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Review: Ballerina Swan Meets Her Nutcracker in New Holiday Show

The city is awash in Nutcracker performances come holiday season, from the iconic New York City Ballet’s production at Lincoln Center to the abridged, children-friendly Keith Michael's The Nutcracker. For NYC families with kids under 5, the question always is: are they ready? Will they even make it to intermission before they lose it?

I had that same thought as my almost 4-year-old and I took our seats at the Clurman Theatre on 42nd Street for a Nutcracker-themed family musical, Ballerina Swan and The Nutcracker, from The New York City Children’s Theater, and it was only 50 minutes with no intermission.

I shouldn’t have worried. As soon as the dancers took to the stage, my daughter was riveted. Read on for our parent review of this brand-new piece that incorporates ballet, acting, and puppetry into a special holiday show for young children.

Weekend Fun for LI Kids: Holiday Spectacular, West End Electric Light Parade Dec. 10-11

Animals, lights, a snow globe and a life-sized Operation game are all part of the Holiday Spectacular at Plainview Hospital this weekend. Have a bright night at the West End Electric Light Parade in Long Beach. 

Winter is the perfect time to indulge in some theater. Take in a live performance of In the Nicholas of Time!FrostyThe Nutcracker or Scrooge.

And for the most fun per square inch, check the Mommy Poppins December Go List and the events calendar daily. 

Don't see your event listed here? Add it to our events calendar. And if you don't receive this post in your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Pantos, Boat Parades, Snow and Sandmen, Dec 10 -11

You guys, what a weekend! I thought last weekend was going to be hard to beat (and we did have a record number of events on our calendar), but this one, hoo boy.  We've got snowlots of it, all over town, much of it free. If snow scares you, we've got sand. We have that uniquely SoCal yuletide tradition: boat parades. Because Santa needs to get through, sleigh or not.

We can get in the spirit of the season enjoying the twinkle twinkles and the lights, without taking the "season" part too literally. (Winter? Whatevs.) We have opening weekend of two Lythgoe Family pantos, always a highlight for us. (Can I get a squee! for seeing Disney Channel talent up close!) And because of this year's Christmakkuh confluence, we get to spread our latke prep out over the entire month.

Gosh, the only way to beat this weekend would be with, I don't know, getting a ton of presents while surrounded by friends and family and maybe eating awesome treats. But somebody would have to have been awfully good this year to get something like that...

Here are some awesome picks for the weekend, because you have been so awfully good......

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Christmas Markets, Touchdown Tour, Boat Parade, Dec 9-11

While this week was pretty cold and rainy, the weather this weekend is already looking much nicer - still chilly, but no rain! So bundle up and celebrate the holidays with the family at one of the many events going on around town. Now's the time when most people have their Christmas decorations up, and these Houston neighborhoods you can enjoy from the comfort of your own warm seat. If you want to brave the cold, then you can visit Houston Zoo Lights, a Houston tradition everyone should experience this holiday season. 

This time of the year more than ever is a time to give back, so if you have a lot of unwanted clothes or maybe too many toys consider attending a toy drive at your local charity organizations. If you haven't yet, check out our list of places where to find places to take a photo with Santa or breakfast, brunch, or cookies and hot cocoa with the big man in red. 

Look at our events calendar for a complete picture of what's happening this weekend and beyond, our holiday guide for the best things to do this season, and we've also rounded up the best things to do as a family in the month of December. Remember to sign up for our weekly newsletter to read about fun things to do each weekend in Houston. Now, it's time to check out this list of fun events happening this weekend in Houston. 

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Nutcracker, Museums, and Visits with Santa, December 10-11

Sadly, both my children have hung up their dancing shoes, but we still get our ballet fix at least once a year with one of the fantastic productions of The Nutcracker offered across Connecticut. This weekend's offerings include performances the New Haven Ballet, the Danbury Symphony Orchestra, the Hartt School, the New England Ballet Company, the Eastern Connecticut Ballet Company, and the Connecticut Dance School, among many others.  "Scenes from the Nutcracker" is a terrific option for younger audiences, as the abbreviated performance lasts about an hour and children are invited to sit down in front to be close to the action (and interact with the dancers following the show).

If you're starting to feel the pinch of this spendy season, there are quite a few free events on offer this weekend, including Santa's Workshop at Wickham Park, a free screening of The Polar Express in Stamford, and a fun visit with Santa at the Seymour Land Trust (food donations are welcome at most of these events—double check with the venues for specific needs).

As always, we continue to update the Mommy Poppins Family Events Calendar with family-friendly activities around the state. Be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletters and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Weekend Fun for Westchester Kids: A Christmas Carol, Hanukkah Kick-Off

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and Hanukkah, as evidenced by the abundance of holiday happenings in Westchester and the Hudson Valley!

The recurring holiday events taking place throughout the month are now supplemented with a fresh batch of holiday fanfare, including Dickens' Christmas Carol. For a nature-themed holiday excursion, get crafty with your centerpiece at Winter Wildflower Arrangements. Plus, Hanukkah events are beginning to roll out this weekend, with assorted fun to be had at One Community, One Hanukkah Celebration, and holiday performances continue, including a family-focused opera: Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Read on for our top picks—then be sure to consult our Event Calendar for the full panoply of options! Don’t forget to check out our Holiday Fun Guide to plan the remaining days of the holiday season and our December GoList for our top picks for the month (including events that are independent of the holidays). Of course, don't miss the best places to visit Santa in Westchester!

Be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletters to stay up to date on all kinds of fun—holiday and otherwise!

Weekend Fun: Butterflies Return, Lego Fun, Circus, Winter Fairs

Fa la la la la la, and 'tis the season! Holiday-themed events this weekend in NYC include the New York Theatre Ballet's performance of Keith Michael's The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol: Scrooge in the Village, Tot Chanukah, the Winter Family Fair, and more.

Plus, it's finally here! This Saturday, December 10, is Mommy Poppins Night for Mother Africa: My Home at the New Victory Theater. Not only can our readers score discounted tickets to this high-flying circus spectacle featuring some of Africa's greatest acrobats and contortionists, guests also get to participate in a pre-show, Mother Africa-themed workshop. Hurry though—tickets are going fast.

Feeling a little overwhelmed by the holiday festivities? Take a break at the Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History, which opens this weekend with blue morphos and large owl butterflies ready to land on your nose. Or try your hand at glassblowing and printmaking—how's that for hands-on? There are also two cool Lego-related happenings this weekend: a brand-new Lego Holiday Experience put on by the folks at Brick Fest Live, plus the kickoff of the building of possibly the world's largest Lego menorah.

All of our top weekend picks are below. While you're out and about, make time to check out some of the most spectacular holiday light displays around the Big Apple while considering ways to volunteer or donate with your family. Find more holiday events in our Holiday and Christmas Guide for Families.

As always, take advantage of our December GoList featuring highlights for the month, as well as our 25 Free Holiday Events for NYC Kids, and daily Event Calendar.

The Best Museums for Kids in Northern New Jersey

When bad weather hits, a trip to a museum can be a great cure for cabin fever. With winter upon us, it's time to check out a few local gems that offer kids hands-on art and science exploration. At these northern New Jersey museums, kids can study the stars at a planetarium, learn about dinosaurs that once roamed modern-day New Jersey, create their own works of art, meet animals, make music, and much more. They're guaranteed to learn something—and get nice and tired in the process. Read on for five of our favorite spots in northern New Jersey, and be sure to check out our roundup of museums in central and southern New Jersey, too. 

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