Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Bug Fest, Block Parties, Trains August 11-12

There is plenty of summer fun on tap throughout the Delaware Valley during this August weekend. And, with only a few weeks until Philly kids hit the books for a new school year, Philly families should make the most of the extraordinary activities that can be found in our jam-packed events calendar.

Start off the weekend with a visit to the Academy of Natural Sciences' annual Bug Fest to learn fun facts about creepy crawlers. Be sure to explore the Museum's Xtreme Bugs exhibit while you are there. If you prefer to be outside with insects, grab your camera and head to Green Lane Park to snap pictures of both bugs and flowers.

On Saturday, families can enjoy West Chester's Market Street Block Party which features kids' activities as well as the Benchmark Twilight Cycling Classic. On Sunday, young and old can rock out to great bands along the Delaware River at Radio 104.5 Summer Block Party. Round out the weekend with some train fun. See Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends at Morris Arboretum or take a Summer Picnic Train Ride on the West Chester Railroad.

Keep reading for more ideas of ways to spend the weekend. Make it a great one!

Destination Playground: Ancient Playground in Central Park

Originally built in 1936, the Ancient Playground on the Upper East Side may seem to have earned its moniker (according to our kids, anyway), but its name is really an homage to its proximity to the Egyptian galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, right across the street. The ancient-civilization-themed romping spot, packed with fun climbing structures and water features, is a popular playground for locals and tourists alike, cementing its place on our list of Central Park's top playgrounds.

Read on for more details on why this classic old gem of a playground, at 85th Street and Fifth Avenue, ranks among the city's best.

Outdoor Paintball Fields Where Houston Kids Can Have a Blast

Keeping older kids engaged in something other than video games and electronics can be tough. But what better way to entice kids to get out of the house than to let them get messy shooting paintballs at each other? Luckily, Houston has several great spots to take older kids, tweens, and teens where they can run off some steam and engage in a rousing game of paintball. Racing around rugged terrain, ducking and darting around obstacles, and feeling the rush of competition while trying to dodge splattering paintballs at every turn can make for a fun family outing, group event, or birthday party. Read on for some of our favorite places around Houston to get kids in on the thrill of playing paintball. 

Weekend Fun: County Fair, Festival of the Sea, Classic Car Show

Mid-August heats up with some sizzling weekend festivals that focus on music, cars, peaches, and more! Cruise on down to Cape May for the Classic Car Show, listen to great music at Montclair Jazz Festival, and load up on peach goodies at Alstede Farms' Peach Harvest Festival. Those looking for classic fair fun will find it at Festival of the Sea, New Jersey State Fair, and Middlesex County Fair

Little nature lovers can learn all about gardening at Dig It! Plant It! Eat It! or become Junior Ornithologists at Duke Farms. And the whole family can enjoy a free movie under the stars in Belmar and Fort Lee.

Check out our Summer Fun Guide for NJ Kids for more options for family fun, including a day trip to Land of Make Believe and our list of 100+ FREE Things To Do with Kids in NJ This Summer. Find ways to beat the heat with a visit to a water park or local splash pad. And look to our August GoList and event calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Got Library Fines? A New Program Lets Kids Read Them Away

Any parent who has fished an overdue library book out from underneath the sofa knows the pain of late fees. When library fines add up, they can even take the allure out of reading, which is the last thing any of us wants. So here's the good news: Los Angeles County Library, Santa Monica Public Library, and even LAPL are changing the game with awesome new programs to make late fees vanish.

RELATED: 10 Free Perks that Come with an LA Public Library Card

Spotlight on STEM Programs for Kids in NYC

If you have a child who's interested in science and math, you may already be familiar with some of the incredible STEM programs available to kids around New York City. The great thing about many of these programs is that they encourage creativity and experimentation—​two pillars of childhood fun, and great motivators that support learning outside a school environment. Read on for awesome exploration-based STEM enrichment programs for New York City kids focusing on science, math, technology, and creativity

Great STEM Classes for Long Island Kids

If science and technology are to develop, the world needs innovative minds to keep dreaming and creating.

STEM and STEAM programs emphasize science, technology, engineering, art, and math to develop the brains of the future, our kids. More schools, camps and museums across Long Island are offering classes and workshops with a focus on STEM education. Check out some of our favorite programs below.

Little engineers, rejoice. 

Nature Trails & Giant Playgrounds: Playing at Spring Creek Park in Tomball

Nestled into the side of a slow, winding road in the small town of Tomball northwest of Houston, you'll find Spring Creek Park, an expansive park that is bursting with things to do. It's also home to some of my fondest memories growing up, as I used to frequent it often with my family, and being able to bring my kids to this park is like stepping back in time. This isn't just any park, though; it's a place that begs for adventures, appeals to kids of all ages, and could just be your next camping trip - all without having to very far from the city. 

The sprawling 114-acre facility is home to a plethora of activities set amongst the trees (which is why it's already claimed a spot on our list of parks with LOTS of shade - a must for any Houston park in the summer!) making it the perfect spot to settle in for the day; just pack a picnic and get ready to explore!

How to Get the Most Out of a Caregiver Interview

Whether you’ve found them through personal recommendations, a nanny agency, a local parenting website, or even a chance encounter at the playground, you’ve narrowed your potential-Mary-Poppins list down to a few great choices. Now it’s time to conduct the in-person interviews. But can you really figure out, in one meeting, which caregiver will be the best fit for your kids—and for you? With preparation and some self-reflection, you can use a caregiver interview to help decide whether this is someone you feel not just comfortable with, but excited about. Read on for the top eight interview questions to ask in a caregiver interview. 

Dino Dig Returns to Liberty Science Center for Another Summer of Fun-Filled Fossil Finding

Yes, back by popular demand, Dino Dig has returned to Liberty Science Center for a third fossil-filled summer! From now until September 3, little explorers are invited to sift through 35 tons of sand in the museum's completely transformed backyard in search of T. rex bones and teeth, an egg nest with a baby Maiasaura, and even a 6-foot-long Triceratops skull. Aspiring dino hunters will be wowed as they unearth replicas of fossils first discovered by Jack Horner, the famed paleontologist who inspired Jurassic Park.

Just one mention of "dinosaurs" and my own 5-year-old, pint-sized paleontologist was all in for a trip the much loved exhibit. So, with two of her best buds in in tow, we traveled back in time 66 million years via Route 78 and the New Jersey Turnpike, to see what we could dig up ourselves at LSC.

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