Connecticut

Date (Night) Like a Pro in Fairfield County

OMG Date night. That nocturnal necessity designed to keep parents as sane as possible. I don't know about you, but for me, a successful date night involves getting out the door before bedtime. Sure, it's mostly because that way I'm home before my bedtime, but also because once in a while it's really OK to let somebody else read just one more book...a dozen times. Once you've made your escape...now what? It's easy to forget how to fill leisure time when you're a parent. That's why I've rounded up some date night ideas that are more than just dinner and drinks in Fairfield County. This is precious time, use it to step a little outside your comfort zone for some adventure (and then when you're done maybe dinner and drinks...)! So bring on the babysitter, lace up your big kid shoes, and get out there for some well-deserved you time!

Learning and Playing at KidsPlay Children's Museum in Torrington

When my kids wanted a fun place to visit, they rarely (okay, never) asked: “Can we go to Torrington?” But that has changed since our first visit to KidsPlay, a children’s museum located downtown in Litchfield County’s largest city. After just one visit, KidsPlay became a favorite destination, and these days, the museum is better than ever after a recently completed expansion that doubled the square footage and play space. From the moment you enter through its doors (monitored by security cameras), the amount of creativity and fun details will leave you impressed and little adventurers giddy. The museum is designed for ages 2-8, and without a doubt, the persons behind its establishment know what makes children happy and how they learn best through play.

Get Lost in.a Corn Maze in the Hartford Area

Fall is a great time of year for families to spend time together outdoors enjoying the brisk weather and beautiful foliage in Hartford County. The autumn season is filled with so many activities like pumpkin picking, spooky Halloween events, fairs and you can’t forget corn mazes! Why not get together with another family and have a "Family Corn Maze Challenge"? Which family will get out of the maze fastest?  Here's a list of places to do just that in the Hartford area.

Weekday Picks: Live Music, Composting, and Farm Animals, July 17-21, 2017

Outdoor concerts, raspberry and blueberry picking, and beach days. You've just gotta love summer in Connecticut. This week you can teach the kids about composting, the upcoming solar eclipse, and enjoy live music and entertainment at a Street Fest. And when the rain showers come, there are plenty of indoor places for fun.

As always, the Event Calendar is continually updated with events so check back often and follow us on Facebook, InstagramTwitter, and Pinterest to be sure you don't miss a thing.

25 Things to Do With Kids in the Lower Naugatuck Valley

Tucked in between Fairfield and New Haven counties, the Lower Naugatuck Valley or just, 'The Valley,' is really a hidden bucolic paradise. From Shelton to Southbury, the valley offers plenty of New England backcountry to explore. Head to Derby for some of the best farmstead ice cream in the state or hike up Southford Falls for a panoramic view of sweeping hills and a killer sunset. Climb to the top of the towering Pease Place playscape and cool off in the lagoon at Indian Wells State Park. Here's our list of the top 25 things to do in the valley with your kiddos.

5 Reasons These Giant Blue Blocks Are a Birthday Party Must

Before you call in the clowns or hire another Elsa impersonator, there's a new way to keep kids entertained at your next birthday bash! Real Good Play brings a safe, structured, mobile play system and a trained play associate to your home or venue, encouraging hours of endless exploration for partygoers. The system features Imagination Playground's™ Big Blue Blocks, which come in seriously abstract shapes that can be creatively lined up, stacked, and connected, inspiring children to design their own inventions, environments, and activities. Conceived and designed by award-winning architect David Rockwell, the blocks are already a big hit at many of the finest Children's Museums worldwide, but Real Good Play is first to bring the fun to your own backyard (literally).

Young, Wild, and Free in New Haven County

Few words bring more joy to a parent's heart than the word FREE. Because let's face it, keeping kids entertained can be a pricey prospect. Give your wallet the day off once in a while and seek out some priceless family time free of charge. And don't worry, just because you don't have to fork over the green doesn't mean these are second best. I've rounded up some of New Haven County's first rate free activities guaranteed to delight everyone from the water babies to the space buffs and a whole lot in between. If you want to venture further afield, check out some free summer activities in Hartford County or visit some of the fairs, festivals, and carnivals in New Haven County, many of which offer free admission.

Weekend Fun: Leatherworking, Bluegrass, and All Things Blueberry

It's mid-July, and in between scanning the beach and heat index reports, Connecticut residents are enjoying the annual summer fair and festival season, which is in full swing. On a hot day, what's better than an ice cream festival? And speaking of sweet treats, berry season is here at local pick-your-own farms. For those who prefer indoor activities during the summer season, how about learning the ancient craft of leatherworking? As always, be sure to check with the venues directly for any outdoor activities in the event of weather-related schedule changes.

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Shop for Great Bargains and Variety at Consignment Stores in the Hartford Area

Ahhh, the excitement of back-to-school shopping: notebooks, pencils, crayons...and clothes and shoes you know your child will outgrow by year's end. It’s one thing to invest in quality items as an adult, but quite another to contend with growth spurts, messy dinners and art projects, or heavy playground wear and tear. 

Consignment stores are enticing for a few reasons: the savings are most obvious; oftentimes, you can purchase new children's items with original price tags still attached and expensive brand names at less than half the original cost. In addition to keeping more money in your wallet, you'll also find more variety and benefit the environment when giving something used new life again.

Of course, you can also make money or earn store credit when selling your child's gently used clothing. So, whether you're looking for school uniforms, sweaters, pants, or specialty items like festive wear, dance apparel, baby equipment, toys, and books, check out the following spots in the greater Hartford area for consignment opportunities near you.

Youth Volunteer Opportunities in Hartford County, Connecticut

Looking for an effective way of teaching children the true meaning of generosity? Without a doubt, helping others feels good and kind gestures can have a rippling effect and strengthen communities. Volunteering can teach children that others may not be as fortunate to have a warm home, food, clothes, or good health. Though most begin volunteering in their teen years, even young ones can learn the value of giving when parents volunteer their time to help others. Following is a list of places in Hartford County where you and your family can volunteer and help to spread joy in every season. We've also written about opportunities in Litchfield County as well.

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