Weekday Picks for Westchester Kids: Twister Competition, Fall Carnival

As we say goodbye to September, we say hello to fall, embracing all the autumnal fun that comes with the chillier weather.

Though summer is over, that doesn’t mean that carnival fun has to be! Keep it going at Fall Carnival. Alternatively, get tangled in the Twister Competition. For a more pragmatic opportunity, both parents and their tweens can pick up some pointers on how to be Home Alone from a former emergency responder.

These are just a few of our top picks for the weekdays ahead. Read on for the rest and for additional details, and don’t forget to turn to our Event Calendar  for many more options!

19 Corn Mazes for Kids Near NYC

Navigating the twists and turns of a giant corn maze is the perfect fall outing for adventurous NYC families. Yet, with dozens of mazes scattered throughout the rural parts of our tristate area, the real challenge is deciding which one to visit.

My family loves our annual corn maze romp to the local Queens County Farm Museum's Amazing Maize Maze. It's just the right size for kids, includes fun challenges and clues—and doesn't take all day to get to. However, if you're looking to get out of the city for that true country feel or headed upstate or elsewhere for a long weekend getaway, we've also compiled a list of almost two dozen of the area's best corn mazes—most within 90 minutes of NYC.

We've broken down our picks to let you know which are better for older kids vs. preschoolers, which are accessible by train and which has the best doughnuts. Most farms include extra seasonal things to do like pumpkin picking, pony rides, petting zoos and even a 100-foot monster slide in one case—all of which adds up to a perfect day trip this fall.

Free Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Monkeying With Robots and Zoo Animals, Sept 26-30

Calling all fans of fall in New England: The apples are ready for picking, the corn mazes are ready for solving, and the pumpkins are ready to be turned into jack-o-lanterns. Local farms can get crowded during the weekends, so if you have little ones and can swing a weekday visit, we highly recommend it. Most apple orchards are open during the week, the Marini Farm and Connor Farm corn mazes are open daily, and low-key pumpkin picking, without all the bells and whistles, is available daily at a handful of farms. If you can sneak away for a day trip, we have five great ideas for combining a short getaway with an apple picking excursion. Get all the farm-tastic details in our Fall Fun Guide.

If you're already thinking about a family vacation to someplace warm this winter, we have a deal for you: tell us about your favorite, go-to family spots in Boston, and you'll be entered to win a swagalicious trip and other super-snazzy prizes.

Check out our top, FREE picks for kid-friendly fun in Boston this week. Our Event Calendar is always full of cool things to do, too. Have a great week!

Weekday Fun: Cirque du Soleil, Little Prince, Teen Lit

The coming week is full of fantastic family theater. Cirque du Soleil returns to New York City, a classic adventure tale comes to life at the New Victory Theater, and The Little Prince is reinvented with the use of whimsical physical theater in Flight.

Teens! Enjoy a launch party and meet the authors of two new mystery novels at Books of Wonder. And families, now's the time to take in all the wonders of Madame Tussauds as kids get in FREE.

Read on for details on all of our top picks for the week, and remember to peruse our Event Calendar for even more options. And don't forget that NYC public school kids have two long weekends coming up. Check out our Day Trip and Getaway Guide for inspiration. Staying local? We just updated our 100 Things to Do in New York City with Kids and just released our very first 100 Things to Do in New York State with Kids list.

Weekday Fun in NJ: Nature Walks, The Wiggles, Italian Fests

Early fall is the perfect time of year for nature exploration, and two great nature hikes are in the spotlight this first full week of the season. Put on the walking shoes, and bring the little ones outdoors for Great Swamp’s Toddler Trek: Going on a Seed Hunt and Tiny Tots Walks with Miss Allison. Find more easy fall hikes in our roundup of area trails just right for little legs.

If you’re hungry for Italian food and fun, check out the Wildwood’s Ole Time Italian Festival and St. Michael’s Festival at Palisades Park. Peruse our NJ Farm Guide for apple and pumpkin picking spots (yes, they're open!), corn mazes, and more fall fun. We're also getting a head start with Halloween: check out the costume parades and more at NJ amusement parks, cool jack-o-lantern displays and events, and these Halloween trains about to depart!

Read on for our best children's events the week of September 26-30, and don’t forget to check out our Event Calendar and these upcoming harvest festivals for early long weekend planning.

Weekday Picks for Philly Kids: Nature, Free Fun, September 26-30

With cooler temperatures and low humidity settling into Philly and the Delaware Valley, many families seek outdoor fun to keep children engaged and occupied. Thankfully, this week's event calendar offers many opportunities to help children learn about the world around them.

Explore the grounds of Bucktoe Creek Preserve by participating in a Nature Playgroup. Visit Tyler Arboretum for its hour-long Toddlers in Nature program in which kids learn about fall leaves. Or, head to Briar Bush Nature Center for its Magic Morning where little ones listen to stories, take walks, and make crafts. Afterwards, check out one of the local museums, gardens, amusement parks, or zoos in the area. Many of them are free for young children, and if you live in the suburbs, you may be able to check out a membership pass from your local library.

Remember to plan out additional fall fun by browsing through our Fall Activity Guide which includes information on apple picking, harvest festivals, autumn train rides, and fall runs/races.

Weekday Picks: Horses, Puppets, Stars, and Holiday Festivals, Sept. 26-Sept. 30

As September comes to a close, horse jumping comes to Long Beach, and holiday festivals come to Costa Mesa and Ventura.

The Longines Masters makes its one stop in the US as part of the Grand Slam Indoor of Show Jumping in Long Beach beginning Thursday. Organizers say it's the first prominent event in the international equestrian scene to take place in the Los Angeles area since the 1984 Summer Olympics. Beyond the competitions, the event includes a Kids Corner with educational and fun activities, to draw in a new generation to the world of show jumping.

For those wanting to get a jump on their fall and winter holiday shopping, the Sugar Plum Arts & Craft Festival at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa and the Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show in Ventura both open their doors at the end of the week. Kids are likely to appreciate the crafting demonstrations, including woodworking and glass blowing. Meanwhile, smaller local events include a Puppet Musical: Jack and the Beanstalk in Marina del Rey and Garvey Nights, a night of astronomy and star-gazing in Monterey Park.

For more ideas, visit the Mommy Poppins Event Calendar, as well as our picks for the month in our September GoList. Our favorite outings this week follow...

Where to Find Mommy and Baby Music Classes

Babies love music. Music can feel like a secret weapon when you discover a song that soothes or excites your baby. My husband and I found that singing the "skinnamarinky dinky do" song worked wonders in stressful moments and usually led to a happier baby. If you don't know it, the song is from "The Elephant Show," which is an 80s gem - and it's on YouTube! Because my daughter seemed so interested in music, and research shows there are many benefits of early music education, I decided to enroll my 2-month-old daughter in a mommy and baby music class. Her dad attended the class frequently as well, and we found that the class taught us playful ways to interact with her and ways to incorporate music into our lives at home. It was a hit with our family and was a great opportunity to meet other new parents with babies close in age to our daughter. There are lots of options for music classes to choose from in the greater Houston area, and many offer a free demo class. 

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