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Action Athletics: Heaven for Active Kids (and Ninja Warrior Wannabes)

If your family is familiar with "warped walls" or worships some guy named the Cowboy Ninja—or you simply have a kid with energy to burn—we've found a place for you: Action Athletics in Wellesley. Though a lot of camps and gyms are starting to offer obstacle course activities as more and more kids become hooked on the television show American Ninja Warrior, Action Athletics is the real deal: It's the training home of several prominent TV Ninjas, including Jon "the Giant" Alexis, Jesse Labreck, and Allyssa Beird. And with 25 different obstacles that can be made into countless configurations, it also caters to challenge-seeking children—of all ages—who want to leap, swing, and test their limits, just the way their Ninja heroes do.

When I found out that Action Athletics was expanding from its Newton to a big new space in Wellesley, where we live, I thought I'd bring my sons and their friends to give it a try. Here's what we learned and what we thought about the place. (Spoiler alert: We've been back three times since). This fall, the Newton location is reopening, too, giving families more options for channeling their inner Ninja.

10 Perfect Fall Weekend Getaways Near NYC for Families

Fall in the Northeast is a lovely time of year as the trees explode in a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and gold. The crisp air and outdoor activities are hard to resist for most kids (and grown-ups). New Yorkers can experience that magic right in the city's gorgeous parks, some of which feel almost like a countryside retreat during a foliage walk. But for a weekend away, perhaps over those fall school holidays, consider a trip north to full immerse the family in falltime fun.

We’ve rounded up 10 options, from a luxury retreat in Connecticut to glamping in New Hampshire to an Adirondack wilderness retreat where you can really unplug. 

10 Montessori Preschools for Long Island Kids

The days are long, but the years are short. Before you know it, it’s time for your little one to spread his or her wings and head off to preschool.

There are many preschool options on Long Island and choices can be overwhelming. But if you’ve decided a Montessori preschool is a good fit for your child, we’ve put together a list of 10 options to get you started on a search.

For the uninitiated, Montessori is an educational philosophy developed more than a century ago that encourages kids to be independent and learn at their own pace. Typically students are grouped by ability rather than age, classrooms are outfitted with specific learning materials, and specially trained teachers act as observers and facilitators.  

Take advantage of the tours and open houses these schools offer and bring along your child so he or she can get a feel for the school as well. For more learning opportunities for Long Island kids, check out our classes and enrichment guide.

Weekend Fun: Superheroes, Seafarers, Summer Movies

It's the last weekend of August! Soak up some late-summer fun this weekend with festivals galore, including the Melon Festival at Oasis Family Farm, the Chocolate & Vanilla Celebration at Camden Children's Garden, and the Caribbean Festival in New Brunswick. See historic sights and demonstrations at Industrial Crafts Day at Cooper Gristmill and Seafarers' Weekend at Historic Cold Spring Village. And pack up your beach blankets and snacks for outdoor movie nights in Seaside Heights and Highland Park.

Find more ways to savor the last days of summer vacation in our Summer Fun Guide for NJ Kids, including our list of the Best Jersey Shore Beaches for Families. And be sure to check out our Event Calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Last but not least, visit our brand-new local DEALS page to score discounts on camps, classes, birthday party packages, and more for NJ kids. Check back often because we're constantly adding new ones.

PJ Masks Live! Time to Be a Hero Landing at a Theater Near You

Grab your mask and activate your animal amulets: PJ Masks is coming to a stage near your family this fall, and its stars need your help to save the day.

The latest in a line of TV-to-stage adaptations, the first PJ Masks live theater show stars Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko in a 60-plus North American city tour, including shows near Mommy Poppins readers in Connecticut, New York City, Philadelphia, Texas, and Los Angeles.

Vikings Invade the Connecticut Coast!

I admit it, as soon as I learned there was a 115 foot Viking ship resting in Connecticut waters, I couldn't get the kids packed into the car fast enough. Not only does this speak to our family's Scandinavian heritage and a long standing interest in all things Viking, but also hello?! There's a 115 foot Viking ship resting in Connecticut waters! This sort of thing does not happen every day. But it's happening right now at Mystic Seaport and if you have time during these dog days of summer or over Labor Day Weekend, make a point to invite yourself aboard the Draken Harald Halfagre before the ship closes to visitors for the winter and sails away next spring. 

Battery Park City with Kids: Best Things to Do in this Manhattan Nabe

It's hard to imagine that Battery Park City didn’t exist 50 years ago. Built on landfill, this planned community of high-rise apartment buildings features beautiful parks and a show-stopping riverside Esplanade along the southwestern tip of Manhattan. It offers an almost suburban existence right in Manhattan, with two excellent, BPC-zoned public schools, small supermarkets, and chain pharmacies.

Residents have to cross West Street (a.k.a. the West Side Highway) to get to the subway, Whole Foods, and all of Tribeca, but there are three pedestrian bridges across the highway, one underground pedestrian tunnel from the World Trade Center Oculus, and via a free shuttle bus. It’s not a bad tradeoff for those who dream of a giant communal backyard with river views. And oh, the playgrounds!

There's little mystery why Battery Park City pops up in our 5 NYC Day Trip Itineraries Perfect for Preschoolers, our guide to NYC play fountains, and top NYC playgrounds with shade.

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