Allston/Brighton

Best Spray Parks and Water Fountains for Preschoolers in Boston

Boston has a lot of big, splashy, exciting spray parks and fountains that can be great fun for families in summer. But I've learned the hard way that not every water playground is suited for preschoolers. 

A few years back, when one of my sons was 4, I took him and his brothers to the Christian Science Plaza fountain along Huntington Avenue. To me as a parent, it was a wise selection: awesome fountain, I didn't have to walk far from the parking spot, and bathrooms were nearby in the Prudential Center. But my 4-year-old kid was horrified by the fountain and how big it was. It took him a half hour to even wander up to the where the water shot out of the ground, and soon after he got soaked and was freezing. It was not the best choice for a young child. 

With that thinking in mind, we've rounded up some gentler, preschooler-friendly local fountains and splash pads. Be sure to check out these outdoor pools with fun slide and spray features for more ways to cool off this summer, or if a climate-controlled environment is more your family's speed, consider a visit to a preschooler-friendly indoor water park. There are plenty of ways to get wet around Boston—without tears!

25 Ways to Spend a Morning with Your Toddler in Boston

Once you've gotten through breakfast and downed your second (or third) cup of coffee, have you ever looked at your toddler and thought, "what the heck am I going to do with you today?" Too young for many full-time schools or camps, too old to just tag along on errands all day, toddlers are suited for fun, interactive activities that don't require a long attention span and will tucker them out for their afternoon nap. Fortunately for parents and caregivers, there are a plenty of great local activities that will get you both out of the house; and many attractions are 100% free for toddlers.

10 Places to Take Kids Ice Skating for Free in Boston

We're huge fans of the many outdoor ice rinks that open every winter around Boston, but these popular (and touristy) spots can get pretty crowded and just a bit pricey. What’s a Boston mom or dad to do? Don't worry: Boston happens to have lots of public skating options that are totally free! Here’s what you need to know to have a fun, no-cost time as a family at these 10 free skating rinks around town.

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Halloween Art, Pumpkin Science, and Jack-O-Lanterns; Oct 2-6

From storefronts to Starbucks beverages, pumpkin is everywhere. But don't think kids are tiring of seeing, tasting, or celebrating the humble squash that heralds Halloween season. This week, they can get their fix at a number of events that feature pumpkin-themed activities. Artsy kids can make some spookily beautiful holiday decor close to the city, while science lovers are invited to dig into pumpkin science in the north 'burbs. At the the end of the school and work week, a trip to Providence would be well worth it, since the region's most stupendous Jack-O-Lantern display is illuminated at the zoo.

For more science, drop by Brighton for a kid-friendly exploration of buoyancy; or for more Halloween fun, don't miss the big parade that officially kicks off seasonal fun in Salem. Whatever you do, don't forget to bookmark our Events Calendar, since we're adding new activities to the mix each day.

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Eco-Pop, Tidepools, and Yoga with Goats; Aug 7-Aug 11

Crabs in the library? Yoga with goats? Some of the events we're excited about sound more like a Seuss story than real life, but that's partly what makes this early-August week so much fun around Boston. On Wednesday, the Aquarium folks bring their mobile touch tank to Brighton bookstacks. The next day, you can bring your limber little ones up to Bedford for barnyard yoga and some farm treats. 

Speaking of farm treats, Gore Place is once again hosting its fantastically simple (and delicious) roast corn party, where the kids can let loose some energy on the property while you take care of dinner. (If you have a yen for more peak produce, you can pick-your-own blueberries this week, too).

It's also a good time to help kids think beyond themselves. A workshop in Dorchester bring children's attention to the historic buildings that shape our city, while an event in J.P. teaches environmental awareness through music. Still eager for more activities? Check out our Events Calendar for other exciting events this week and beyond.

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. And we can’t think of a better time to expand your treat horizons beyond your neighborhood shop than on National Ice Cream Day, a mid-July annual tradition. So we’re bringing you a rundown of some of Boston's most drive-worthy destination ice cream shops, from old-fashioned soft serve purveyors to trendy rolled ice cream makers.

8 Pools Where Kids Swim Free (or Nearly Free) in Boston

When the temperatures soar in Boston, you can always stop by a sprinkler park or wading pool to cool off a little; but sometimes, a refreshing swim in a bonafide pool is in order. Sure, there are some swanky hotel or membership pools inside city limits where you can pay a pretty penny to swim, but when kids and diaper bags are in tow, you don't need much more than a safe stretch of cool water to feel happy. Here, we’ve rounded up eight great swimming pools in Boston where kids and parents can splash, float, or practice strokes all summ

15 Spots in Boston to Get an Amazingly Delicious Frappe

It may be below freezing for long chunks of the year in Boston, but that doesn’t stop our city from absolutely loving ice cream. And to show just how serious they are about cool treats, northern New Englanders have developed their own term for a thick, creamy ice-cream-based drink—a frappe. Basically, a frappe is just a fancy term for what the rest of the country calls a milkshake (and what Rhode Islanders, no joke, call a cabinet—because, duh, that's where the blender is kept.) Whatever term your household uses, these frozen drinks are huge hit with kids, especially when temperatures rise. The next time a special treat is in order, hit one of these amazing frappe joints, which range from a 19th-century dairy farm to a lactose-free creamery. We can hear the happy slurping already.

Where to See Your Favorite Family Holiday Movies on the Big Screen in Boston

One of my family’s favorite traditions is watching all of the classic holiday movies. We start right after Thanksgiving to get us in the holiday spirit as we get our tree, bake cookies, and wrap gifts. Usually we watch these movies at home on our couch with popcorn and pajamas, but there’s something really special about seeing a film on the big screen. With that in mind, here's where you and your family can catch all of your favorite holiday flicks at movie theaters and libraries in or near Boston this season:

Sailing, Kayaking, Duck Tours, and Other Fun Ways to Experience the Charles River With Kids

The banks of the Charles River are perfect places for families to walk, run, bike or play. The Esplanade, which lines the Boston side of the Charles, is even a perfect place to picnic. But there’s a lot of fun to be had on the water, too. From kayaking and sailing to riverboat cruises and Duck Tours, there are plenty of ways to get on the Charles with kids. Here are six of the best options to explore this summer.

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