Tweens & Teens

Day Trip to Van Saun Park: 10 Things to Do with Kids

Looking for an outdoor play adventure beyond the local playground? Make Bergen County’s Van Saun Park your family’s day trip destination. My own family makes this hour-away journey a few time a year, and it never disappoints. With its massive playground, splash pad, carousel and train rides, plus a zoo, a trip to Van Saun almost feels like a theme park visit (minus the admission fee). The playground and zoo are open year-round, while some of the activities, such as the rides, are seasonal (April through October). A little tip-- there’s plenty of parking, but weekends get pretty crowded; you may want to arrive early. Please note that admission to Van Saun Park is free, including the playground and splash pad, but some features do require an additional fee, as noted. Here are 10 awesome things to do on your next Van Saun Park adventure:

26 Ways To Keep Enjoying Summer after School Begins

Whether you're relieved by the quiet or disturbed by the abrupt ending, most LA families are using those three little words (back to school) a whole lot earlier these days. Of course, dropping our kids off at school doesn't change the weather; there might be no child left behind at the beach, but it's still summer until close to Halloween. So if your family is not yet ready for summer to end, pick a few items off our Endless Summer List and go have some fun while the sun still shines!

10 Underrated NYC Parks You Don't Want to Miss

Central Park, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park—even if you only just arrived in NYC, we probably don't need to tell you that these are all must-see green spaces. Yet, according to the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, 14 percent of the city is parkland—that's more than 30,000 acres!

So if you're looking for a new-to-you outdoor destination to explore, we've got 10 off-the-beaten-path parks worth putting on your NYC family bucket list. Some are massive and boast a wide array of attractions for all seasons; others are small but picturesque and host popular annual events for families. Don't worry if you can't make it to all of these before school starts—we have at least a few more months of fair weather ahead!

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Fairs, a Powwow, and Hot Air Balloons, August 27-28

And just like that, the last weekend of summer vacation has arrived. With only a couple of days left before the onset of early bedtimes and hectic morning routines, it's important to make the most of the last days of August. Maybe you're heading to the beach one more time, or looking to explore an outdoor museum. If you're seeking a sweet experience, consider touring Fascia's Chocolates or scouring the menu at an old-fashioned ice cream parlor

If you only have a few hours to spare, get lost in the Lyman Orchards Sunflower Maze, unwind at Gillette Castle, or check out Farmers Markets brimming with fresh produce around the state. The weekend features exciting events, including the Plainville Hot Air Balloon Festival and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation's annual Schemitzun Powwow.

To see what else is happening around the state, browse the Mommy Poppins Family Events Calendar. For the latest and best family-friendly events, subscribe to our weekly newsletters and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Pageant of the Masters in Laguna: These Paintings Aren't What They Seem

Every city has something uniquely its own, some quirky event or phenomenon that defies description yet defines by association. Houston has its rodeo; Boston has its tea party, and Laguna Beach has the Pageant of the Masters

If you've never experienced this curious gem, the private treasure of the people of Laguna, opportunity awaits you every night all summer long. But get ready to clean your glasses, because you won't always be sure what you're looking at. The extraordinary event is unlike anything else I've seen; it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you're raising a budding artist, or if you love hitting museums en famille, you owe it to yourselves to check the Pageant of the Masters off this summer's bucket list.

Writing Classes for NYC Tweens and Teens

Kids can learn pretty much anything in this town: robotics, swimming, Spanish, circus arts, coding, clothing design–you name it and there's probably a class for it.

Writing, however, is one of those subjects kids get in school, but it also makes for a great extracurricular activity, especially these days with tweens, teens and adults condensing their deepest thoughts to 140 characters or simply captioning a snap.

There are a number of wonderful local programs that help adolescents develop their writing skills, including FREE options. Whether your kid is interested in creative writing, essays, novels, plays, or comic books, these classes are for aspiring (and inspiring) authors.

Find more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.

10 Ways to Beat the Heat on Long Island This Summer

August usually brings high temps and plenty of humidity, leaving Long Island families scrambling to find ways to cool off. Whether you want to enjoy the sunshine or retreat indoors to central AC, there are plenty of options in both Nassau and Suffolk counties to help you beat the heat--and all are guaranteed fun for every age. After all, you want to enjoy these last bits of summer before school begins. For more to do this month, check out our Summer Fun Guide.

10 Free Back-To-School Apps Every Parent Needs

Sending the kids back to school is akin to setting those New Year’s resolutions in January. It’s a clean slate and a period (however brief) of good intentions. Make the most of this optimism with these 10 smartphone and tablet apps to help you stay organized, help lend a hand with homework, and even help add some extra learning fun.  

We talked with teachers, principals and other educational experts about their favorite apps, and then we gave them a try to see how they worked. What follows is a list of our front runners, all designed to help you and your family get the school year off on the right foot. The best part? All of these apps are free. 

Looking for more parenting tips, back-to-school related and otherwise? Sign up for our free newsletters to have them delivered straight to your inbox.  

BASIS Independent Manhattan to Open in Fall 2017

School searches can be fraught with stress, but searching for the right fit in Manhattan seems to multiply the tension tenfold...at least! Whether you're searching for a Pre-K program, elementary school, middle school or beyond, finding the right fit for your child is paramount. From public to private to charter, there are so many factors to consider and the landscape is ever- changing.

If you're a Manhattan-based family in the market for a school next year, you've got a great new option: BASIS Independent Schools is set to open its first Manhattan school on the Upper West Side in fall 2017. Serving kids in kindergarten through grade 8, the aim of BASIS Independent is to build well-rounded individuals who are challenged by the schools' accelerated liberal arts and sciences curriculum.

Weekday Picks for LI Kids: Get Busy, Lil' Athletes

The final Olympic torch has been extinguished, but the competitive fire within so many Long Island kids still burns bright. This week lets your children sink hoops, line frozen ropes or spring into the air. With summer ending soon, there has never been a better time to get outside and get physical. It's also a great time to corral the family and head out to the Hamptons and/or North Fork.

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