Get the playground all to yourself on fall Sundays.
Get the playground all to yourself on fall Sundays.

Football Widow Survival Guide: Philly Kids' Activities a Parent Can Handle Alone

Ah the crisp air of fall! With it comes pumpkin-flavored everything, fall festivals, and this thing called “football” starts. Maybe you didn’t grow up in Philadelphia or maybe you’re just not a sports fan. Either way this whole Eagles-fandom thing can seem over-the-top. And as Jason Kelce so eloquently expressed last year, Eagles fans don’t really care if you don’t get it. But if you are married to a fan, dating a fan, or a co-parent with one, Sundays from September through (at least) December can sometimes feel a little like you are doing this parenting thing solo.

So what is a non-fan to do on a Sunday when more than half the city is pinned to their TVs? Actually, this is one of my secret favorite things about living in Philadelphia. When football is on, the top places to go feel like a Tuesday afternoon (aka, no crowds) and our go-to places sometimes feel like a new experience we get to explore. So if you, like me, have had to set boundaries on the E-A-G-L-E-S chant, then join me in some of my favorite Sunday adventures.

Museums: For parents who sometimes only get to do the fun stuff on the weekends, it can be overwhelming how crowded top destinations like Please Touch Museum or Franklin Institute can be, but the goods news is both these places and more are open on Sundays, and if you head over after the morning rush, you can enjoy it like its a Wednesday. Another Bonus is the free First Sundays at the Barnes are still a thing and less crowded this time of year.

Smith Playground: Another place I love to go during football season is Smith. This playground often feels packed on weekends, but weather-permitting, the space is so much fun on football Sundays, especially if it is a home game. The playground does close early, around 4PM, in the fall so try to get there around 1:00.

Be a Tourist: November-January is our low season, so it’s a great time to walk in Franklin's Footsteps or take the kids on a Constitutional Tour, which is a 75 minute 1.25 mile walking tour of the Independence National Historical Park and covers more than 20 historic sites. Sunday tours are typically 11, 1 and 3PM

Check out the Murals: Take the time to enjoy the rich art of Philadelphia and go on a Mural Arts tour with the kids or with a group. You can do self-guided tours with information from the Mural Arts program. October is Mural Arts Month, so there are extra activities happening including several new mural dedications.

Enjoy Pumpkin Picking and other Fall Events: Some fall festivals are family traditions, and some are just super fun things to do with your kids and flying solo shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a little face-painting or hay riding. Or better yet, make it a play date with another Football Widow.

PECO Family Jams: On the second Sunday of the month, Philadelphia's Magic Gardens hosts Family Jams. This PECO-sponsored activity includes hands-on workshops. Activities vary per session but have included watercolor paintings, mini mosaics, mask-making, and printmaking. Kid-friendly tours take place at 1:00 and 3:00 PM.

Catch a Show: If your kids are at least aged 4, Sundays are a great time to catch some kid-friendly theater. In October the Media Theatre is putting on a 5 Little Pumpkins play, the Free Library hosts Sundays on Stage once a month, The Kimmel has Johnny Shortcakes in October and November, Matilda is at Walnut Street Theatre November-January, and Charlotte’s Web (sob!) is at the Arden beginning in December. If the theater isn’t your thing, movie theater matinees are a great way to feel like you are getting out of the house and doing something special on those cold or wet days ahead.

Work on Your Bucket List: While it sometimes feels hard to do all the care and management on Sundays, I like to think of these as special days with the kids. On wet or gross days we cuddle up with Netflix, do crafts, or make obstacle courses in the house. When it’s nice, we hit up some of the above or we venture to the playgrounds, and enjoy the last warm days before the winter ahead, and make some lasting memories.

Top photo courtesy of Christine M. 

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