MLK Jr. Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Museums, Invention Convention, Service

The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday provides many Philly kids a long, three-day weekend. Thankfully, Philly parents can turn to our jam-packed events calendar to find engaging and educational ways to spend the time together.

Celebrate the legacy of Dr. King by participating in a service project at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, learning about the "I Have a Dream Speech" at the National Liberty Museum, cleaning up Bristol Marsh Nature Preserve and Croydon Woods Nature Preserve, or attending a festival at Woodmere Art Museum. After planning out MLK activities, consider seeing Johnny Shortcake at World Cafe Live, recognizing Lunar New Year at Penn Museum, or wandering around Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education to see the Giants of the Forest.

Other weekend activities include outdoor fun at Green Lane's Winter Tree ID programming, artistic sessions at Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, digital mapping workshop at Azavea, and scientific experimentation at Hagley Museum's Invention Convention. Make your long weekend a great one!

Weekend Fun for Chicago Kids: Puppets, The Beach, and Lunapalooza

It's another great weekend for kids' theater in Chicago with the kickoff of the Chicago International Puppet Festival. The two-week celebration of puppet artistry brings dozens of family-friendly performances to stages around Chicago. Standout shows this weekend include The Stranger and the Shadow, a parable about inclusivity and empathy that the grade-school set is bound to relate to, plus a FREE all-ages puppet show in Hermosa that's part of the festival's neighborhood tour (also coming soon to Garfield Park, Marquette Park, and Navy Pier).

Teen Spirit: 16 NYC Activities Even a Teen Will Call On Point

It can be tough to be a teen in New York City. They're too old to want the 'rents (that's you, mom or dad) to accompany them everywhere, but many destinations don't allow adolescents without adult supervision. If your high schooler's idea of a night out on the town has been reduced to hanging with friends and watching Netflix, help them mix it up by sharing this roundup of sweet 16 drop-in activities they can do on their own, a few of which were created by NYC teens. Worried that your teen never listens to you? Print this list out and leave it for them to find—perhaps they'll like these ideas better if you don't actually tell them to go out and try them.

Bonus: Many of these options are FREE or inexpensive, so you won't have to raise their allowance.

12 Places LA Families Can Drive To Pretend It's Winter

When most of the country is covered in snow, LA is typically enjoying fall temperatures with highs in the 70s. This is great for those who of us love the warm weather, but if you or your little snow angels are longing to chill out and experience ice and snow, all it takes is a drive to higher elevations and the whole family can experience the thrill of winter sports, explore alpine landscapes, and take in the magic of winter for the day. Other people survive winter; Angelenos visit it.

Where to Find Free Classes for Kids at NYC Stores and Public Spaces

We'll just say it: Raising a kid is expensive. Weekend classes, summer camp, after-school care, and dance and music lessons can add up. A 2018 study by Sun Trust Bank found that a majority of parents spend at least $1,000 a year per child on extracurricular activities. And let’s face it New Yorkers, we’re most likely paying much more than that.

That’s why we’ve rounded up more than a dozen FREE classes that run year-round in NYC to lighten the financial load. All the classes listed here are free within free-to-access stores and public places, but there are also plenty of free and low-cost activities inside of NYC museums and gardens that have monthly memberships. Don't forget that your IDNYC card will give you free or discounted access to many cultural institutions.

Check out our Free in NYC Guide for more budget-friendly family fun.

Is It a Snow Day for Philly Kids? Here’s How to Find Out.

When you're a kid, snow days mean snowball fights, snow angels, sleds, and snowmen. Add in some hot chocolate, warm cookies, and a few indoor activities and you've got one memorable day off from school. With winter in full swing, kids can't wait for a snow day, eager to whip out their waterproof boots and bibs. 

While they relish school closures, most of us parents don't (shoveling, need I say more?). Throw a weekday snowfall into the mix, and now you've got to figure out your child's school schedule. Is the school closed for the day? Will there be early dismissal? If there was an overnight snowfall, will the school be opening late? So many questions! With them in mind, we've compiled a few resources so you can stay up to date on weather-related school closures in Philadelphia.

 

Celebrate Martin Luther King Day with Kids at These NYC Events

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is peaceful for New York City kids, but it sure isn't boring, with music and storytelling and volunteer activities all focused on celebrating Dr. King's life and teachings with kids. Enjoy interactive peace marches, a special story hour, a FREE bash at BAM in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and various museum events.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, January 21, 2019) is also a National Day of Service, when citizens are encouraged to help out in their communities. So we've included a list of family volunteering opportunities that are wonderful ways to honor King's work. You can find even more things to do on MLK Day in our Event Calendar.

MLK Weekend Fun: Day of Service, American Girl Live, Train Show

The first three-day weekend of 2019 kicks off with cozy crafts and theater, then tops off with an important historical celebration. 

Catch the stage debut this weekend of American Girl Live in Morristown or Red Bank, and get ready to be amazed when Bubble Trouble bursts on the scene at Bergen PAC. There are plenty of weekend opportunities to get crafty, including the I Have a Dreamcatcher Craft, Valentine Pop-Up Cards, Free Crafts at Lakeshore Learning, and penguin-themed crafts and activities at Penguin Awareness Day.

On Monday, kids of all ages can honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through service activities in Scotch Plains and Blackwood, or creative outlets in Summit and Forked River

Find even more weekend options in our Winter Guide, including 50 Things To Do with Kids Indoors in New Jersey. And look to our January GoList and event calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

The Best Escape Rooms on LI for Tweens and Teens

If you’re looking to keep your tween or teen entertained for an hour or two in a way that doesn’t involve electronics, we have two words for you: Escape rooms.

Escape rooms are one of the hottest crazes to hit Long Island in recent years, popping up throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. Originally targeted to adults, many LI escape rooms are now perfect for tweens and teens, whether it’s for a birthday party, a school or camp field trip, Saturday afternoon play date, or a family night out.

Not familiar with this new form of interactive entertainment? A group of people are "locked" in a room for an hour (per state law, doors cannot technically be locked), and have to work together to figure out the clues that will get them out. And when we say room, we’re talking elaborately decorated spaces with specific themes that can be funny, scary, or cerebral, and everything in between.

We’ve put together a list of some of Long Island's most popular escape room venues for kids. Check individual websites for details since prices vary, as do the number of rooms available, how many people each holds, difficulty levels, and age restrictions. Themes occasionally change also. Try one or more. Each offers a unique way for kids to use their imaginations, develop team-building and problem-solving skills, and most of all, have a blast.

Free Classes for Kids at Houston-Area Stores

Houston has a variety of amazing kid-friendly activities that don't break the bank, but organized classes don't often make the cut. Some museums offer free admission on certain days of the week, but signing up for music lessons or dance classes usually costs more than most of us would like. Luckily, several area stores offer a variety of classes to keep young kids engaged and learning for FREE. 

Another perk of free store classes is the flexibility they provide. Kids often jump from one interest to the next more quickly than semester-long or year-long classes last. By attending classes for free at local stores, kids can explore a variety of interests without the time commitment of traditional classes.

These valuable community resources can be found right here in the greater Houston area. Check out our list of free store classes to see what could be available right in your neighborhood. 

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