Connecticut

Annual Festival of Trees at the Wadsworth Atheneum: Parent Review

It's that time of year when twinkling lights and shiny bulbs are everywhere.  But I'll bet you have never seen a unique bevy of Christmas trees like the ones you will see at the Festival of Trees at the Wadsworth Atheneum.  This annual event has been going for 43 years (I know!), and was established by the Women's Committee of the Museum as a fundraiser. Don't miss out, this Sunday is the last day of the festival.

Every year, my family and I make our trek into Hartford. It's a great opportunity for my boys to be exposed to some amazing artists and to see the beautiful decorated trees people have created.

Maple Sugarhouses in the Hartford Area

Maple sugaring season begins as early as February and can run into late April with its peak time being March. While maple syrup season may be best known in Vermont and New Hampshire it still is pretty popular in other parts of New England, including Connecticut. Why not check out a local maple sugarhouse with your family to learn how the sap is gathered and boiled, and taste some of the delicious fresh made syrup. After you find your sweet treat, swing over to our winter fun guide stocked full of activities to get you through the long winter months.

Calling Santa: Mostly Free Apps for St. Nick Fun with Kids

Ready or not, Santa Claus is coming to town, and the kids couldn't be more excited. Thanks to technology, families today have a lot more ways than a quick photo with the mall Santa to catch up with (or just plain catch!) the jolly bearded man. 

Now kids can talk directly with St. Nick via the phone or an app, track his progress on Christmas Eve, and even watch a live reindeer cam. Want to really blow their minds? There are apps that let you share a photo of Santa handing out presents in your very own living room. Christmastime is already among the most magical seasons for children, but these fun tools take it to the next level. Read on for our favorite ways to check in with Santa before Christmas and follow all his antics on Christmas Eve. Our special gift for you: These 11 special Santa experiences are (mostly) FREE!

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Nutcracker, Museums, and Visits with Santa, December 10-11

Sadly, both my children have hung up their dancing shoes, but we still get our ballet fix at least once a year with one of the fantastic productions of The Nutcracker offered across Connecticut. This weekend's offerings include performances the New Haven Ballet, the Danbury Symphony Orchestra, the Hartt School, the New England Ballet Company, the Eastern Connecticut Ballet Company, and the Connecticut Dance School, among many others.  "Scenes from the Nutcracker" is a terrific option for younger audiences, as the abbreviated performance lasts about an hour and children are invited to sit down in front to be close to the action (and interact with the dancers following the show).

If you're starting to feel the pinch of this spendy season, there are quite a few free events on offer this weekend, including Santa's Workshop at Wickham Park, a free screening of The Polar Express in Stamford, and a fun visit with Santa at the Seymour Land Trust (food donations are welcome at most of these events—double check with the venues for specific needs).

As always, we continue to update the Mommy Poppins Family Events Calendar with family-friendly activities around the state. Be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletters and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing in Fairfield County

Getting outside this time of year doesn't come naturally for many -- it can seem far more fun to curl up with cocoa on the sofa and binge-watch movies. But children (and you) NEED to get outside, breathe fresh air, and take in some Vitamin D. The trick is finding a fun way to work up a sweat in freezing temperatures. In Fairfield County, you can get the adrenaline going by strapping on some snowshoes or cross-country skis. For other cold-weather adventures, check out our Winter Fun & Activity Guide

Weekday Picks for CT Kids: Sharks, Santa, and Storycraft, December 5-9, 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas (well, except in my house because we haven't made it out to pick out a tree yet, which makes me The Worst Mother Ever). Still, I'm making it up to my kids with all kinds of holiday fun including gingerbread house making, a Santa Claus who dives with the sharks, and a special sing-a-long with Santa.  For a complete run down on holiday fun, including where to cut your own Christmas trees (in case, like me, this is still on your holiday list), make sure to check out our CT Holiday Fun Guide! For even more suggestions take a peek at our frequently updated Event Calendar and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest so you don't miss a thing!

Holiday Strolls and Tree Lighting Events in the Hartford Area

One of the best things about living in Connecticut is the small-town feel our communities work so hard to capture. This sentiment can especially be felt around the holidays when people come together. So even if you don't live in these towns in Hartford County, you are welcome and encouraged to celebrate the season at these events.  Check out our Holiday Guide and our list of Holiday Light Shows for even more tips on fun ways to celebrate the season.

Holiday Light Shows in Fairfield County

There is something magical about a holiday light display.  I have so many fun memories of bundling up in the backseat and driving around town searching for the best Christmas lights.  I am happy to say that this is a tradition that I have continued with my daughter.  

New Haven may have its Fantasy of Lights, but there's plenty to see in Fairfield County.  It's not clear whether billionaire Paul Tudor Jones will have his elaborate light display in Greenwich this year (watch this space for updates!), but there are many other local options, including a contestant on ABC's "Great Christmas Light Fight."

Wood Library and Museum Gingerbread House Festival: Parent Review

A trip to the Wood Library and Museum during the holidays is an annual event for our family. After discovering the Gingerbread Festival three years ago, I have made it a point to plan a morning to take my boys there every year. The Library itself is located in a part of South Windsor that could easily be transported back in time. The little, and I mean little, library is packed to the gills with books in every nook and cranny. But this time of year, also squeezed inside are hundreds and hundreds of handmade gingerbread houses made my children and adults alike.

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