South Suburbs

Easy, Exciting Blue Hills' Hikes with Kids

We'd all like to be the sort of family that hikes together—what can be more healthy and wholesome than that? But with little kids, it can be a challenge to traverse a large parking lot, much less uneven or steep terrain. The nice thing is, one of the closest legit hiking spots to downtown Boston happens to also be among the most kid-friendly: Blue Hills. Stretching across 7,000 acres and four towns—Quincy, Dedham, Milton, and Randolph—Blue Hills' only problem may be its vastness: It can be hard to figure out the best spots for a short-but-sweet journey. Today, we're zeroing in on our three favorite Blue Hills' family hiking trails that can be done in a single morning or afternoon—and make kids feel like great adventurers.

Spots to Breastfeed and Pump Milk in Busy Boston Tourist Areas

Everybody knows that nursing your baby is a special experience that not only nourishes your baby’s body but also strengthens the mother-child bond. But when you're out and about, it can tricky to find a clean, comfortable, and effective place to breastfeed—particularly if you have a curious infant who reacts to noise and light—not to mention pump milk if you're separated. As we enter the heart of spring and start planning fun outings to museumsballparks, and other popular places around town, we're scoping out cushy spots where you can escape the elements, crowded seating, and leering eyes to take care of your baby's needs in peace. (Note that Massachusetts state law permits women to breastfeed openly in any public space or establishment, and imposes a $500 fine for harassing a nursing mom.)

8 Great Bakeries for Birthday Cakes Around Boston

Whether you’re hosting a birthday party at home or at another location, you’re going to need a cake to celebrate your child’s big day. Ideally, we’d all have the time and energy to whip up a beautiful creation ourselves, but it's a tall order, especially during a busy week. That’s when we call in the pros. We rounded up eight of the best bakeries in Boston for when you want your child’s birthday to be extra special...while preserving your sanity!

How and Where to Volunteer With Kids Around Boston

Kids have boundless energy and idealist hearts, which makes them perfect volunteers. But it can be tricky to find giving opportunities open to the whole family. As any parent who’s tried to vacuum or bake cookies in the presence of a young child knows, little kids really, really want to help out, but making sure their efforts aren't counterproductive requires masterful delegation—or even creation—of tasks they can handle independently. Not surprisingly, many volunteer organizations limit involvement to kids who are in their pre-teens or older. Boston, luckily, is home to several organizations and activities designed with families and young kids in mind. If the community spirit of the marathon and Earth Day has you and your kids feeling inspired, read on for ways to give back.

7 Earth Day Activities for Families around Boston

Each year on or around April 22—just as the city comes alive with green grass, budding trees, and spring flowers—Boston fittingly commemorates Earth Day with feel-good activities and celebrations all over town. Kids (along with grown-ups) get a special chance to learn about protecting the environment and how the entire family can become more green. From community service projects to festivals to a zoo celebration, these are also just great chances for families to get outside and have some fun.

Seven Running Clubs for Kids in Boston

On your mark, get set, GO! It’s marathon time, which means Bostonians have running on the brain. Aspiring runners don’t need to be adults to learn to run like Desi Linden or Meb Keflezighi. Seven local running clubs for children will help kids learn to run or train to be the track stars of the future. Whether or not your kid is Olympics-bound, these clubs also promote sportsmanship, friendship, fitness, and self-confidence—which are worth just as much as a medal.

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Free Ice Cream, Bunny Puppets, and Stargazing; April 3-7

You can tell Bostonians are eager for warmer weather to arrive when everyone's taking about baseball, ice cream, and stargazing events this week. But if these summer-esque treats aren't speaking to you, two different Roxbury libraries are serving up terrific, kid-friendly offerings, including a family cooking class on Monday and a board game night that's sure to get you over hump day. If you've been meaning to get to Puppet Showplace theater and haven't yet, hop the train to Brookline Village and catch a super-seasonal, highly interactive show about a certain Mr. Bunni and some carrots he's looking to sell. If you still have room on your plate, take a look at our Event Calendar.

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: A New Museum, Lego Superheroes, and a Farm Fair; March 27-31

New is the theme as Boston families enter the month of April: We're celebrating a museum opening, the arrival (albeit a bit sluggish) of spring, and budding musicians, among other exciting events. Somerville is in the spotlight this week, with a special visit by a superhero to Legoland's weekly Toddler Tuesday and a fair featuring super-healthy, hyperlocal food. For more reasons to get out of the house with the kids, check out our Event Calendar.

5 Family-Friendly Irish Pubs for St. Patrick's Day Weekend

There are plenty of family-friendly ways to get in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, from a free dose of Irish step dancing in Dorchester to the annual parade in South Boston. But perhaps the most authentic and enjoyable way to immerse the whole family in the Irish experience is right around the corner—at your neighborhood pub.

Kids at the pub? Absolutely. In Ireland, you see children in pubs all the time, especially in rural areas. Traditionally, the pub is the cultural focal point of the town. “Gathering as families is very important in Ireland. And for a whole variety of reasons—some as banal as the weather—the most ready place is the pub,” says Brian O’Donovan, native of West Cork and host of A Celtic Sojourn on WGBH 89.7 FM. “They’re open to all without invitation and provide warm, congenial spaces to chat with neighbors, find out what’s happening, share or listen to a song or tune, or even join in a dance. I think that tradition and welcoming atmosphere has passed over here to their American equivalents."

Now, be sensible: I’m not recommending that you drag your kids to the jam-packed downtown pubs after work on Friday, where the drunken revelry of St. Patrick’s Day can rival that of New Year’s Eve. But if there’s a true Irish pub in your neighborhood, it’s likely fine to bring the kids for lunch or an early dinner—and some places even go out of their way to welcome the whole family.

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Guitar Pop, a Pajama Party, and a Very Special Circus; March 6-10

The big news this week is the Boston debut of Circus 1903, a fantastical look at the golden age of circus, at the Wang Theatre. But there are more performances to knock your woolen socks off this wintry March week, including a pop and rock performance from Berklee's top guitar students and an appearance by one of children's literature's finest talents. There are also excuses to feast on pancakes and wear your jammies outside the house, ideas I think we can all get behind. If you're looking for more interesting activities to fill up your week, check out our Event Calendar.

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