Tweens & Teens

Find Tutors in NYC and NJ with the New GooRoo App

A new NYC-based app, GooRoo, is connecting students (and their parents) with pre-screened tutors. It launched last spring from its home base on the Upper West Side, drawing on tutors from Columbia University, but has since expanded into all five boroughs, and more recently, Northern New Jersey, with tutors serving Bergen County, Jersey City, and Hoboken.

It’s a time-saver for busy parents, because each tutor has been interviewed in-person about his or her teaching style and passed a background check. Parents can peruse tutor ratings, pictures, and even videos. Read on for our review of this new app, and be sure to peruse the NYC Classes Guide or NJ Classes Guide to find more local enrichment options for your kids.

Restaurants Open on Christmas Day in Houston

Gathering around the table with family and friends to enjoy a festive meal is a hallmark of the holiday season, and one that is often enjoyed multiple times throughout the November and December months due to Thanksgiving and Christmas occurring in rapid succession. However, having two big holidays so close together can become overwhelming for even the most dedicated cook, and there's no shame in needing a break from the kitchen come Christmas Day (and no judgment on our part if you treated yourself to a Thanksgiving dinner out, too!). We've rounded up a variety of restaurants around Houston that are opening their doors on Christmas Day, spanning everything from fancy brunches to low-key diners, so you can take a break from the kitchen and enjoy a meal out with the family. And don't forget to check out our holiday guide for more events and things to do during the season.

Weekday Picks: Boat Parade of Lights, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella, Dec. 5-9

Celebrating the holidays around here can have a uniquely Southern California vibe. Take boat parades, for instance. There are precious few other places in the country that can offer bedecked boats parading around harbors and waterways to the delight of families watching from the shore, or taking a cruise on the water for a closer view. Dana Point launches the first parade of the season this week, promptly followed by 10 more local holiday boat parades.

Another advantage we have here is the ability to see big-name stars in local theater productions. Lythgoe Family Productions opens two shows this week featuring the traditional British holiday panto style, in which classic tales are infused with slapstick comedy, song and dance, exaggerated characters, topical humor and lots of audience participation. Joely Fisher and Cozi Zuehlsdorff open in Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight at Laguna Playhouse this week, and Lauren Taylor, Alex Newell, and Morgan Fairchild star in A Cinderella Christmas at Pasadena Playhouse. 

As always, there are plenty more ideas to be found on the Mommy Poppins Event Calendar, as well as our monthly picks in our December GoList. Here are some of our favorite holiday and non-holiday related events this week.

Westchester's Winter Wonderland at Kensico Dam Plaza: A Holiday Carnival for Families

The Westchester Winter Wonderland at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla has returned for its third year, and we recently returned to check out the full experience. We have some tips for this year's fun winter carnival, which will be open on select dates through January 2.

Check out our Event Calendar for more holiday hooplah, and be sure to sign up for our FREE newsletters to keep up with all family-friendly Westchester happenings. 

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Weekday Picks for CT Kids: Sharks, Santa, and Storycraft, December 5-9, 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas (well, except in my house because we haven't made it out to pick out a tree yet, which makes me The Worst Mother Ever). Still, I'm making it up to my kids with all kinds of holiday fun including gingerbread house making, a Santa Claus who dives with the sharks, and a special sing-a-long with Santa.  For a complete run down on holiday fun, including where to cut your own Christmas trees (in case, like me, this is still on your holiday list), make sure to check out our CT Holiday Fun Guide! For even more suggestions take a peek at our frequently updated Event Calendar and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest so you don't miss a thing!

Best High Tea Spots in NYC to Enjoy a Cup with Kids

Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a memorable experience, afternoon tea—popularly called high tea in New York City—can be a fun outing with kids. It's an especially great winter outing and particularly fitting during the holidays.

Several places serve high tea in New York City, with varying degrees of appropriateness for children. From the fancy Eloise Tea at the Plaza Hotel to the less frilly Russian Tea Room, there are teas—and the goodies that come along with them—for children of all ages and parents of all budgets. Here's our take on some of the best spots for a tea outing in NYC.

Giving Back: Holiday Toy Drives in Houston

The holidays are in full swing, and kids everywhere are dreaming of toys they want and are counting down the days until it's time to open presents. However, the holiday season is as much about giving as it is about receiving, and during this time parents have a unique window of opportunity to teach children the importance of volunteering and giving back to those in need. One way to do this is by donating toys to a local holiday toy drive, and we've rounded up several organizations in and around Houston that are dedicated to bringing holiday cheer to families unable to afford gifts this holiday season.

Weekday Picks: Santa and His Reindeer, Holiday Shows, and The Polar Express

It’s officially the holiday season around Long Island and this week, there are loads to do if you’re in the holiday spirit. Hicks Nurseries has several fun holiday-themed activities for the family, including meeting Santa and his reindeer and seeing their show, Christmas Animated Story.

But even if you aren’t yet in the holiday frame of mind, there’s no shortage of activities to keep big and little ones engaged, including theater performances, open play, and The Polar Express. 

To keep on top of all Long Island events happening this week, check out our full calendar guide. And don't miss any fun holiday festivities: bookmark our 2016 Holiday Fun Guide today!

CHILL at the Queen Mary in Long Beach: An Icy Holiday Tradition

We're fortunate in the Southland to have a wonderful variety of traditional holiday events each season; LA families can take in Christmas lights, boat parades, Nutcracker performances, and even outdoor ice skating rinks. Add to that a holiday entertainment experience adjacent to the Southland's most famous cruise ship, The Queen Mary. For the past four years our warm blooded kids have been able to CHILL from Thanksgiving into the New Year, and we don't mean the kind you do with a board in hand. CHILL is a day's worth of holiday themed activities and photo ops—and a great reason for a family drive to Long Beach.

Annual Festival of Trees at the Wadsworth Atheneum: Parent Review

It's that time of year when twinkling lights and shiny bulbs are everywhere.  But I'll bet you have never seen a unique bevy of Christmas trees like the ones you will see at the Festival of Trees at the Wadsworth Atheneum.  This annual event has been going for 43 years (I know!), and was established by the Women's Committee of the Museum as a fundraiser.

Every year, my family and I make our trek into Hartford. It's a great opportunity for my boys to be exposed to some amazing artists and to see the beautiful decorated trees people have created.

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