Drop-In Childcare and Date-Night Sitters for Boston-Area Families

Ever find yourself feverishly working your way through your babysitter Rolodex to find that not even one is available? Whether it's a last-minute work commitment, a random appointment, or a spontaneous date night after one of "those" weeks, a great Boston-area caregiver is available. From drop-in childcare to drop-off gym parties, these sitter services will save the day (or night)!

Don't have somewhere you have to be but need a moment to yourself? Check out these Boston area gyms that offer childcare while you break a sweat!

Pittsburgh with Kids: 40 Fun Things To Do in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh has been racking up the cool points lately, landing on "best cities" lists and topping rankings for top spots for sports, restaurants, and even tech. It isn't just college kids flocking here. The Rust Belt city offers plenty of fun things to do for kids and families, including a thriving arts and culture scene.

The Pittsburgh Zoo is a longtime attraction for families, along with the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, but unique offerings like the Carnegie Science Center, National Aviary, and Andy Warhol Museum are a draw, too. We've long touted the city as one of our top Pennsylvania weekend getaways for families, but we recently revisited and enjoyed exploring old favorites and finding more fun things to do in Pittsburgh. Read on for a list of 40 things to do, see, and eat in Pittsburgh!

An Unlikely Story: Day Trip to Wimpy Kid Author's Bookstore Near Boston

Home to Robert McCloskey's Ducklings and the "world's only" Curious George store, the Boston area is known for its kid lit connections. One local children's author is Diary of a Wimpy Kid creator Jeff Kinney,  who’s built an incredibly special bookstore called An Unlikely Story in Plainville, MA. With readings from famous authors, kids' workshops, and cozy spots to read and enjoy a snack, this literary hangout is more than just a shop.

Parents of Boston-area bookworm kids, take note: Not only is the Boston Book Festival in October, with free events and readings, but any day of the week, you could go to An Unlikely Story Bookstore and Cafe to indulge your littlest literati. Here are some more of our favorite Boston children's bookstores, and 12 books that make kids proud to be Bostonians.

Things To Do in Boston this Weekend: Lantern Parade, Boston Book Festival, Robots

It's finally time to give those Halloween costumes a test run at a few of our favorite spooky events this weekend, including the JP Lantern Parade, Boo at the Zoo, and Monster Mashed Up. Sing at the top of your lungs at Spongebob the Musical, the Annual A'Cappella Competition, and Can't Stop Singing That Song. Kids can geek out at the Robot Block Party and learn how they can make a difference at the Kid Convention at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute. And of course, bookworms must not miss all the fun, literary goings-on for kids and grown-ups alike at the Boston Book Festival. There will be exhibits, music, and live characters from kids' favorite books on Saturday and Sunday.

Have a family member with sensory-related challenges or autism? Check out this special performance of Blue Man Group just for them

Top 10 Things To Do at the EcoTarium, the Interactive Science Museum for Kids Near Boston

Spoiled as we are by world-class museums in Boston, it can be easy to overlook smaller, suburban spots like the EcoTarium Museum of Science and Nature in Worcester, MA. But a recent visit to the EcoTarium proved that this unique science museum belongs on every Massachusetts parent's must-visit list. Just a short drive from Boston, the museum offers both indoor and outdoor activities, including interactive exhibits, live animal habitats, nature trails, and more. It's ideal for a day trip, but if you have limited time, we'd recommend hitting these 10 exhibits—plus one bonus seasonal activity (think: bubbles!)

Got super curious kids? Check out our guides to the Museum of ScienceBoston Children's MuseumDiscovery Museums of Acton, and more in our Boston Museums Guide.

Easy Halloween Treats for Kids and Classroom Parties

Candy bars aren't the only Halloween treats to hand out this October 31. School kids across the country are getting ready to celebrate with Halloween parades and classroom parties, meaning you might be on the hook for homemade Halloween treats.

But there's no need to fear the sign-up email headed your way. I've planned more than a few Halloween parties and have put together a list of easy Halloween treats to help parents skip the last-minute scramble. These tried-and-true spooky snacks transform pretzel sticks into ghouls, mandarins into pumpkins, and make enough Monster Mash Brownies that will turn the entire class into sugar monsters.

Best Trick-or-Treating Spots around Boston

Ask a family what their favorite trick-or-treating spot is, and it's likely to be their own neighborhood. It's always fun to see familiar houses lit up with spooky decorations or the sweet old lady from down the street answer the door with a witch's hat and cackle. But sometimes, kids—and adventurous parents—are looking for an exciting alternative to their usual route. In that case, you might consider bringing your loot bags and Unicef boxes to one of the following Boston-area neighborhoods, where residents really take Halloween festivities to the next level. (If you're looking for more spooky fun before the big day, check out these haunted attractions—if you dare!)

100 Things To Do in California with Kids Before They Leave The Nest

Whether your kids are leaving the nest in one year or in ten years, there are at least 100 things to do in California worthy of any family's bucket list. From San Diego to Crescent City and every town in between, there are amusement parks, great hikes, drives to the mountains, adventure activities, and so much more!

Did you know that California has 58 counties? Okay, maybe your bucket list doesn't need to cover all 58, but we have awesome family excursions covering over 30 counties across California's 163,696 square miles. How many have your kids experienced?

9 Polar Express and Christmas Train Rides for Kids Near Boston

What is it about trains and Christmas? The two have become inextricably linked—especially since The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg's glorious picture book about the magic of Christmas, captured kids' hearts and imaginations. During the holiday season, train rides complete with hot chocolate and visits from Santa bring Christmas stories like The Polar Express to life..for all who believe, of course.

Lucky for us, we have plenty of delightful train ride options in driving distance from Boston, from cozy, seaside New England journeys to 4-D movie experiences that feel like a real locomotive ride, right down to the sounds, sights, and even smells. Like other hot holiday shows, teas, and events that tend to sell out, seats on most of these trains fill up fast, so we recommend getting your golden tickets now. 

Columbus Day Weekend Things To Do in Boston: Parades, Indigenous People Fests, and HONK!

Ready to take a break from apple picking and pumpkin patches? Why not celebrate indigenous people with music and dance performances at the Museum of Fine Arts or at the JFK Library's Behind the Mask storytelling event (both free)? Feeling patriotic? The annual Columbus Day Parade returns to East Boston. Speaking of parades, don't miss three days of HONK!, with all the organized musical chaos that these jolly brass musicians bring to Somerville. Visit with fairies at the Enchanted Garden, listen to live music for a good cause at Mad Love Music Festival, and enjoy the arts and culture of the Fenway at Opening Our Doors (also for free!). 


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