Tweens & Teens

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Water Ski Shows, River Fire, and Kiting, August 11-12

If you are reading this, then the heat and humidity of this past week hasn't completely crushed your joie de vivre. If you've had enough of the Great Outdoors indoor activities abound in Connecticut this weekend, including a Curious Exhibit at the CT Science Center, and indoor stargazing in Stamford. But with weather forecasts calling for low 80s, the real fun this weekend is outdoors. Check out the annual water ski show on Bantam Lake, a classic car cruise in downtown Putnam, a kite festival in celebration of Indian Independence Day, and an ice cream social and Colonial-era celebration in East Windsor.

For even more ideas, we have a host of suggestions in our Event Calendar, the August GoList, and the Summer Fun Guide. For the latest and best family-friendly events, follow us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and Pinterest

Destination Playground: Ancient Playground in Central Park

Originally built in 1936, the Ancient Playground on the Upper East Side may seem to have earned its moniker (according to our kids, anyway), but its name is really an homage to its proximity to the Egyptian galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, right across the street. The ancient-civilization-themed romping spot, packed with fun climbing structures and water features, is a popular playground for locals and tourists alike, cementing its place on our list of Central Park's top playgrounds.

Read on for more details on why this classic old gem of a playground, at 85th Street and Fifth Avenue, ranks among the city's best.

Outdoor Paintball Fields Where Houston Kids Can Have a Blast

Keeping older kids engaged in something other than video games and electronics can be tough. But what better way to entice kids to get out of the house than to let them get messy shooting paintballs at each other? Luckily, Houston has several great spots to take older kids, tweens, and teens where they can run off some steam and engage in a rousing game of paintball. Racing around rugged terrain, ducking and darting around obstacles, and feeling the rush of competition while trying to dodge splattering paintballs at every turn can make for a fun family outing, group event, or birthday party. Read on for some of our favorite places around Houston to get kids in on the thrill of playing paintball. 

Got Library Fines? A New Program Lets Kids Read Them Away

Any parent who has fished an overdue library book out from underneath the sofa knows the pain of late fees. When library fines add up, they can even take the allure out of reading, which is the last thing any of us wants. So here's the good news: Los Angeles County Library, Santa Monica Public Library, and even LAPL are changing the game with awesome new programs to make late fees vanish.

RELATED: 10 Free Perks that Come with an LA Public Library Card

Spotlight on STEM Programs for Kids in NYC

If you have a child who's interested in science and math, you may already be familiar with some of the incredible STEM programs available to kids around New York City. The great thing about many of these programs is that they encourage creativity and experimentation—​two pillars of childhood fun, and great motivators that support learning outside a school environment. Read on for awesome exploration-based STEM enrichment programs for New York City kids focusing on science, math, technology, and creativity

Nature Trails & Giant Playgrounds: Playing at Spring Creek Park in Tomball

Nestled into the side of a slow, winding road in the small town of Tomball northwest of Houston, you'll find Spring Creek Park, an expansive park that is bursting with things to do. It's also home to some of my fondest memories growing up, as I used to frequent it often with my family, and being able to bring my kids to this park is like stepping back in time. This isn't just any park, though; it's a place that begs for adventures, appeals to kids of all ages, and could just be your next camping trip - all without having to very far from the city. 

The sprawling 114-acre facility is home to a plethora of activities set amongst the trees (which is why it's already claimed a spot on our list of parks with LOTS of shade - a must for any Houston park in the summer!) making it the perfect spot to settle in for the day; just pack a picnic and get ready to explore!

Dino Dig Returns to Liberty Science Center for Another Summer of Fun-Filled Fossil Finding

Yes, back by popular demand, Dino Dig has returned to Liberty Science Center for a third fossil-filled summer! From now until September 3, little explorers are invited to sift through 35 tons of sand in the museum's completely transformed backyard in search of T. rex bones and teeth, an egg nest with a baby Maiasaura, and even a 6-foot-long Triceratops skull. Aspiring dino hunters will be wowed as they unearth replicas of fossils first discovered by Jack Horner, the famed paleontologist who inspired Jurassic Park.

Just one mention of "dinosaurs" and my own 5-year-old, pint-sized paleontologist was all in for a trip the much loved exhibit. So, with two of her best buds in in tow, we traveled back in time 66 million years via Route 78 and the New Jersey Turnpike, to see what we could dig up ourselves at LSC.

Summer Bucket List: 30 Things to Do with Boston Kids Before School Starts

There are certain must-do activities for Boston families during these magically long days and warm summer nights. Somehow it all seems to come to a halt once Labor Day arrives and school starts: Bedtimes are once again enforced, the swimsuits are packed away in the closet, and every day is scheduled down to the minute.

It’s time to seize these summer days before they start slipping away! Here are 25 Boston summertime experiences to have with your kids before it turns colder, because that's where it ends. (Are you hearing "Summer Nights" from Grease? You’re welcome.)

Finders Keepers: Hunting for Seaglass along the Connecticut Shoreline

If you're lucky, you might find Coke-bottle aqua or Milk-of-Magnesia Blue. Maybe once in a lifetime you'll unearth rare ruby red. Most often you'll find beer-bottle-brown and wine-bottle-green. But if you ask my kids--it's all treasure no matter what color or size. My very favorite memories of summer were made walking the beach with my kids gathering up every glittering shard of beach glass we could find like a magical treasure hunt. Ground smooth by the ocean and transformed from transparent to translucent by the sand, these tiny bits of sea glass are found scattered (scarcely) on the beaches throughout the state. Here's our roundup of the best beaches to hunt for these precious pieces of treasure washed ashore. 

Harry Potter Heaven: Warner Brothers Studio Tour Is a London Must

Most American Potter fans know that Universal Studios has created a little piece of Hogwarts heaven in two locations—The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Hollywood and at Universal Studios Orlando—but it should come as no surprise that the true center of the Potter universe is in London, England, where all of Harry’s adventures began. Apart from all of the real life British places a muggle might want to snap a photo (e.g. Kings Cross Station for platform 9 3/4, which British Rail good naturedly erected a few years back), the true wizard Mecca is Warner Brothers Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, housed at the film studio that was Harry's world for the decade or so that the films were in production. Fans of wizardry and magic can walk in the very footsteps of their heroes at the Warner Bros Tour.

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