The Cronut Arrives in LA—and Your Kids Are Gonna Want One

It’s no coincidence that a French pastry chef came up with what has become an enduring pastry trend. In 2013, Dominique Ansel created the cronut, a pastry that puts a twist on the American donut by combining a donut and croissant in a pastry filled with a slow-cooked jam and creamy ganache. The creation took New York by storm—and has finally hit the LA food scene.

Play Cafes: Shops in Brooklyn and Queens with Kid Play Spaces

If you're looking for a new spot to grab your morning coffee or merely want to enjoy brunch in peace, these kid-friendly restaurants can't be beat. At these Brooklyn and Queens cafes you will find a welcoming environment, great food, and a caffeine jolt, as well as dedicated and safe play areas for your kids. Several of them are actually play spaces first, and cafes second.

So turn your meal into a play date with a friend, or just sit back and take some well-deserved breathing space. Either way, both you and your kids are sure to have a good time.

Check out our NYC Restaurant Guide for more great eateries, or our Play Spaces Guide for more romper rooms.

Science, Language & Arts International School Brings New Language Immersion Programs to Brooklyn

Bienvenue to Brooklyn! Or should we say 欢迎?

Dual-language schools are all the rage as parents and educators realize the growing importance of preparing kids for our quickly globalizing world. Here in Brooklyn, Science, Language & Arts International School (SLA) continues to grow with the increasing demand for its innovative and effective immersion program. Founded by linguist and bilingual education specialist Jennifer Wilkin back in 2011, the independent school has expanded to offer a rigorous, project-based education in a bilingual French or Mandarin setting for kids ages two to fourteen. And starting this academic year, SLA is launching a brand new pre-K Mandarin immersion track to run alongside the existing French immersion track, as well as middle school tracks for 6th to 8th graders in both Mandarin and French.

Not only does SLA offer a rich science, math, and arts curriculum in a bilingual environment, but it does it at a significantly lower tuition than many other local private schools.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Hanukkah, CHILL, and Beauty and the Panto

Ho, ho, ho, it's Hanukkah! All across the Southland, kids are lighting their menorahs, spinning their dreidels, and feasting on latkes (and maybe opening a present or eight).

And that chill you feel? It's CHILL, of course, the wintry annual fest at the feet of the Queen Mary in Long Beach. This year, it transforms into an ice adventure park, with ice skating track, ice bumper cars, ice tricycles, a zip line, ice shuffleboard, a two-story, 100-foot-long ice tubing slide, and many more festive winter activities.

Of course, snow is no big deal in Los Angeles. It's pretty much everywhere you look. (Bring mittens.)

(And not to panic you or anything, but this weekend is the last weekend before next weekend. And next weekend is the weekend that includes Christmas Eve, so whatever you had in mind before then, whether it's earning nice points or cross-checking your list with Santa's, you'd best get a move on.)

P.S.  Best way to earn nice points? Take your kid to some of the events on our calendar. Keep reading for a few of the top things on our list.....

Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Performances, Museums, Santa December 16-17

While Philly kids are on their best behavior dreaming of receiving the latest gaming system, must-have sweater, or classic toy train, take a moment to redirect their focus from acquiring things to sharing experiences together.

Take the family to see a show such as My Very Own Polar Bear at Act II Playhouse, Annie at Walnut Street Theatre, or Shrek the Musical at Delaware Children's Theater. Experience the classic nutcracker ballet at The Academy of Music, Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, or Mandell Theater at Drexel University. Or, check out a different version at Painted Art Center.  Explore an interactive exhibit at a local museum like Franklin Institute's Terracotta Warriors, Mercer Museum's Centuries of Childhood: An American Story, or Center for Architecture + Design's Constructing Play: Classic + Modern Building Toys Exhibit.

Of course, nothing says togetherness like trying to capture the perfect family picture with Santa. This weekend, he can be found on a train in West Chester, New Hope, or Strasburg, underwater at the aquarium, or among the butterflies at the Insectarium.

