Newton

Action Athletics: Heaven for Active Kids (and Ninja Warrior Wannabes)

If your family is familiar with "warped walls" or worships some guy named the Cowboy Ninja—or you simply have a kid with energy to burn—we've found a place for you: Action Athletics in Wellesley. Though a lot of camps and gyms are starting to offer obstacle course activities as more and more kids become hooked on the television show American Ninja Warrior, Action Athletics is the real deal: It's the training home of several prominent TV Ninjas, including Jon "the Giant" Alexis, Jesse Labreck, and Allyssa Beird. And with 25 different obstacles that can be made into countless configurations, it also caters to challenge-seeking children—of all ages—who want to leap, swing, and test their limits, just the way their Ninja heroes do.

When I found out that Action Athletics was expanding from its Newton location to a big new space in Wellesley, where we live, I thought I'd bring my sons and their friends to give it a try. Here's what we learned and what we thought about the place. (Spoiler alert: We've been back three times since). This fall, the Newton location is reopening, too, giving families more options for channeling their inner Ninja.

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 sizeable 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.

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: STEM, Yoga, and Summer Solstice; June 19-23

It's a week of wonders here in Boston. Whether your child is more fascinated in things nautical or meteorological, science or circus acts, there's sure to be something that will inspire awe between now and next weekend. If you haven't gotten a glimpse at the glorious tall ships which have taken up temporary residence in our waters, be sure to head down to the harbor before they depart for the next port of call. There are kid-friendly introductions to engineering downtown and to yoga in Chestnut Hill. If watching contortionists sounds more appealing than acting like one, be sure to check out the circus acts, musical numbers, and museum activities in Cambridge. Hilltop sunsets and a free glimpse at one of our city's most underrated exhibits close out this wondrous week. If you're craving more, connect to our Events Calendar for fun ideas this week and beyond. 

12 Boston Spots Where Kids Can Make Father's Day Gifts for Dad

Father’s Day is just around the corner, and there's a vast array of crafty places where kids can make a special gift for their favorite guy. Whether it’s making a masterpiece before the holiday or going as a family to make something together, Boston kids have plenty of opportunities over the next couple weeks to create gifts above and beyond a construction paper card or bottle of aftershave. From sand art knick-knacks to handmade wooden games, there's a gift-making opportunity to suit every child—and every kind of Dad.

Zip Lines and Obstacle Courses Outside of Boston

Do you have a child who loves adventure—or who can often be found scaling walls or scrambling up trees? While a family hike is always a great outlet for these high-energy kiddos, you might want to up the ante with a day trip to an adventure course, where they can safely climb to their hearts’ content (without giving you a heart attack). Massachusetts is home to a number of obstacle and zipline courses with a range of age-appropriate challenges that will excite thrill-seekers young and old. 

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Dumplings, Annie, and Crazy Concoctions; May 8-12

The extended, school-and-sports heavy stretch between spring break and summertime can sometimes feel like a long slog for kids and parents alike. But this week's offerings are an antidote to the everyday routine. Taking us from the slave era to the Great Depression to the futuristic world of video games, this week's events really run the historical—and cultural—gamut. And just in case you need a stress reliever, there's a chance to dig your hands into edible dough at the beginning of the week, and Play-doh (and similar sensory delights) at week's end. For more ideas to make this a memorable week, take a look, as always, at our Events Calendar. We're adding new activities everyday.

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Egg Drop, Royal Theater, and a Banana Hunt; April 10-14

In this busy week leading up to Easter, eggs are definitely on the event menu. An egg drop contest will be held at the Boston Public Library's Central Branch on Monday, and bananas will stand in for eggs at a storytime and hunt at the World's Only Curious George store on Friday. It's a good week to introduce kids to the world of musical theater and classical dance this week, with two beautiful performances featuring royalty debuting on the Boston stage: The King and I at the Boston Opera House and a Cinderella ballet at the Larcom Theatre on North Shore. Haven't had a close encounter with the rabbit of the hour yet? There are chances to see the Easter Bunny at the Natick and Westgate Malls as well as at Bass Pro Shops all week. Check out our Event Calendar for more fun ideas to entertain you and yours this week.

Fun Purim Events for Families Around Boston

Technically, Purim is the Jewish holiday commemorating the defeat of Haman's plot against the Jews, as recorded in the Book of Esther; but to kids, Purim is mostly just pure fun. Across the city and 'burbs, schools, temples, libraries, and museums are hosting Purim parties and activities, in which kids can dress up in their favorite or zaniest costumes and nosh on traditional treats.

Drop-off Programs for Boston Kids on President's Day

Kids might have President's Day off from school, but that doesn’t always mean that mom and dad can stay home too. Many business are in full swing despite the holiday, which can leave parents in a tight spot when it comes to childcare. Even tougher, many February vacation week drop-off camps don’t start until the Tuesday after President’s Day. To make life easier, we've compiled a list of Boston-area drop-off programs that are available on the holiday.

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