Waltham

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.

Swimming Pools and Spraygrounds with Day Passes or Memberships for Families Around Boston

We all could use a dip in an outdoor swimming pool during Boston's humid summertime. If you're looking for more of a swim than a splash pad will allow, or a little more excitement than Boston's free or nearly free pools offer you might want to consider paying for a day pass or a seasonal membership to one of these kid-friendly swimming pools featuring spraygrounds, kiddie pools, slides, and more. Here are seven gloriously refreshing options that will keep kids entertained all day. On a scorcher of a long day, the fees—and a bit of a drive, in some cases—will feel well worth it.

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!

Boston-Area Spring Festivals and Fairs for Kids and Families

As March winds down and the city blossoms into springtime, there are few better ways to celebrate than by getting outside at one of Boston’s fun, family-friendly festivals. With so many to choose from, it seems like the whole city is cheering the warmer, sunnier days with music, art, flowers, and food. And the best part? Many of these special events are free. Mark your calendars now and enjoy the anticipation of balmier, more festive days ahead!

10 Fall Festivals in Boston You Don't Want to Miss

It’s not officially autumn yet, but it will be soon and that means it’s time for fall festivals. There are so many in the Boston area that it can be hard to know which ones are good for families. We took the guesswork out of it by narrowing the field down to our favorites. You’ll find good food, fun activities, music, performances, and much more at these 10 fall festivities in Boston that are perfect for both parents and kids.

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.

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.

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.

Boston Kids' Activities That Fit Working Parents' Schedules

Music, art, swimming, dance, playgroups: When you're the parent of a young child, the opportunities to introduce your son or daughter to new experiences and friends can seem limitless. But if you're a working parent, the last thing you want to do is cram your already packed calendar with classes that happen at inconvenient times. Luckily, Boston is home to many stellar programs that are particularly accommodating to working parents' schedules. Here are some of our favorites.

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