Connecticut

Tidying Up Kids' Stuff: 2 Easy Takeaways from Marie Kondo

While the world binge-watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and my social media feeds filled up with photos of freshly organized sock drawers, I didn't bother tuning in. After all, I'm already a Very Organized Person—the kind of mom who sorts her kids' toys according to category, and who may have an addiction to The Container Store. What could I possibly have to learn?

Then an image sprang to mind of me, huffily sorting papers on the kitchen counter while a hundred other urgent matters vie for my attention. When things get hectic, the piles of mail, magazines, kids' artwork, school forms, and other random papers crowding our countertops suddenly seem like a five-alarm fire. My husband calls it "angry organizing."

Weekend Fun: Maple Sugaring, Ice Fishing, and Yeti Day; Jan 26-27

We're hoping your power is back on after this week's deep freeze, and your energy is up for a weekend out and about with the kids. That's because there's plenty to do this Saturday and Sunday in Connecticut! With temperatures expected to be about 30 degrees warmer than they were last weekend, we'll enjoy ideal conditions for maple sugaring demonstrations in New Canaan, learning to ice fish in Litchfield, and frolicking on the slopes for Yeti Day. Prefer some indoor fun? Try the Yale Art Gallery's Family Activity Day in New Haven, the annual Northeast Camping Show in Hartford, or go see a live family show at the University of Saint Joseph. 

35 Best Winter Activities for Kids (and Their Grown-ups)

It's finally winter, and you know what that means as a parent, right? Get ready for soggy snow pants, slurping cocoa, building snowmen, taking the kids sledding, and all things cozy for the family.

But if the thought of another long winter spent hibernating indoors with the kids swinging from rafters, leaves you shivering in fear, we want to help. Whether you're planning fun indoor activities for a school snow day at home, or just looking to entertain the kids on another winter weekend, we've rounded up nearly three dozen fun things to do.

These super simple ideas (many of them FREE) will come in handy when cabin fever strikes and make it easy to avoid the indoor entertainment pitfalls of more screen time and complaints about boredom of which we're all so familiar. Get ready to turn the long, dark days of winter into a season the whole family can enjoy.

10 Indoor Play Spaces in New Haven County for Connecticut Kids

If your kids are anything like my two bundles of non-napping energy, there are days when you just need to let them run free – but preferably within a confined indoor space. There are a few notable play areas that are perfect for tiring kids out on cold or wet days in New Haven County, in particular. Inexpensive and varied, each indoor play space has its own charm.  For more indoor fun check out our Connecticut Indoor Play Guide.

100 Things To Do in Chicago with Kids Before They Grow Up

Chicago is home to so many incredible parks, playgrounds, museums, and things to do with kids that one childhood doesn't seem like enough time to fit them all in—though who could blame you for trying? That's why we rounded up this list of great things to do with kids in Chi-town. Whether it's racing with your toddler through the sprinklers at Mary Bartelme Park, wowing your preschooler at the Field Museum, gliding with your grade-schooler on the skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park, or taking in engineering marvels with your tween at the Chicago Architecture Center, take advantage of everything this beautiful city has to offer kids of all ages. We're also big fans of FREE fun, so we included as much of that as possible.

Whether you're a local or a visitor to the Windy City, we hope you can use this list to make some great new memories with your kids. Now I'm off to scarf some Chicago-style hot dogs at Portillo's.

7 Indoor Water Parks in New England

Dreaming of warm waters and balmy temperatures? A tropical vacation may be out of the question, but an indoor water park venture is just as thrilling for kids (and a lot less debilitating to the budget). We've reviewed seven water parks—some big and splashy, others small and convenient— that are within a one- to five-hour drive of Boston. Whether you’re looking for a quick day trip or a weekend escape, there are plenty of options for sneaking in some water fun before swimming season officially begins. No matter where you go, be sure to call ahead and check about special rates; and consider planning a trip for a weekday or weeknight outside of school vacation to steer clear of crowds.

The Best and Worst States for Raising a Family

Everyone wants to raise their family in a healthy, safe, and yes, fun community. But, how do you go about finding the right corner of this country for your family? Trial and error perhaps, but WalletHub is also throwing a little data our way on just this subject. The credit report and personal finance site just released its ranking of the best and worst 50 states in which to raise kids.

It weighed a number of factors to determine the top family-friendly states, looking at schools, housing, crime, childcare costs and quality, parental leave options, salaries, and of course, the amount of family fun per capita, including access to parks and playgrounds.

Read on to find out how your state stacks up—and where you might want to consider relocating to with the kids!

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Weekend Fun for Connecticut Kids: Jan 19-21

Winter may have officially arrived about a month ago, but these colder temps and talk of flurries have us dreaming of snow days and all the magic of a true New England winter. The season is in full swing this weekend with winter nature programs in Darien, Canton, and Westport, as well as the first lunar eclipse of 2019! 

Of course, the main theme this weekend is honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. through the many programs taking place throughout the state, including the Love All Project and a very special open house at the Harriet Beacher Stowe Center, among other cultural happenings.

With snow in the forecast this weekend and the government shutdown still in effect at press time, make sure you check with any venue directly before setting out. To keep up to date on all the news for Connecticut families, subscribe to our weekly newsletters and follow us on Facebook, and Instagram. Stay warm and have a great weekend!
 

American Girl Live: Your Favorite Dolls Take the Stage in First-Ever National Tour

With two five-year-old girls in the family, the American Girl Doll phenomenon has overtaken our home—quite literally. We have dolls, furniture, books, and an extensive wardrobe I find myself slightly envious of. "Julie" and "Maryellen" have hobbies we talk about, preferences on activities, and are with us so often that I sometimes forget that they're not real-life pals of my daughters. So, as you can imagine, when I announced we would be going to the all-new, first-ever American Girl Live show, I was met with shrieks of excitement—followed by weeks of planning outfits, accessories, and hair-dos, for both them and their 18-inch sidekicks.

American Girl Live, featuring six of the iconic dolls and an all-girl cast (not to mention an all-female crew and creative team behind the scenes) will be touring the country in 2019, with stops that include New Jersey, ConnecticutPhiladelphia, Boston, New York City, Long Island, and Maryland. In keeping with the American Girl mission, the show is all about "girl power," a message that came through to my girls loud and clear when I took them (and Julie and Maryellen, of course) to the Capitol Center of the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire, one of the show's first tour stops.

50 Free Things to do Indoors in Connecticut

Let's be real here: keeping our kids busy often costs a small fortune. So, when this mother hears the word "free," her heart skips a beat or two. Really, that four little word brings immeasurable joy to us parents. In that spirit, we've rounded up 50 of our very favorite free indoor activities to checkout across the state. We bet there's at least a handful of nearby events that are news to you—and which you should pass on to others!

For the latest in other fun wintertime activities both indoors and out, make sure that you subscribe to our weekly newsletters and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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