Boston

10 Awesome Boston-Area Playgrounds Worthy of Getting in the Car

Having a playground in your neighborhood is ideal. It’s a nice break from playing in your own yard and a great place to meet up for playdates. But going to the same playground over and over can get tiresome. Luckily there are several really special playgrounds near Boston that are worth packing up the snacks and strollers and driving to. Here are 10 of the best that are ready to host your kids’ summer adventures.

10 Seafood Spots for Dinner after a North Shore Beach Day

We're blessed to have so many stellar beaches around Boston: You and the kids can have your your toes in the sand and the sun shining on your faces in under an hour. But while beach days with the family can be blissful, they are also a lot of work. Once you've packed lunch, towels, toys, and the umbrella, navigated seaside traffic, parked, and then hauled your kids and gear to your spot in the sand, who wants to think about cooking dinner? Fortunately, not far from some of Massachusetts' best beaches are classic, casual seafood restaurants to cap off your day trip. The North Shore in particular has a high concentration of clam shacks, lobster lodges, and seafood shanties with everything from clam strips to grilled cheese, ensuring even the pickiest of beach bums will find something they like on the menu.

So sit in your beach chair a few minutes longer, watch the sun dip a little lower on the horizon, and let someone else do the cooking.

Weekend Fun for Boston Kids: Sand Sculpture, Figment, and the Return of Old Ironsides; July 22-23

As they say, everything old is new again, from cars to comics and collectibles, but especially for our very own Old Ironsides, returning after a two year restoration and looking as good as new. Need more summer goodness? Head to the biggest sand sculpture festival on the East Coast, find Waldo to wish him a happy birthday, and explore the some participatory art and culture on the Greenway.

Feeling active? Get your run and bike on at this kids-only duathlon

Also on Mommy Poppins this week:

Need more family fun ideas? Check out our full events calendar.

Providence WaterFire: Tips for an Amazing Outdoor Experience with Your Family

WaterFire just might be the greatest thing that’s ever happened to Providence, Rhode Island. In the 23 years since the first bonfires were lit on the rivers in Providence, the brilliant and moving art installation has helped to transform the city into a vibrant, family-friendly destination.

Part community festival and part art exhibition—complete with bonfires juxtaposed with water, music, arts and crafts vendors, boat rides, and live performances—WaterFire is held on various evenings from late April through early November. And spectators will tell you: It's an event not to be missed. But just like other wonderful, very popular events such as First Night Boston, getting the inside scoop on WaterFire can mean the difference between having a magical evening with the family and a really long night. Here are 25 things to look for and to know before you go—with wisdom learned (sometimes the hard way) from my family’s experience and from the very knowledgeable team at WaterFire

New Moms' Groups for Boston-Area Moms and Babies

As a soon-to-be new mom, one of the things I’m most looking forward to is finding a group of other new moms to bond with. Finding others in a similar stage of parenthood can be a great way to gather support and share advice, especially during those tiring newborn days. Luckily, there are plenty of options to choose from in Boston, no matter what type of group you’re looking for or what neighborhood you live in. And best of all? Most of them are free!

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Outdoor Theater, City Splash, and Mobile Red Sox; July 17-21

With kids in tow, it can be hard—not to mention pricey—to make it to the theater, a lake vacation, or a professional baseball game. But a beautiful thing about this week (other than the weather looking up, of course), is that some of these attractions are coming to a regular old neighborhood near you...for free! On Monday, the dynamic theater group Liars and Believers bring their wacky physical comedy to a Cambridge elementary school playground. The next day, families with older kids aren't just allowed—but encouraged—to descend on the Esplanade and splash around the Charles. On Wednesday, baseball fans can have an interactive Red Sox experience in East Boston. 

If you're looking to soak up the sunshine this week, consider a picnic dinner (with singalongs) on the loveliest lawn in J.P., or a stop at a world-class sand sculpture contest (before the weekend crowds descend). There are loads of other ways to stretch your legs and get your sillies out; just check out our Events Calendar, which we update daily.

Boston Boat Rides that Kids Love—Codzilla, Pirate Ships, Whale Watches, and More

With summer in full swing and Boston Harbor within reach, what better way to spend quality family time than to take to the seas? Our city, after all, has a deep and exciting nautical history, and while docked ships like the Tea Party Museum and USS Constitution are fun to climb aboard and poke around, kids really go crazy for the action of a venture offshore. Boston Harbor has whale watches, speedboats, schooners, and even a pirate ship—enough seafaring options to satisfy every member of the family. 

11 New Ice Cream Shops in or Near Boston

There are few things more quintessentially summer than eating an ice cream cone or sipping a frappe on a hot day. It’s a rite of passage for kids—and one that adults definitely won’t mind partaking in, too. And we can’t think of a better time to snag a cool treat than on National Ice Cream Day, which is Sunday, July 16, this year. So we’re bringing you a rundown of the newest ice cream shops in Boston that are open just in time for you to celebrate.

Weekend Fun for Boston Kids: Brazil, Lego, and a River Festival; July 15-16

One of the things I appreciate most about Boston is how many educational and cultural opportunities the city has to offer. Of course, this is true all year round, but it's especially true during the summer months with the availability of outdoor spaces. This weekend, families can explore the cultures of Brazil, appreciate art in Somerville, travel west for some music, and even participate in a build-off challenge.

Need more outdoor fun? Rediscover the earlier work of the Fab Four, head to the harbor to learn about historic pastimes, and take the family on a special night hike

Also on Mommy Poppins this week:

Need more family fun ideas? Check out our full events calendar.

5 Drive-In Movie Theaters Near Boston

For me, a drive-in movie theater evokes memories of playing catch with family and friends on a warm summer night, then settling in to watch movies on the big screen until the kids fell asleep. Those were distant memories until I took my own family to the Mendon Twin Drive-in. The experience was exactly as I had remembered it, and we now try to make it to the drive-in at least once each summer. 

Read on for everything you need to know about a family night at the drive-in, including five drive-in theaters near the Boston area and five tips for enjoying your experience to the fullest.  

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