Preschoolers

4 Holiday Lantern Shows Coming to NYC This Season

I'm the kind of mom who leaves the decked-out family Christmas tree up until Easter... and I'm Jewish. I just adore anything that lights up, which is why I made the schlep from our East Harlem apartment to Staten Island's Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden last holiday season to check out the inaugural NYC Winter Lantern Festival, a massive installation of illuminated art. Happily, my daughter, her friends, and I all thought it was worth the trip.

Apparently, last year's holiday lantern festival kicked off a trend. This year, there will be four places to see holiday lanterns in the city: There's the return of the Snug Harbor event, as well as the brand-new Hello Panda Festival in Queens, and the LuminoCity Festival on Randall's Island. Plus the Bronx Zoo's Holiday Lights display promises animal-shaped lanterns, too! Read on for a peek at the new holiday lights coming to NYC this year, plus what to know before you take the kids.

New Play Space in Westchester Offers Fun for Little Ones and Caregivers

Looking for an indoor play space for young children in lower Westchester? You're in luck—a new destination for classes, free play, retail, and parties for the 6-and-under set has just arrived in Pelham: Tig & Peach. We paid a visit and were dazzled by the use of the space.

Read on for the lowdown on Tig & Peach, which opened in September. And be sure to subscribe to our newsletters and follow us on Facebook to stay in the know about other news for Westchester and Hudson Valley families!

See Bronx Zoo Like a Local: Top Tips for a Great Visit with Kids

First opened in 1899, the Bronx Zoo has been a top destination for local NYC families, tourists, and animal lovers of all kinds for generations. I've been a regular at this zoo since I was a child, and now that I'm a parent of three kids in the Bronx, we consider it an extension of our backyard. With its very own show on the Animal Planet channel (the irresistible The Zoo)the Bronx Zoo is arguably the world's most famous zoo.

Located in the heart of the Bronx at the southern end of Bronx Park and near the borough's own Little Italy, the Bronx Zoo is easily accessible via public transit or by car. One visit is sure to leave a lasting impression, though you'll need more than one trip to experience all there is to see and do. And since it is the nation's largest urban zoo, it helps to have some pointers before you go—especially if you are visiting with kids. So read on for 10 tips on visiting the Bronx Zoo like a local.

Things To Do in Connecticut this Weekend: Spooktacular Science, Autumn Festival, Fall Hikes

We have reached mid-October, and the fall weather has turned crisp as a Braeburn apple. The rustle and crunch of fallen leaves makes the perfect background noise for all the fall fun Connecticut has to offer. The Ansonia Nature Center is hosting its annual Autumn Festival, featuring horse-drawn wagon rides and a chance to meet spiders, bats, and other creepy crawlies. In Mystic, get active with a self-guided spooky nature hike. And for sweets and science combined, stop by the Connecticut Science Center for its Spooktacular Science Weekend.

If the spooky spirit hasn't quite struck you yet, there is the annual Tower Toot festival and foliage hike in Simsbury. But if your kids can get enough of Halloween, you're sure to find some activities involving pumpkins, costumes, candy, and more in our Connecticut Halloween Guide.

Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Energy Day Festival, Freight Train Food Truck Festival, Oct. 19-20

With Halloween right around the corner, we've been busy compiling everything you could possibly need to have a fun, safe holiday. We've got you covered with the best places for trick or treating, Halloween movies that will offer chills and thrills alike, area trunk-or-treats, the spookiest haunted houses, pumpkin carving ideas, and more.

And that's not all! You can find even more Halloween-inspired fun on our event calendar and in our Halloween Fun Guide; they have all the resources you need and events happening throughout the city over the weeks leading up to our favorite candy-coated day. For monthly fun, head to our October GoList, which highlights the biggest and best events occurring around town throughout the month.

Hosting an event? We would love to share it with our readers! All you have to do is submit your event to our calendar for our review, and we'll handle the rest.

Want to stay in the loop with everything Mommy Poppins has to offer? Sign up for our weekly newsletter to have everything we published delivered straight to you.

But that's enough of that; it's time to see what this weekend has in store. 

