Poppins Parents: Joy Olaes Surprenant, Mom on a Mission

For the March edition of Poppins Parents, our series highlighting local parents who make a difference in the lives of Boston families, we talked to Joy Olaes Suprenant, founder of Catching Joy.

Read on to find out who is her non-profit organization’s pint sized co-founder, where she says is one of her favorite places in the whole world (we agree completely!) and how much joy she brings to families throughout the area. Joy also shares tips for getting your family involved in volunteerism and giving.

Summer Camps for Boston-Area Kids: Camps in Boston, Brookline, & Cambridge

No matter what the kids are into - theater, music, arts & crafts, soccer, baseball, swimming, computers, nature - you name it, Boston has a camp for it.

January brings the delightful - yet daunting - task of deciding what to do with the kids next summer. Delightful, because just thinking about summer can take everyone's mind of the dark, cold and snowy days of winter. Daunting, because there are just so many options!

If camp is part of your family's summer plans, our Boston Summer and Vacation Camps Guide, covering everything from “traditional” day camps to specialty programs in the greater Boston area, can help make your decision of which ones to consider easier.

First up, six+ camps in Boston, Cambridge and Brookline.

- Updated March 2013

Toddler Time at Skyzone Boston

I recently went on a little (mis)adventure with my 23-month old, Paigely, to check out “Toddler Time” at  Skyzone Indoor Trampoline Park.  Although the address is technically Boston, I drove through several towns I’d never heard of before I ended up finding it in Hyde Park. It took us about 25 minutes in the car, which in actual “Toddler Time”, is more like three hours. 

Upon arrival, we walked into a large lobby where we were supposed to take off our shoes and sign a waiver.  Paigely was ready to go and had zero patience for this (in her defense we had been talking about jumping since 6am).  Kids get to jump in socks and adults get these funky shoes that I’m sure will make a big splash on the Boston hipster scene sometime next year.  We walked past a sitting area, banged a sharp left and stopped to put our belongings into waiting lockers. I didn’t actually get to lock anything up though because my daughter had already spied the gigantic looking trampoline and was bee-lining for it.   I hear a “Come ON Mommy!” and saw her on the top step waving me on.  Going in, I had thought this would be somewhat intimidating for her (to be honest, it was to me), but I couldn’t have been more wrong.  We took our first step in holding hands, and watching her face light up was worth the drive alone. 

Gluten Free Dining With Kids In and Around Boston

In my family, three of us are gluten free, and I won’t lie – it’s a challenge. But we’ve learned to navigate the area in and around Boston, finding places where we can enjoy comfort food, just like all those "normal" families.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly place to have a good gluten free meal, read on. I've highlighted some of our favorite places to dine, whether we’re in the mood for pizza, burgers, breakfast, bakery treats or just a nice meal

Review of Big Bird’s Adventure: One World, One Sky

If your toddler is anything like mine, she probably has a borderline manic obsession with all things Elmo.  What it is about that red furry monster who speaks in the third person I may never know; but because he makes my daughter smile, I’ve become a bit of an Elmo-stalker myself.  So you can imagine my delight when I saw that he was co-starring in a mini film at the Museum of Science Planetarium: One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure.

Take the Challenge: A Month of Creativity for Boston Families

Did you know that March is National Craft Month? In honor of the occasion, the folks at Artbeat Creativity Store in Arlington have issued a challenge – A Month of Creativity – and we’re taking it up a level. Inspired by, the challenge is to find 8 minutes every day, for 30 days, to devote to an art activity. We've added a Mommy Poppins twist: Spend 8 minutes each day working on an art activity with your kids

We’ve started the challenge, and so have many of our readers. We know you can do it – and we’ve got a whole palette of tools to help you succeed. Read on for a roundup of ideas to get you started, stores for art supplies, and places to make arts and crafts in and around Boston. 

Are you in?

Outdoor Winter Activities for Boston Families

Although this week is starting to feel like spring, we all know how predictably unpredictable New England weather is – and that winter isn’t over yet. The vernal equinox is March 20, but I remember years when we had snow in April. So, you may want to keep the boots and snow pants somewhere handy for now, and enjoy the remaining days of winter with your kids.

Bloggers from the Appalachian Mountain Club’s “Kids Outdoors” online community have lots of great ideas for getting outdoors and staying active as a family, even while trees are leafless and the ground is covered in a layer of white. Read on for a round up of our favorite AMC posts on winter fun with the kids, with our own recommendations for places in the Boston area to have all that fun. 

Free Admission to Boston Museums

Visiting museums in the city of Boston can get pricey, especially when you bring the whole family. But there are times and ways to get free admission to our city’s world class, family-friendly museums. A huge bonus: On days when these museums offer free admission, they often have special programs and activities for families, like art-making workshops or live performances. Read on to find out how to give your kids the world for a dollar or less per person.

Boston Birthday Parties for Foodie Kids

I have a son who associates all of his childhood memories with food. If I bring up something that happened in the past, he tells me exactly what he ate that day. About six months before his birthday each year, he starts planning his big day, one meal at a time. The theme, the guests, the decorations, and the activities – they are all subordinate to the most important aspect of his celebration, the food.

Maybe your kid’s life revolves around food like my kid’s does, or maybe you have a child who just loves cupcakes. Or ice cream. Or pizza. Either way, there are some pretty great birthday party options for kids who like to tickle their taste buds, whether you want to have the party at home or skip the cleaning and go out somewhere. Read on for five fun and deliciously food-focused birthday parties. And if your kids like to cook as much as they like to eat, check out these birthday parties for kids who love to cook


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