Preschoolers

Pick Your Own Apple Farms For Families On Long Island

Believe it or not, it's apple picking time already. The apple picking season typically lasts from mid to late August to late October. Apple picking is a great family outing filled with fresh air, a little exercise, a bit of a treasure hunt, and a bounty at the end. Whether searching for an orchard with all of the bells and whistles or one with trees perfectly sized for wee ones, there are plenty of pick your own apple farms to choose from. Call before going to ensure that each farm is open, and to confirm that there is enough fruit for picking that day. Check out our Pick Your Own Guide for more suggestions on apple picking farms in the tri-state area.

Best Pick-Your-Own Orchards for Families with Toddlers in Fairfield Area

Apple picking is a favorite fall activity with kids and Connecticut has dozens of wonderful apple picking orchards and farms that make a great day trip. If you’d like to stay in Fairfield County, you have only a small selection to choose from, which may be why all of the orchards get busy on the weekends. My kids and I like to head out first thing in the morning to beat the crowds. For even more orchards, be sure to check out our Apple and Pumpkin Picking Guide. No matter where you go, you'll find that apple picking is a great outing for toddlers especially when you combine it with cool activities like corn mazes, hay rides, petting zoos, and farm markets with fresh pressed cider, donuts and pies.

Keep in mind that crop conditions change from day-to-day, so it’s always a good idea to call a location or check the website before you head out. You'll have to help your little one pick according to the rules of the farm, but you'll always find helpful, friendly farm workers willing to lend a hand and demonstrate the proper picking technique. Be prepared for a port-o-potty, since most locations don't have bathroom facilities out in the orchards. Make sure to dress in warm layers and wear comfortable shoes. And bring your appetites! 

25 Ways to Play Princess in New York City

If you have daughters, you know it is hard to shield them from the cotton-candy pink frocks, tulle-filled tutus, sparkly wands, and gleaming tiaras of princesses for long. Of course, many kids, not just the girls, are captivated by the swirl of a princess dress or a blinking fairy wand.

With two daughters at home, we have a closet of dress-up flocks, bins of teeny, tiny princess figurines, and shelves chock-a-block full of Disney DVDs. Playing princess is a constant state of being around here. Sometimes my princesses frolic at home; other times we enjoy a night on the town. But no matter where our princess adventures take us, we always have fun.

So, from my princesses to yours, here are 25 ways to experience NYC in royal style.

Amazing Corn Mazes at New Jersey Farms

Get ready….get set….get lost in an amazing New Jersey corn maze! The Garden State is home to oodles of spectacular corn mazes, ranging from massive 10-acre labyrinths to simpler, child-friendly courses, including hay bale mazes just right for toddlers and preschoolers. Games, clues and even techie bonuses enhance many of the more elaborate maze experiences. Got a tween or teen? Check out those courses open after hours for a nighttime and sometimes spooky adventure.

Many of these 15 corn mazes we've rounded up are day trip worthy on their own, but you'll also likely find apple and pumpkin picking options, hayrides and even fall festivals, plus petting zoos in some instances. So get out your fall to-do list, and navigate your way through one of these great New Jersey corn mazes. Hope you find your way out.

10 Things To Know Before Hiring Your Houston Nanny

Being a mom is a challenging job. And if you are like me, finding someone to take care of my child when I went back to work was even more challenging. While daycare is a popular option, many moms look at hiring a nanny to stay home with their kids. Finding a nanny in a big city like Houston is not a simple task, and there are many things to consider when looking for the right candidate who will work so closely with your family. For the second year in a row, we surveyed 240 local moms to find out what to ask and what to consider when hiring a nanny. Below are some tips and facts based on the 2016 survey results.

Halloween Adventures at PA and South Jersey Amusement Parks

Summertime visits to an amusement park often mean dealing with long lines and hot weather. Fortunately, many parks around the Philadelphia area are extending the season into the cooler fall months with Halloween-themed attractions. This can be a fantastic off-peak day trip for thrill-seeking families looking to enjoy a Halloween experience beyond the local parades and festivals. Several of the theme parks have kid-friendly attractions during the day, then transform into frightening tween-and-above entertainment zones at night. There are often trick-or-treat opportunities and costume contests, so children (and even some adults) can gather candy goodies and show off their Halloween disguises. If your family is seeking some over-the-top Halloween fun ranging anywhere from silly to downright scary, check our list of amusement parks sure to provide excitement.  

Kids Free October in San Diego: Zoo, Legoland, Seaworld, and More

The lazy days of summer may be over, but that's no reason to trade adventurous family outings for a never ending cycle of school drop-offs, pick-ups, and algebra homework. Instead, pack up the car and head south during San Diego Tourism Authority's annual Kids Free promotion.

The citywide campaign kicks off October 1, enticing families to visit San Diego's big-ticket attractions like Legoland, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Wildlife Park, and Seaworld. Children can eat, stay, and play for free at more than 100 participating hotels, restaurants, museums, and parks until October 31.

We've selected 10 offers that we think are particularly good deals; put two or three together, and you've definitely got savings worth traveling for. Scroll down for a link to all 100+ free opportunities for kids in October.

10 Places Where Long Island Kids Can Learn to Cook & Bake

It’s never too early to teach kids the importance of eating healthy, and what better way to do that then also showing them how to cook nutritious meals. Not only will they master some important kitchen skills, but it can also improve their fine motor skills, boost math comprehension (thanks to all that measuring), and encourage them to try new foods. We’ve rounded up 10 places that offer cooking and baking classes on Long Island, so go ahead and encourage your future Emeril or Giada to get cooking! And for more enrichment programs, check out our Classes Guide.

Petting Zoos Near NYC Where Kids Can See Farm Animals

I thank my lucky stars for the incredible cultural opportunities living in New York City offers my kids. But sometimes I fret over the disconnect from the natural world, especially since my mom was a certified country girl.

I want my three kids to be as comfortable in the country as they are in the urban jungle. So we're always looking for ways to get out of NYC and explore the expansive farmland that borders the city. While you can meet some furry friends at the city's wonderful zoos, and even feed them at places like Prospect Park Zoo, there's something special about getting a bit closer, or enjoying that farm setting. We've rounded up nine petting zoos or animal havens to get some serious face time with furry friends—whether you're petting a donkey, bottle-feeding a baby goat, hand-feeding a giraffe, or letting a lorikeet land on your shoulder.

Here are our favorite spots for an up-close animal encounter, all within two hours of NYC.

Cool Pumpkin Displays, Decorating, and Carving Events in NJ

Are the kids already preparing for Halloween, with visions of candy, costumes, and pumpkins dancing in their heads? Well, kick off the season in New Jersey with one of the many wonderful pumpkin-themed events coming up, everything from elaborate pumpkin exhibits to carving competitions to good old-fashioned pumpkin picking and decorating.

Read on for our top picks, including a special newcomer to the scene, and find more seasonal events in the Mommy Poppins Fall Fun Guide for NJ Families.

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