Weekday Picks for Philly Kids: Storytimes, Movies, Nature August 14-18

Whenever a carefree August day presents itself, a family 'go-to' activity is to read a book. Luckily for Philly families, this week offers a variety of opportunities to do just that. From listening to stories under the trees at an arboretum, among the animals at the zoo, at a neighborhood bookstore, or even at a grist mill, children can dive into the world of imagination through interesting characters.

If your crew prefers to watch a movie, there are plenty of spots throughout the Delaware Valley to indulge in film. Penn's Landing and Water Tower Recreation Center feature Beauty and the Beast, Aston Community Center presents The Good Dinosaur, Miles Park showcases Finding Dory, and Oxford Memorial Park welcomes folks to watch Sing. Those looking to escape screens for a bit can turn to nature and our latest round up of parks, gardens, and other open spaces. Be sure to plan a visit to one or two of them before the summer ends.

But, the real question is... have your started your back to school shopping? Believe it or not, consignment sales are starting to pop up on our events calendar. Grab some great deals or prepare to make some extra cash by reviewing our consignment sale tips. Now, continue reading for our top picks for this week.

5 Must-Try Laser Tag and Paintball Arenas for NYC Kids

Are your big kids bored of bowling? Not quite ready for the zip line? Consider laser tag or paintball, both fun party options and action-fueled activities you can find right here in NYC.

For the uninitiated, laser tag is a high-energy game of tag meets hide-and-seek that’s played with infrared laser guns in a darkened arena. Paintball pelts participants with small dye pellets. The object of both games: Get to your opponents before they get to you out by strategically shooting, running, and hiding from cover to cover. Don't worry, the laser guns emit harmless, invisible rays that register a "kill" by lighting up a spot on your adversaries' vests and paintball pellets might sting for a few seconds, but there's no long-lasting effects.

Check out one of these five fast and furious laser tag and paintball spots.

Weekday Fun: Puppet Ballet, Water Olympics, Major Food on 5th

Five outdoor, free events for New York City kids this week! See a puppet show in Chelsea. Dance to the guitar of Conroy Warren in Brooklyn. Also in Brooklyn, Bay Ridge throws a street party, and up in Queens there's Water Olympics, as well as more kids' music, with Darlene Graham.

In Manhattan, head to one of the city's destination playgrounds (with water!) in Battery Park City's Rockefeller Park. Or maybe cross off a few entries on your ice cream bucket list. For those of you who may be keenly watching the barometer, see our guide to birthing centers in New York City.  

Our August GoList hits its mid-month stride this week, and our Summer Fun Guide continues to suggest exciting stuff. Also, see our Event Calendar for your day-by-day planning needs. 

Jury Duty: How Can an LA Parent Cope with Jury Duty and Kids?

If you're a US citizen and a stay-at-home parent, you've probably experienced jury duty panic. We may like to imagine the day when we'll serve on a jury and become one of those all-important dozen people who hold together the fabric of our justice system, scrutinizing the facts and determining whether the glove fits, but our imaginations don't quite stretch to how we will do that and keep our kids fed, cared for, and driven to school at the same time. So how do we plan for the challenges of jury duty?

Mommy And Me Music Classes On Long Island

There are many great reasons to expose children to music early on, including research that links a musical mind to a higher IQ. While listening to Mozart won't necessarily turn children into geniuses, listening to musical patterns stimulates the brain. Music classes are a fun and engaging way to interact with babies, toddlers, and other parents. Here's a list of several Long Island classes that offer a variety of musical styles. Most classes offer free demos, so try one out to see which one is the best fit. For additional class suggestions, see our Classes and Activities Guide for Long Island Kids.

Connecticut's Best Sunflower Patches and Places to Cut Your Own Flowers

One thing I always look for forward to is the blooming of tall, fresh-faced sunflowers, peering over me, bringing the sunshine a little bit closer to earth.  My family loves to be surrounded by fresh flowers as well as bring them into our home, and there is nothing better than cutting your own (forget grocery store bouquets!). If flowers make your day like they do mine, then you will want to check out the great places you can dance amongst the daisies here in Connecticut. And, of course many of these places offer pick your own berries, veggies and fruit too.

5 NYC Day Trip Itineraries Perfect for Preschoolers

New York can be a big, intimidating place for anyone to visit, but especially our smallest kids like preschoolers. Thankfully, the City That Never Sleeps offers plenty of opportunities to entertain even the most pint-sized of visitors.

Of course, you can visit our top zoos and amazing gardens, the mega stores for a special treat, or our top-notch museums like the American Museum of Natural History. These are all great choices and included in our 100 Things to Do In NYC Before Your Kid Grows Up list of the absolute best children's activities in NYC.

But we wanted to come up with something a little different, and a little more mellow for those preschoolers visiting from out of town, or even locals wanting to check out a new-to-you neighborhood—something that respects the limits of a preschooler's emotional and physical mileage. So we've rounded up five mom-tested itineraries that give you and your kid a glimpse of the city without totally wearing everyone down.

Planning ahead? Check out what special events might be taking place during your visit with our always-up-to-date NYC Event Calendar.

New Jersey Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free

Who says there’s no such thing as a free meal? Restaurants throughout New Jersey offer free kid meal promotions nearly every night of the week. (Basically, you never have to cook again.) Visit your favorite family-friendly restaurant on a kids-eat-free night, and you won’t have to worry about overspending on kids’ entrees, especially the ones that are barely touched. Check out some of these New Jersey dining spots that feature free kid meals on certain nights of the week. 


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