Big Holiday News! Toys R Us (Briefly) Returns To Times Square

If you're still lamenting the fact that Toys "R" Us left a giant Ferris-wheel-sized hole in Times Square for the past two years, you can get excited again because...it's returning! Well, at least for the holiday season. The big-box toy brand is opening a 35,000-square-foot, three-floor location at 42nd street and Broadway later this month. (I guess "just in time for the holidays" means different things to different people.)

The three-story pop-up shop is full of new and classic buys for the little ones on your holiday list, but it's offering more than just a shopping trip.

Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Is a Fun New Take on an Old Classic

Whether you couldn't put down the classic book or can hum along to all the hits from the iconic movie, most adults remember Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from our childhoods. Producing a new musical version of such a popular story might sound risky, but Warner Brothers took that challenge and ran with it, with a Broadway production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that opened this past April at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. There are definitely a couple of things you should know about this dark tale before deciding to take the kiddos, but all in all, the show received a well-earned round of wild applause from children and adults alike.

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For Family Thrills, Try Whitewater Rafting—Just a Few Hours from Boston

Surrounded by the flat, meandering Charles, Boston has a reputation for some great kayaking and canoeing. But whitewater adventures? Not so much. However, in just a few hours or less, you can find real-deal rapids that rival many you might find in the southern mountains or even out west. Even better, southern New England is home to some experienced guide companies who run family-focused trips that introduce beginners to whitewater rafting with an eye toward safety, education, and fun. If you think your crew is game to try some whitewater rafting, here's a breakdown of three companies who operate trips in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and southern Vermont.

10 Ways to Enjoy the MFAH with Kids

When I moved to Houston from New York City, my former co-workers got me a membership to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston as a going away gift. I guess they wanted to make sure I would still get some culture all the way down here in Texas. It was a wonderful gift and gave me the opportunity to get to explore one of the best resources for art and culture in Houston! Now that I'm a mom, I have realized that the MFAH has so much to offer for children and families. 

Summer Daytrip to Monroe

Monroe is a quiet, little outpost north of Bridgeport on the way to Danbury, with the obligatory (and lovely) town green/gazebo this state is known for.  But that old town center is now a long way into town from the highway — most of Monroe's hustle and bustle these days is along one of two corridors — route 25 or route 111 (Monroe Turnpike), near the Trumbull line.  That being said, there are a couple of outdoor gems off the beaten path that make a trek out from lower Fairfield County worth the time spent getting there, whether your kiddos are tiny or teens.

Places Where Long Island Kids Can Learn to Cook & Bake

It’s never too early to teach kids the importance of eating healthy, and what better way to do that than by showing them how to cook nutritious meals? (OK, fine, sweets-baking is also fun for kids.)

Not only will kids master important kitchen skills, these classes also improve fine motor skills, boost math comprehension (thanks to all that measuring), and encourage kids to try new foods.

We’ve rounded up more than 10 places that offer cooking and baking classes for kids in Nassau and Suffolk counties. So go ahead and encourage your future Emeril or Giada to get cooking! And for more enrichment programs, check out our Classes Guide.

Best Tubing and Rafting for New Jersey Families

Paddling a raft or floating on a tube down a rushing river is a summer thrill your kids won't get at a local water park. If you're looking for an exciting alternative to the beach, head west toward the Delaware River for a ride with the current, splashing and gliding past the wildlife and cliff-side rock formations. Most tubing adventures are suitable for children age 4 and up, and life jackets are required. Check websites for pricing and reservation information. And be sure to bring river shoes to protect everyone's feet from the slippery, rocky riverbed!

For more family fun, including water parks and campgrounds, check out our Summer Fun Guide

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