Top 10 Things To Do at the EcoTarium, the Interactive Science Museum for Kids Near Boston

Spoiled as we are by world-class museums in Boston, it can be easy to overlook smaller, suburban spots like the EcoTarium Museum of Science and Nature in Worcester, MA. But a recent visit to the EcoTarium proved that this unique science museum belongs on every Massachusetts parent's must-visit list. Just a short drive from Boston, the museum offers both indoor and outdoor activities, including interactive exhibits, live animal habitats, nature trails, and more. It's ideal for a day trip, but if you have limited time, we'd recommend hitting these 10 exhibits—plus one bonus seasonal activity (think: bubbles!)

Got super curious kids? Check out our guides to the Museum of ScienceBoston Children's MuseumDiscovery Museums of Acton, and more in our Boston Museums Guide.

Looking for a Preschool in Chelsea? Start Here.

Are you just a parent, standing in front of a preschool, asking it to let your child in? We know that sometimes conjuring the right preschool fit is almost as daunting as getting your kid into the right college, but the odds are excellent that you'll find a great spot for your little one, and if you're in the Chelsea neighborhood, you're in luck. This famously family-friendly downtown NYC neighborhood offers plenty of wonderful options for preschool-searching parents.

Before you launch your hunt for a preschool in the Chelsea neighborhood, it helps to know what kinds of questions to ask on a preschool tour, and how other NYC parents decided on a preschool. There are also a few terms to know: Our list below sorts preschool options by type, including Traditional Preschools (which follow the NYC school calendar), Year-Round Preschools (which are in session during the summer and holiday breaks), Cooperative (which requre a time investment from parents), Dual-Language (Mandarin and Spanish preschools are popular), Religious, and Montessori or Reggio-Emelia (which both focus on child-led learning). ​

And even though it is strongly recommended that your start your search early (at least a year in advance), remember that spots do open up. Ask about wait lists if you're late to the process or new in town. Good luck!

Drop-Off Child Care Options in NYC for Date Night

If date night is a distant memory, it's probably time to book a couple's night out. But in a city as pricey as New York, babysitting costs can really blow up your date night budget. 

While you might luck into an occasional care swap with another family, you shouldn't have to wait until your kid is old enough for sleepovers or sleepaway camp to enjoy a night on the town. Luckily several play spots in the city offer safe, supervised drop-off care for kids, often for less than your average sitter. Better still: Not only do you get some adult time, your kids will have enough fun that they'll be begging for your next night out soon enough.

Read on for 10 cool date-night drop-off spots, plus some tips for dealing with child care emergencies day or night.

Halloween Events Where Kids Can Trick-or-Treat in Connecticut

Where is the best spot to trick-or-treat in Connecticut? That's a tricky one! But we can certainly point you in some fun directions full of treats! To pair with our county-by-county list of great trick-or-treating neighborhoods where lots of costumed kids flock on October 31st, we've assembled a list of community-sponsored trick-or-treating events where kids will be assured plenty of candy and camaraderie.

For more seasonal fun, check out our jam-packed Halloween Guide. Many stores in local towns and villages will likely will be handing out candy in the afternoon on October 31, but as a general rule, trick-or-treating starts at dusk. 

Best Places to Trick-or-Treat on Halloween with NYC Kids

One of my favorite childhood memories from growing up in NYC was Halloween in Greenwich Village. Back then, the Village Halloween Parade was just a couple hundred artists and others who marched through the neighborhood. Afterward, we would trick-or-treat up and down the brownstone blocks. Everyone was friendly, and we would come home with our shopping bags completely filled. It was magical.

Although the parade and Greenwich Village have changed a lot since then, your kids can still enjoy that kind of thrilling trick-or-treat experience in many New York City neighborhoods. Which neighborhood is the best for Halloween trick-or-treating depends on who you ask. New Yorkers love to bicker over the best coffee shops, the best (and worst) train lines, and yes, the best places to take their kids on Halloween. We also love to find that secret gem.

So we asked our astute readers and collected recommendations from our parent-driven NYC staff over many, many years to bring you a list of our favorite trick-or-treating spots so you'll know where to bring your kids this October 31.

Join one of the local Halloween parades and then go trick-or-treating throughout the community with local families. Or hit one of the neighborhoods or streets listed below: We have a slew of spots to try in all five boroughs. For more seasonal fun, check out our jam-packed Halloween Guide, showcasing FREE events, haunted houses, pumpkin patches, and more.

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