Kids

Summer Must-Dos: 33 Things to Do in NYC Before School Starts

With August upon us and the start of a new school year looming, my kids and I are in a panic about all the things we haven't yet crossed off our NYC summer bucket list.

Sure, we've had a lot of fun tooling around the city, enjoying our local swimming pool, reigniting a love for some favorite playgrounds, and soaking up all the FREE entertainment. There are plenty of great activities we haven't gotten to, though.

So as a reminder to us, and to you, we've crafted this list of 33 things to do before summer ends. Some are summer-only events happening all month; others are one-time-only affairs, so read on and get ready to dive in before the summer sun sets!

Get Up Close with Kids' Favorite "Things that Go"

With Touch-A-Truck events, Philly kids--and kids at heart--can get up close with their favorite "things that go." From fire trucks and backhoes to new concept cars and monster trucks, these events are fun ways to hop inside vehicles you might not otherwise get a chance to see. Often, they help support local charities, township programs, and first responders so you can feel good about having fun and helping out some great causes, too. 

If you have a car, truck, or ambulance lover in your family, check out our list of local Touch-A-Truck events happening nearby. For more ideas of things to do, head on over to our events calendar.

NYC Playgrounds with Shade: Stay Cool With Shady Park Benches and Equipment

While kids can always cool off in NYC's many sprinklers, we parents are often stuck baking in the sun all day during the heat of the city's summer as we supervise outdoor play. It's a problem our readers know too well—each summer we get requests for recommendations of shady spots to play.

Although we know of a couple playgrounds that offer exceptional amounts of shade—Hippo Playground in Riverside Park and Discovery Playground in Fort Washington Park come to mind—we decided to ask our readers if they knew of any super-shady playgrounds in New York City. They came through with a number of great suggestions.

Please keep in mind that the name of the game here is comfort on a hot summer day; though we have visited plenty of destination playgrounds, with a few exceptions, these shady suggestions tend to be neighborhood standbys and small playgrounds that have plenty of shade, but perhaps not too many bells and whistles.

9 Makerspaces Where Boston Kids Can Be Creative

Looking for ways to reboot kids' brains as the school year approaches? Consider a makerspace visit. For parents not familiar with makerspaces (also known as hackerspaces), think of them as similar to art classes—with an engineering twist. People go to create something through free expression with tools they otherwise don't have, but instead of oil-based paints and canvases, makerspaces provide 3D printers, computer-aided design software, and other technology.

Although folks of all ages can participate in makerspaces, the best ones for kids have an emphasis on youth-based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning. Here is a rundown of fun and kid-centric makerspace options in the Boston area.

Island Living at Sherwood Island State Park

Your Connecticut license plate gets you more than the privilege to drive on our roads - it is also your FREE ticket to Connecticut’s State Parks as part of the “Passport to Parks” program. Located in Westport, Sherwood Island is Fairfield County’s only coastal state operated facility. With over 238 acres of shoreline to explore, swim, fish, hike, or relax in, it is no wonder that Sherwood Island is a gem of Fairfield County.

The Best Zoos and Aquariums in NYC

Ever think you would spot a seal in Manhattan, or a giraffe in The Bronx? Did you ever hope you'd be surrounded by sharks at Coney IslandNew York city zoos offer families the chance to get up close and personal with animals from all over the world.  Each borough boasts its own unique zoo experience. Whether your children are big or small, there is a zoo somewhere in NYC suited to their age, interests and attention span. Best of all, access to these creatures doesn't have to break the bank. Free admission can be as easy as picking the right afternoon to visit. Check out our insider tips for making the most of New York City's zoos.

Six Flags NJ: An Amusement Park with Big and Little Thrills

Braving the thrill rides at Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari in Jackson, NJ, is practically a rite of passage for kids who live in and around the Garden State. Perhaps for this reason, I wasn't 100-percent sure my young children (ages 2, 5, and 7) were old enough to fully enjoy it—but we decided to test the waters. And as I did my planning, I realized, "Holy cow! There's a ton of things to do at Six Flags!"

New Jersey's largest theme park, Six Flags is known for heart-dropping roller coasters like Nitro and Kingda Ka (the world's tallest coaster)—but there are also plenty of attractions geared toward the smaller set and those who enjoy tamer thrills. You can see zebras, giraffes, and other cool creatures on the Safari Off-Road Adventure; ride the Porky Pig Ferris Wheel in Bugs Bunny National Park; make a splash on the Saw Mill Log Flume; and much, much more. You also might want to set aside another day for Hurricane Harbor, Six Flags' massive water park.

Read on for details of our visit, along with tips for making your trip super-fun for kids of all ages. 

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Back to School Splash Bash, Disney's Newsies, Aug. 4-5

All the buzz is about back to school, but even with the chaos of the upcoming school year creeping up you don't have to abandon all of your summer festivities just yet! In fact, we compiled a list of 15 things to do with the kids before summer ends so you can have a few more summer hurrahs before it's back to backpacks and school supplies; there are so many fun activities on this list that are exclusively here for the summer, so you definitely want to check it out ASAP. 

That's not all that's been happening on Mommy Poppins over the last week, though; other notable posts include: 

For even more weekday and weekend fun, head over to our event calendar, which is updated daily with all sorts of events and activities happening in and around the city. Our August GoList is also a popular spot to find the biggest and best events being highlighted throughout the month; you don't want to miss anything featured on it! You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter to have everything posted on Mommy Poppins delivered straight to your inbox, so you never miss a great article full of places to go or things to do. 

Are you planning an awesome event in the Houston area? We want to share it with our readers! All you have to do is submit your event to our calendar so we can review all of the information and get it posted on our calendar.

Let's not delay any longer, though; it's time to take a look at what this weekend has to offer!

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Carnivals, Sunflowers, and Circus Fun, August 4-5

I'm not sure which was more startling this week: turning over the August page of the monthly calendar or seeing Halloween candy (!!!) arrive in the  grocery store. But never fear - summer's not over yet! With more than three weeks to go until school starts, I'm determined to pack in every last moment of warm weather fun to be had. Happily, this weekend has a wide range of activities on offer, from the North Branford Potato and Corn Festival to the annual Sunflower Maze at Lyman Orchards to the Nimble Arts Circus in New London.

Looking for more? There are two carnivals this weekend raising money for fire departments in Easton and Orange, plus a chance to explore the haunted lighthouse on Sheffield Island or enjoy a Taste of the Caribbean in Hartford. 

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

Learn Spanish: Language Classes for NYC Kids

Many New York City public schools offer wonderful dual-language Spanish programs, as well as other languages. But if your child's school doesn't offer a language program, there are lots of Spanish language programs around the city that teach young kids to habla Español. We've rounded up some of our favorite Spanish language learning centers for New York City kids. And best of all: Thanks to the wonderful diversity of New York City culture, your kids will certainly get to practice what they learn in the classroom!

Find more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings, and check out our guide to Foreign Language Camps for NYC Kids.

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