Preschoolers

20 Ways to Beat the Heat For Cheap

We don't have to tell you that during a Houston summer, the heat and humidity come at you at full force. Staying cool with the kids is top priority these days, and while the area has plenty of splash pads and pools, sometimes it's nice to just be out of the sun. And enjoying someone else's air conditioning. We know it can get expensive at indoor playgrounds and gyms, so to help you beat the heat without breaking the bank, we've rounded up 20 activities that are affordable (some are free, all are under $15!).

Find yourself in need of even more ideas? Be sure to check out our guide to free summer fun and full guide of things to do with Houston kids in the summer.

Rockaway with Kids: 25 Things to Do at the Beach and Beyond

Why schlep to the Hamptons? Thanks to its weekend-getaway vibe, Rockaway, Queens, is a popular family staycation destination in summer, and thanks to the new Rockaway ferry, it's now easier to get to.

Its beautiful beaches have soft sand and formidable Atlantic Ocean waves—it's the only shore in NYC where you're allowed to surf. Although this area was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, there's now a brand-new boardwalk, and Rockaway Park has been renovated with amazing playgrounds and water play areas. Read on for all you need to know to get to and enjoy this NYC summer favorite.

Eloise Hops Off the Page and into the New-York Historical Society

If you're drawn to classic children's literature, it's time to don your fanciest frock and head over to the New-York Historical Society where a rawther special guest has taken up residence.

Eloise, the brain child of cabaret singer-turned author Kay Thompson and illustrator Hilary Knight has taken over the museum's second floor, bringing her precocious spirit and side kicks Weenie and Skipperdee along to the gallery, which was previously home to other beloved NYC characters like Mo Willems' Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny, and Elephant and Piggie.

Top Beach Playgrounds on Long Island

Long Island beaches offer the opportunity for a host of memory-making experiences. Some of the best include those times spent frolicking on the playground to the soundtrack of crashing summer waves.

We've rounded up some of the best beach spots to play in Nassau, Suffolk and the East End, where playgrounds delight kids of all ages. So pack a lunch and plan to spend the day enjoying these locations. Make sure to snap pictures of the smiles from a fun day in the sun.

And remember Long Island has plenty of family-friendly beaches. While you're at it, why not tackle our 100 things with kids to do on Long Island, many of which, not surprisingly, involve the water. Enjoy.

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Food Trucks, Sailfest, and Summer Concerts, July 8-9

Just one question before we begin: which end is UP?!? After a sorta kinda four day weekend, I am still picking up the pieces from my overtired and cranky children who spent a few too many nights up late watching fireworks, making s'mores, and chasing fireflies. We've got to rest up for the weekend and the chance to catch still more fireworks in Enfield, New London, and Hartford. And since no one likes being cooped up in the kitchen when the weather outside is so glorious, we're hoping to hit up the food truck festivals in Hartford and Goshen to sample some of their mobile delicacies. 

Strawberry picking season has wound down almost everywhere, but various farms across the state are opening for blueberry, peach, and raspberry picking (consult our pick your own guide and remember that conditions change daily so be sure to check directly with any farm before you set out for the day).

As always, for the latest and greatest happenings across the state, check out our Event Calendar, which is constantly updated with new listings. To keep up with everything going on in CT,  follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Have a fabulous weekend!

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Christmas in July 5k, Paw Patrol, July 8-9

We are almost half way through the summer, so this weekend is the perfect opportunity for Houston peeps to evaluate progress on the family summer bucket list. Maybe you are steadily making it happen or you just now realize many activities haven't been completed, don't worry because this weekend's event calendar can certainly help cross off a few items. 

Also on Mommy Poppins this week:

Summer is in full swing! Check out our July GoList or the complete event calendar to find the best things to do this month. Did you know can also submit your own events? Have this post delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Now let's check out what's going on this weekend: 

Storybook Land in New Jersey: A Magical Park for Preschoolers and Tots

If you’re looking for an enjoyable amusement park experience minus crazy thrill rides and super-sized crowds, take a day trip to Storybook Land in Egg Harbor. This charming spot, in operation since 1955, was created with younger children in mind—the rides and attractions are all geared toward the under-10 crowd, making it great for toddlers and big siblings alike.

Visiting is a bit like stepping into a fairy tale: as you walk through the wooded grounds, you encounter characters from nursery rhymes and classic children's stories, like Humpty Dumpty and Alice in Wonderland. Even if you didn't go there as a kid, as many New Jerseyans did, you're sure to fall under its nostalgia-laced spell. 

My husband and I recently visited for the first time with our two boys, ages 5 and 2, and we all loved it and will definitely go back. Storybook Land is No. 1 on our list of 30 Things to Do with NJ Preschoolers, with good reason. Read on for more about this sweet NJ gem.

Best Mountains to Climb With Kids in Connecticut

Have you ever planned a perfect day of hiking with the kiddos only to hear whines ranging from “I’m bored,” to, “I have to go to the bathroom,” to, “Are we there yet?” I have definitely been there and feel your pain. You’ve packed the perfect picnic lunch to be enjoyed alongside a babbling brook after you’ve spent your morning becoming one with nature but your kids have lost interest after finishing their Nature Valley granola bar 10 minutes into the hike. Sigh.

Well, have you considered climbing a mountain? We have rounded up some hikes across the state that are sure to keep the kid’s interest as you scale mountain tops, discover giants, castles, and maybe a hobbit house or two.

Best Summer Theater and Shows for NYC Kids (Free Options Too!)

New York City's family theater scene is hotter than a heat wave. Some people might think the dog days of summer are a cultural wasteland and that all the cool openings won't start again until fall, but that's not the case when it comes to the stage.

There are shows for all ages, interests, and budgets throughout the season, including a FREE page-to-stage adaptation of the Pete the Cat picture books, family-friendly outdoor Shakespeare, the launch of new kid-friendly matinees for a long-running Harry Potter parody, and a rare revival of the musical Really Rosie based on Maurice Sendak stories. Best of all, many of our picks cost less than $25 per ticket, and four are 100 percent FREE! Plus, we found discount codes for the pricier ones.

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