Boston

6 Corn Mazes Near Boston With Fun Extras Like Zip Lines, Rides, and Playgrounds

Larger-than-life corn mazes offer families the challenge of finding their way through winding paths to solve a mystery, claim a prize, or just make it to the other side – a perfect fall activity that gets kids and parents working together. Choose a farm with a corn maze to take your apple picking and pumpkin patch excursions up a level, plan an unforgettable birthday bash for your child, or just have a blast as a family. Here are some of the Boston area's best corn mazes for an outdoor autumn adventure—some are opening this weekend. Note: Most mazes are not stroller friendly, so if you’re bringing young children, consider using a backpack carrier.

6 Sweet and Spooky Boston Area Hayrides

Hayrides are an autumn ritual for many families. Depending on the age of your child, you might be in search of a gentle meander through fields or a spine-chilling adventure that sparks Halloween excitement. Dozens of Boston-area farms offer hayrides, and we’ve rounded up them up for you here. The best part? Most of these farms also offer other activities to entertain your family, like farm animals, corn mazes, or delicious cider donuts. Happy—or spooky—trails!

Weekend Fun for Boston Kids: Dogs and Donkeys, PJ Party, and Live Music, Sept 9-10

This weekend is for the dogs...not to mention donkeys and other farm animals, too. Along with this menagerie of offerings, don't miss an annual music festival that features 20 acts throughout the day, and this festival that ends with a bang. There's also a special birthday on the South Shore, a puppet pj party with a snail, and one more big festival on Sunday, with African roots

Still looking for fall activities? There are a bunch of free open houses where families can see learn more about classes before signing up.

Also on Mommy Poppins this week:

Need more family fun ideas? Check out our full events calendar.

Coding Classes and Clubs for Boston-Area Kids—Scratch, Java, and More

Not loving the idea of your kids whiling away the afterschool or weekend hours in front of a tablet or computer? But what if they were engaged in programs that help nudge them away from mindless click-and-tap games and toward some serious 21st century computer skills? These cutting-edge area programs introduce children to coding and programming concepts through interactive games and challenges, and provide an alternative to these great online coding courses by enouraging collaboration in a social setting. My takeaway, after learning about these cool classes: Not all "screen time" is created equal!

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.

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Story Dance, a Big Playdate, and a Hayride; Sept 5-Sept 8

Back-to-school doesn't have to mean the end of fun. This week, lots of kids are back for their first almost-full week of pencils and books (or fingerpaint and circle time, in the case of many of our little ones); but around Boston, there are still loads of fun activities to round out kids' days with a blend of enrichment and entertainment. After they've had their fill of Labor Day fun, kids are encouraged to think locally and selflessly at the same time at a Boston cultural program in the Central Library's map room. A free dance program as well as a big ol' playdate keep children entertained through hump day, while an evening hayride at the Metrowest's most popular (and prettiest) farm will have kids counting down to Friday. For more early September activities in town and beyond, check out our Events Calendar.

16 Places to Go Apple Picking—and More—Near Boston

Nothing says fall in New England like a family excursion to the apple orchards. With many orchards to choose from, families can head a short distance from Boston for their choice of places to pick their own apples starting in late August through mid-October.

We’ve assembled a list of some of our favorite places to pick apples in greater Boston, but with more than 50 farms in the area offering apple picking, there are many more to choose from. In addition to apple picking, many of the orchards offer petting farms, country stores, hay rides, corn mazes, and other kid-friendly activities, so leave plenty of time to take advantage of all these farms have to offer. You can even plan your child's fall farm birthday party at some of the farms. Take it from us and contact the farms and orchards before heading out to confirm hours and amenities: Many are small, family-run operations, and crop yields and staff schedules fluctuate from week to week. Also, it's a good idea to leave pets at home when heading to any orchard, or you may be asked to leave apple-free.

Finally, we realize you may be looking for some ideas for what to do with all those delicious fall apples, whether you picked them from the tree or from the farm stand. We've put together some of our favorite apple recipes for inspiration!

Weekend Fun for Boston Kids: Happy Labor Day Weekend, Sept 2-4

And just like that, Labor Day is here and the final hurray of summer is upon us. While lots of families are heading north to the woods of Maine and NH or south to the beaches of the Cape, those who are planning a travel-free staycation will have plenty of things to do here in Boston this weekend. Music is in the air at this festival in Cambridge and this one in Newburyport, or set sail at this festival in Gloucester. New England's beloved King Richard's Faire opens for the season, the final Astronomy Night for 2017 is on Saturday, there's a special birthday party at Stone Zoo, and everyone is invited to a tour of Fresh Pond.

Head to Edaville for Military Appreciation, or the Bread & Roses Festival to celebrate heritage. Whatever you choose to do, we at Mommy Poppins wish you a warm, happy, and healthy Labor Day Weekend!

Also on Mommy Poppins this week:

Need more family fun ideas? Check out our full events calendar.

After Hurricane Harvey: How to Help & Get Help After the Storm

You don't need us to tell you Hurricane Harvey has devastated Houston. The Bayou City has quickly become just that—a submerged metropolis where people have been pushed from their homes, from hospitals, and from entire communities. While this historic storm has wrecked our home, good Samaritans have emerged from all corners of the Greater Houston area to help those in need.

Here are some ways anyone can help families and individuals affected by the storm, as well as ways for locals to search for help. Send us a note at houstoneditor@mommypoppins.com if you have any resources we do not have listed, and we can add them here. Stay safe, Houston. Together, we will pull through. #HoustonStrong

6 Must-See Fall Museum Exhibits for Families Around Boston

Sometimes all we want as parents is to inject a little culture into our kids' (as well as our own) lives without hearing protests against a "boring" museum excursion. Lucky for us this fall, several of our region's great museums have new exhibits that have special appeal for the grade-school set. Here's a sampling of what we're excited to check out.

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