Houston

He Named Me Malala, Parent Movie Review: Is It OK for Kids?

He Named Me Malala opens this week, and some of our older kids are going to want to see it. Malala Yousafzai is kind of like this generation’s Anne Frank: an articulate, wise-beyond-her-years teenage girl who remains optimistic about our world’s prospects for peace despite her own encounter with unspeakable evil. Malala is a child, but her story is not necessarily for children. I wanted to check it out before taking my own kids.

Taking an International Flight With Your Toddler: 20 Things to Bring

A family vacation may sound idyllic, but once travel plans involve crossing oceans and international borders, bringing a two-year-old with you may make the hassles of travel feel even more daunting. What do you need to bring in your carry-on to make a ten or twenty hour flight with a toddler bearable?

We recently took our two-year-old to Kenya to spend some time with his grandparents who live on the Mombasa coast. In the course of three flights and twenty-seven hours in transit, we learned a lot about how to prepare for the next trip. While in-flight entertainment or kids shows streaming through the Wi-Fi will help pass the time, toddlers have a short attention span. We planned to switch activities every 20 minutes. Here are 20 things to keep a kid entertained, plus supplies to get through the literal and figurative turbulence.

No-candy Halloween: Non-edible Treats to Hand Out on October 31

What's the first thing my family does to prepare for Halloween season? No, not make costumes or crafts or plan out our calendar. Our very first activity is to throw out all the stale candy my daughter has been hanging on to since last October 31.

Whatever you do with your child's Halloween haul—donate, repurpose, hoard or eat—there's no question that trick-or-treaters collect way too much candy. And while I'm glad my kid doesn't actually ingest it all, many children do, and the health implications of that are pretty scary.

So this year I'm not going to be part of the candy craze. Instead, I plan to give out small, fun, non-edible treats, like the kinds of tchotchkes you might find in a birthday goody bag. (So if you have any of those lying around the house, start gathering them up now.) Yes, I realize these things may end up sitting around as long as last year's candy, but since they don't go bad I can always hand them out again next Halloween.

Here are some cool things to hand out on Halloween besides candy that won't get you egged.

Your 75 Best Family Vacation Destinations

We recently asked you to share your top family vacation destinations and once again you came through. With your suggestions, We put together this list of the 75 of the best family-friendly travel spots from as nearby as around the corner to as far off as South Africa. You're a well-traveled bunch with great ideas for family-vacation fun, whether you have a weekend or a week.

Can't get enough inspiration here? Visit our sister site to read about the best family travel destinations plus some great tips on why you should go. Check out our Family Travel Guide for more great family vacation destinations.

10 Questions To Ask During a Preschool Tour

A preschool tour is the best opportunity for parents to get a feel for a school before tackling the admissions process. Hopefully, you see the school in action, or at least check out what the classrooms look like. Keep your eyes open for important details. What type of student work is on display? Do the kids seem happy and engaged? How do the teachers interact with them?

When you're on the tour, don't be shy about asking questions. This is your chance! "Parents should ask as many questions as they want to help understand and grasp our program's philosophy," says Lisa Pacheco, center director at Children’s Creative Learning Center. Jennifer Jones of Battery Park Montessori and the Pine Street School adds, "I encourage parents to ask questions based on their personal priorities for their children. For example, if the child is physically active and the parents are concerned about it, they should ask how the school will satisfy the child's need for physical expression." Open-ended questions are best, as they tend to reveal more about the school. For example, "How do you support literacy?" is better than, "When do you teach the alphabet?"

Here are the top 10 topics to ask about when you're visiting preschools.

What Preschool Directors Want To Tell You About Admissions

It’s understandable that applying to preschool is nerve-racking: It’s one of the first decisions you make for your child’s education. But at Mommy Poppins, we believe that applying to preschool can be a sane experience, and we want to do what we can to dispel some of the anxiety. So we're sharing the inside scoop from our recent preschool fair where we interviewed a number of top NYC preschool directors, administrators and teachers for their tips on the admissions process. After all, who knows it better than the people who make the decisions?

Preschool Directors Share How To Pick a 'Good Fit' Preschool

Applying to preschool is one of the most important (and potentially harrowing) experiences for young children and their parents. It’s the beginning of their education, their introduction to schooling and their foundation for a life of learning. In NYC, we are lucky to have many preschool choices available, but it can be a lot of work to figure out which one is best suited to your child.

We asked directors from participating preschools at one of our recent Preschool Fairs to share their insights about the admissions process and what parents should look for in a program. Who better to explain how to navigate this journey than these experts, who help families find the right schools for their kids every day? Read on for their top tips.

6 Cheap & Easy DIY Halloween Decoration Crafts To Do with Kids

Who's ready to spook down the house? If your family loves Halloween, it's time to show the neighbors - all over your lawn, balcony, front steps, or whatever bits of outdoor space you command. We've got a few ideas for Halloween decorations that don't involve a shopping spree at a Halloween store; in fact most of the ideas below are made entirely out of things you're likely to have at home already (and may even be looking to recycle). The best part is a spooky decorating frenzy makes for quality family time - turning a happy home into a haunted one. (Looking for even more ideas? Our Boston site has some way-cool DIY Halloween decorations, too!)

Cool Math Board Games: 6 Fun Ways for Kids to Learn Math

I remember when my son was first learning to add numbers. He was so proud of himself. His face lit up as he proclaimed proudly, "2 + 2 is 4!" But soon the equations and concepts became more complicated. He was forced to do daily flashcard drills and endless worksheets, and I saw his initial enthusiasm start to fade. That's when I decided to turn math time into playtime with fun and engaging board games.

While there are plenty of math apps he can play alone and hands-on activities at the Museum of Mathematics, board games help him learn new mathematical concepts or master old ones in a supportive and entertaining environment. Family game night is a great bonding experience, too, and it certainly doesn't feel like work. Here are six board games, all under $20 and aimed at a variety of ages, that my family and I often play together. They're so much fun your kids won't even realize they're doing math.

Geocaching with Kids: Scavenger Hunts Wherever You Roam

If you've got a smartphone, get ready to change your ringtone to the Indiana Jones theme; the adventure of geocaching is within your grasp, and it's one of technology's greatest gifts to modern parents. A free activity that can be done pretty much anywhere, anytime, geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunt open to anyone with a GPS device or smartphone. Have half an hour to kill and a kid who's climbing the walls? There's probably a treasure hidden within walking distance of where you are. Need an activity that gets the whole family outside for the day? Pick a spot in the hills and hike there in search of secret booty. Either way, you won't be hearing anyone say, "I'm bored!"

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