Philadelphia

Kids' Mystery Party: Games and Ideas for a Kid-Friendly Murder Mystery Party

When my son declared he wanted a mystery party for his 10th birthday, I turned to the Internet to research party games and ideas. Happy surprise, the No. 1 Google result for “kids mystery party” is my friend Liz’s hilarious post comparing the type-A Pinterest-perfect mystery ideas she found online vs her own totally type-B mystery party. 

While anyone who has been to my always-messy apartment will attest I am definitely not a type-A mom, when it comes to birthday parties, I love to go all out with really creative activities that always leave the kids saying, “That was the best party ever.” Let’s face it, kids don’t care if your paper goods are fancy; they just want to have fun. 

So, in response to Mom-101's post, I took up the challenge to create an A-is-for-Awesome kids' mystery party that anyone could throw without a MFP (Masters in Fine Pinterest).

How to Make a Free Photo Booth for a Kids' Party

For the past few years, I have dreamed about having a party with a photo booth. Not only does it seem like a fun party activity, but the guests end up with great favors: The funny photos that show everyone together, having a blast. You can rent a photo booth from a local company, but the prices start in the high hundreds and go up from there, so I looked into different options for DIY photo booths.

After much research, my photo booth solution ended up being incredibly simple and free, and it was a huge hit at my last gathering. We got terrific pictures of all the guests, but the biggest surprise was how great having a photo booth was for the kids. We had children ages 3 to 12 completely occupied, snapping away, leaving the grown-ups to eat, chat and mingle.

While this easy DIY photo booth works for grown-up parties, I think it's a particularly great addition to a kids' party. The only downside is, if you want the kids to do anything else, it might be hard to pull them away. Find even more fun and easy tech ideas like this in our Geek Guide.

Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Chinese New Year, Nature, Theater Jan 30-31

As January ends this weekend and we welcome February next week, Philly families can enjoy this time of year with a variety of activities. This weekend, Penn Museum celebrates The Year of the Monkey at its Chinese New Year event. Lambertville-New Hope Winter Festival is set to entertain with puppet shows, the rescheduled parade, and a theatrical performance. And, tarantulas invade the Academy of Natural Science of Drexel University as it opens this featured exhibit.

However, if you are tired of the cold and snow and are hoping to hear good news from Punxsatawney Phil, the famous groundhog in Pennsylvania on February 2, head over to John Heinz Natural Wildlife Refuge to learn about groundhogs at its Groundhog Day Family Festival.

Be sure to sign up to receive our Weekend Round up every Thursday and our Weekday Picks every Monday so they can be delivered directly to your inbox. Mommy Poppins Philly hopes you have a great weekend!

Weekday Picks for Philly Kids: Stories, Art, Animals Jan 25-29

As we shovel the snow from the Blizzard of 2016, it is time to focus on the week ahead. Since many Philly families were cooped up inside over the weekend, both parent and child are ready to get out. Thankfully, our Events Calendar can provide many options for the week.

Explore Morris Arboretum's Tu B'Shevat program, make a craft with Chester County Arts Association at Exton Mall's Mommy and Me, enjoy a winter walk at Briar Bush Nature Center's Magic Mornings, or listen to a Book in the Nook at Delaware Museum of Natural History. Be sure to check out indoor play spaces in Philly, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties, as they can provide a much-needed escape from home this time of year.

Stay connect to Mommy Poppins Philly on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. Enjoy the week ahead!

Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Winter Fun, Shows, Parade Jan 23-24

Winter is definitely here as Philly families can tell by the predicted snowfall and the even more predictable rush to the  grocery store for bread and milk. Hopefully, the white stuff doesn't have to stop the fun that awaits, but be sure to check with venues directly for updated schedules due to the anticipated snow.

This weekend, there are a variety of activities families can enjoy. Take a winter hike at Riverbend Environmental Education Center, learn about ferrets at Elmwood Park Zoo or owls at Schuykill Center for Environmental Education. Celebrate wintertime at Lambertville-New Hope Winter Festival's Parade. Or, for some extra-special fun, take advantage of the snow and plan a skiing and snowboarding day trip.

After spending time out-of-doors, find a seat at a family-friendly performance. Both Snow White at Delaware Children's Theatre and Peter Pan and Wendy: A Musical at The Media Theatre have shows this weekend. Or, start cleaning out those closets to prepare for the spring consignment sales. Spring dates are constantly being added to our comprehensive list.

Be sure to browse through our entire Events Calendar to see all there is to do. To narrow your search, select age, area, and type of activity. Whether we get a dusting or a foot, make it great!

10 Tips for Visiting the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia

The Please Touch Museum is one of the most celebrated places in the Philadelphia region to take your tots under the age of six, and for good reason. This totally hands-on experience, with nothing off limits, gives kids the chance to let their imaginations run wild. Whether they are playing grown-up in the replica grocery store or make-believe in the Alice in Wonderland maze, kids are sure to have a great time. Here are some insider tips to help parents and children make the most of their visit.

Looking for other inside activities for kids in the Philly area? Check out our directory of venues that offer indoor fun.

Weekday Picks for Philly Kids: MLK Jr., Museums, Nature Jan 18-22

Whether you have off on Monday, or it is just another typical week in January, our Events Calendar is ready to provide many ideas on what to do with the kids. This week, Longwood Gardens hosts its annual OrKid Day, which is filled with discovery stations and children's activities. Many local museums offer free or discounted admission in honor of Martin Luther King Day, such as National Liberty Museum, National Museum of American Jewish History, and African American Museum in Philadelphia. And, outdoorsy types can find nature hikes and animal experiences this week as well.

Be sure to plan out all your winter fun with the help of our recently published 25 Things We Want to Do with Philly Kids This Winter post and our Ski & Snow Sport Guide. Stay connected to Mommy Poppins Philly on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. Enjoy the week ahead!

Toddler Birthday Party Venues in the Philly Area

Your little baby is turning into a big kid! Whether it's his first birthday or her fourth, you know you want to do something extra special to commemorate this milestone in both of your lives. Planning birthday parties can be tough. You have to consider who to invite, what should the "theme" be, how do you make a cake shaped like their favorite character, and more importantly...do you have enough time to pull it off?

With all the other things you're balancing as a momma, it's nice to know that birthday parties can be a cake walk if you leave it to the pros. Here is our list of the best places to celebrate your little one's special day!

Catch Some Air at These Nearby Snowboarding Parks

Snowboarding is no longer skiing's little sister as millions hit the mountain by board every year from teens to middle school kids to millennial and Gen. X parents. Families in the greater New York City and Philadelphia areas have nearly a dozen snowboard terrain parks and board-friendly mountains close enough for a day trip.

We rounded up nine local ski resorts where families will find boarding lessons for beginners and acres of freestyle terrain for your kids who are ready to move on and looking for jibs, kickers, handrails and more freestyle fun.

Need recommendations on where to take the kids for downhill or cross-country skiing? Or another winter sport? Check out our Ski & Snow Sports Guide covering New England, the greater New York area and California.

Family Fun Along the SEPTA Paoli-Thorndale Line

Take a day trip on the Thorndale/Paoli line and see what you might be missing! Whether you are a local on the Main Line, or looking for a chance to get out of the city, there is plenty to do all along this SEPTA route, many just steps away from the stations. Running through Chester, Delaware, and Philadelphia counties, this historic rail line runs along Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor. With options along more than ten stops, it would be hard to pack it all in in one day, so plan ahead, and make several excursions this season. 

Note that not every spot is walkable from the train stations, particularly in the far western 'burbs, but they're still great for kids or mom meetups. Check the latest SEPTA map to be sure.

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