Whatever they may be asking for this year, there is nothing better than making family memories together. Read on for our top picks for the weekend.

Weekend Fun for Boston Kids: Snowmazing, Gingerbread, and Lasers ; Dec 16-17

'Tis the season of giving! And what better way to help a cause than by visiting an indoor winter-themed amusement park (where ticket proceeds go to the Christmas in the City organization) or by building a lightsaber (to support one of our area's coolest nonprofits)? For those looking for some cultural holiday experiences, discover the meaning of Kwanzaa, re-enact the Boston Tea Party, take a great big (Chanukah) jump, and celebrate Posada Navideña with a live mariachi band.

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Handel's "Messiah," Kids & Christmas Pops Concert, Dec 16-17

Let it snow, let it snow! With our unexpected snowfall that transformed most of the city into a short-lived winter wonderland, it finally feels like the holidays here in Houston, and we are ready to barrel full speed ahead into the celebrations! 

We've compiled an ultimate Winter Bucket List of 45 different things to do with the kids during the holiday to make planning your events a snap, and found a lot of free indoor activities just in case the weather takes another turn for the worse. And remember all the Bestie voting that was happening? The conclusion of the voting means that we now have your 2017 Houston Bestie Guide, your resource parenting, family fun, and enrichment.  

As if that weren't enough, we also have an exhaustive event calendar that covers Houston and the surrounding areas, 26 FREE Christmas and holiday events that are nearby, and our December GoList with the month's best family-friendly events. To have posts like this delivered straight to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our free weekly newsletter

For any events you want shared with the community, be sure to submit your event to our calendar. We'll take care of the rest!

Now, onward to this weekend's events!

Weekend Fun: Hanukkah, Hip Hop, and Hungry Caterpillars

This weekend, New York City kids can help close out the Eight Crazy Nights, Hanukkah having kicked off on Tuesday, December 12. The Children's Museum of Manhattan hosts dreidel-making fun all weekend, while over in Chelsea, on Sunday, December 17, the High Line lights their first-ever menorah. See our full roundup of Hanukkah celebrations and menorah lightings around New York, many of them this weekend before Hanukkah ends December 20.  

This weekend also features a load of cool Christmas and holiday events mostly known only to insider residents, like Carnival of the Animals at Columbia University on Saturday, or the La Mama Kids Winter Wonderland, also on Saturday. On Sunday, there's nothing more unique than the 44th Annual Tuba Christmas at Rockefeller Center, or the village-to-village Unsilent Night parade. If you can't make the latter, and you're reading this on or before Thursday, December 21, don't miss one of the many and one-of-a-kind, free Make Music Winter events across New York City.

There's more than tubas in Rockefeller Center this holiday—see our list of 14 fun things to do there besides Christmas events. Already worried about aimless kids with school closed? Our guide to 35 things to do over the break has you covered. If you're looking to escape this city, see our selection of excellent winter day trips.

As always, our December GoList, our Holiday Fun Guide, and our Event Calendar are standing by, overstuffed with holiday fun.

Weekend Fun for Westchester Kids: Laurie Berkner, Hanukkah Celebrations

The holidays are closing in, and Westchester and Hudson Valley families are scrambling to soak up all the fun! This weekend, the festivities are ratcheted up, so put on your jingle bells, light those lights and don’t miss these highlights!

The big holiday events happening throughout December are still in full gear. Adding to the various iterations this month of the Tchaikovsky classic, this weekend showcases The Westchester Ballet Company’s The Nutcracker, and The Laurie Berkner Band's Holiday Celebration is another hot ticket. For holiday theater in a historic setting decked out for the holidays, try Mr. Dickens Tells A Christmas Carol. The Festival of Lights is celebrated with the Hanukkah Magical Spectacular and the return of Hanukkah Village, to name a couple.

These are just a few of the many happenings we’ve culled from our Event Calendar. Read on for our top picks and also consult our Holiday Fun Guide we’ve worked hard to identify for you. Enjoy it all!

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