35 Ways To Keep Summer Going after School Begins

Whether you're relieved by the quiet or disturbed by the abrupt ending, most LA families are using those three little words (back to school) a whole lot earlier these days. Of course, dropping our kids off at school doesn't change the weather; there might be no child left behind at the beach, but it's still summer until close to Halloween. So if your family is not yet ready for summer to end, pick a few items off our Endless Summer List and go have some fun while the sun still shines!

Family-Friendly Walkable Towns in New Jersey

Do you ever crave a city scene while living in the suburbs? Like many New Jersey residents, I moved here from Manhattan years ago but still feel that itch for metropolitan perks, like walkability, diversity of restaurants and shops, and an energetic community hub. The good news is, there's no need to leave the state for city amenities. Explore great walkable downtowns right here in New Jersey, where you'll find both chain and independent shops, art museums, unique bookstores, delicious cafes serving up local eats, and more. If you choose to leave the car at home, most of these downtowns are in close proximity to New Jersey Transit trains or buses.

Whether a day trip destination or a quick stop for lunch and shopping, these great walkable downtowns are worth a visit. 

Visiting Sunken Meadow State Park: Picnics, Playgrounds, Beaches

A trip to Sunken Meadow State Park on the rocky, picturesque North Shore of Long Island can be whatever you want it to be.

There's a different feel to this beach than those on the South Shore. It's quieter, more relaxed, and less trafficked than Jones Beach or Robert Moses state parks. The Long Island Sound waters are calm and clear. Families with children of all ages line the shore with beach chairs and umbrellas. 

 Kids can enjoy watching the water rush over them as their feet dig into the sand. If excitement is what you're after, you'll find it at Sunken Meadow State Park, which boasts a little something for everyone.

Top Swim Lessons and Classes for Westchester Kids

Hoping to get your child more comfortable in the pool? You’re in luck: there are lots of swim class options for Westchester kids, from babies through teenagers. With classes focusing on everything from basic swimming skills and safety to mastering specific strokes, there’s something for every level of swimmer. Choose from group lessons, private lessons, or even lessons in your home pool.

Ready to dive in? We've rounded up a list of swim schools to get you started.

For more ideas, check out our Classes Guide for a full rundown of classes available in the area. Or sign up for our newsletter to stay in the know!

Nature Preschools and Kindergartens in Philadelphia

Over the last few years, nature preschools and outdoor education have received some serious attention. The concept allows kids to learn all or most of their lessons in the great outdoors-- no matter the weather. Lessons often incorporate the outdoors and feature plenty of adventurous activities such as hiking, canoeing, climbing, and ropes courses. What's awesome about this trend is that kids get to spend tons of time outside instead of sitting in a classroom. In addition, it also teaches kids practical outdoor survival skills. Some of these forest schools even go all the way through 12th grade. While it's still a relatively new phenomenon (and maybe not for the faint of heart), the Philadelphia area has multiple options. 

Our Favorite Connecticut Lighthouses to Visit

You don’t have to venture to Cape Elizabeth or Portland for classic New England lighthouse vistas because Connecticut has quite the maritime history. With the very first lighthouse museum in the nation, a half dozen lighthouse tours, and even some lighthouse hauntings, we've rounded up seven Connecticut lighthouses worth a visit with your kiddos. 

Medieval Times: Thrilling Dinner Theater for New Jersey Families

Hear ye, hear ye! My family recently had an AMAZING outing to Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, with dinner and an exciting live show featuring knights on horseback, jousting matches, sword fights, games of skill, and more.

Medieval Times has been wowing New Jersey audiences since 1990, and this year this Medieval realm got a modern update: rather than the King ruling the castle, the Queen is now the centerpiece. In the new show, she has taken over the kingdom from her father and presides over the tournament. Love the girl-power vibe!

Whether your little prince or princess is a toddler, teen, or somewhere in between, this is truly an outing the whole family can enjoy together. Read on to find out what you can expect during a visit to the castle, and check out more themed restaurants here

Ride on a Vintage NYC Fireboat That's Floating Art

New York City is home to some of the most inventive, immersive public art exhibits anywhere. And this summer, a breathtaking display of floating art is sailing its way around New York Harbor. Flow Separation, an exhibit by New York area artist Tauba Auerbach, is a re-imagining of an honorably retired vintage fireboat, the Fireboat John J. Harvey. Every inch of its hull is covered in a dazzling, bold pattern that beautifully reflects the water around our city. And best of all, you can be part of the art: Bring the kids for a FREE sail aboard the gorgeously remade historic vessel.

Super Skate Parks for Long Island Kids

If your adventuresome little skater dude or gal likes to carve and ollie, turning your furniture and household items into a skating playground, then this post is for you.

Take them instead to one of these skate parks across Long Island, where roller skaters, bladers, skateboarders, trick bikers, and more can show off their stunts, fully padded and protected of course. Note: Most of these facilities are skate at your own risk and require parental waivers for skaters 16 and younger. Check requirements before heading out.  

And for more fun in the area, check out our list of great go-kart and slot-car destinations on Long Island, and be sure to check out our Long Island Events Calendar.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Elephants, Empire Strikes Back, and Pat Benatar

Let's talk about the elephant in the room. No, not the start of the school year: I mean the weekend festivities in Griffith Park. The LA Zoo is celebrating the pachyderm, and shedding light on the majestic beast's situation in the wild. It's the once a year chance to go behind the scenes and see how the "Ele" half lives.

They say an elephant never forgets. But you know who does forget? A kid who's been out of school too long. Luckily, the 2018/19 academic year is upon us, with many kids returning to school as early as next week. Time to get a move on if you have any unrealized summer plans, like perhaps attending a county fair. (Both the OC and Ventura County fairs end this weekend.)

We all know that parenting, like love, is a battlefield. But parents and kids, we belong together, perhaps at an open air concert. Several of the ongoing summer series come to an end this weekend. You wouldn't want to miss some of the big names you can see this weekend; that would be a heartbreaker

Keep reading for our most elephantine list of picks for this pre-school weekend.

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