10 Father's Day Activities for Long Island Dads

Father's Day is fast approaching, so if you still haven't planned something for dad's special day, we have some cool ideas happening right hear on Long Island. From taking in a ballgame and going fishing to building a rocket and eating breakfast at the racetrack, there is something to fit almost every father's personality. And for more activities going on in the area, check out our Long Island Events Calendar.

Free Summer Movie Series in Connecticut

Summer is busy: driving to camps, hauling beach equipment, cleaning up after backyard barbecues; once in a while it's nice to just sit back and relax as a family. And what's better than a movie the entire family can enjoy? A free family-friendly movie. There are some terrific, free (or nearly free) summer movie series running throughout Connecticut this summer - both indoors and outdoors - so grab a chair or a blanket, and catch up on the latest releases, or listen to the kids giggle over familiar characters.

Over 30 NYC Summer Camps with Availability—Yes, Even Now!

You've all heard the hype: In NYC, you have to sign your kids up for summer camp at the beginning of the year or you'll never snag a spot. Honestly, for some camps that really is true—ultra-popular, small programs fill up quickly with returning campers who get first priority.

However, even if you haven't spent one minute thinking about summer camp this year, there's no need to panic. There are lots of NYC programs that still have space. Large camps like Chelsea Piers and Aviator Sports can often accommodate kids up until the last minute, and many specialized programs have availability for a particular week or days.

Of course, if you've been too busy to book a camp for your kids, you hardly have the time to call around now. That's why we did the work for you: Here are more than 30 NYC camps that still have spots for summer 2016 as of this writing. Some are even offering special discounts for Mommy Poppins readers. To find even more New York City-area camps, check out our comprehensive Summer Camp Guide and browse hundreds of programs in our NYC Summer Camp Directory, which includes sleepaway options and even camps where you vacation!

Five Great Connecticut Beaches for Toddlers

Beach life is the good life, right? Sure, your lazy days spent lounging in the sun may seem like a thing of the past, but exploring the Connecticut coastline with a toddler in tow is a whole new kind of fun. Chances are you are just a quick trip away from one of these beaches & lakes to explore around the state. So, after you have thrown in the bathing suit, swim diaper, change of clothes, another change of clothes, sunscreen, more sunscreen, bug spray, a towel, another towel, sand toys, and a beach chair (you know, for all that sitting you are going to do), it’s time to hit the road and check out one of these toddler approved spots. 

What makes these parks “toddler approved”. Well, for starters,  all have bathrooms and concessions. They also have a little something else to occupy your wee one's sense of wanderlust. From nature centers, to splash pads, swimming pools and campgrounds - each one of these beaches should make planning a summer day feel like a breeze!

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Strawberries, Butterflies, and CT Open House Day June 11-12

It's going to be a fantastic weekend, with the beginning of strawberry season and CT Open House Day, which offers lots of opportunities to explore destinations near and far for free or at a steep discount. Some of our family favorites include the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic and Puritans at Play at the Henry Whitfield Museum in Guilford.

If you're looking to spend time outdoors, check out the fruit-filled strawberry festivals at Lyman Orchards, Farmington, and South Windsor. (If you'd rather grab your own strawberries, peruse our pick-your-own post.)

This is your last weekend to venture over to Westchester for the one of a kind Lightscapes experience, which was created by the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze team and which was supposed to end in May but was extended by popular demand. It's a field trip we highly recommend.

For even more options, check out our Event Calendar, which is constantly updated with new listings from across the state. To keep up with everything going on in CT, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Have a fabulous weekend!

Weekend Fun for LI Kids: Strawberry Fair, Flag Day Decorating, June 11-12

Strawberry season is in full swing on Long Island. You can pick your own, of course, but don't forget to head over to Benner's Farm for its weekend-long Strawberry Fair. Families can also celebrate Flag Day at The Maritime Explorium, then catch a live theatrical performance of Cinderella in Port Jefferson. Or get crafty at the South Fork Natural History Museum and let your little ones create Polymer Clay Animals.

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Water Feature: 10 Free Water Playgrounds and Parks with Splash Pads in LA

Remember those great summer afternoons running through a sprinkler with the neighborhood kids? Over in New England and Nebraska that’s probably still happening, but in parched SoCal we really can't be turning on the hose to while away a lazy afternoon. Instead, packs of puddle-loving Angeleno kids splash through the heat at parks with free and fabulous water features, like the ones below. So if a pool or a water park sounds like too much work today, cool those kids down at a splash pad!

Lincoln Center with Kids: 10 Fun & Mostly Free Things to Do at the Performing Arts Complex

Lincoln Center, the grand performing arts mecca on Manhattan's Upper West Side may seem out of reach to many. Prices for the fancy, high-culture shows are beyond family budgets, but that shouldn't keep you away. From watching the iconic fountain dance to rooting out hidden gem performances which cost little-to-nothing, Lincoln Center is a rich cultural destination you don't need to be rich to enjoy. Here are our top 10 FREE and cheap things to do with kids at Lincoln Center.

Long Island Summer Camps with Availability — Yes, Even Now!

School is almost out and summer is upon us. Did you forget to sign up your kids for summer camp? Don't worry—there are quite a few camps across Long Island that still have some availability. Check out our list below, and be sure to browse our Summer Camp Directory for even more options.

And while you're planning your summer, it's also worth perusing our Hamptons & North Fork Family Guide and our Event Calendar, which are filled with fun things to do with kids on Long Island.

50+ Ways to Keep NYC Kids Off Screens This Summer

"Brain drain." "Summer slide." No matter what you call it, the phenomenon of students losing months of math and reading skills during the eight-week summer vacation scares parents and teachers alike.  

Mommy Poppins is partnering with the New York Public Library as it kicks off its Summer Reading Challenge 2016 to keep kids learning and engaged throughout the summer. NYPL is challenging kids (and you too) to read just 20 minutes a day—every day this summer. It has a trove of reading lists, a June 9 block party (remember NYC schools are closed this day!), which we'll be hanging out at too, and even a book review contest where kids have the chance to win Yankees tickets, meet a player, and take a bow on the field. 

And we're doing our part, too. We'll be hosting our very first Facebook Live chat, streaming from the library's Battery Park location on Tuesday, June 14, where we'll be talking with a children's librarian about the top tips for making this challenge fun and how to encourage a reading habit at any age.

We've also listed below more than 50 ideas for enriching exploration and edu-tainment around NYC that are sure to keep kids engaged throughout the summer. You can find even more STEAM and reading fun ideas in our Summer Slide Busters guide.

Just because school is out doesn't mean learning has to stop, right? I know we're already filling up our bag with NYPL's adult summer reading suggestions!


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