Top CT Community Youth Orchestra Programs

If your kids -- like mine -- love playing their musical instrument, there is no better place to encourage their blossoming musical skills than to have them audition for a place in their community youth music ensemble.

Fortunately for us, Connecticut is rife with well-organized youth symphonies and orchestral groups. Most cater to ages 10 and up; all are audition-based, highly skilled at developing musical skills and encourage a welcoming atmosphere. In addition to the list of Connecticut's community youth orchestras below, you might also be interested in summer music camp! Check out Art & Music Camps in New Haven and Classical Music Camps in Fairfield County.

Weekday Picks: Nature, Fireside, and Bald Eagles, March 6-10

With milder temperatures in store this week it's sure to be an optimum time to get out and about with the kids. Some highlights include stargazing at Yale, fireside stories in Mystic, and enjoying nature in Litchfield. And don't miss the Mommy Poppins virtual scavenger hunt!

To keep tabs on all the fun across Connecticut, check our frequently updated Events Calendar and our March GoList for all of our faves. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

10 Tips for Taking Kids to an Art Gallery

Are you one of those parents who avoids taking kids to art galleries ... because you are sure your kid will punch a hole in the Renoir? I feel ya! But you don't have to give up on culture for the cause of parenting! Kids not only love to make art -- they love to be inspired by it! And research proves it: exploring art is good for kids, yo! So take heart. With a bit of planning, I've found art shows and galleries to be one of our go-to outings, even on (gasp!) a sunny day! 

Not sure which art gallery in Fairfield County to try first? Start with the kid-friendly Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield or the awesome local works in CityLights Gallery in Bridgeport. Be sure to find out which days are free to enter first!

St. Patrick's Day Events in Connecticut

It's March and you know what that means...St. Patrick's Day!  While St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are often thought of as mostly adult-oriented (usually associated with pints of Guinness), there are many kid-friendly ways to celebrate the holiday with wee little ones. Check out the following great family events to celebrate St. Patty's Day in Connecticut. Erin Go Bragh!

13 Simple Crafts for Toddlers and Preschoolers to Do at Home

Crafts for toddlers and preschoolers are best when they require few materials, carry simple instructions, and result in either something adorable or that can be played with later. With that in mind, we've rounded up a dozen of our favorite crafts for little kids. Pin it for your next rainy or snowy day, or just one of those need-something-new-to-do days.

Many of these have a fun seasonal bent, like aluminium foil Easter eggs, or a year-round playful attitude like popsicle-stick monsters and airplanes. All of them are easy enough for little fingers with possibly a quick assist from their grown-up. Kids will exercise newfound fine motor skills and plenty of sensory play.

Find more DIY kid projects in our WeeWorks Guide. Older kids, and even preschoolers, can test out our round-up of 50 Easy Science Experiments, too.

Spring in Litchfield County: 10 Things To Do with Kids

It's spring, as we can see by the daffodils' bright yellow show. Litchfield County is known for its natural rural beauty, and these coming weeks will be sure to visually delight. This time of year I love to prune a few forsythia branches and bring them inside to enjoy the blooms. With the warmer weather, it's also a great time to get out and enjoy some nature-inspired activities with the kids. Here's a list of 10 things to do in Litchfield County this spring. We've written about fun spring activities in Fairfield County too. And for loads more springtime fun, make sure to check out our CT Spring Fun Guide.

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Riverdance, Monster Jam, and Maple Syrup, March 4-5

Spring is in the air! Activities for St. Patrick's Day are beginning all over the state. This is also a fantastic weekend to explore the rich maple sugaring tradition in Connecticut (it's true--you don't have to go all the way to Vermont) with Maple Sugar festivals in Stamford, Plymouth, and Washington, as well as smaller maple events in New Canaan, Wilton, Redding, and Franklin.

There are also some terrific events on tap this weekend ranging from a Monster Truck Jam to the 20th Anniversary World Tour of Riverdance to opening weekend at a brand new trampoline park in Stamford. This is also the last weekend to cast your vote in our BESTIE Awards—share your opinions regarding your favorite local businesses and be entered to win some fantastic prizes.

To find our recommendations for activities near you for the weekend and beyond, check our frequently updated Events Calendar. To keep up with the latest family-friendly events and activities, be sure to also sign up for our newsletters, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Spring Fairs & Festivals in Central Connecticut

April showers bring May flowers, and along with all the colorful blossoms come an array of springtime celebrations. The Hartford and New Haven areas are bursting with exciting outdoor family festivals in April, May, and June. These events feature crafts, delicious treats, family-friendly activities, and lots of fun. So head outside with the children and enjoy all that spring in Central Connecticut has to offer.

Kid Consignment Shops in Fairfield County

I don't know about you guys, but this girl is all about second-hand shopping, especially for kids. Let's face it, kids outgrow their stuff pretty darn fast. Between everyday wear and tear and growth spurts, I am forever playing catchup with my kids' closets. It seems like those pants I just bought my son are now high-waters and those rain boots from the last rain are now too small.

For many, consignment stores offer not only a great place to shop but also a place to make a little extra cash. Fairfield County has some pretty great options for buying and selling your children's clothing, shoes, toys and gear. And, for more kid consignment, check out what Hartford and New Haven counties have to offer. 

Weekday Picks for Connecticut Kids: Zumba, Knitting, and Dr. Seuss, February 27-March 3

The dose of warmer weather this past week has my whole family yearning for spring so we're delighted to welcome March on Wednesday! If you're planning ahead, be sure to check out our March Go List, with suggestions for our favorite activities all month long (St. Patrick's Day parades begin *next* weekend!). If you're more of a day-to-day planner, our Event Calendar has new activities listed every day, including a whole range of celebrations in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday in Niantic, New Milford, and Wilton among other locations. Follow Mommy Poppins CT on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and don't forget to cast your vote for your favorite Connecticut businesses in our Bestie Awards Contest!


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