Boston

Volunteer From Home: Host a Playdate with a Purpose

Children of all ages from toddlers to tweens love getting together with friends for playdates. And you love hosting them—except when the kids complain about being bored (yes, even with all those games and activity kits spilling out of the closet). The next time your child asks to have pals over, consider organizing a simple and fun service project that can be done at home to help people in need. It's a great way to keep the kids entertained while teaching them the importance of giving back to their community—and reminding them of how lucky they are to have a room overflowing with toys!

Whether you connect the project to something personal, like your child's birthday, or highlight a difficult social issue like homelessness, a service-focused playdate is a gentle way to incorporate helping others into your everyday lives. And of course, doing it with friends makes it feel all the more special.

Here's a list of easy projects for all ages that can be done at home, as well as charities that would love to accept your donations. Always remember to include a handmade card—a sweet personal message from a child can brighten anyone's day.

Advice for Working Moms: Lean In and Lean On

I went back to work full-time this year after several years of working part-time as a high school teacher, and I spent the first few months feeling pretty inadequate at basically everything. By November, I started to feel a little more on top of things, just in time for cold, cough and stomach bug season. Here are some tips and ideas I wish I'd had back in August. (Note: I consider being a stay-at-home mom of young children full time work, so many of these tips are applicable whether you work in or outside of the home.) You might also want to check out the Poppins Parents profile on recent-blogging-award winner, yogi-extraordinaire Kristin Quinn for some inspiration (!) and tips on juggling work and family.

An Itinerary for Visiting Historic Concord with Kids

When you live somewhere for over 20 years, it can be easy to lose appreciation for your surroundings. We recently met up with a group of 8th graders from Richmond, VA, who were on a school trip to the Concord area and asked for their impressions as they visited historic sites in town.

Seeing the world from a 12 year old’s eyes can be enlightening!

Plus, we liked their itinerary - it was a good mixture of indoor and outdoor activities and covered many of the key sights for visitors trying to make the most of two days in town. Looking for more things to do in the area? Please see our 20 Things to do in Concord post.

Celebrating the Winter Olympics 2014 with Kids - Boston Style

Boston may be over 5,000 miles from Sochi, but it’s not too far away to catch some of the Winter Olympic Games fever.

From the Opening Ceremonies on February 7 through two weeks of grueling competition, many of us will be eagerly cheering on Team USA as they go for the Gold. And we’ll be keeping an eye on the local athletes, too; New England is sending its fair share of athletes to the Olympics.

To help families get in the spirit of the games, we've rounded up some special events that local museums are hosting in honor of the Olympics as well as places you can go to (sort of) simulate your own athletic games. Do your kids dream of Olympic gold? We'd love to hear about it, so feel free to add a comment below, or post to our Facebook page.

February Vacation Week 2014 - Classes and Camps for Boston Kids

Has the MLK holiday gotten you thinking about how quickly February Vacation Week is coming up? Luckily, fun and enriching programs abound during the break. I've rounded up some terrific vacation week programs for creative kids who like to craft, draw, create virtual worlds, sing and dance - and kids who love nature, too. Read on for my picks, from learning about modern architecture at Einstein's Workshop to creating museum creatures at the MFA

Boston's Top 5 Accessible Live Performance Venues for Families with Special Needs

Mommy Poppins Boston is delighted to share this guest post from Amber Bobnar of WonderBaby.org, a support and information site for parents of children who are visually impaired (featured in our list of favorite blogs in 2013):

We take our family out to concerts in the Boston area almost every weekend, and my eight-year-old son, Ivan, is in a wheelchair and totally blind. Accessibility is very important to us!

Below you’ll find my rundown of our favorite accessible theaters and live performance venues in the Boston area. I share pros and cons based on a multitude of special needs because I realize that the criteria for what’s accessible will be different for each family. Some kids are in wheelchairs, some have sensory issues, some have hearing or visual impairment and all will react differently in different environments! Find one that looks like a good match for your family and give it a shot! Remember, if it doesn’t work out you can always leave. No big deal. 

10 Indoor Birthday Party Places for Active Kids West of Boston

What do climbing, skating, swordsmanship, batting, and swimming have in common? They are all great birthday party options for kids who like to keep active. Sure, indoor playspaces are awesome locations for kids’ birthday parties, but we’ve found some unique places west of Boston that kids - and parents - just might want to consider.

Of course, they all come with all the advantages of hosting a party indoors and not in your home - plenty of space, no weather worries, no mess to clean up afterwards, and minimal preparation required for parents. Read on for details about 10 indoor birthday party places west of Boston where you can host a party and be assured that kids will be able to channel their energy and excitement in a safe, entertaining environment. And check out our Birthday Party Guide for more places to have a kid’s birthday party in MA, including our roundup of indoor birthday party places for active kids in Boston.

13 Boston Parent Blogs We Loved in 2013

Here at Mommy Poppins Boston, we are always on a journey to find more wonderful ideas for family fun in Boston to share with you. Along the way, we often bump into great parent blogs. As we reflect on the roads we traveled last year, and look for new ways to spend meaningful time with our kids this year, we consider the blogs written by local moms and dads that inform us, help us to feel connected, change the way we see parenthood, or just make us laugh. So, (drum roll, please), here are our 13 favorite new (or new to us) parent blogs in 2013, covering everything from autism to umami, parenting in Boston on a budget to LGBT parenting adventures.  

Free and Discounted Admission to Boston Attractions: Check Out These Public Library Passes

Boston is home to several great museums, the New England Aquarium, and Zoo New England, providing educational and entertaining experiences for families with children of all ages, but the price of admission can be discouraging. Fortunately, most of the area public libraries have agreements with the museums and other attractions that allow library patrons to check out passes for free or discounted tickets.

Free Snow-packed Family Fun: 6 Creative Ideas for Boston Families

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.

There’s no need to look farther than a neighborhood park or your own backyard for free snowy family fun. With a few supplies you probably already have in your house, you can offer up any number of ideas for winter days when the kids can’t come up with their own entertainment.

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