Kids

Halloween and Fall Foliage Train Rides for New Jersey Kids

Halloween and hayrides go hand in hand, but if you really want to up your game this year, take a trip on a Halloween train! If you have a junior conductor in your family, don't miss out on one of these four seasonal NJ railway adventures. From spooky to scenic, these rides offer a unique bit of fall fun for the whole family: passengers can take a seat in a vintage caboose, travel through gorgeous fall foliage, visit a pumpkin patch, and even trick-or-treat onboard. After the ride, round out the day with autumn activities like corn mazes, crafts, and a costume party.

Check out our NJ Fall Fun Guide for even more seasonal family fun around the state.

Spirit's Promise: A Horse Farm and Rescue on LI's East End

It's My Little Pony turned real life at Spirit’s Promise Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation, a facility for abused, neglected or unwanted farm animals. It offers animals a renewed lease on life while providing a rewarding and educational destination for visitors. 

Want to get up close and personal with other animals? Peruse our list of animal farms and petting zoos on Long Island. Looking for more East End fun? Check out our guide to the Hamptons and North Fork.

Cooking with Kids in and Around Boston: Classes, Camps, and Parties

Whether our kids are adventurous eaters or too timid to try anything beyond boxed mac ’n’ cheese, teaching them about food prep, healthy eating, and nutrition is one of the more important things we as parents can do for their well being. Cooking together at home is one way to do this, but there are also plenty of opportunities for “instructive” fun through kids’ cooking classes and workshops.

One of the appealing aspects of kids’ cooking instruction is that it quite often takes the form of a single-class workshop or two- to three-session program. So, even if your children have regular sports team commitments or semester-long dance or music classes, they can still satisfy their inner foodies without missing a goal or a beat. Plus, many kids’ cooking classes are offered during those long school vacations or summer breaks—just the thing to keep kids engaged and entertained. Cooking workshops also make fun birthday parties - kids learn something, have fun, and are well fed. And (maybe best of all!), no mess for the parents. (More cooking party ideas here.)

We’ve rounded up five places that offer kids’ cooking classes and workshops in and around Boston. Get ready for your kids to cook up something great!

Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical Is Perfect for Times Like These

You know how, as a parent, you can explain a concept dozens of times, but until a kid sees it for themselves, they don't really get it? When the topic of discrimination comes up (if it hasn't already), don't bother trying to define it. Just take your children to Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical.

The bright set, costumes, and hair/makeup (blue skin! purple skin! rainbow hair!), as well as the characters' electric personalities will draw kids in immediately, while the 55-minute performance takes a complicated topic and puts it through a kid-friendly lens—without dumbing it down or simplifying it too much.

Read on for our full review, or check out our NYC Theater Guide for more family shows playing now.

Shopkins Live Review: The Shoppies Shop It Up Onstage

The Shopkins gang took to the stage this September in their very first live show, Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! Based on Moose Toys' popular line of tiny, collectible grocery store items—and the animated series on YouTube—the show features life-size versions of characters like Lippy Lips (a tube of lipstick) and Kooky Cookie (a chocolate chip cookie).

The show, which I caught in New Jersey with two preschool-age kids (and a theater full of mostly girls ages 4-8, decked out in Shopkins gear), was a full assault of rainbow colors, upbeat singing, and coordinated dance moves. It’s campy, silly, and pure fun for little fans of the figurines.

Read on for our full review of this children’s theater show, which continues its North American tour into 2018, hitting more than 75 cities and metro areas, including Tarrytown, New York (September 26), two more New Jersey theaters (September 27-28), Westbury, New York (October 1), Houston (October 20), and Hollywood, California (November 18).

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Pumpkins, Trolls, Stargazing, Sept 23-24

Friday is officially the first day of Fall, but we know in Houston we'll have the summer-like weather for a few more weeks, so let's make the most out of it with many fall adventures all over town. Start planning your next photo opportunity at a nearby pumpkin patch, schedule your next hay ride with the kids, or a visit to a farm corn maze with the entire family. Plan ahead with this list of fall festivals with your family and friends. 

Also on Mommy Poppins this week:

Meanwhile, our September GoList is winding down but still offers oodles of fun, and our Fall Fun Guide is only gaining speed. Make sure to see our event calendar for things to do on any particular day of the month —there's no shortage of fun things to do this Fall! 

Did you know can also submit your own events? And to have posts like this delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

It's time to check out what's going on this weekend: 

Top 10 Reasons Orange County Is the Best Place To Raise Kids

Disneyland may be the Happiest Place on Earth, but it's far from the only reason locals brag about living in Orange County. Great beaches, picturesque parks, and close proximity to the desert and mountains are just a few of the many perks of raising your kids within a stone's throw of Mickey Mouse. That, and the fact that it's not LA. Here are the top 10 reasons why children and parents alike love growing up in The OC.

Weekend Fun: Harvest Fairs, Waterfalls, and a Celebration of Nature

Summer weather is scheduled to make a comeback this weekend, with unseasonable temperatures expected to climb back into the mid-80s Saturday and Sunday. The warm sunny weekend is perfect for checking out Connecticut's largest annual agricultural fair. There's more outdoor fun to be had at the Fair Weather Acres Fall Festival and in Newington at the annual Waterfall Fest. Head to Trumbull for a celebration of crisp fall apples, or just relax and spend some time learning about that most peaceful of critters, the monarch butterfly. As always, we recommend calling ahead in the event of rain to make sure outdoor events are still on.

We hope you'll follow Mommy Poppins Connecticut on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and subscribe to our newsletters to stay in touch. Have a great weekend!

See NYC's Only Corn Maze and More Fall Fun at this Queens Farm

There aren't many better ways to get the family excited for the fall in NYC than taking the kids for a tour through a three-acre corn maze in the middle of Queens and letting their imaginations run wild. The Queens County Farm Museum's Amazing Maize Maze opens for the season September 23, and it's just one of the quintessential fall activities happening at this New York City institution.

The Amazing Maize Maze is the only corn maze in the city. My family and I have conquered lots of these mazes and can happily say that the one at the Queens County Farm Museum is just as much fun as its country counterparts. We made it through in just about one hour—even with a pair of 8-year-olds leading the way. That left us plenty of time to enjoy other farm fun. We've got some tips for how to make the most of your visit to the farm and the corn maze. But no, we aren't giving you the route. You'll still need to figure that out yourself!

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