Preschoolers

12 Must-Do Holiday Events Around NYC in 2017 for Kids

There may be a week of Kwanzaa, eight nights of Hanukkah, and 12 days of Christmas, but as the festive displays popping up all over town attest, the holiday season really lasts from mid-November through New Year's Eve. That's almost two months jam-packed with a certain Thanksgiving parade, tree and candle lightings, train shows, department store windows, eye-popping spectacles, and Nutcrackers.

Of course, not all holiday activities are created equal. That's why we've rounded up the absolute best ways to get into the spirit of the season, regardless of what you celebrate. From splurge-worthy, once-in-a-lifetime experiences to annual favorites worth revisiting to a few fabulous FREE options, here are 12 super-outstanding events where you can give your kid the best gift of all: happy family memories.

Lyndhurst Municipal Park: A Playground for NJ Kids of all Ages

Squeeze in some outdoor recreation before the winter hits by spending the day at Lyndhurst Municipal Park. This sprawling park sits parallel to the Lyndhurst train station, offering parents who commute into Hoboken or NYC a great junction to say goodbye to their little ones or greet them at the end of a busy day. Live out of town? Ride the rails with your kiddos and make a day trip out of it.

The park features an amazing playground with equipment for kids of all ages. During the summer months, the neighboring splash pad is a great way to cool off!

Skypark at Santa's Village: Christmas Spirit Returns to the SoCal Mountains

There's nothing like a winter day in LA, when you can see the snowy mountaintops from the traffic on the Santa Monica Freeway. It makes you want to grab a sled and head for the hills. This season brings back another way to get up there and enjoy the snow: Skypark at Santa's Village in Lake Arrowhead. Christmases may come and go, but Santa's sleigh bells keep on ringing year-round at this 230-acre, holiday-themed amusement park, which recently reopened its doors after nearly 20 years. This year's special holiday celebration kicks off November 9 and keeps jingling the bells until January 7, 2018, much to the delight of kids throughout Southern California

10 Fun Things To Do with Preschoolers and Toddlers This Week

As the unstoppable force of the holiday season picks up pace, it's a good time to enjoy the expert ability of toddlers and preschoolers to be in the moment—and enjoy some free and affordable events together.  From indoor play spaces to outdoor playgrounds, from a day in the Science Center to a day out in DTLA, we know some exceptional things to do for not-quite-school-age kiddos and their parents this week and beyond. Many of the great exhibits that began this summer come to an end in the next month or two, including the Spider Pavilion which wraps up its webs this month, so catch them now before the crowds take away your moment of Zen.

Free Things to Do in CT This Week for Election and Veteran's Day

With Election Day and Veteran's Day happening this week many school districts have a day off. Indoor play is a good way to blow off some steam, or spend the day getting some culture in at one of CT's museums, or, why not take a fun local day trip? If you are interested in all things free, we have you covered. Here are 10 free things to do this week, including a beginner's knitting class, a nature event, and astronomy night.

Sand Sledding: Winter Fun on the Sand Berms at Venice Beach

The berms are back!

Rumor has it that in some parts of the country sledding involves getting cold and wet. How very... un-Californian. Oh, sure, there are places near LA to go sledding on snow if that's your thing, but we're raising California kids—and that means beach sledding. Every winter a few Los Angeles area beaches get their annual sand berms—intended as protection against winter storms and violent surf. Or so they say. The real purpose is clearly to lay the groundwork for the ultimate SoCal winter sport.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2017: Where to Watch, What's New

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade celebrates its 91st anniversary this month, taking over the streets of Manhattan on Thursday, November 23, 2017, and decorating the city with its boisterous marching bands, extravagant floats, and giant balloon characters.

There are always a mix of old and new characters shown off at the parade, and this year is no exception. Expect four new giant balloons to take flight this Thanksgiving, and five new floats—several of which are sure to make your preschoolers' dreams come true. There are also big name characters returning to annual fete for the first time in years.  

If you're planning to attend the parade with the kids (and millions of others!), read on for the most up-to-date information on the route, best viewing locations, and other highlights. Check out our in-depth inflation post for an overview of the Wednesday-night festivities. You'll find more holiday inspiration in our Thanksgiving Fun Guide.

Breakfast with Santa for Philly Families

There's something special about that moment when children approach Santa Claus with their wish lists in hand at Christmastime. Nervousness, excitement, awe (and sometimes tears!) cover their faces as they wait to tell the big guy how good they've been all year. Families can avoid the long lines at the mall and extend the magical moment a little longer by attending one of many breakfasts with Santa all over the Delaware Valley.

Kids have a chance to enjoy breakfast, brunch, or lunch as Ol' St. Nick mingles with guests at venues like restaurants, zoos, and even boats! Some events include a professional photo with Santa, while at others, families are welcome to bring their own cameras. Get ready to chow down and make some special holiday memories at one of the many Santa events we've rounded up. Many of these sell out early, so reservations are often recommended.

All Aboard The Polar Express: Christmas Train Rides Near Boston

What is it about trains and Christmas? The two have become inextricably linked—especially since The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg's picture book about believing in the magic of Christmas, captured the hearts and imaginations of kids and adults alike. During the holiday season train rides complete with hot chocolate and visits from Santa bring Christmas stories like The Polar Express to life for all who believe.

Although we could make the trek to New Hampshire's White Mountains for a magical Christmas train experience, we have plenty of delightful options much closer to Boston. The seats fill up very quickly, though, so we recommend getting your golden tickets now.

Holiday Train Rides With Santa in Connecticut

To be honest, I don’t know the last time I saw Santa in a sleigh.  Nope, over the past several years, I’ve seen Santa arrive to greet crowds of believers in a fire truck, a police car, a helicopter, and a Porsche (really, Santa??). 

So it was no surprise when my 5-year-old came home from school telling me her friend Abby saw Santa on a train.  And she’s absolutely right – there are a few amazing Holiday Trains in Connecticut, where you and your kids can enjoy both your love of trains and the holiday season!  Watching the steam roll and waft in front of the train's headlight, while giant snowflakes fall will throw you back 60 years -- in the most wonderful, magical, 'It's a Wonderful Life' sort of way.  

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