Suffolk

Suffolk County Summer Day Camps for Long Island Kids

When school doors close for the summer, camp doors open wide, and kids across Long Island gear up for new adventures and experiences. Camp should be fun, and families have so many great choices in Suffolk County. Whether you have a first-timer or a seasoned camper, parents want to make the right choice for their kids. We're here to help with our list of the best camps for canoeing, sports, art, learning, and most of all, having a blast. 

These Suffolk camps offer activities and events to keep kids happy all summer. Different camps offer different amenities and programs, including half- and full-day options, door-to-door transportation, and travel programs for older campers. Many camps hold open-house events and tours, so bring your kids and pick the one that suits your needs.

We've also got our picks for great Nassau County summer camps. For more summer camp ideas, check out our Long Island Summer Camps Guide and our directory of LI camps

The Best Indoor Play Spaces for Kids in Suffolk County

Play spaces made just for kids are our go-tos during Long Island's wintertime, or anytime it's cold, wet, or even hot out. So we've rounded up the best indoor play spaces in Suffolk County, from bounce houses and indoor playgrounds to more low-key spaces such as a natural play room and spots for art. There are fun zones loaded with action sports that are best for bigger kids, and plenty more just right for toddlers and preschoolers.

Many of these destinations also double as party spaces, so call ahead to make sure they're open for public play. And don’t forget your socks—many do not allow shoes or bare feet, even for adults. Then get ready to let your kids loose to play there instead of in your living room. Be sure to warm up before and after with some toasty hot cocoa.

And if you live in Nassau County, don't worry. We've compiled a similar list just for you. Whether you want to stay indoors or bundle up and enjoy the winter, check out our Winter Fun Guide for entertainment all season long. And for more indoor energy-burning, check out these indoor water parks for a warm getaway and our guide to sports centers and fun zones for kids across Long Island. 

Outdoor Ice Rinks on Long Island for Family Skating

Sure it might be cold this time of year. But if your kids like the outdoors there’s no reason not to enjoy one of Long Island's outdoor ice skating rinks this winter.

From Nassau County to the north shore of Suffolk and out to the East End, we've put together a list of the top outdoor skating venues on Long Island. Most are inexpensive and offer skate rentals, as well as lessons for those still mastering their steps and stops. Weather permitting, most of these rinks are open until the beginning of spring. All are open to the public without significant restrictions, but keep in mind admission can be higher for nonresidents.

If the weather doesn't cooperate, there are plenty of indoor rinks across Long Island worth a try. So if the weather is nasty or it’s offseason, families can skate all year long, even during beach weather.

7 Places to Have Afternoon Tea with Long Island Kids

When the weather is cold, enjoying a warm cup of tea with your favorite little person is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

From sampling a variety of tea flavors to tasting yummy miniature sandwiches and scones, these Long Island tea rooms offer a warm welcome in an elegant setting just in time for Hot Tea Month in January.

For more delicious fun with your little ones, check out our list of the best Long Island brunch destinations for families, or treat yourself to our roundup of the Island's most decadent dessert spots

Long Island Homes with Spectacular Christmas Light Displays for 2018

Entertaining the family during the holidays can be expensive, of course. Want an inexpensive option? Travel to view some of Long Island's most-decorated holiday homes.

Chances are, wherever you are on Long Island—from Port Washington to Port Jefferson—you'll find neighbors going all out to show off their decorating skills. These nifty displays include lights, nativity scenes, Santas, reindeer, misfit toys, and other beloved seasonal symbols.

We’ve traveled across Nassau and Suffolk to see what’s shining on local lawns, documenting for you our favorites for 2018. So get the family going, put the snacks in a sack, and be ready for some holiday music. Yes, some of these destinations offer seasonal tunes to get you and yours into the spirit. And come back often to Mommy Poppins to see what has been added to our gallery.

If holiday lights are your thing, check out these other spectacular LI displays. And for more seasonal fun, see our December GoList and guide to holiday fun on Long Island, where you'll find information on brunches and pictures with Santa, holiday performances, and more.

Where to Donate Gently Used Toys and Baby Gear on LI

If your kids are anything like most, their holiday wish lists are filled with requests for new toys. And once the holiday comes—and they're happily playing with their gifts—what do you do with all of the old toys that are cluttering up the house? Or all of the baby equipment that the kids have outgrown?

For safety reasons, fewer and fewer places seem to be accepting gently used toys. But before you put those toys out on the curb, consider these Long Island organizations that accept preowned toys and baby items provided they are clean, undamaged, and in working order.

For safety reasons, most charities do not accept cribs or car seats. However, many will accept strollers, bouncers, and even baby care items such as diapers. At this busy time of year, however, contact these charities to make sure they haven't reached their donation limits. One other tip: Ask your preschool child's school director, local library, or church. Often, those institutions are willing to accept used toys and books from someone they know and trust. 

Looking for more ways to help your community? There are plenty of holiday volunteer opportunities for kids and families. And for other seasonal activities, check out our Long Island holiday fun guide or these 30 things to do over holiday break with Long Island kids.

Spectacular Holiday and Christmas Light Displays on Long Island

Watch your little ones' faces light up as they see the glow coming off a spectacular holiday or Christmas light show across Long Island. Is there a better way to usher in the holiday season?

We've rounded up our favorite holiday light shows in Nassau and Suffolk counties, including one new addition for 2018. Most of these destinations are complete with hot cocoa, ice skating, and photo-ops with Santa.

For more seasonal fun, see our Long Island Holidays Guide. Our events calendar is packed with up-to-date holiday activities for kids of all ages, including more holiday lights at private houses around Long Island.

Places to See Santa on LI During the Christmas Season

Santa has the magical ability to be in several places at once, but often for only a few hours at a time.

To help you pin down St. Nick, here's a sample of fun venues where he will appear on a regular basis throughout the holiday season. Remember, though, Santa sometimes has to take a break for milk and cookies, so build a little extra time into your schedule. And while some winter wonderlands remain open after Christmas, Santa returns to the North Pole on Christmas Eve, December 24.

For more seasonal adventures, check out our list of Polar Express Santa trains in the New York City and Long Island areas, and these great holiday shows in the region.

Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree Farms on Long Island

The Thanksgiving turkey has been consumed. You've completed your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. Now it’s time for the next holiday ritual—finding the perfect Christmas tree.

From Cold Spring Harbor to Montauk, Long Island has close to a dozen tree farms, where enthusiastic families can cut a super-fresh spruce (or fir, or pine) at modest cost. These farms range from simple, roadside acreage to full-fledged holiday extravaganzas. So whether you prefer a quick tree-cutting errand or a day out in Santa’s wonderland, consider a visit to one of these outdoor emporiums.

These farms are all located in Suffolk County, where farmland is more abundant, and are listed below by town. As always, find more ways to celebrate in our Holiday Fun Guide.

Holiday Volunteer Opportunities for Long Island Kids, 2018

No matter their ages, most kids (and adults) can’t help but get caught up in the gift-getting, list-making, shop-till-you-drop frenzy of the holidays. In 2018, why not show your children how rewarding it can be to donate to needy families or to help make a sick child’s holiday a little brighter simply by volunteering time?

From fundraising to food drives to helping make wishes come true, we’ve put together a list of Long Island organizations looking for volunteers this holiday season as well as throughout the year. You can also check out the Long Island Volunteer Center, which is a great resource of nonprofits in your area. And don’t forget to check with your local houses of worship, which often need help with food pantries and soup kitchens, your child’s school or Scouting group, and your local library.

The importance of giving back to those in need is a wonderful lesson to teach your children, especially at this time of year. 

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