Preschoolers

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.

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:

26 Ways To Keep Enjoying Summer after School Begins

Whether you're relieved by the quiet or disturbed by the abrupt ending, most LA families are using those three little words (back to school) a whole lot earlier these days. Of course, dropping our kids off at school doesn't change the weather; there might be no child left behind at the beach, but it's still summer until close to Halloween. So if your family is not yet ready for summer to end, pick a few items off our Endless Summer List and go have some fun while the sun still shines!

10 Underrated NYC Parks You Don't Want to Miss

Central Park, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park—even if you only just arrived in NYC, we probably don't need to tell you that these are all must-see green spaces. Yet, according to the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, 14 percent of the city is parkland—that's more than 30,000 acres!

So if you're looking for a new-to-you outdoor destination to explore, we've got 10 off-the-beaten-path parks worth putting on your NYC family bucket list. Some are massive and boast a wide array of attractions for all seasons; others are small but picturesque and host popular annual events for families. Don't worry if you can't make it to all of these before school starts—we have at least a few more months of fair weather ahead!

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Fairs, a Powwow, and Hot Air Balloons, August 27-28

And just like that, the last weekend of summer vacation has arrived. With only a couple of days left before the onset of early bedtimes and hectic morning routines, it's important to make the most of the last days of August. Maybe you're heading to the beach one more time, or looking to explore an outdoor museum. If you're seeking a sweet experience, consider touring Fascia's Chocolates or scouring the menu at an old-fashioned ice cream parlor

If you only have a few hours to spare, get lost in the Lyman Orchards Sunflower Maze, unwind at Gillette Castle, or check out Farmers Markets brimming with fresh produce around the state. The weekend features exciting events, including the Plainville Hot Air Balloon Festival and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation's annual Schemitzun Powwow.

To see what else is happening around the state, browse the Mommy Poppins Family Events Calendar. For the latest and best family-friendly events, subscribe to our weekly newsletters and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Preschools in the Hartford Area

Preschool. Once upon a time, it was mostly a time for play dates, but today, childhood experts agree that attending a high-quality program prepares little ones socially and academically for the school years ahead. Deciding which preschool to choose can be tricky since programs can be customized, such as nature-based preschools, or those that offer a bilingual environment.

Below are 10 suggestions for preschools in the Hartford area; no doubt, we’ve missed some great ones, so feel free to share them with us in the Comments section. Our Preschool Guide also includes a few suggestions for those residing in Fairfield County.

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