Easy, Exciting Blue Hills' Hikes with Kids

We'd all like to be the sort of family that hikes together—what can be more healthy and wholesome than that? But with little kids, it can be a challenge to traverse a large parking lot, much less uneven or steep terrain. The nice thing is, one of the closest legit hiking spots to downtown Boston happens to also be among the most kid-friendly: Blue Hills. Stretching across 7,000 acres and four towns—Quincy, Dedham, Milton, and Randolph—Blue Hills' only problem may be its vastness: It can be hard to figure out the best spots for a short-but-sweet journey. Today, we're zeroing in on our three favorite Blue Hills' family hiking trails that can be done in a single morning or afternoon—and make kids feel like great adventurers.

Queens Sensory Gyms for Kids with Disabilities

Sensory gyms are a great resource for children with special needs or a developmental delay or concern. The specialized play equipment entertains as it provides treatment, and it's often a supportive environment for families, too. While there are many activities parents and children can do at home, a sensory gym offers equipment not usually available in a New York City apartment. Some facilities even offer time with trained therapists. 

Queens doesn't have as many sensory gyms as Manhattan or Brooklyn, so it can be difficult to find quality classes or even an indoor play space where kids can play safely with other youngsters. It does, however, have a growing number of well-equipped gyms run by experienced therapists; we rounded up six for you below.

FREE Bilingual Story Times for Westchester Kids

Because a public library’s mission is to serve the varying interests of its community, it’s fitting that many offer bilingual programming for children, especially in towns with diverse communities. Bilingual programming for Westchester families, however, is often attended not only by native speakers but also by those wishing to expose their children to a second language from an early age. One local mom we know strategically hired a Spanish-speaking nanny for her toddler and brought him to Spanish story time to increase this exposure.

Beyond the 30 to 60 minutes of weekly immersion, these programs can also provide a cultural hub—an opportunity for families to connect with others from their heritage and socialize both within and outside of the library setting. And since most are intended for young learners accompanied by a caregiver, you're sure to pick up some new phrases yourself!

We’ve explored the bilingual programs offered by Westchester libraries to round up some highlights. Though Spanish-language programs are the most abundant, a variety of languages are in focus—and one in particular offers a smattering of more than 20 languages, from Dutch to Urdu and Ashanti! One note: Although we confirmed with the libraries that these are ongoing programs, be sure to check before you go because dates can change.

This Weekend's Fun for LA Kids: YALLWest, Puppet Festival, and We All Play

I'm all about giving back, especially when "giving back" is code for "having an awesome time." This weekend offers several fundraisers that are really just an excuse to enjoy yourself (particularly if you are a kid). Saturday's Truck Adventures lets kids climb on, poke, prod, and jimmy a wide range of trucks and one-of-a-kind vehicles, with the drivers who operate them there on hand to answer curious kiddos' questions. (And by the way, your entrance fee benefits Make a Wish Foundation.) Also Saturday, you can see young Hollywood stars perform scenes by kid writers. (And by the way, your ticket price benefits Young Storytellers program, which mentors the young writers.)

On Sunday, the Zimmer's We All Play! event has everything we love about the museum: the airplane, the ball pit, the activities and crafts, and reality-play environments throughout the museum—combined with special day-of only activities like concerts by favorite kid bands (Lucky Diaz! Luis & Ana!), giant Hasbro games, a cookie bar (yum!), a petting zoo and puppy kissing booth (what?), free food, and fun giveaways. We went last year and had a blast. (And by the way your entrance fee benefits the Zimmer's Family Access Program, so more kids can play!)

Of course, as usual, this weekend offers tons of other opportunities for fun. You can ride the rails and party like a Victorian, watch kid-friendly films and attend an award show. Literary types take over Santa Monica, while DTLA's library gets STEAM-y. Long Beach walks the walk (or rides it), while Brentwood gets arty and Burbank puts on a parade. You can celebrate puppets and sanitation and Cinco de Mayo and Holland's King. (And by the way, some of these have no entrance fee at all!)

Keep reading for our most giving finds this weekend...

Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Nature, Performances, Amusement Parks April 29-30

Bees buzzing, lawn mowers humming, birds singing, and the voices of children playing outside have become familiar sounds throughout Philadelphia. Now that spring is in full bloom, Philly parents can be sure our event calendar is set to deliver some springtime fun.

Head outdoors to play with slime, learn about DNA, and visit live animals at the Science Carnival. Go for a bird walk in the morning or plan to stargaze at night. Dance the day away with rockin' preschool tunes or expose kids to a new variety of music. Splurge with a visit to either Dutch Wonderland or Sesame Place since both parks celebrate opening for the season this weekend.

With so many events from which to select, be sure to use our filters to narrow down the options by age and location. Now, continue reading for our top picks.

Weekend Fun for Boston Kids: Baseball, Shadow Theater, and a Sound Sculpture; April 29-30

Like most Bostonians, one thing I look forward to in the spring (along with the warm weather, of course) is baseball (go Sox!). This weekend, the Museum of Science is hosting a brand-new event with our beloved team that will include all kinds of baseball-related STEM activities, a pitching station, face painting, and even photos with Wally the Green Monster. While you're hanging out on that side of the river, head to Harvard Square for the Harvard ArtsFirst Festival or enjoy live music, shadow theater, and free admission to the Peabody Museum. 

Speaking of art, the MFA is celebrating spring with their annual Art in Bloom family event; the ICA is having a playdate; and Spring ArtWeek is happening all over the city, including this interactive public art display that kids won't want to miss. 

Also on Mommy Poppins this week:

Need more family fun ideas? Check out our full events calendar.

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Day of the Child, Festivals, Family Music, April 29-30

The last weekend of April is here - we can't believe it either! Make the most out of this wonderful weather at the many festivals this weekend, such as the FUNomenal Family FestivalTexas Crawfish and Music Festival, or a good old-fashioned community spring festival in Northwest Houston. Or maybe check out the newly renovated Evelyn's Park in Bellaire

Also on Mommy Poppins this week:

For more family fun ideas, our event calendar has things to do every day, and our April GoList to find the best things to do this month. Did you know can also submit your own events? And for great posts like this delivered to your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Read on for more things to do this weekend.

Weekend Fun: Farm Days, Baseball, and a Frog Frolic, April 29-30

The upside of all the rain that we've had lately is that the flowers are blooming, the fields and meadows are lush, and with a forecast looking pretty cooperative for the weekend, we are just itching to get outside! The spring fair season kicks off this weekend with the Daffodil Festival in Meriden, the Sheep, Wool, and Fiber Festival in Vernon, the McKinley School Carnival in Fairfield. and the charming Frog Frolic in Redding, among many others. We also welcome baseball back with a weekend full of events with the Bridgeport Bluefish, including fireworks, a family fun day, and even a special giveaway.

Visit with animals and check out the face of modern farming with events at Common Ground in New Haven and Ambler Farm in Wilton--and Stew Leonards' welcomes the animals back to their outdoor "Little Farms" in Norwalk and Danbury with special events on Saturday. 

Our Event Calendar is constantly updated with the latest, greatest activities. To keep up with everything going on in CT, subscribe to our newsletters and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Have a fabulous weekend!

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