Newton

What to Do on the Charles River with Boston Kids: Sailing, Kayaking, Duck Tours, and More

Winding through 23 towns, Boston's beloved Charles River is a great place to visit with kids, whether they're keen to cruise on the water or just play alongside it. We've rounded up our favorite family activities on the Charles, including hopping a Duck Boat, renting a canoe, picnicking on the Esplanade, and cheering on rowers at the Head of the Charles. No matter how you choose to spend your waterfront day, kids are sure to come away from their adventures with renewed appreciation for our hometown river.

Best Swimming Ponds and Lakes Around Boston

Living in or near Boston means that there are plenty of beaches that are perfect for families looking to spend the day outside. But swimming in the ocean can be tricky. First of all, it's usually freezing, which may not bother your kids, but makes most parents feel like popsicles. Also, the waves at many coastal beaches are often too strong for little ones to enjoy. Luckily, there are many local ponds and lakes where swimming is not only easy, but super-fun. So we’ve rounded up 10 places near Boston where you and your kids can splash around in freshwater all summer long.

10 One-Mile-or-Less Hikes to Take with Your Preschooler Around Boston

Being a parent to a little one doesn't mean you need to hang up your hiking boots. Boston boasts plenty of tree-lined walking paths that accommodate strollers, and even more short, easy hiking trails to suit kids who've become a little more sure-footed. Along with the many short, winding routes that snake through Blue Hills, just outside city limits, these 10 hikes are well-maintained, close to Boston, and offer just the right amount of challenge for preschool-age trailblazers. 

Cooking with Kids in and Around Boston: Classes, Camps, and Parties

Whether our kids are adventurous eaters or too timid to try anything beyond boxed mac ’n’ cheese, teaching them about food prep, healthy eating, and nutrition is one of the more important things we as parents can do for their well being. Cooking together at home is one way to do this, but there are also plenty of opportunities for “instructive” fun through kids’ cooking classes and workshops.

One of the appealing aspects of kids’ cooking instruction is that it quite often takes the form of a single-class workshop or two- to three-session program. So, even if your children have regular sports team commitments or semester-long dance or music classes, they can still satisfy their inner foodies without missing a goal or a beat. Plus, many kids’ cooking classes are offered during those long school vacations or summer breaks—just the thing to keep kids engaged and entertained. Cooking workshops also make fun birthday parties - kids learn something, have fun, and are well fed. And (maybe best of all!), no mess for the parents. (More cooking party ideas here.)

We’ve rounded up five places that offer kids’ cooking classes and workshops in and around Boston. Get ready for your kids to cook up something great!

9 Drop-In Indoor Playgrounds Where Boston Kids Can Get Their Energy Out

As temperatures hover around freezing and even trusty toys are getting tiresome, every parent is looking for fun winter activities that can help kids expend energy and get their sillies out indoors. Just in time for February school vacation, we’ve rounded up 10 indoor play spaces where little and big kids can slide, climb, dodge, play pretend, and make friends—just as they might on their favorite outdoor playgrounds. Most are a drive outside city limits, but all have lots enough space and options for high-energy fun to make a day trip feel well worth it.

10 Great Indoor Places to Have a Kid’s Birthday Party in or Near Boston

If you want to have a wonderful party for your child, but you’re overwhelmed by the choices and don't have time to mine for information, I have a gift for you: Recommendations for 10 super-fun, parent-lauded indoor birthday party places in the Boston area, and everything you need to know about them.

The places featured are different in many ways, but they all have some things in common: They have been recommended by local parents, are indoors (so you don't have to worry about the weather), minimize the amount of work you have to do, and offer parties that kids with a wide range of interests enjoy. So read on, pick a place, and have a party your child will be talking about for a long time to come. Since prices may fluctuate and there's a range of packages at many places, we give you an idea of costs ranging from $ (inexpensive) to $$$ (more pricey).

If your child is a little older and prefers parties with more of a sporty spin, you may want to also consider our picks for indoor parties for active kids in Boston, the North suburbs, South suburbs, and MetroWest.

5 Kids' Farm Camps Near Boston for Little Plant and Animal Lovers

If your Boston kid is enchanted by things that grow in the dirt, whether they're pea shoots or baby piglets, it might be time to consider farm camp. Trust me when I tell you your kids will love it—when else are children encouraged to get messy and play with farm animals? Hosting summer camp on the farm offers kids the chance to explore the countryside while still in close proximity to the city, and your kids will get to be outside, do a lot of learning about ecology and environmental science, and discover the wonders of vegetables.

Here are five summer farm camps within about a half hour of Boston in Newton, Waltham, Natick and more nearby cities and towns. Please check the websites or call for exact prices, which may fluctuate seasonally. 

Find more great summer camp options for your Massachusetts kids in our Camp Guide and Directory of listings, which is searchable by interest, age, or location.

12 Playgrounds with Tot Lots Designed Especially for Boston Babies and Toddlers

One of the things I’ve been looking forward to doing with my little boy is taking him to a playground. A stable sitter, he’s just about ready for a bucket swing...just in time for spring! But not all playgrounds cater to the sub-preschool set. Luckily, there are several in and around Boston that do have sandboxes, swings, and smaller play structures built specifically with the littlest kids in mind. Here are some of our favorite local "tot lots" with special features that are perfect for older babies and toddlers.

9 Family-Friendly Spots to Watch the Boston Marathon with Kids

It's finally mid-April again, and Boston’s time to shine. Marathon Monday brings out the best of Boston, as half a million people come together to cheer on competitors from around the world. With 26 miles to choose from, it’s hard to know the best places to go to get the best view, while staying away from rowdy crowds. Here are a few spots along the marathon route where you can get a great view, while staying close to transportation and places to eat. If watching fife and drum brigades, battles, and other historical enactments is more your family's speed, check out these other Patriots' Day activity ideas.

10 Enrichment Classes for Boston Babies

Many new parents look forward to participating in classes focused on music and art with their children. If you think you have to wait until your little one is older to do any sort of formal enrichment activity, you might be surprised to learn that there are many options available for even the littlest babies. These classes are a great way to bond and are perfect for providing much-needed stimulation for babies who are past the newborn stage. So here’s a roundup of 10 classes designed especially for Boston babies. 

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