Preschoolers

Top Beach Playgrounds on Long Island

Long Island beaches offer the opportunity for 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. So pack a lunch and plan to spend the day enjoying these destinations. 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 check off a few activities on our list of 25 things we can't wait to do with Long Island kids this summer.

On a budget? See our list of 50 FREE things to do with kids on Long Island this summer. 

Cheap Swim Lessons in and around Philadelphia

There's no doubt about it, swimming is an important life skill. That's why it's essential to teach kids how to swim at an early age. Plus, it means you can worry a little less during those long summer days at the pool or beach. We've rounded up some great nearby swimming lessons that are also affordable. Get the kiddos in their swimsuits and goggles and head on out to one of these great swim classes.

Pick Your Own Fun: Houston Farms for Fruit and Berry Picking

The intoxicating smell of freshly picked berries can only mean one thing: sweet spring (and summertime) is upon us! And what better way to take advantage of the season's freshest fruit than by picking it yourself? Instead of purchasing pre-packaged strawberries, blueberries and blackberries at the grocery store, take a trip out to one of these "you-pick-it" farms and gather them yourself by the bucketful. Not only will you be getting berries straight from the source, you'll also be supporting small farmers and creating memories with your kids that will last a lifetime.

Sharks Take Over Coney Island in the New Exhibit at NY Aquarium

On June 30, the New York Aquarium in Coney Island welcomed some sharp-toothed new residents to NYC, with the much-anticipated opening of the Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit. The exhibit, which includes a learning lab, nine interactive galleries, and beautiful, immersive habitats that are home to over 115 species of marine animals, is a powerful reminder that New York is a coastal city, with thriving marine ecosystems right in our own (watery) backyard that deserve our respect and protection.

After the aquarium was pummeled by Hurricane Sandy, much of the complex had to close down for repairs. But with the opening of the shark exhibit, housed in a brand-new, three-story building with 57,000 square feet of visiting space, the New York Aquarium is better and more inspiring than ever. Gather up the kids and get ready for a day of close encounters with an incredible variety of ocean life. 

12 Best Beaches for Kids and Families in Los Angeles & Orange County

Don't be scared off by sand-filled diapers or tired little legs; there is nothing quite like a day at the beach for summer memories. But in the years when making it happen feels challenging, you want to be sure you've chosen a beach worth the effort. That may mean heading for a beach with a playground (we know some good ones), or it may just mean the most idyllic SoCal family beach you can find. That describes the dozen beaches below. So gather the shovels, sandwiches, and sunscreen, and go west, young families. Beachy adventures await.

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Blueberries, Fireflies, and More Fireworks, July 7-8

Like many parents, I was not super thrilled to realize that Independence Day fell on a Wednesday this year. Late night fireworks and early morning camp schedules are not a fantastic combination (and let's not even talk about the camps that didn't meet this week because of the holiday). But now that we're through the other side, I have to admit I'm sort of relieved for a chance for a do-over this coming weekend. Didn't get your fill of fireworks on Wednesday? Head to Berlin or Darien or Manchester on Saturday. 

Or, spend a different kind of evening under the stars at a free (or nearly free) outdoor movie. This weekend alone you can catch Wonder Woman at Mill River Park in Stamford, Paddington 2 at the Shoppes at Farmington Valley in Canton, and Pixels at Shady Beach in Norwalk. If you're in the mood for something a little closer to nature, head to the New Canaan Nature Center for their Night of 1,000 Fireflies or to the White Memorial Conservation Center to learn all about turtles. And don't miss the start of blueberry picking season.

For even more options, check out our Event Calendar, which we update frequently with new listings from across the state. To keep up with everything going on in CT, follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Have a wonderful weekend! 

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Willy Wonka, Little Artists, July 7-8

It's official. It's HOT outside and it's only promising to get hotter as the summer continues. Pool days and splash pads may dominate the outdoor activities right now, but sometimes you just need a day indoors, which is why we've come up with 25 Beat-the-Heat Crafts for Hot Summer Days. You'll find everything from marshmallow catapults to pipe cleaner bird feeders here, guaranteeing that you day spent at home is both interactive and enjoyable. Also worth checking out: Fun Indoor Play Spaces in Houston, because sometimes you just need to hang out while the kids go crazy. 

Summer is also the perfect time for a day trip, and we have two completely different but equally fun suggestions: 

When you find yourself in a planning slump, make sure to head over to our event calendar, which is constantly being updated with different family-friendly activities happening throughout the week and check out our July GoList for an overview of the hottest stuff happening this month. You'll also want to sign up for our weekly newsletter; once you do you'll have everything happening on Mommy Poppins delivered in one concise email, making it the easy to stay on top of everything we post.  

Have a great event you want to share with others? We'd love to add it to our calendar! Just submit your event to us so we can add it to the site and share it with our readers.

Now let's plan out this weekend together!

Best NYC Playgrounds for Children with Special Needs

There's certainly no shortage of wonderful playgrounds and parks in New York City. But when you add a child with special needs into the mix, the selection of truly great playgrounds suddenly seems much smaller. As a mom of of a special needs child, I've explored quite a few of the city's playgrounds in search of the ones with the best play-for-all features and equipment.

Happily, many NYC playgrounds meet or exceed the Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and there are literally hundreds of special needs-friendly playgrounds throughout NYC. Some also include accessible JennSwings, those big plastic swings that offer full-body positioning support for kids up to 125 pounds. But the adaptive swing doesn't always appeal to my son, so there need to be other attractions for a playground to be cool in his book.

I'm spotlighting 17 playgrounds that I feel truly are the best. Not only are they accessible (half the battle), they're fun for all ages, with and without special needs. Grab some sunblock, towels, sand toys, and running shoes and get exploring: Your kids will thank you for it!

Noah’s Ark at the Skirball: Is LA's Best Indoor Playground at a Museum?

Imagine a 65-foot-long ark and more than 400 animals that you must rescue before an epic flood engulfs the world. Yes, you’re Noah and your mission is to save everyone, but also have fun doing it. And there's no need to go all the way to Mount Ararat to relive the tale; just head up the Santa Monica Mountains to the Skirball Cultural Center, a few miles away from the Getty Center, at the highest point on the 405.

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