Preschoolers

7 Best Zoos near Los Angeles: the LA Zoo Is Just the Beginning

Did someone say zoo? If your little ones have fallen for the non-stop furry cuteness of LA's petting zoos (and there are plenty in and around LA), there's a chance they're going to start thinking bigger. There are lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) to see at many zoos, and while petting is not recommended for most of the occupants (seriously, keep your kid out of the bear enclosure), young ones love seeing creatures live and in-person that they usually only read about in books. Here are some of the many zoos within easy driving distance. While the Los Angeles Zoo is naturally on the list, it's hardly the only game in town.

Best Places for Apple Picking with Kids in Connecticut

Sweet or tart, red or golden, apples are fun to pick by the bushel with kids in Connecticut. Starting in late August through September, farms and orchards around the state are bursting with apples, and many offer wagon rides, hayrides, cider doughnuts and other fall activities and treats to enjoy with children, too. Here are some of our favorite spots to enjoy this fall family tradition in Connecticut. For more seasonal activities check out our Connecticut Fall Fun Guide.

6 Ways to Ease the Preschool Transition for Kids — and Parents

The start of a new school year gets everyone's nerves jumping—including when it's time to make the transition to preschool.

Every child is, of course, different. Some love to dive into new adventures without so much as a look back. Others are more cautious, preferring to watch and get the lay of the land. But children and parents are bound to be apprehensive about a child's first day (or week, or month) in a new environment, surrounded by new people and new routines.

We asked veteran preschool teachers in the NYC metropolitan area for their no-fail tips to help make this transition a positive experience for all and came away with six top suggestions.

If you're still searching for the right preschool, check out our directory of NYC schools, as well as those in the surrounding suburbs, such as New JerseyWestchester, and Long Island.

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Theater District Open House, AIA Sandcastle Contest, Aug. 24-25

School may be back in session, but the summer heat hasn't quit just yet, and that means we're still looking to pack in one last little bit of summer fun! To help you make the most of summer's inevitable end, we came up with a list of 14 things to do before summer ends, whcih is packed with fun family activities like family bingo night, a trip to Candytopia, and Kroger Family Sundays with the Houston Astros

That being said, we also know that some of you are ready to wash your hands of summer and jump right back into the school routine, and this weekend has some awesome back to school events to help facilitate that as well. Saturday you can head to Memorial City Mall for an After School Activities Fair or to Pasadena for their annual Back to School Market, and Sunday Kingwood is hosting a Back 2 School Market. We also rounded up several free and cheap after-school programs and classes for all the parents who need and/or want a little extra for their kids in those awkward hours between the end of the school day and the end of the work day. 

Our event calendar and August GoList are both always good sources of idea inspiration when you need something to do, and you can sign up for our weekly newsletter to have all of our newly published content delivered straight to your inbox.

Now let's check out what's happening around town this weekend.

Essex County's New Accessible Playground Lets All Kids Play Together

All children can benefit from outdoor play in a park or playground, and lucky for us, there's a new accessible playground in Bloomfield, NJ, designed with the needs of kids with physical and developmental disabilities in mind. 

Watsessing Park's all-access playground opened at the end of July after a seven-month, $4 million renovation. This new addition to the 69-acre Essex County park, located at the intersection of Bloomfield Avenue and Conger Street, boasts inclusive features such as wheelchair-friendly surfacing and ramps, a seated merry-go-round, special swings, and much, much more—all in delicious, candy-colored hues.

Already fans of Watsessing Park's splash playground, my 6-year-old and I spent a perfect summer afternoon at this updated play space where all kids can play together and have fun. Read on for the scoop.

Money-Saving Deals on Boston Area Kids Classes

If you're on the hunt for fall kids activities, your wallet will thank you for this one! Some much-loved children's programs across the Boston area have offered to extend special offers to Mommy Poppins readers just in time for fall 2019 registration. Read on to find deals on STEAM courses, theater and dance classes, soccer lessons, and more for Boston kids.

Don't drag your feet, because these deals will literally disappear as they expire. If you don't see a deal listed below it means the offer is no longer available. If you're looking for even more kids classes, visit our Boston Classes Guide, or you can even search our Directory by location and age!

Ennis Playground Gives Gowanus a Freshly Updated Playspace

We're suckers for a destination-worthy playground, but we also have big love for NYC's smaller neighborhood playgrounds. In a city like ours, a playground doesn't necessarily need an elaborate theme or deluxe play features to be a huge boon to the neighborhood. The newly renovated Ennis Playground in the heart of fast-changing Gowanus is one such gem. Ennis Playground reopened last month after an 11-month, $2.9 million renovation—here's a look at what's new.

Best Orchards for Apple Picking with Kids Near Chicago

The Chicago school year has hardly begun, but fall harvest season is already in full swing at several orchards throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan. Families willing to take a one- or two-hour drive can get away to enjoy country life for a day, with hay rides, petting zoos, corn mazes, and apple picking. Some orchards even offer pumpkin picking and other fruits throughout the season.

We’ve picked out a baker’s dozen of the best apple orchards within a two-hour drive of Chicago for your picking (and, perhaps, pie-baking) enjoyment. Kids can play farmer for a day without breaking the bank at these 13 orchards.

Go Fish: Where to Go Fishing with NYC Kids for Free (Even If You Don't Have Gear)

Fishing is a classic family activity, but it can only be done outside of NYC, right? Wrong. My husband and I have been fishing with our 9-year-old son in the five boroughs since he was a preschooler. It's relaxing and a great way to bond, plus it teaches patience (you definitely need it for this sport).

Not only does NYC offer different kinds of fishing experiences (freshwater, salt water, catch-and-release), there are organizations that even supply the rod, reel, tackle and bait so all you need to bring is a good attitude. Our rivers, lakes, ponds and beaches are truly teeming with fish, and we've got the scoop on where you and your kids can catch them.

Houston's Best Kid-Friendly Food Truck Parks: Why They Are Worth the Drive

It's no secret that the Houston food scene is one of the best in the nation. With a plethora of restaurants to choose from including ones with room for kids to play, some that have been featured on TV, and some of the best barbeque joints known to man, the choices can be overwhelming. Houston is also home to some stellar food truck parks which can be enjoyed at food truck parks around the city. We love these spots because they have room to play for the kids, delicious options and a fun atmosphere.

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