10 Great Places to Learn Gymnastics in and around Philly

Finding the right activities for kids can be challenging, especially with everthing from art to dance classes available. Gymnastics is a popular choice, one that peaks in popularity every four years, just as it did this year after parents and kids watched Simone Biles' spectacular performances during the Olympics. This list includes both recreational gymnastics facilites as well as places where training for competition is the goal. 

Weekday Picks for Philly Kids: Election Day, Veterans, November 7-11

From the looks of our events calendar, this week is filled with a variety of excitement. With Election Day and Veteran's Day in the same week, and holiday fun beginning to enter our listings, it may feel overwhelming. But Philly families don't need to worry as we have rounded up the top picks for the week ahead.

Is school closed for your kiddos a day or two this week? Schuykill Center for Environmental Education, Briar Bush Nature Center, Riverbend Educational Environmental Center, and Delaware Museum of Natural History offer day camp opportunities. Lucky enough to have the day off as well? Take the kids to see Robot Revolution at the Franklin Institute and be sure to read our parent review before you go.

On the other hand, if you find yourself in the holiday spirit, the AMT Christmas Show is now on stage and Franklin Square opens its Holiday Light Show this week.

Keep reading to find our top picks below. Make it a great one and don't forget to vote!

Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Trains, Pirates, Family Fun November 5-6

Whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent, Philly families can agree that seeing campaign signs, watching political ads, receiving robo-calls, and sorting through political junk mail can be tiresome. Take a break from politics by participating in some of the educational and entertaining activities found in our events calendar.

View the breath-taking colors of autumn with a train ride on the Western & Wilmington Railroad or Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern Railroad. Wander through the Academy of Natural Sciences to see its new exhibit, Treasures from the Mineral Vault, or explore the Brandywine River Museum during Pirate Day. Bring the family to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for its Family Festival featuring the theme, Portrait Party. Or, find a Home Depot near you to build a toy helicopter just in time for Veteran's Day next week.

Don't miss any of the action by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. So, turn off the tv, ignore the ringing phone, and make the most of this wonderful weekend!

Questions to Consider Before Picking a Pediatrician

Choosing your kid's pediatrician may seem like just one more "before baby" chore to soon-to-be parents running down a checklist that includes everything from assembling the crib to finding childcare. But actually, this single decision is going to impact your family more than you might think.

Of course, you need to ensure a doctor is licensed, and ideally, certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, accepts your insurance, and works with a top-rated hospital in case of emergencies, but beyond those practicalities, there are a few things that make for standout pediatricians. The best pediatricians (IMHO) treat the whole family, especially new parents. They ask mom if she's getting enough sleep and offer breastfeeding and other postpartum support. The can offer discipline suggestions and address behavior issues as kids grow up. 

But don't just take my word for it. We asked our amazing group of second-time parents at Mommy Poppins with kids ranging from newborns to teens on what to ask when interviewing a new doctor for your children and what to look for when choosing that very first pediatrician for your brand-new baby. Read on for our 13 top questions to consider before choosing your next doctor.

Find more top tips in our Baby and Pregnancy Guide for New Parents.

Philly Playgroups to Beat the Winter Blues

Winter months can be tough on the whole family. When it's too cold and blustery to play outside, what do you do? Local playgroups are a great way to get everyone out of the house. Kids will love making new friends and playing with new toys, and you'll love staying warm and chatting with other adults. A playgroup can be an essential part of any stay-at-home parents life year-round, so check out these great places and see if there's one near you.

99 Sensory Activities for Any Child

All kids can be affected by sensory processing issues. Certain situations just make them freak. So it makes sense that exposing kids to a variety of sensory activities in a calm, playful manner can alleviate some of these problems.

In that spirit, we've put together this list of 99 sensory activities for any child. Though these activities involve sensory stimulation, they are great all-around activities for any child, from toddlers on up. Some are even good for babies. These sensory activities also can help you. My kids' school's occupational therapist once gave a seminar to parents on sensory balance and activities for maintaining a sensory-savvy schedule. I now realize my engine tends to run too low and I need to work harder at energizing myself throughout the day. I have incorporated some of these activities to keep my own energy up.

For more tips on dealing with sensory issues, see our posts on sensory savvy-snacks and OT-recommended toys.

Where to Donate Halloween Candy in the Philly Area

It's that time of year again—the sugary treats are flowing freely from trick-or-treating, parties, and parades, and parents are either hiding their kids' Halloween haul or eating it themselves. There must be a better way, right? Never fear—Mommy Poppins has the solution. Whether you're in the city or the suburbs, you can find local businesses that'll turn sugar highs into good deeds. 

Weekday Picks for Philly Kids: Halloween, Nature, Books October 31-November 4

The costumes are ready. The house has been spooked out. The pumpkins are carved. Now it is time for one of the most eagerly awaited nights of the year; Halloween arrives this week!

Some Philly families have their traditions of trick-or-treating throughout the neighborhood. If you are looking to change things up this year, visit Varner Farm's Candy Carnival, trick-or-treat around Philadelphia Mills Mall, or jump aboard New Hope & Ivyland Railroad's Trick-or-Treat Train

After trick-or-treat fun is through, get outdoors and explore nature. This week, children can visit Bucktoe Creek Preserve for its Drop-In on Nature Playgroup, Bartram's Gardens for its Little Explorers Toddler Program, or Briar Bush Nature Center for its Magic Mornings. For fun inside, listen to a Book in the Nook at Delaware Museum of Natural History or adventure stories with Kid Crew at Plymouth Meeting Mall. Or, meet Jaqueline Davies, author of the children's book Panda Pants at Children's Book World.

Be sure to plan out all of your family's fun for the month by browsing through our November GoList. Keep reading to discover the fun that awaits this week.

Scary Easy Ideas for a Spooktacular Halloween Party

It's never too late to organize a super simple Halloween Party. This year I hosted our fifth annual neighborhood party and tested out some frighteningly easy Halloween snack recipes. They must have been a hit, because my little ghosts and goblins didn’t let out a single boo in protest. Now that I have my fifth party under my (witch's) hat, here are a few tricks for how to host your own Halloween Party.

Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Day of the Dead, Zoo Boo, October 29-30

There is no excuse to be bored during this fall weekend. Our events calendar is filled to the brim with family fun to please those who like nature, animals, adventure, and culture.

Take a hayride at Milky Way Farms in Chester Springs, Hagley Museum in Wilmington, or Freddy Hill Farms in Lansdale. Visit the animals at The Elmwood Park Zoo or The Philadelphia Zoo since both feature their Boo at the Zoo events this weekend. Put on your Halloween costume and march in the Halloween Parade Extravaganza at The Ambler Theatre or collect treats at Mayfair Memorial Park's Halloween Birthday Trunk or Treat. Participate in Day of the Dead celebrations at the Mütter Museum or Penn Museum. For more Halloween fun this weekend, check out our guide.

If you haven't yet, enter our giveaway for a chance to win a $100 Target gift card! Stay up-to-date with the latest fun by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Have a spectacular weekend!


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