High-Tech Family Fun: 5 Ways Technology Can Be Family Time

My family has been having a great summer and making use of several ideas from our Ultimate Summer Play List along the way; it's hard to believe we're already more than halfway through the season. We've cooled off with water games, revisited classic backyard games from our childhoods, and turned childhood stories into family games. Of course, most plans we make involve asking someone to put down an electronic device (and give the poor, hounded Pokemon a rest). Wouldn't it be great if we could put those phones and tablets to more enriching use? Maybe even use them for some family playtime?

Ask and ye shall receive: check out these five ideas for exercising minds and thumbs together.

Cooling off in Public Swimming Pools on the Westside

There are certain hot summer days when the sprinkler or the splash pad at the park just isn't enough, and the beach is a little too much—when only a swimming pool will do. Luckily the Westside has almost as many public pools as public beaches; kids can cool off with a splash at a different pool each day of the week! Most of the outdoor pools listed below are seasonal, and hours change throughout the summer. It's always advisable to call for the day's schedule before heading out.

Weekday Picks: Sunflower Maze, Ants, and Lighthouse, August 8-12, 2016

The countdown is on for the last few weeks of summer. Time to take care of those last things on your summer bucket list. If that includes taking the kids out for fun things to do around town, we have the low down on what's happening where and when. For a run down of 25 of our best things to do in August, check out our August GoList.  This week's fun includes free family concerts, learning about a lighthouse, acquiring some survival skills and more.

While you can, enjoy our CT Summer Fun Guide and CT Beach and Water Fun Guide.  The Event Calendar is continually updated with events so check back often and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to be sure you don't miss a thing.

11 Family Camping Spots Near NYC

Camping trips are great for kids, especially NYC kids. They get to spend time outside in green spaces that might seem to go on forever for city kids and learn esteem-building skills, including how to canoe, fish, chop wood, cook over a fire, pitch a tent, and more. Camping trips are low-tech—although I have seen electrified tents—so they allow families time to unplug and reconnect with each other.  Plus, pitching a tent is an affordable alternative to a hotel.

My family and I are camping enthusiasts. In fact, our basement storage unit in NYC is packed with tents and backpacks and my son has been sleeping outside since age 2. We plan an extended camping trip every year, and recently enjoyed an amazing trip to Letchworth State Park in upstate New York. We plan to pitch our tents in the Adirondacks later this summer. 

Camping can be dirty and difficult, requiring plenty of equipment, including a car. That alone can make an overnight trip to the great outdoors a challenge for many NYC families. But it doesn't have to be that way. There are at least 11 sites in the tristate area perfect for first-timers and families. These sites, within a few hours travel time, are packed with things to keep kids busy and two of these campgrounds are within city limits. A number of these prime destinations are accessible via mass transit, and one campground even provides nearly everything you need.  

There's no excuse not to hit the woods for a family vacation this year.  

Bam! Pow! Zap! This Children's Museum in OC Gives Kids Super Powers

My six-year-old is a longtime superhero aficionado. Over the years, his bedroom has slowly become a shrine to his favorite heroes – Batman, Spiderman, and Iron Man – so he could barely contain his excitement when I told him we were heading to Pretend City Children's Museum to test-drive its new “Super Powers” exhibit. The interactive child-sized city, which includes a make-believe grocery store, farm, art studio and beach, recently opened a brand-new exhibit called Super Powers—a virtual training ground for wannabe crime fighters. If your kiddo also has a closet filled with capes and masks, fly don't drive down the 55 freeway this summer for an action-packed day at Pretend City in Irvine.

9 Fun Stops to Help Families Survive the Drive to Long Island's East End

As a child and teenager, I spent one week every summer out in Amagansett with my family; digging my toes in the sand, catching some (cold!) waves with my boogie board and driving into Montauk with my parents and siblings for some ice cream. However, one thing I will never forget about heading to the East End is the long drive--sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic is never fun. I'd stare out the window and repeatedly ask my dad, "Are we there yet?" Well, karma has arrived in the form of my own kid, who sits in the back asking me that same question over and over. Luckily, there are some great shops, attractions and places of interest to see while heading east, which makes for some nice family-friendly pit-stops to break up the monotony of that long stretch of highway called the Long Island Expressway. Check out these boredom busters and actually enjoy the ride!

Learning Through Play Day Cares and Preschools in Philadelphia

More and more studies are showing how important the role of play is in early childhood learning. Kids develop important social and cognitive skills from play, and become more self-confident and emotionally mature when allowed to learn by playing. Finding a daycare that goes beyond simply watching your kid, and fosters this independence and imporant early learning skill isn't always easy. We've rounded up a few great daycares (some of which also have preschools) where your child will love to learn while they play.

A Visit to Alice in the Village Tea Room

As if there were not already enough reasons to love Mystic, a new tea house opened in town, bringing with it some British deliciousness and an atmosphere sure to please any Alice in Wonderland fan – or anyone looking for a few sweet bites and a comforting cup of tea.

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Carnivals, Fairs, and Model Yachts, August 6-7

It's off in the distance and looking a little bit hazy, but it's there just the same: the first day of school. My family has three weeks left, and I find myself desperate to pack in all the fun that I promised myself we'd get to this summer. Happily, this weekend we have not one but two fireman's carnivals, a world-class jazz festival, a special evening by the Pawcatuck River, and a model yacht regatta that will appeal to both boat and remote control enthusiasts alike. 

If you're still trying to make every summer day count, we have plenty of suggestions in our Event Calendar, which is updated throughout the week. For the latest and best family-friendly events, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Here are some suggestions for the weekend ahead! 


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