Brooklyn Book Festival: Free and Fun Things to Do with Kids

As an avid reader and writer, I'm very excited that my two-year-old is finally big enough to enjoy some of the free offerings at the annual Brooklyn Book Festival. I've gone every year since it debuted in 2005 to see my favorite authors read, and to buy way too many books from the vendors that set up shop. I even read there when my own novel came out, which was quite a dream come true.

Although the Brooklyn Book Festival isn't aimed at kids, there are events and activities for bookworms (and aspiring readers) of all ages. In fact, there are two specific areas specifically for kids: the Target Children's Area, a cute tent featuring craft projects and excellent readings by top kid-lit authors, and the more mature Youth Stoop with lots of workshops and readings for tweens and teens,

While there are random "bookend" events taking place around the borough during the days leading up to the festival, the main event happens on Sunday, September 18 around Brooklyn Borough Hall. There's so much going on, it really pays to plan. We've highlighted the family-friendly events we're most looking forward to (including a reading by Mo Willems), and we've got tips on how to make the most of your day at the Brooklyn Book Festival.

Best NYC Kids' Concerts for Fall 2011: 14 Rockin' Live Music Shows

While it's true that the season of free outdoor kids' concerts is over, there's plenty of music to look forward to this autumn. That's why we're kicking off our fall culture preview with a roundup of awesome New York City family rock concerts, featuring some of our favorite local kids' bands.

In addition to picking the best bets from well known kids' concert series like 92YTribeca's Bring Your Own Kid, we did the research and found a bunch of cheap and even free live shows. Out of the 14 we're highlighting, three are $10 or under per person and five are absolutely free! 

With big names like Grammy winner Dan Zanes, Princess Katie & Racer Steve and Gustafer Yellowgold playing, we're looking to these shows as much as our kids are. So get ready to move and groove at the best kids' rock concerts in NYC.

CT Renaissance Faire Ticket GIVEAWAY: Enter now! Ends Friday night at 5pm

Head out to the Connecticut Renaissance Faire for a unique family outing this Fall. I'm told it's even better if you dress yourselves up in period costume like the cute little bumpkin in this photo. Best part is that you can WIN FREE TICKETS right here. If you've never been to a Renaissance Faire - here's the scoop:
The Connecticut Renaissance Faire recreates a medieval English village at festival time, and their guests of honor are none other than King Arthur and Queen Guinevere themselves. Meet the royal couple, sing and dance along to period music, check out a variety of handmade wares in the medieval marketplace, partake of a juicy roasted turkey leg, test your skill as a warrior at the Hitting & Stabbing Emporium or in a safe and friendly contest of arms, and watch armored knights jousting on horseback.
In addition, the Connecticut Renaissance Faire is hosting a number of special events and theme weekends, including its popular “Halloween Knights” featuring safe trick-or-treating with our merchants and a nighttime flaming joust. Read more for directions on how to enter the drawing.

Apple Picking Near NYC Especially for Families with Toddlers

[UPDATED: August 11, 2012]

With apple- and pumpkin-picking season closing in, and the fall weather approaching, how best to include the little ones? We went looking for some of the best places to go apple picking within one hour of New York City that are good for families with toddlers. These spots have small trees with low-hanging fruit so that little ones can reach the apples, plus other fun stuff for kids like hay rides, petting zoos and more.

Fun & Free Things To Do This Weekend with LA Kids: Tall Ships Festival, Tchaikovsky with Fireworks and Brazilian Day

School may have started this week but the fun is still going strong for Los Angeles families!   Mommy Poppins LA is here to point you towards some of the best local events.  

Summer hasn't had its last hurrah just yet. There's one more Twilight Dance concert on the Santa Monica Pier and a final fiddle from the winners of the Topanga Banjo & Fiddle Contest at the Peter Strauss Ranch. If you're looking to get your beach on, the shores of Malibu will be lined with surfers at the Malibu Surfing Association's MSA Classic.

