Preschoolers

Halloween Festivals and Theme Park Haunts LA Kids Can't Do Without

I have a mama friend who refers to this time of year with all the Halloween Festivals and Theme Park Haunts as the High Holidays, and she ain't talking Yom Kippur. She's also not wrong; there really is no higher holiday on the kid calendar than Halloween. And Southland families can enjoy a long slow build to All Hallows' Eve with more spooky celebrations, haunted happenings, and evil events per capita than any other urban area. Little ghouls and goblins have their pick of pumpkin patches, haunted houses, corn mazes, and ghost trains—but wait; there's more! SoCal theme parks get all creepy at this time of year, too, and the annual festivals below scream Halloween like nobody's business.

20 Unique Birthday Party Spots for New Jersey Kids

Painting party? Been there. Pool party? Done that. If you're fresh out of ideas for your child's next birthday, fear not. We've pulled together some of NJ's most unique birthday party venues for kids, whether they're into sports, arts, or science. From flying high at an indoor skydiving center to starring in a Broadway-style birthday performance, these birthday parties break the mold. 

Be sure to check out our Birthday Party Guide for even more options.

HudsonWay Immersion School Brings Mandarin and Spanish Bilingual Education to NYC and NJ

Founded in 2005 by an expectant mom committed to giving her soon-to-be-born twins a bilingual education, HudsonWay Immersion School (HWIS) has grown from a home-based class of five kids into an academically rigorous, full immersion Mandarin and Spanish language program for children ages 2 through grade 8. Beginning in PreK, HWIS's core curriculum is taught in both English and the selected foreign language, with the goal of helping students develop advanced cognitive skills, higher second language proficiency, strong social skills, and an increased awareness of the many diverse cultures in our ever-changing world.

Over the last 14 years, the bilingual school has expanded to two campuses in Stirling, New Jersey and New York City, including a brand new facility in Midtown West that just opened in time for the 2019–20 school year. With all this momentum, we sat down with the mastermind mom behind HudsonWay Immersion School, Sharon Huang, to learn more about the unique dual language program and the new Manhattan campus.

14 Not-So-Scary Halloween Events in NYC for the Preschool Set

With a little one who gets tired after one or two blocks of trick-or-treating, I find myself hunting for Halloween events that are more geared towards his age group. Luckily for us, NYC boasts plenty of less spooky, pre-bedtime events for the littlest ghouls and goblins. 

With that in mind, we've put together a list of 14 Halloween events perfect for the preschool set, many of them FREE. Enjoy these gentle Halloween events while you can—your kids will be celebrating at the Village Halloween Parade before you know it.

Find even more festive happenings for all age groups in our Halloween guide (including kid-friendly costume parades around the city), and of course in our events calendar, which is continually updated with new, fun events as we find out about them.

Music Classes for Children in Hartford County and Central Connecticut

Not simple a source of creative expression, music has been known to be critical for brain development, fostering self-esteem, improving language, and building many other great skills. Here's an extensive list of schools that offer instrument lessons (piano, violin, and more) or other music class programs (from movement-based classes to vocal instruction). For even more fun ideas, check out our Connecticut Classes and Enrichment Guide.

Boston Kids' Sports Classes That Focus on Fun and Boost Athletic Skills

The benefits of playing sports are plenty: Kids get exercise, distance from screens, an appreciation for teamwork, and new pals to play with. Luckily, the Boston area offers many athletic teams and classes that develop kids' skills while making sure they have fun, too. From traditional team sports like soccer and baseball to individual pursuits such as skating, swimming, and karate, these athletic programs in Boston and surrounding Massachusetts towns might just spark a lifelong passion. For more enrichment programs, look at our Boston Classes and Activities Guide.

Popular Upper West Side Preschools (and How to Know Which One Is Best for You)

Gearing up for the great preschool hunt? In neighborhoods like the Upper West Side where preschool spots are in high demand, some preschools may require you to send your application in September the year before your child will enroll, after which you'll be invited to visit and confirm your interest in the school (some have early admissions and wait lists!), with final acceptance letters going out in February or March. If that sounds unsettlingly like college admissions to you, you're not alone.

But never fear. The Upper West Side is home to a lot of great preschools, and your odds of finding a comfortable fit for your family are excellent. We've compiled our best Preschool Admissions Tips as well as 10 Questions to Ask During a Preschool Tour, and don't forget that our Preschools Directory is an excellent resource. And to start your preschool search on the right foot, we've highlighted some of our favorite preschools in the Upper West Side and broken them down into categories to help you decide which may be best for your family. Good luck!

Fall Day Trips for Houston Families

Now that it is allegedly cooler outside and you can leave your house without fear of overheating, it's the ideal time to visit these nearby spots that could feel pretty miserable during summer. Before the holiday season gets into gear, pack up the car and take the kids to look at gators or see where Texas' favorite ice cream is made. We've rounded up nine fun day trips below.

And for more kid-friendly things to do around Houston this fall, check out our Fall Fun and Harvest Guide for Houston Families.

Halloween's Best Ghost Trains and Spooky Rides for LA Kids

So you've already been to the pumpkin patches, and you're ready to take Halloween to the next level; you're ready, in fact, to put it in motion. We know several deadly ways to take this haunt on the road before it's time to trick-or-treat, with everything from an old-fashioned train ride through fields of pumpkins, to a spooky tour through the bowels of a haunted ship, or even a scream-filled hayride through fields of zombies. Whatever Halloween means to your family, you can make it a ride at one (or more) of these vehicular annual haunts. After all, the family that hunts down armies of zombies together stays together.

Two LA Halloween Haunts Give up the Ghost in 2019

There's no way to sugar coat this: the Griffith Park Ghost Train and Boney Island—two of the most family-friendly haunts of the LA Halloween season—are both taking a hiatus this year. The two spooky-not-scary experiences seemed perfectly paired last year, when they first became neighbors in one festive corner of Griffith Park. We had been looking forward to seeing how the partnership would grow this season, but alas the skeletons are staying in the closet.

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