South Suburbs

25 Things We Can't Wait to Do in Boston This Fall

Ah, fall … can there be a better season to get out and do things as a family in Boston? The draining heat of summer is behind us, back to school jitters have subsided, and the threat of winter’s cold and snow is (hopefully) still weeks away. The beauty of nature surrounds us and family fun is plentiful, whether you want to experience a little culture or frolic on a farm. To herald in the season, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite, must-do autumn activities for families.

5 Free Outdoor Playgroups for Boston Babies and Toddlers

As soon as the weather turned warm, I couldn’t wait to get outside with my son. And while we love going to the park or playground by ourselves to swing or play with toys, it’s extra fun when a friend or two can join us. So when I started hearing about outdoor playgroups, an increasingly popular alternative to meet-ups in houses and rec centers, I knew we had to check them out. We’ve mostly been going to the Growing Center (see below) because we live in Somerville, but all of the groups look like really fun (not to mention no-cost) ways to soak up the sunshine and fresh air while meeting new friends.

25 Things to Do on Boston's South Shore with Kids this Summer

Even though I grew up in Boston, I knew very little about the South Shore before I moved there. Much to my delight, in addition to being a beautiful part of New England, there is also a lot of fun things to do, especially in the summer. Here are some top picks that are worth the drive (and possible Cape traffic!) to this special area.

6 Summer Birthday Party Spots for Boston Kids

Summer is nearly upon us and that means it’s time to plan birthday parties for kids born when school is out. I have a summer baby, so I’ve thought a lot about where to have a party when the weather is nice and everyone’s on vacation. We've shared ideas for outdoor options where you can plan a free, spontaneous celebration, but we discovered several more venues—some indoors, some out—that specialize in summery kids' parties. Here are six of our favorite warm-weather birthday bash spots around Boston.

6 Boston-Area Zoos That Aren't in Boston (and Totally Worth the Drive)

Zoos are a popular destination for families with kids of all ages—who doesn’t love to gawk at giraffes and roar like a lion? While Franklin Park Zoo is a popular (and wonderful) option, there are six others within a 90-minute drive of Boston that each offer something unique for animal aficionados. Whether it’s Franklin Park’s sister zoo in Stoneham or York’s Wild Kingdom in Maine, there is an option for you within day-trip distance, offering entrance to another world of miraculous and mysterious creatures not normally seen around Boston.

Boston Kids' Swim Lessons Where Parents Don't Need to Get in the Pool

There are plenty of places that offer parent-child swim lessons for babies and toddlers in Boston, but that format doesn't work for all families. In some cases, parents aren't keen on the idea of getting in the pool themselves; in others, kids respond better to instructors when parents aren't around. Fewer places offer lessons for under-3-year-olds without a caregiver in the pool to participate, but many that do are highly rated by parents. Here are a few places to choose from if you'd prefer to stay dry while your little one takes the plunge.

10 Great Places to Hike with Kids Around Boston

I’ve always loved hiking, so I was eager to get back to it not long after having my first baby. Last fall, we joined the Babes in the Woods' weekly guided hikes for baby-wearing caregivers at the Middlesex Fells, one of my favorite local hiking spots. And this spring, I'd love to explore even more local trails. Whether your kids are in a carrier or old enough to hike alongside you, there are plenty of fun and scenic trails throughout the Boston area to enjoy. Here are 10 nearby spots to take in the great outdoors on foot.

Top 10 Boston-Area Nature Centers for Young Children

Local mom and “Outdoors with Kids Boston” guidebook author, Kim Foley MacKinnon, shares her best family outing tips and picks with you as part of our guest blog series with the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Kids Outdoors Boston free online community.

Young children are insatiably curious, and nature centers offer a great way to indulge their interest about the world around them. From birding kits to aquariums, to nature-themed games and special programs, several Boston-area centers have plenty to keep youngsters engaged. Here’s our pick of the top ten within an hour or so of the city.

9 Summer Art Camps for Boston Kids

Sure, kids dabble in paint and clay once a week or so throughout the Boston school year. But if you have a child who really loves to create, a weeklong (or longer) summer art camp might be just the thing to ignite a passion.

These nine visual art camps, happening throughout the summer around Boston, span ages and art media, so you're sure to find one that gets your creative kid excited.

Be sure to check out our complete Boston Camp Guide for other art-based programs, including theater camps and more.

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