This Sunday also marks the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.   It can be difficult to know how to address the anniversary of such a profoundly tragic event with children.  Several local institutions offer options that are both life-affirming and respectful; the ZImmer Museum has an event particularly geared toward families with young children, while the Museum of Tolerance event might be more suited to kids with a better understanding of the day.

Read on for some of our favorite choices this weekend.

Fun and Free Things to Do with Kids this Weekend in CT: Norwalk Oyster Festival, Big Consignment Sales, 9/11 Remembrance

Doesn't it feel like summer was just kicked out the door by Autumn? Now that the kids are back to school we have a healthy lunch post for you. There's a chill in the air and soccer season is upon us. Feels like Fall to me! One of the best things about Fall is apple and pumpkin picking and we have the start of a few posts about where to go. As we all know, the 9/11 10th year anniversary is this Sunday and we've written about places to commemorate with your family. Speaking of family, it's also Grandparent's Day so don't forget them on Sunday too.

We are happy to have another GIVEAWAY for our CT readers: 4 adult tickets (kids are free) to the Norwalk Boat Show that starts 9/22. Subscribe to our newsletter and leave a comment here or on our Facebook page to enter the drawing.

This weekend you can bring your pet or just meet and watch them at the Applause for Paws event in Shelton. You can also see cute and cuddly farm animals at the Cornwall Agricultural Fair. If eating is more your thing you won't want to miss the Norwalk Oyster Festival or the Taste of Danbury. Both have plenty of fun planned for you and the kids. Read more to see our top picks for the weekend.

Norwalk Boat Show Ticket GIVEAWAY for Mommy Poppins CT Readers

The Norwalk Boat Show starts September 22 and runs through the 25th. It sounds like a really fun weekend in the Norwalk Cove Marina for water and boating enthusiasts. They have tons to do with the kids and guess what? We have 4 adult tickets to give away as well as 4 Blackbear pirate books and toy bears (kids get in for free). That means your family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children) can bring another pair of adults with you. If you would like to win tickets through Mommy Poppins CT please subscribe to our weekly newsletter and write a comment below. You can also leave a comment on our Facebook page. You have a really good chance of winning so don't wait. Enter now. Drawing begins today and ends Friday, Sept. 9th at 5pm. Good luck!!

Things to do with the kids at the Norwalk Boat Show:

Meet 17 year old Ammy Sunderland, the youngest solo sailor ever to attempt to circumnavigate the globe. We all heard her story last year when her boat capsized in the Indian Ocean 12,500 miles into her journey and she was presumed lost-at-sea for two anxious days. She'll be on hand at the festival sharing her new book Unsinkable.

Back to the Lunchroom: Nine Steps to Healthy, Happy Kids

It’s that time of the year again. Time to choose new lunch boxes and get ready for the big day. While your kids may be more interested in what’s on the outside of their lunch boxes, what’s more important is what they’ll find when they open them at lunchtime.

The best time to implement any new ideas and guidelines on what goes in your kids’ lunch boxes is now—at the beginning of the school year. While some of these ideas may seem to create more work for you, in the long run, a few extra minutes of work will create a lifetime of healthy eating habits for your family. 


Here are some tips on how and what to pack inside lunch boxes to make both you and your kids happy!

City Stomp: An Awesome Interactive Music Class for Young NYC Kids

[UPDATED: July 18, 2012]

When I was researching music classes for my two-year-old, a friend of mine recommended I try City Stomp. She said it was as a more interesting and affordable alternative to the ubiquitous Music Together programs.

I was intrigued by the fact that City Stomp was created specifically for New York City kids. Plus, I loved that the class could accommodate my toddler and my newborn. So all three of us hopped aboard the City Stomp train, and boy were we glad we did. This parent-child music class is great fun for little kids (up to about age five), so it really works for sibling pairs!

Santa Monica - Can a Suburb Be Too Much in the Sun?

When people imagine raising kids in Southern California, what they’re picturing is Santa Monica. The beach, the sunshine, the tall swaying palm trees, the parks, the pier, the virtually ubiquitous farmers’ markets, the pedestrian zones, the bike lanes, and the beat cops on Segways – it’s all here in sunny Santa Monica by the sea.


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