Kids

Christmas Trains: All Aboard the Polar Express for Kids in LA, Ventura, & Orange County

Trains in Los Angeles are more or less novelties all year round, which means they hold onto that wonderful Thomas-the-Tank-Engine, Polar-Express mystique far longer for LA kids than for urban kids who take the A train regularly. And for anyone who loves trains, Christmas trains offer the ultimate "old world charm" rail experience. Add an appearance by Santa Claus and a few Christmas trees, and you have a recipe for a memorable holiday experience. All aboard the Santa Express!

Holiday Gift-Making Workshops and Classes

Every year as I'm doing some last-minute gift shopping I tell myself that next Christmas I'm definitely going to make amazing gifts for my family and friends. Well, I haven't made anything yet, but fortunately for me and those of you who have similar intentions, there is still time to flex our creative muscles. There are plenty of fun classes and workshops where you can make one-of-a-kind gifts and learn techniques to create original works of art, delicious treats, and a variety of other crafty items.

For those of you who are not interested in DIY gift-giving but want to give unique presents to your loved ones, you might consider supporting local artists and artisans who sell their goods and wares at a holiday market or getting the children in your life special gifts from one of Houston's independent toy stores. And while you're shopping, don't forget to pick up a gift for a Christmas toy drive. And don't forget to check out our holiday guide filled with things to do and see in Houston this season.

Inexpensive Birthday Party Room Rentals for NYC Kids

Few suburban comforts make me jealous, but the ability to host a home birthday party is one. Fear not: There are inexpensive party rooms available to rent in NYC; you just have to know where to look.

Keep in mind, buying an all-inclusive package can get pricey, especially if you want to invite your child's entire class. These spots all require DIY inventiveness, but you'll be rewarded with a special day that won't (totally) break the budget. Read on for inspiration and where to find a party spot near you, or check out our party directory for more local venues and entertainers.

10 Best Holiday Things To Do with Kids in the Hudson Valley

There are only so many weekends left in December left to celebrate the holiday season, which can put some pressure on parents. Just which family fun is worth the trip and your time? Fret not, for Mommy Poppins has come up with a list of our 10 favorite things to do with kids in the Lower Hudson Valley during the holiday season. 

We’ve already told you our favorite things to do with kids in Westchester during the holidays, and now we’re going to turn our attention to the rest of the area. All of these family-friendly attractions are worth the drive and are a great way to explore the counties around Westchester. Check out our Holiday Guide for more Christmas and Hanukkah fun, or our Event Calendar for the latest doings. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to share what you’ve done!   

A Year with Frog and Toad at the Arden Theatre: A Parent's Review

Perhaps you remember the stories from which A Year with Frog and Toad was adapted. The classic series "Frog and Toad are Friends" was written in 1970 by Arnold Lobel. The musical adaptation follows a year-in-the-life of these two amphibious friends. If you're not familiar with the original stories, the nature of Frog and Toad's relationship becomes pretty apparent to any adult watching the show early on- Frog and Toad are, quite likely, more than just friends and neighbors. I only mention this in case you might find yourself needing to explain this to your kids. At any rate, the tale itself is quite charming and some of the music is cute and fun, but if your kids are more into action and excitement, this may not be the show for them.

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!

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