Tweens & Teens

Holiday Volunteer Opportunities for Long Island Kids

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. This year, 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 organizations that are 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 who need it most is a wonderful lesson to teach your children, especially during this time of year. 

Where to Have Breakfast with Santa in CT

It's that time of the year, when the kiddos are ready to whisper their heart's desires in Santa's ear! But dude, standing in line at the mall for 10 seconds of laptime is diabolical! Better to plan ahead for a meet-and-greet with the head Elf himself! These family-friendly holiday events not only give you QT with Santa (and friends!), but serve up enough bacon, pancakes, and hot cocoa to get that winter layer rolling! Tip: These breakfast with Santa events fill up fast! Book now to get the date and time you want. Then hurry back to make more holiday plans with our CT Holiday Fun Guide.

Holiday Volunteering With Kids in Boston

We all have our hands full with family and work obligations, and the pending holidays certainly don't lighten the load. And yet, it's the time of year when we're also inspired to count our blessings—and teach our children to do the same. To inspire my children to think about what they are grateful for this Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season, we’re going to try one of the Fun Projects That Help Kids Give Thanks. But I also want my kids to think about other people and do something to make a difference in our community, and we've found some great opportunities for volunteering as a family during the holiday season. 

The Nutcracker: Holiday Performances of the Classic Ballet for LA & OC Kids this Christmas

Most of the year, most of us parents don't attempt to take our children to full-length ballet productions, but Christmas just doesn't feel like Christmas without one good Nutcracker. And if one good Nutcracker begins to make it feel a lot like Christmas, then LA, Orange, and Ventura counties are evidently hitting Uber-Christmas in the coming weeks with more than two dozen professional Nutcracker productions.

Incidentally, we've got answers to the two questions posed most often by LA parents in search of a Nutcracker Ballet for their families: Yes, there is a condensed version staged specifically for kids, offered by the Pacific Ballet down in Costa Mesa or Classical Ballet Theater in Palos Verdes; and yes, there are local productions performed with full orchestra - at the Long Beach Terrace Theater, the Broad Stage, the Dolby Theatre, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and the Anaheim Ballet. There is even the odd Nutcracker Tea or two—in case you were wondering.

And when you've had your fill of Sugarplum Fairies, we can direct you to a whole bunch of other kinds of holiday shows and concerts

Holiday Giving in New Jersey: Volunteering for Families

Looking for new ways to connect as a family this holiday season? Volunteering together can spark the joy of giving in children of all ages. 

Holiday time is full of family traditions like carving turkeys, sharing gifts, and ringing in the New Year. It's also a great time to inspire your kids to give back. Create new family traditions this year by contributing to a favorite charity or reaching out to those in need. From the youngest kids coloring holiday greeting cards to teenagers serving Thanksgiving dinners, we've got the low-down on family-friendly holiday volunteering in New Jersey. 

Cavalia Odysseo: Horses and Acrobats Play in a Big White Tent in Camarillo

There is nothing like Cavalia. The touring production Odysseo by the Cavalia team feels like the dreams we might have if we lived among wild horses and gypsy acrobats. And dream really is the key word: from the first moment until the last, herds of horses, flocks of aerialists, and scenic displays of epic proportions fill the stage with sequences that transport the audience to a magical dreamscape beyond most of our imaginings. You'll be rubbing your eyes to work out how they fit this world in one tent.

If someone in your house loves horses, this show is truly a must; if horses don't normally move you, Odysseo will change that. If these words seem overly effusive, rest assured that they don't begin to do justice to the spectacle taking place daily in that big castle-like tent next to the 101 freeway in Camarillo.

See the Nutcracker in New York City: 15 Family Shows

The Nutcracker ballet is a classic holiday experience for kids and parents, and NYC offers dozens of wonderful interpretations of this beautiful Christmas show.

While many children love the energy and drama of a Nutcracker—from the sweet Sugar Plum fairy visit to the frantic battle with the Rat King—it can be long for some. So we've rounded up more than a dozen variations of The Nutcracker playing this season in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, including the classic showing at Lincoln Center to just-for-kids versions. Many of our picks are abridged versions and inexpensive (or FREE) while still possessing the charm to keep kids wide-eyed.

Holiday Train Shows in NYC for Kids: Botanical Garden and More

Trains are a way of life for most New Yorkers, but there's something particularly special about the little engines and cabooses that take center stage during the holiday season. The New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train show is one of New York City's top seasonal attractions for families, with electric model trains whizzing by more than 150 NYC landmarks made out of acorns, twigs, bark, berries, and leaves. My family and I make it a point to go every year—it's truly a quintessential New York holiday experience. There's a reason it's on our list of the top 100 things to do with kids in NYC.

But the big NYBG display isn't the only train-centric show in town. Read on for more details on this annual spectacle, as well as a roundup of the other train shows the city has to offer this holiday season. And for an extra special holiday treat, take the kids on a full-size train ride with these nearby Polar Express and Santa locomotives.

Ultimate Holiday Experiences in Connecticut

Ask any kid what they love most about the holidays and you might get the same answer--PRESENTS! But as they grow up, while a few of those precious treasures may linger in their minds, it's the traditions and special memories that will really stick. Those little moments that made holidays so special are what nurture the nostalgia we often feel around this time of year. Here in Connecticut, there is no shortage of amazing opportunities to make one of a kind memories for your family during the holidays. Tap into the magic of the season at any one of these ultimate holiday experiences throughout the state.

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