More Than Swan Boats: Things to Do in the Public Garden With Kids

You've walked into Boston's Public Garden and taken the kids for a ride on the Swan Boats. You can check that off your list of things to do with kids in Boston before they grow up,  but now what? Well, there's good news: Families can actually enjoy a lot more in the Public Garden. The 24-acre park – which lies between Arlington and Charles Streets, and across from Boston Common – is a stroller's delight, with winding paths among tremendous horticultural sights. 

13 Dual-Language and Immersion Preschools in Manhattan

Whether your toddler already speaks a second (or third) language at home, or if you’re simply hoping to give your monolingual child the gift of another language, there are plenty of great preschools where NYC kids may begin, or continue, learning another language. 

As with mastering any new skill, regular (and fun) practice makes a big difference in how quickly a child becomes comfortable speaking another language. We previously rounded up great Spanish language learning centers for school-aged kids, as well as Spanish sing-alongs for toddlers. Now, we're turning our attention to the preschool set, pulling together a sampling of immersion and dual-language preschool programs available in Manhattan. All our picks accept a mix of children at different levels of language proficiency, including absolute beginners.

Read on to find out where your tot can learn German, French, Mandarin and Spanish, and be sure to look through our NYC Preschool Listings and Directory for even more options, including dual-language playgroups and preschool alternatives. 

Inclusive Services at BPL: Free Special Needs Program at the Library

Ever since we moved to southern Brooklyn from the Upper West Side, I've been on the hunt to replace all of the amazing special needs activities we had access to in Manhattan with only limited success. That's why I was really excited to stumble across the FREE Inclusive Services at the Brooklyn Public Library program.

The program, formerly known as The Child's Places, takes place at five borough branches and is a lot more than books. The activities, geared toward children with special needs ages newborn to teen, include reading, playing and clubs where participants engage in a variety of enriching hands-on activities. True to their name, the offerings are inclusive, which means you can bring siblings of all abilities. So no more schlepping to Manhattan when looking for FREE fun for my special needs tween.

Hiking and Biking the Delaware Valley with Kids: The Best Parks, Trails and Picnic Spots

With summer just around the corner, there is nothing I look forward to more than those long hours of sunshine, taking the kids outside, walking to our local farmer's market and just enjoying the outdoors without the rain and pollen that have kept us housebound for the past few weeks. Hiking, biking and picnicking are great activities for children of any age and can provide years of fun family memories. Here are some of our favorite spots.

Best Strawberry Picking Farms and Festivals on Long Island

The East End of Long Island is ripe with places where you can pick your own strawberries. Deciding where to go can be a challenge, so we've handpicked a few of our favorites. Harvesting your own fruit is not only fun, it connects you to where your food comes from and supports locals farmers. It also allows you to experience food at its freshest, right off the vine. This is especially important for Long Island strawberries, which are sweeter and more delicate than most grocery-store varieties, and tend to have a shorter shelf life. Be sure to call ahead or check the farms' websites to confirm that the fields are open and the strawberries are ripe.

For more places where you can pick your own fruit and vegetables in the tri-state area, check out our Farm Guide.

20 Things to Do This Summer With Kids in Litchfield County, CT

For generations families from NYC and surrounding areas  have been heading to Litchfield County to spend weekends and summers. It's the quiet alternative to the Hamptons. There's plenty of natural beauty, sophistication and country charm without the pretense (and, might I add, phenomenal ocean beaches and dining options which you can read more about in our CT Beach & Water Fun Guide). But that's okay, Litchfield County provides ample opportunity for creating wonderful summer memories anyway with it's beautiful lakes, rivers and charming villages. While risking sounding like a travel agent, let's just say it's a great place to unwind, slow down and enjoy the scenic countryside.  The following list of 20 things to do with kids will come in handy while spending time with the family this summer in the Northwest Corner.

Weekday Event Picks for NJ Kids: World of Water Day, Princess Tea, May 16-20

Get in the mid-spring spirit this week with nature and wildlife events in the spotlight. Meet cute creatures at Mommy and Me Class with Rizzo’s Wildlife World. Share stories in a nature setting at Flat Rock Brook Nature Center’s Toddler Times and Rancocas Nature Center’s Preschool Storytime. Plus, have wet farm fun at World of Water Day. And don’t forget to check out our Event Calendar for even more options!

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: GreenPLAY and Free Harvard Art Museums, May 16-20

If variety is the spice of life, it's a flavorful week for families here in Boston. From a nature program for toddlers to a talk on sibling rivalry, there something for all ages and interests. With free admission to the Harvard Art Museums, art making with twigs, Hidden Treasures Week, and a celebration of public art, it's a great week for the intersection of art and the outdoors. Play gets a spotlight on the Greenway with GreenPLAY in Chinatown Park and the debut this Thursday of Playcubes, which are part of Design Museum Boston's Extraordinary Playscapes program. Young bibliophiles can meet their favorite authors see a classic story come to life on the stage (without all that pesky singing).

With the school year soon coming to a close it's time to start thinking about classes and extracurricular activities for the summer and fall, especially if there's an audition involved. Because, you know, we don't have enough going on at this time of year. The Competitive LINX Dance Team and Company and LINX Theater auditions for fall 2016 shows are open to the public at the end of the week, applications are being accepted for the Boston Children's Chorus, and it's time to schedule an audition for the South Shore Conservatory's Summer Vocal Institute. If all these auditions and end-of-school-year activities have you wound tight, we have the ultimate relaxation destination recommendation: Club Med Punta Cana. Better yet, you can help us help you and we'll give you the chance to win a trip there. Feel better already?

Check out our Events Calendar for more local diversions. Have a wonderful week!

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