Kids

Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling: Finding a Homeschool Group

If you're thinking about homeschooling, your first concern is probably how your kid will ever see other kids. It's normal to worry about feeling isolated and not knowing what to do or where to go, but don't. Your kid will be socialized, I promise. I was homeschooled from 5th grade all the way through high school, and I struggle more with maintaining adult relationships now than I ever did with friendships then, and trust me, it has nothing to do with the fact that I was homeschooled. Homeschooling has changed so much in the 10 years since I was homeschooled. While the resources are still a bit lacking, there are definitely more families homeschooling now for more of a variety of reasons. Whatever your reason may be, whether your jumping in for preschool or high school, starting out can be daunting and hard. The first thing you'll want to do is find a good group, which may offer classes, get togethers, and field trips.

Mommy Poppins hopes to become a great resource for homeschool families, so stay tuned for our series of articles on different homeschooling topics.

Drama Classes for Kids in Fairfield County, CT

Multiple Choice.  Your child: A) confuses all sources of light with limelight, B) is woefully shy, but shocked everyone (not least of all, you) with his breakout performance at last year's Christmas pageant, or C) doesn't enjoy physical/mental activity of the sporting sort.  If you chose A, B or C, drama lessons might be the plot twist your child's after-school routine needs!  Actually, an expert in Parents magazine this month explains any kid can benefit from a little drama, saying "one landmark study found children involved in the arts for nine hours a week are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement."  That's the sort of return on results you want before investing in another extracurricular activity. We've researched the group classes, but many of the studios in Fairfield County also offer private lessons for those super-dedicated to their craft! Check out our Classes and Activities Guide for even more after school fun!

100 Things to Do in New York State with Kids Before They Grow Up

We might be biased, but we think New York state has it all for families. From the gorgeous Hamptons beaches to the rugged state forests, serene lakes, and deafening Niagara Falls to the culture and arts found in New York City on up through the river towns and beyond—we feel pretty lucky.

Plus, we’re pretty good at making delicious food items from ramen burgers and bagels to ice cream, and even wine at family-friendly vineyards on Long Island and through the Finger Lakes. There are children’s museums galore. Kids have no shortage of water and theme parks, cool playgrounds, zoos, outdoor art, and nature, of course.

And yet, the thing about childhood is that it’s finite. The kids grow up, maybe move away. Sniff, sniff. We want to soak up every moment. So we put together this list of 100 of our favorite things to do around New York, from upstate and the Adirondacks to Long Island and NYC. We collected suggestions from the many Mommy Poppins contributors, past and former, to fuse it all together just for you (OK, for us, too). Whether you're planning a long-weekend getaway or a family day trip, you're sure to find some ideas here. Enjoy!

5 Educational After School Programs for Philadelphia Kids and Teens

The school year is upon us, which, for some, means normalcy is returning. For those who work late and need to extend school hours, or for kids interested in further pursuing their passion for science or the arts, after school programs are great. These programs are the perfect way to keep kids entertained in those late afternoon hours while continuing to further their education. Keep those brains working a little longer with some of these awesome programs.

Best Fall Festivals for NYC Kids in September

Kick off autumn at one of these fun-filled (and mostly FREE) fall festivals in NYC. Annual family favorites abound this month, including top September picks such as the Richmond County Fair and the Little Red Lighthouse Festival. But there are also plenty of cool under-the-radar events you may not have heard of, including a kite festival in Brooklyn Bridge Park, a sweet honey celebration in Rockaway Beach, and Italian fairs in the Bronx and on Staten Island, both a lot less crowded than San Gennaro. There's also farm fun and even more kiddie rides.

So banish the back-to-school blues by hitting one (or more) of these kid-friendly fetes this September.

Weekday Picks: Art, Movies, and a Midsummer Night's Dream: August 29-September 2, 2016

For many parents this is it, the moment we've all been waiting for: most public schools in the state are back in session this week. But never fear! Even as we send the kiddos off with freshly sharpened pencils and nutritionally balanced lunches, there's still plenty of fun to be had in the evenings and afternoons. If you're still looking for extracurricular activities for the fall, you won't want to miss Tuesday's open house at the Darien Arts Center where kids can try mini versions of the regular art, music, theater, and dance classes. Bid summer a fond farewell with a magical outdoor performance of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream or start your weekend off with a relaxing family-friendly movie on the beach.

The Event Calendar is continually updated with free events, activities, and the best things to do in CT so check back often and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to be sure you don't miss a thing.

Making Family Memories at Lyman Orchards

Lyman Orchards is one of those places where sprawling vistas, orchards brimming with fruit, and a deliciously stocked country store will make you feel like you are splurging on a vacation; however, given its 30-minute proximity to Hartford, New Haven, and Waterbury, chances are you’re probably still very close to home. Throughout the year, this Connecticut landmark is a favorite family-friendly destination, but the views are especially spectacular in the fall.

Things to Do in Silicon Valley: A Kid’s Guide to Tech and Science Fun

“What would you do with kids in Silicon Valley?,” people asked me when they heard we were planning on spending a few weeks there this summer. Sure, the nerd capitol of America doesn’t sound that thrilling at first. But just as we have to thank the geeks and nerds for bringing us great stuff like the smart phone, the internet and Pokemon Go!, having all those squares concentrated in one place means San Jose, Palo Alto, and the surrounding towns are jam-packed with some pretty awesome stuff for those of us who appreciate the geekier side of life.

Whether your family members are true technology buffs or just love a good science museum, there’s loads of fun from Santa Cruz to Palo Alto to get your geek on. Here are the top things to do in Silicon Valley for science and technology-loving kids:

 

Day Trip to Van Saun Park: 10 Things to Do with Kids

Looking for an outdoor play adventure beyond the local playground? Make Bergen County’s Van Saun Park your family’s day trip destination. My own family makes this hour-away journey a few time a year, and it never disappoints. With its massive playground, splash pad, carousel and train rides, plus a zoo, a trip to Van Saun almost feels like a theme park visit (minus the admission fee). The playground and zoo are open year-round, while some of the activities, such as the rides, are seasonal (April through October). A little tip-- there’s plenty of parking, but weekends get pretty crowded; you may want to arrive early. Please note that admission to Van Saun Park is free, including the playground and splash pad, but some features do require an additional fee, as noted. Here are 10 awesome things to do on your next Van Saun Park adventure:

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