Preschoolers

Free (or Almost Free) Summer Movies for Families All Over LA

And... action! As summer kicks off, a familiar annual scene is playing out at locations throughout the Southland: the season of free, nearly free, and gloriously cheap outdoor summer movie series has started rolling. At museumsparks, beaches, and malls, indoors and outdoors, in the early morning and by the light of the moon, families can catch both recent blockbusters and timeless classics for free or close to it. (While free is awesome, we think a dollar is still pretty good!)

Below you can find our comprehensive guide to free (and darn close to it) summer movie screenings and festivals. Click on the event names for more details, including movie titles. And keep checking back, because we'll continue to post more listings as they are announced, throughout the 2017 summer movie season.

Best Amusement Parks for Preschoolers in and Near NYC

For young children, a ride on a carousel’s painted pony, a spin with dad around the bumper car track, and a dripping swirl of frozen custard are the stuff summer memories are made of. No need to seek out the latest scary high-tech roller coasters (which means you can cross Luna Park's most scary rides off your list).

Rides that look mild (or frankly, downright boring) to big people usually provide just the right amount of thrills for toddlers and preschoolers. Happily, there are a number of amusement and water parks in or near New York City that offer these kinds of tame attractions. Here's our roundup of theme parks perfect for the pint-sized.

Find more seasonal rides in our Theme and Water Parks Guide for NYC Families.

Much-Awaited Jim Henson Exhibit to Open This Summer at MoMI

The wait is over for Muppets fans! The long-anticipated permanent exhibit showcasing the late Jim Henson and his beloved characters will open in July at The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.

A successful Kickstarter campaign, along with generous donors, including Henson family members, will bring it to fruition at last. Although the exhibit offers something for everyone—nearly 300 artifacts—kids will probably be most excited about the 47 original Muppets, which include Kermit, Miss Piggy, Big Bird, Elmo, and other favorites. Other material on display at MoMI, including sketches, storyboards, scripts and costumes, will highlight the process Henson followed to bring his visions to life.

Great Amusement Parks for Preschoolers and Toddlers in New Jersey

Looking for a place to take your little ones for gentle thrills and kid-friendly amusements? We've rounded up 15 NJ amusement parks that are perfect for the younger set. Some, like Storybook Land, are geared exclusively toward small children, while others, like Morey's Piers and Jenkinson's Boardwalk, offer a solid selection of kiddie rides in addition to bigger thrills. 

We've limited our list of amusement parks to those located in New Jersey—to search for more tot-friendly spots in surrounding areas, check out the Best Amusement Parks for Preschoolers in and Near NYC.

Pick-Your-Own Berry Farms in Connecticut

The abundance and availability of fresh food at this time of the year is a real treat. Being able to pick our own fruits and vegetables at local farms makes the bounty taste even sweeter. Not only is it a fun family activity, it's also a great way to teach children about where their food comes from and to engage them in its preparation process.

Right now, strawberry picking is just getting under way, but don't hesitate: on some farms the picking season lasts just a few weeks.  For more pick-your-own options in Connecticut, check out our posts about strawberry picking in Hartford County and blueberry picking farms. Happy picking - and baking - and eating!

9 Delicious Popsicle Shops in Houston

Popsicles are great for many reasons; what other food comes such a diverse array of flavors? From Jalepeno, Mango con Chile, Chai Latte, Blackberry Ginger, Milk and Cookies, Horchata, Champagne Pear, Fruity Pebbles, Watermelon Mojito, King Cake, and Avocado, Houston's popsicle shops and trucks have it all. Enjoying a popsicle is one of the sweetest ways to cool down in the summer in Houston, and local options range from trendy artisanal pops made with organic ingredients to more traditional favorites. With flavors ranging from fruity and icy to creamy and rich to savory and surprising, there is bound to be something for every taste preference. Why not try them all?

The Best Playgrounds in Queens

Although every pocket and corner of Queens has a neighborhood playground (we frequent Playground Thirty-Five multiple times a week), we’ve taken the time to scout the cream of the crop for NYC kids. From Astoria to the Rockaways, with rope spider webs to kid-sized Ferris wheels, these parks offer clean, safe equipment with innovative and fun details that go beyond the metallic jungle gyms of the past.

Looking to make more of a splash? Check out our roundup on top water playgrounds in Queens, or find more playgrounds across the five boroughs in our NYC Parks & Playgrounds guide.

Hibachi Dining with Kids: Japanese Restaurants in CT

First, the bad news: Benihana has not yet found its way to Connecticut. If you're unfamiliar with this giant among hibachi joints, you don't know what you're missing. But the good news is there are still a bunch of great places to find hibachi (also known as Teppanyaki) around Connecticut. I'll be honest, the first time we took my daughter to a hibachi restaurant, she jumped out of her seat and hid under the table as soon as the flames ignited. It has been many years since then and these days she asks to go. While hibachi may be a bit much if you have very little littles or just kids who tend to be more anxious, it can also be a really fun family experience. You'll know whether it's right for you. If so, here are some of the hibachi hot spots around our great state! 

Review: Spring-a-Ding Ding! It's Circus Arts for Younger Kids

If the idea of heading to a full-fledged circus seems overwhelming for younger kids, especially the preschool and pre-K crowd, we might have found the perfect in-between show: Spring-a-Ding DING!

The one-hour performance playing in downtown NYC at the 14Y is filled with lively music, storytelling, acrobatics, dancing, contortions, and more—all performed with a younger audience in mind (Read: They'll be too entranced to wriggle out of their seat or your lap) from the small but mighty circus-arts company Cirque-tacular.

And if they're loving the theater experience, check out the best Broadway shows for kids and families for ages 4 and up.

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