Weekday Picks for Philly Kids: Theater, Nature, Stories Jan 11-15

The month of January can be grey and dull. But, it certainly doesn't have to be. Make it lively and exciting by filling your week with activities found in our Events Calendar.

This week, children can stay busy by learning about movement, taking in a theater production, or discovering interesting facts about owls. Or, take baby to a movie at Bryn Mawr Film Institute or bring the older kids to Bartram's Gardens for its Homeschooler Day.

To keep up with new events that are constantly added to our listing, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. Make it a great week!

7 Great Birthday Party Places for Preschoolers in New York City

I go to kids birthday parties the way a 20 year old goes clubbing. Lately it seems like the weekend just isn't complete without hitting at least one kiddie party where my 5 year old can get sugared-up, over-stimulated and over-tired. Last weekend we had four (yes, in one weekend!) and I've been to more than 50 separate preschool birthday parties since my son was a toddler.

From exorbitantly fancy parties with chocolate fountains to the most simple, classic kid parties, I think I've witnessed enough of the (sugar) highs and the (tantrummy party) lows to qualify as an expert when it comes to birthday party places in New York City. Although I've never been to a bad party, there are definitely some places that stand out for the way they handle the kids.

The following seven spots rocked in my book and earned my son's top rating: "I didn’t like this party...I LOVED this party!"

Family Friendly Restaurants in New Haven County

Enjoying a quiet dinner at a restaurant is a luxury that you don’t fully appreciate until it’s gone. I certainly feel like I didn’t take full advantage of my dinners out before I had kids. The truth is, it’s just a lot harder to enjoy your meal with children, but it can be done. The trick is in the planning. Bring along some small toys for a distraction, ask that children’s meals are served first, and most importantly, pick a restaurant that is family-friendly. I’ve got a great list of places to bring the whole family out to eat in New Haven County, and if you’re venturing to Central Connecticut check our list of restaurants where kids eat free.

A Week of Nut-Free Lunches and Snacks

My kids are lucky enough to not have any allergies themselves, but with nut allergies on the rise, friends in each of their classes since preschool have had allergies that could result in deadly reactions to certain nuts. While it's hard for families to ensure dishes are allergen-free in restaurants, we as parents can do our part at home to try and send our kids to school with nut-free lunches and snacks each day so that everyone stays safe.

For me, this starts in the grocery store when I'm purchasing ingredients for the week. Many of the processed foods available—including granola bars, cookies, crackers, and yogurts with toppings—are made in facilities that also process nuts. These items generally carry such a disclaimer on the package under the ingredients, but I've found it easiest to only purchase items for school made from whole foods and then pull together my own fun meals at home.

Our Trip to My Back Yard Playspace

When the shorter days and longer nights of Winter have my family bouncing off the walls we frequently turn to the Mommy Poppins guide of Indoor Play Spaces.   Lucky for us in Fairfield County, there are quite a few to choose from. Having a fun, safe, clean, dependable indoor play area is crucial to surviving winter in Connecticut.  For my family, that magical place is called “Our Back Yard”.  You may not notice this expansive play space driving down the road in Fairfield. It’s tucked into a strip mall, above the Nutmeg Bowl Bowling Alley.  Our Back Yard is in the same building as the bowling alley, but if you follow the driveway along the side of the building, you will reach the separate parking lot and entrance for the play space.  Our Back Yard offers a “weather resistant” playscape. Even though we have been “bounced out” after about 60 minutes, I still feel like this is a tremendous bang for your buck.  

25 Things to Do in Amsterdam with Kids

If you haven’t considered the family vacation potential of forward-thinking Amsterdam, it’s time to start. This walkable European city where nearly everyone speaks English, offers great things to do for the young and old alike.  

Some come for the artistic treasures, from Rembrandt to Van Gogh, while others head to its notorious Red Light District where pot and prostitution are on offer for all to see. But with its hands-on museums, scenic canals, food staples like pancakes and easy cycling, it’s a mecca for families, too. Amsterdam is full of atmosphere, so leave plenty of time on the schedule for aimless strolling as the kids and you try to soak it all in.

Whether you're looking for a last-minute winter weekend getaway or planning ahead to this summer, check our travel site for more family vacation ideas. Sticking closer to home? We have a few recommendations for U.S. travel, too.

Martin Luther King Day 2016 Celebrations for Kids and Families on Long Island

Martin Luther King Day is approaching, and while most kids will be excited about the day off from school, many may not even be aware of the tremendous contributions of Dr. King.

You can learn more about Dr. King at your local library, where they are sure to have plenty of age-appropriate books on display, and you can visit the King Center website to learn more.

Best Gaming Summer Camps in NJ

In today’s digital world—which most kids know quite well!—more and more camps are catering to aspiring game designers and engineers. Not only are these camps informative, but they help prepare tweens and teens for real-world jobs at a young age—digital media is always booming, so why not send your tech-savvy kids to a camp that meets their interests? Below is a list of design camps in New Jersey for the gamer in your life.

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