Weekend Fun: Friendsgiving, Film Fest, and Gift Fairs; Nov 17-18

It may not even be Thanksgiving yet but some of the season's most popular holiday events have already begun. Get lost in the magical Enchanted Village, hop on a train to the North Pole, behold glistening lights at Edaville, and celebrate the holidays Dickens-style. There's also one of our favorite fall events, a film festival geared towards the younger cinematic crowd. And as winter inches closer, kids can also get back to nature by learning about animal friendships, planting a succulent garden, and even designing their own park.

Weekend Fun: Holiday Trains, Book Fests, Thanksgiving Fun, Nutcracker

The holiday season roars into town like a freight train—or like one of the seasonal train shows popping up all over, including the Grand Central Station and the New York Botanical Garden displays, both opening Saturday. Kids can create vehicles and trains from gingerbread at Gingerbread Lane workshops at the New York Hall of Science, or test their inner engineers at the Transportation Museum's Train Operators workshop.

As we head toward Thanksgiving, honor original Americans at the National Museum of the American Indian, where you can see Navajo hoop dancing all weekend—and don't miss the excellent imagiNATIONS exhibit. Wave Hill's Harvest Festival also runs all weekend, with a special performance by the renowned Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, plus how-to workshops for cornhusk dolls and pumpkin pies. On Saturday, families can prep for turkey day at the Thanksgiving Table Children's Workshop or the first-ever Thanksgivingpalooza.

Check out literary treasures at the Brooklyn Children's Book Fair on Saturday, with appearances by beloved kid lit authors, and snag half-off bestsellers at the Goddard Riverside book fair all weekend. Kids can even bind books of their own at Scandinavia House.

Don't wait much longer to make your plans for the Thanksgiving Parade, or to buy tickets to the bumper crop of NYC Nutcracker shows, some of which are already in performance this weekend. There's no denying it: the holidays are here (hooray!). As always, consult our November GoList and our Event Calendar for a dazzling array of events and activities.

Weekend Fun: Diwali, Star Wars Days, Carnival of the Animals

All kinds of fun is coming up this weekend for Westchester and Hudson Valley kids. Whether you're a fan of Star Wars or STEAM, circus acts or parades, there's all this and more.

Thanksgiving starts early with the Annual Valenti Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is preceded by a pancake breakfast. A hot-ticket alert is for Circa: Carnival of the Animals, while FREE entertainment (plus cultural enrichment and interactivity) abounds at Diwali, Hindu Festival of Lights. The Mini Maker Faire is an extravaganza allowing families to be inspired by maker encounters and seeing their creations. STEM fans can get their fill of circuitry, rockets and more at the free STEAMFEST. And, although this year we don’t have a new Star Wars film to look forward to, kids can get their Jedi fix at Lego Star Wars Days.

These are just a few of our top picks for the weekend; the rest can be found below, and there are even more fun and enriching opportunities on our Event Calendar. Consult our November GoList to plan ahead, and sign up for our weekly newsletters to stay current with all our great findings!

Weekend Fun: Disney on Ice, Native American Feast

Hands-on activities including pottery-making and primitive fire-building are included at the weekend-long Thanksgiving Native American Feast at Garvies Point Museum and Preserve. 

Help Mickey and friends follow magical clues to Tinker Bell by searching the spirit realm with Miguel, sailing the ocean with Moana, and singing with Elsa.

Holiday light shows open this weekend at Jones Beach and in Riverhead.

See our Fall Family Fun Guide for the best in seasonal entertainment, including day trip ideas, fall festivals, corn mazes, and plenty of FREE events and activities. As always, our Event Calendar and November GoList are loaded with fun, daily happenings for Long Island kids.

Free Skating, VR Sleigh Rides, and Gingerbread House at Bloomingdale’s

Bloomingdale's, the iconic department store known for its dazzling holiday window displays, has a Santa's-sack-worth of festive delights in store this season. After marveling at the Grinch-themed holiday windows, just unveiled last week, and taking a turn on the Who-ville karaoke microphone to belt out a round or two of "Jingle Bells," head inside for even more fun and surprises.

This year, the store has opened an adorable, FREE indoor skating rink (complete with a hot chocolate bar), as well as a life-sized gingerbread house display, and a virtual reality experience that lets you take a ride on Santa's sleigh. For a peek inside this pop-up winter wonderland, read on.

Free Play Area Opens at Cross County Shopping Center

Last week, Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers opened a brand-new, free play area, the centerpiece of which is the area's first Luckey Climber.

The outdoor climbing structure—part jungle gym, part work of art—was designed by Hartford, CT–based "kid architect" Spencer Luckey, whose distinctive climbers can be found in public spaces and private institutions around the world, including Liberty Science Center in Newark, NJ; The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia; and the Long Island Children's Museum in Garden City, NY.

Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Performances, Dog Show, Friendsgiving November 17-18

Mid-November brings the start of so many exciting family events throughout the Delaware Valley. Franklin Square's Holiday Festival, Holiday Show at Shady Brook Farms, and A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place all make their debut for the 2018 holiday season. Plus, there are plenty of shows to attend this weekend. Experience the classic tale of The Nutcracker at Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, watch Ebenezer Scrooge meet the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future at the Delaware Children's Theater, flip over the acrobatic tricks of UniverSoul Circus, or splurge by seeing Cinderella: A Musical Panto at People's Light. And, who can forget about The National Dog Show held at the Greater Expo Center? Woof, woof!

But, wait, what about Thanksgiving? Gobble, gobble! Get geared up for turkey time with some pregame football fun, a turkey trot, or a Friendsgiving celebration. Browse through our event calendar for more ideas and be sure to plan out some additional fun with the help of our updated 2018 top experiences for the holiday season. For now, read about our top picks for the weekend ahead.

22 Ways Families Can Volunteer and Donate in NYC for the Holidays

During the holiday season, families gather to enjoy delicious meals, exchange gifts, and celebrate the year gone by. But for many New Yorkers, the holidays can be a particularly difficult time. Volunteering is a wonderful way to help others in the community and an ideal opportunity to teach children the true spirit of the season.

We've rounded up some of our favorite kid-friendly volunteering opportunities. No matter where in the tri-state area you live, the age of your children, or your family's interests, chances are there is a program that can use your help.

Weekend Fun for Connecticut Kids: Giant Balloons, Bubbles, and Wizards

Did you see the snow this week? Have you enjoyed the morning ritual of scraping frost from your car? Yes, winter is coming, but not before we get a chance to give thanks for all that we have. Like balloons. Lots of them. And really big ones. We're talking about the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular. This is a great chance to see the famous Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons have their dress rehearsal before they head up 6th Avenue in Manhattan Thursday morning. You can also celebrate a Colonial Thanksgiving at the Welles Shipman Ward House, complete with hearth-cooked chicken pie and Marlborough pudding. Staying with the historical theme, you can also go way back to classical Greece in Fairfield, or go way, way back for a Dino-Snore sleepover at the Yale-Peabody Museum in New Haven. Finally, for those who just want to sit back and be entertained, there is the legendary sports/comedy performer-athletes, the Harlem Wizards taking on a home town all-star team in Darien.

To make sure that you don't miss any of the fun, subscribe to our weekly newsletters and follow us on Facebook, TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Read on for our highlights of events happening this weekend, and check our frequently updated daily event calendar for even more ideas.


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