30 Fun Ways to Get NYC Kids Ready for Back to School

Summer is ending, and with school just around the corner, we can hear the kids' groans (and parents' cheers) already. But making that leap from summer funlike water slides to the classroom chair isn't always easy. All summer we've been sharing great ways to keep the kids engaged with brainy, but fun activities through our Summer Slide Busters guide. From storytime to science experiments, we've collected plenty of activities to keep little ones busy and learning. Need book suggestions for the rest of the summer? The NYPL even shared a host of summer reading book lists for all ages, including grown-ups. 

What else can you do to prepare your kids for school? Well now we're sharing 30 ideas for fun stuff to do around NYC with the rest of the summer that will get the kids' brains back in gear, from cool free drop-in classes to outdoor learning that will hardly feel like school even as they soak up a bit of biology. So read on to get started on one, five, or all of these 30 activity ideas.

Weekday Fun: Bill Nye, Winnie the Pooh, Rockettes, Free Fun

We're celebrating parks, science, and a certain favorite honey-eating bear this week in NYC. Catch a FREE outdoor performance by the legendary Radio City Rockettes as they get ready for the holiday season; celebrate the 100th anniversary of our national parks with a day of family activities in Brooklyn Bridge Park, including an event with Bill Nye the Science Guy; and visit with Winnie the Pooh and his pals now that they're back home on 42nd Street.

Take the kids to an interactive magic show with Gary the Great, or burn off some energy with a free drop-in sports program in Sunset Park.  

We can't deny that the summer fun is slowly coming to an end and NYC kids will be heading back to school in the next few weeks. Of course, there is time for some last blasts of summer fun; our end of summer bucket list has 25 excellent ideas on how to make the most of the waning season. If you are in back-to-school prep mode, help get the kids get ready to hit the books again with our Summer Slide Busters Guide packed with creative edu-taining ideas that make learning fun. Headed to school for the first time? Check out these top tips to ease the transition into preschool or pre-K. And if you are just starting the search for a early education program be sure to check out our NYC Preschool Guide and Directory.  

Don't forget: The Events Calendar is packed with free activities, storytimes, shows, and the best things for kids to do in New York City.  

Weekday Picks for Philly Kids: Nature, Museum Exploration August 22-26

With hot August weather in full force, Philly parents must balance indoor and outdoor play while still providing opportunities to learn and discover. This week's Event Calendar provides both nature exploration and museum fun sure to keep the entire family happy.

For outdoors types, children can explore a creek at Peace Valley Nature Center or the grounds at Tyler Arboretum. Teens can volunteer to help clean up the property at Riverbend Environmental Education Center while families can experience the beauty of nature and light at Longwood Garden's Nightscape.

After being outside, cool off with a visit to a local museum. On select days this week, the Delaware Museum of Natural History offers $2 admission and the Benjamin Franklin Museum offers free admission. Young toddlers can listen to stories and music while learning from the gallery exhibits at the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Baby Bird Playdate session. Preschoolers can learn about different scientific topics at the Academy of Natural Science's Tiny Tot Explorers workshop.

Keep up with the latest indoor and outdoor fun by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Family Travel Deals for Labor Day and Early Fall Getaways

Summer may be coming to an end, but that needn’t put a damper on your vacation plans. We have Labor Day weekend still to go, and don't forget that many public schools will be closed for the Jewish holidays and Columbus Day in October, perfect timing for a quick fall getaway.

There are deals for travel to Orlando, Connecticut, Maine, Washington, D.C. and other family-friendly destinations. The Caribbean is a great value in the fall and nonstop flights have your toes in the sand fast. Why, there’s a luxury hotel deal in London that may lure you to journey across the pond. Read on for fall 2016 travel deals, and don't forget to check out our family travel section for more getaway ideas.

5 Places to Watch Airplanes on Boston's North Shore

I met a fella recently who was stationed with binoculars on the border of East Boston and Winthrop, gazing at the planes lift off from nearby Logan Airport.

“It's beautiful to watch. It's almost mystical,” he told me.

A handful of youngsters also peered at the planes, which, depending on the wind direction, buzzed right overhead with a thunderous roar as they headed to destinations unknown.

If you have kids who are into aircraft, there are some great spots on the North Shore to watch the planes come into and leave the airport. Here are top viewing choices, along with other nearby activities – including the beach, restaurants, and playgrounds – to enjoy:

Rockin' Jump: Gravity-Defying Fun for Westchester Families

Prepare for intense jumping at Rockin’ Jump, the indoor play space in Mount Kisco. The 18,000-square-foot facility (located in the same shopping plaza as Grand Prix) boasts high-action activity areas, a food zone, party facilities and more and is well suited for all ages. From ball pits to dodgeball to basketball and more, the abundance of trampolines allows for gravity-defying fun in leaps and bounds! Read on for the inside scoop.

7 Free Outdoor Art Exhibits to See with NYC Kids Now

Want to see some art with your kids, but can’t handle the hordes of summer tourists? (Guilty!) Believe that museums make more sense during the frigid winter months? (Also guilty.) Just not able to make your work hours or the kids' naps coordinate with FREE hours at NYC museums? (Hand raised.)

Here’s the solution: check out these seven outdoor art exhibits on display in NYC now. Since they’re located in city parks and other public spaces, they’re FREE! All have art that is interactive (to some degree), educational, and fun for kids. At one exhibit—Swale, a traveling barge with a “floating food forest”—you can even feed your kids healthy food they pick themselves. What could be better? Maybe the fact that you're outside and your children can run around afterward and get tuckered out? (Guilty again.)

Fall Consignment Sales for Philly Families

Preparing a kid's closet for the cool breezes of autumn can hit a Philly family right in the wallet. But, it doesn't have to. Purchasing children's clothes by shopping local consignment sales is one way to save some cash. Throughout Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, consignment sales offer families a place to buy gently used clothing, toys, baby items, and other childhood staples for a fraction of the retail price. Additionally, when your kids grow out of their clothes or toys, consignment sales provide an opportunity to sell these items for extra money.

We are constantly adding and updating to our Fall 2016 Consignment Sale post so check back often. Consignment sale organizers can submit their events to our calendar by clicking here.

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