows, storytimes, and public art hitting town too, from The Beach at Navy Pier to free performances of the International Puppet Theater Festival.

Looking for more? Our list of 100 Things to Do With Chicago Kids Before They Grow Up might do the trick, and of course you can always find more daily activities in our Chicago Event Calendar.

American Girl Live: Your Favorite Dolls Take the Stage in First-Ever National Tour

With two five-year-old girls in the family, the American Girl Doll phenomenon has overtaken our home—quite literally. We have dolls, furniture, books, and an extensive wardrobe I find myself slightly envious of. "Julie" and "Maryellen" have hobbies we talk about, preferences on activities, and are with us so often that I sometimes forget that they're not real-life pals of my daughters. So, as you can imagine, when I announced we would be going to the all-new, first-ever American Girl Live show, I was met with shrieks of excitement—followed by weeks of planning outfits, accessories, and hair-dos, for both them and their 18-inch sidekicks.

American Girl Live, featuring six of the iconic dolls and an all-girl cast (not to mention an all-female crew and creative team behind the scenes) will be touring the country in 2019, with stops that include New Jersey, ConnecticutPhiladelphia, Boston, New York City, Long Island, and Maryland. In keeping with the American Girl mission, the show is all about "girl power," a message that came through to my girls loud and clear when I took them (and Julie and Maryellen, of course) to the Capitol Center of the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire, one of the show's first tour stops.

50 Free Things to do Indoors in Connecticut

Let's be real here: keeping our kids busy often costs a small fortune. So, when this mother hears the word "free," her heart skips a beat or two. Really, that four little word brings immeasurable joy to us parents. In that spirit, we've rounded up 50 of our very favorite free indoor activities to checkout across the state. We bet there's at least a handful of nearby events that are news to you—and which you should pass on to others!

For the latest in other fun wintertime activities both indoors and out, make sure that you subscribe to our weekly newsletters and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

17 Free Indoor Activities for a Rainy Day in LA

There is no limit to what a family can do outdoors in Los Angeles, and our clichéd weather makes enjoying these activities possible most days of the year. But on the occasional day when the mercury drops below 50 degrees—or when water falls perplexingly from the sky—we need a back-up plan. Indoor activities are sprinkled throughout our bucket list of 100 Things To Do with LA Kids Before They Grow Up, but wouldn't it be handy to have one list of totally free things to do with kids indoors? We thought so, too!

Top Kids' Birthday Party Venues on Long Island

Birthday parties have morphed into an entity all their own. Each year's celebration has to be bigger and better than the last, but where to start?

Don’t worry—we’ve rounded up some of Long Island’s best venues for parties to please a variety of kids, from divas and princesses to tumbling tots and animal enthusiasts. These places make party planning easy, and almost all include a host, setup and cleanup, food, and other essentials. The only hard part is picking just one! 

Be sure to check out our Birthday Party Guide for Long Island Kids for even more tips on planning the perfect party for your child. It has ideas specific to first birthdays, toddlers, active kids,  and more.

Top Dance Studios and Schools for New Jersey Kids

New Jersey parents have no shortage of dance programs to keep their little ones on their toes! Depending on your child's ages and interests—do they want to emulate Misty Copeland, be the next Beyoncé or dance to the beat of an African drum?—there's a class made just for them.

Luckily, NJ's close proximity to the cultural mecca known as New York City means there are many choreographers, former Broadway talent, and retired professional dancers from such elite companies as American Ballet Theatre who are ready and willing to help mold and shape the next generation of dancing stars. 

Whether your tots want to twirl, tap, or pop and lock, these local schools will get them to bust a move. Read on for our picks of some of the best dance studios for kids in New Jersey. Interested in other disciplines? Find more ideas in our Guide to Classes and Enrichment Programs for NJ Kids!

Free Perks That Come with Your Westchester Library Card

If your library card hasn’t left your wallet in a while, it may be time to pry it from its confines and put it to use.

More than a means to borrow books, your Westchester library card is your ticket to a host of privileges that you might not even know about. Put away the credit card and let this other piece of plastic save you money on admissions, shopping, and periodicals. In addition to checking out books, you can also borrow other media and even musical instruments, cooking supplies, and recreation equipment. Access technological services, learn a new language, support academic study, reserve a room. All this and more may be available, depending on the specific offerings of your local branch. Read on to see what you might be missing—not to mention all the books and free events, from storytimes to STEAM activities!

Looking for more helpful insight that helps you stay in the know with all things kid-related? Sign up for our newsletters and follow us on Facebook.

Winter Day Trips: 9 Family Fun Spots Near NYC

Whether you prefer spending the winter months snuggling on the couch or frolicking in the snow, there's one thing we can all agree upon—sometimes, you just need to get out the city for a change of pace. So we pulled together a list of family-fun day trips that appeal to all sorts of interests, from budding naturalists to full-fledged ski bunnies. Best of all, these destinations are all two hours or less from New York City by car, and we think they're all worth the trip.

For more day trip ideas, check out our Day Trip and Weekend Getaway Guide. Happy trails!

10 Free Places to Play Indoors Around Boston

For families with energetic kids, perhaps the biggest bummer of colder weather is losing the ability to while away entire afternoons at a local playground. Sure, we're blessed with a bevy of spectacular indoor play zones here in Boston, but many charge $10 or more per child for an hour or two of fun. Sometimes, what kids (and exhausted parents) really need is the indoor equivalent of your neighborhood playground—an open, public space where they can pop in, monkey around, and socialize for an hour or two, no reservation or hefty admission required. We've tracked down a few spots in and around town where your kids can play—and you can take a load off—for free. (Note that none of these places allow you to drop kids off, unsupervised; but having some new toys and playmates to entertain them will definitely feel like a break.)

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