Farm Fun for City Kids at NY State County Fairs

Are you raising a city kid who thinks that milk comes in a carton and apples are from the bodega?  On second thought, we all know New York City kids are way too precocious for that but I would bet that most of your kids feel more comfortable on a subway than they do on a farm.  And, even though they "know" where milk comes from, have they ever actually milked a cow?  

If you are looking for a way to get your kids to connect more to the food on their plate, try taking them to one of New York State's county fairs.  County fairs are filled with animals, award winning vegetables and lots of farm demonstrations. With county fairs every day of the week throughout New York State for all of July and August if you are planning on heading out of the city you should check these listings to see if you can bring Old Macdonald to life for your little one.

Linkin Blogs: Dating Rules, Obama's kids, Discounts to NYC Hot Spots

Just cause the last time you sat down to read a newspaper was when "pooped out" still meant tired doesn't mean you can't stay up to date with what's going on. We've rounded up the top stories you don't want to miss from the NYC media this week.

Why let tourists have all the fun? At NYCvisit.com you can download a pass that's good for discounted admission to many city museums plus restaurants, zoos and stores, like the American Girl Doll Store.

Parental Discretion Advised. 
Listen to an NPR story on a new study that links parents' satisfaction in their own relationships to

Find the Free Gelato Truck this Week

The Ciao Bella Gelato Mobile will be in New York over the next week, giving out free scoops of gelato and sorbet, beginning with the Park Avenue Summerfest this weekend. The flavor options are: Tahitian vanilla gelato, pistachio gelato, maple ginger snap gelato, blood orange sorbet, blackberry cabernet sorbet and coconut sorbet. Yum.

You'll find the gelato mobile at the Park Avenue Summerfest on Saturday July 12th between 17th and 23rd streets, from 11am-6 pm.

On Tuesday, July 15th, you get a second chance at the Flatiron Chefs event when the truck will be parked on Madison and 24th from 5:30 to 8:30pm.

And then in Tribeca on Friday, 7/18 at the Civic Community Day Fair from 11am-6pm (Murray Street from Broadway to Church Streets).

The truck will also be at the following locations in New Jersey:

Free Fun Friday: Bastille Day, Swing Dancing, Hip Hop Festival

There are lots of opportunities for dance this weekend - you can head over to Kid's Day at Lincoln Center's Damrosh Park to learn the basics of ballroom, tango and swing from Pierre Dulaine, the star of Mad Hot Ballroom on Saturday from 11-12:30, tickets cost $5. Or if you prefer to swing for free head down to Battery Park City for their Family Swing Dance where instructors from Dance Manhattan will be teaching Lindy Hop to the sounds of Harlem Renaissance Orchestra's big band, Saturday 6:30-8pm, Free.

If swinging aint your thing, check out Family Day at the 4th Annual Hip Hop Festival

Little Naturalists: Wildflowers Everywhere

Photos by Leslie Day

All summer long, New York City is filled with beautiful flowers and gorgeous scents. Mommy Poppins' resident naturalist Leslie Day has put together this guide of local wild flowers for you to look for as your explore your streets and parks and some background science so you can turn a walk in the park into a teachable moment.

Linden Tree Flowers (above)
Everywhere you go on the Upper West Side and on streets that have these lovely trees throughout the five boroughs, you smell the heavenly scent of linden tree flowers. Show your children the leafy bracts that each flower cluster is attached to. When the flowers produce seeds, these modified leaves carry the seed clusters to the ground like little helicopters. At night, when you emerge from the subway, you are greeted with this heady perfume. Follow your nose!

Community Spotlight: Ethan's Bookshelf site helps parents find just right books

At Mommy Poppins we love the blog www.ethansbookshelf.com for recommending great age-appropriate ideas for children's books, and Ethan's Bookshelf has been distinguished as an American Library Association recommended site (one of 14 this year!). Creator blogger mom Jennifer—a former NYC teacher—tells us about literacy and reading styles in this interview, plus summer reading recommendations.

What was your biggest motivation for starting this blog and how has it evolved over time?

I started my website, after my son was born and the blog that goes along with it, Read Imagine Talk (www.readimaginetalk.com) launched just about a month ago. Ethan's Bookshelf was born out of a desire to find work I could do from home that I could really love. Some of my most favorite things to do are read and write, and running the website allows me to do both. Before I had Ethan, I worked as a teacher in NYC. I taught second, fourth and fifth grades. I received my Masters from Bank Street College of Education in Reading & Literacy and then worked as adjunct faculty at Bank Street. I loved teaching in general, but my favorite part of teaching was helping kids fall in love with books and reading. Again, the web site allows me to stay in touch with something I love doing, albeit in a slightly different way!

Cool Stuff for Families at the Queens Museum

There is a lot going on this summer at the sometimes forgotten Queens Museum nestled in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and well worth the trip if you havn't been. This summer's events at the museum include an international film, dance and music series, free archery, scavenger hunts and lots of art making and viewing opportunities with the family.

The Queens Museum focuses on 20th-century works and is located right next to the Unisphere which is that awesome retro steel globe sculpture that was made for the 1964 World's Fair, check out Forgotten NY for some cool vintage photos and info on the Fair. And since school groups are the largest single community that visit the museum each year, they really appreciate and cater to kids and their staff is uniquely qualified to work with children.

As for getting there, while it is a bit of a trek, you can get there on the 7 train and the trade off is that once you are there its usually not too crowded and all their summer activities are free with admission ( $5 for adults, $2,50 for kids. Kids under 5 are free).

Pumpkin Seeds, Pedestrian Streets, Pissed-off Neighbors and More

Just cause the last time you sat down to read a newspaper was when "pooped out" still meant tired doesn't mean you can't stay up to date with what's going on. We've rounded up the top stories you don't want to miss from the NYC media this week.

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend, caught some fireworks, ate some bbq and didn't wind up in the cab of a flat bed truck with your car towing behind on your way home like my family (seriously).  A quick reminder to all our subscribers, we changed our email system and need you to verify your subscription so you continue to get our emails.  If you are not getting emails or have questions, feel free to email us at mommy@mommypopppins.com  And now, on to the news of the week....

Day Trippin' - get more out of getting out of NYC

We love NYC in the summer, there is so much to do and it's less crowded. But, its also great to get out of town to spend some time in nature, swim in the ocean and check out new places. For all of July and August, in addition to our regular posts, we will be posting suggestions for fun day and weekend trips that you can take with kids. Here are a few quick suggestions to get you started. Any of these ideas would be great for something to do with the kids this Fourth of July Weekend.

New York Waterfalls Giveaway Winners

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It sounds like a lot of you are sticking around for the summer and it was great to read all the interesting ideas people have for what they will do this summer in the city. Sounds pretty chill to me actually. Lots of just cruising around the city. I like Neeta's suggestion of letting the kids play in the rain.

I was recently thinking how much I used to enjoy that and how my kids have never had the opportunity to do it. I was actually just telling my son how we used to play in rain storms in the city. We used to build paper boats and launch them in the gutter and watch them float down toward the sewer. It sounds absurd now, but that was NYC in the 70s.

I loved the city after the rain because it looked so clean (the rain washed the litter and grim away) and also you'd see rainbows in the streets made by oil residue in the gutters. Again, not sure why we don't see those any more. Maybe the oils used in cars has changed.

But I digress. What you really want to know is not what a street urchin I was as a child, but whether you will soon be riding the shark boat past those Waterfalls. So here are our winners:

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