New York to Offer Free Gear to First-Time Campers

If you’ve ever thought, “I wish we camped more,” but the risk of abandoned tents, sleeping bags, and coolers sitting in the corner of your garage, or your nonexistent storage space if you're in the city, stops you from gearing up and going, New York state’s new First-Time Camper weekends might be just right for your family.

The state's Department of Environmental Conservation is launching a program to reserve a fully stocked campsite at select New York state campgrounds for a weekend getaway this summer, letting families test the waters before investing in the necessities. (And to find out who’s really afraid of the dark. Kidding.)

Zip Lines and Adventure Ropes Courses for New Jersey Kids

Gear up for an outdoor adventure at one of New Jersey's newest treetop obstacle courses, or buckle up for a soaring ride on a zip line. Swaying bridges, wobbly balance logs, cargo nets, high wires and rope ladders are among the features at some sky-high ropes courses, along with tree climbers and platforms built right into tree trunks. Many tree-top courses are best for older kids and teens, but some also offer tykes courses that are closer to the ground for the grade-schooler crowd.

We've rounded up some of the coolest of these zip lines and ropes courses in New Jersey, a few in Pennsylvania, and even a year-round indoor option just over the state line in Westchester. You'll find these parks at local zoos, amusement parks, down the Jersey Shore, and even at some of the Poconos family resorts.

This Program Meets Kids at Eye Level to Help Learning Take Off

We love the philosophy behind Eye Level: that successful learning happens at the eye level of the child. The example of an elementary school teacher who kneels down in front of paintings at a gallery the day before bringing his students to an exhibit, to make sure he sees the work the way they will, is the type of engaged teaching we all want for our children. Maybe that's why more than two and a half million children have participated in Eye Level's individualized supplemental math and English program across the globe. With fifteen locations in New York and 216 locations nationwide, more local families are discovering the confidence and self-directed learning habits that Eye Level programs can provide.

5 Rock Music Camps for Kids Near Boston

If your house sounds like CBGB all day long, or you’re looking for a summer camp that will help your aspiring Hendrix hone some real skills, then you’re in luck. The Boston area offers a plethora of summer rock music camps that cater to kids of all ages, abilities, and specialties—guitar, drums, bass, or vocals. Thanks to these camps, blossoming musicians will be jamming from Andover to Seekonk.

Summer Fun: Free & Cheap Movies for Houston Families

Pool days, water parks and splash pads may be the name of the game when it comes to summer - especially in Houston where any day below 90 degrees is considered cool - but sometimes you need something a little more low-key to entertain the kids. You know - an activity that involves less sunscreen, towels, wet swimsuits and sunburns and more air conditioning and sitting (relatively) still. The solution? You take the kids to see a movie. The problem? Going to the movies can get pretty pricey, especially when you have multiple kids in tow who all want popcorn and candy. But fear not, there are plenty of free and low-cost movie screenings around Houston this summer, both indoor and outdoor. Read on for lots of free flicks you can enjoy under the stars (just grab a blanket or lawn chairs) and cheap movies at the theater (think $1 or less) you can hit up during the day.

Weekday Picks: OC Night Market, Extreme Mammals, Endangered Species, & Magic

Nighttime is the right time for night markets, and this week marks the return of one of the country's largest, based on the famed night bazaars of Asia. The OC Night Market at Costa Mesa's OC Fair and Event Center features hundreds of unique food vendors, merchandise, arts and crafts, games, music, dance competitions, and entertainment for the whole family.

If your child is fascinated by animals and odd things, the latest exhibit at the Natural History Museum, Extreme Mammals, can offer an educational look-see into evolution and ancestry, introducing visitors to many animals they haven't seen before. Follow that up with a last chance to celebrate endangered species at the LA Zoo, or reintroduce rhinos to the wild with Nat Geo, and your kids can fit in all their animal cravings before the weekend even starts.

As always, there are plenty more ideas to be found on the Mommy Poppins Event Calendar, as well as our picks for the month in our GoList. Read on for our favorite outings this week.

Weekday Picks for Connecticut Kids: Art, Insects, & Storytime at the Beach, May 15-19

It looks as if the week ahead will be warmer, sunnier, and much more spring-like! It's a fantastic time to get outside to enjoy storytime at the beach, trails and tales, and even some icky, sticky, slimy animals. There's plenty of indoor fun too, including a reading with Connecticut's own Sarah Darer Littman (my tween girl cannot get enough of Littman's latest updated fairy tale series) and an open art clinic

For even more activities, check our Event Calendar which we update daily and follow Mommy Poppins CT on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. Have a great week! 

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