Free Activities

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!

Memorial Day Parades and Fairs in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

Memorial Day is more than just the unofficial start to summer. While many families may be beach-bound, bringing kids to a parade or memorial service is a good way to express gratitude for our fallen heroes and to demonstrate ways to show respect for those who've served in the military. Below is a guide to some of the many Memorial Day parades and services happening in Westchester and the Hudson Valley this year. Some even add a shot of levity to round out the day.

Looking for other ways to spend the long weekend? Consult our Event Calendar and sign up for our newsletters.

Free Outdoor Movies in Houston This Summer

Pool days, water parks and splash pads may be the name of the game when it comes to summer - especially in Houston where any day below 90 degrees is considered cool - but every parent knows that there are some evenings that beg for a more low-key activity that still gets you out of the house. The solution? You take the kids to see a movie. The problem? Going to the movies can get pretty pricey, especially when you have multiple kids in tow who all want popcorn and candy.

Good thing there are many FREE kid-friendly outdoor movie screenings around Houston. All you have to do is pack the snacks and the lawn chairs and then kick back under the stars for a free flick at night.

Need more activities and events to fill up those long summer days? Make sure you check out our Summer Fun Guide and our summer bucket list for Houston kids; both are sure to give you plenty of ideas!

10 Underrated NYC Parks You (Probably) Haven't Visited Yet

Central Park, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park—even if you only just arrived in NYC, we probably don't need to tell you that these are all must-see green spaces. But did you know that according to the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, 14 percent of the city is parkland? That's more than 30,000 acres!

So if you're looking for a new-to-you outdoor destination to explore, we've got 10 off-the-beaten-path parks worth putting on your NYC family bucket list. Some are massive and boast a wide array of attractions for all seasons; others are small but picturesque and host popular annual events for families. With months of outdoor play weather ahead of us, check out this list and visit some of the city's best hidden gems.

Splash Parks, Sprinklers, and Water Playgrounds in Orange County Parks

When summer finally hits, Southland families are looking for water, water everywhere. There's hanging at the beach or playing in a pool, but fun places with splash pads and water features rank pretty high on a summer bucket list. Little kids, bigger kids, and even the occasional parent (yes, you!) can cool off on a hot day without tons of planning or tons of waste. Let's face it: playing in the water is just plain fun—and if you keep an extra towel in the car, you're always ready.

Check out some of these free water play parks and sprinklers around Orange County. Most are open Memorial Day to Labor Day, though we recommend calling to confirm before heading out, as water conservation efforts may sometimes be in effect.

Top Long Island Playgrounds for Toddlers

Toddlers seem to have endless energy and the power to play all day. They might want to do all that older kids can, but with wobbly legs and arms that can't quite reach, they require special playgrounds.

From Nassau to Suffolk counties and all the way to the East End, designers of Long Island's parks have been thoughtful in creating play spaces for our littlest residents. So as the weather gets warmer, why not take your toddlers to a spot designed with their needs in mind?

We have done the legwork and scouted out the top toddler playgrounds across Long Island. Be sure to check our full list of parks and playgrounds on Long Island, then get out there and enjoy these beautiful days.

Free Water Fun: Splash Pads and Sprinklers at Philly Area Parks

“If they’re crabby, put them in water.” The poem, How to Really Love a Child, offers these words of wisdom to parents of small children, and in the summer heat this couldn't be more true! But thankfully in Philadelphia, kids don’t have to be cranky to love a good splash in the summertime. In addition to being home to more public pools than any other city in the country, new spraygrounds and splash pads seem to pop up every year. These city spaces are a great way to cool off the little ones, get some exercise, and make the most of the hot weather without committing to a pool membership or water park passes.

For those splash pads and spraygrounds in Philadelphia, the official open times are 11 AM - 7 PM on weekdays and 12 Noon - 5 PM on weekends. However, these times generally vary by location and operator. Also, some of these parks made it onto our top Where Philly Families Can Play All Day list so be sure to check them out. For now, here are a few of our favorite spots (new and old) in the Philadelphia area. Go ahead, jump in, and prevent those crabby moments from creeping in!

Best (Free) Splash Pads and Spray Grounds Around Houston

There's no denying that when the first heat wave of summer hits Houston, it hits hard. And as every Houstonian knows, once it comes it's here for the long haul - sometimes well into "fall." This means it becomes crucial to find fun ways to keep the kids cool without locking them indoors. Luckily, there is no shortage of splash pads here.

These are our favorites, and they are all FREE. Most are open year round, but if you're visiting outside of summer months be sure to check the park website before heading out. And if you're looking for something on a larger scale, check out the amazing water parks you can visit around Houston.

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