Jessica Laird

Jessica Laird

Latest posts by Jessica Laird

Zombies and Wizards Teach "Sneaky STEM" at Guard Up in Boston Area

Celebrate a birthday by battling the undead in a zombie apocalypse. Spend the school break brewing potions in the Mages' Guild. Cap the school day with an epic afternoon NERF battle. These fantastic adventures are 100% reality at Guard Up, a local spot in Burlington and Waltham, Massachusetts, offering weekly classes, summer camps, birthday parties, and school holiday camps for ages 4 and up.

As magical as Guard Up may seem, the real wizardry is that the carefully developed programs actually teach creative problem-solving, leadership, teamwork, and yes, even STEM, all through gamified adventures kids will love. And that's just the tip of the iceberg; the more you hear about Guard Up the cooler it sounds.

New LICM4All App Helps Families Enjoy The Long Island Children's Museum Even More

The Long Island Children's Museum gets it: under the best circumstances, it takes planning to pull off a great outing with kids; if your child has special needs, even more so. That's why we think their new smartphone app isn't just smart, it's brilliant.

Designed specifically to support children with neurodiversities and physical challenges, the free LICM4all app aims to take the guesswork out of planning a visit to the museum. Before the trip, families can download the app from either the App Store or Google Play and create a totally customized schedule based on their interests, as well as their needs. Short videos offer a sneak peek into current exhibitions, while also showing kids what to expect — like that they may get a little messy at the Bubbles exhibit, or that they might have to wait their turn at the TotSpot. Meanwhile, the color-coded, sensory-friendly museum map identifies galleries that are quieter or louder, and a list of tips provides parents with helpful details on accessible parking, restrooms, service animals, and more.

Léman Manhattan Launches a New "Grown-Up and Me" Toddler Program

Léman Manhattan Preparatory School has been serving preschoolers in downtown Manhattan for the past twelve years, but parents of even littler learners will be happy to hear there's a brand new toddler program in town. Developed by the school's experienced early childhood educators, Léman Explorers is a “grown-up and me” class that aims to give children ages 16 months to 3 years old the skills and confidence they need for preschool and beyond.

Music Together Sing Shalom, New Jewish Music Program For Long Island Families

For many moms and dads, Music Together® might as well be the official soundtrack to early parenthood. Even those who haven't taught their toddlers to shake a tambourine at one of the many classes available across Long Island are probably familiar with the much-loved program that brings kids and caregivers together through music and movement. And while Music Together has been a family favorite since it first launched in the eighties, its latest collaboration with The Jewish Education Project is a really exciting new addition to the already-popular offerings.

Car Seats Are Now Available for Lyft Rides Across NYC

When you just can't face rush hour on the F train with your stroller, or you're already running 15 minutes late for morning drop off (again), a cab can be a lifesaver for an NYC parent. But if you've got a little one who needs a car seat, the ultimate hack quickly becomes a major hassle, since you need to lug a seat with you or find a car service that actually has them on hand. Luckily, it looks like someone over at Lyft has heard the cries of commuting parents everywhere, because the popular and affordable app just rolled out a new car seat option that makes it really easy to call a car for you and your kiddo.

Dying to know the details before your next missed-the-bus Monday morning or too-wiped-out-to-walk Wednesday? Well, we've got answers to your biggest Lyft car seat questions, and a sweet discount on your next ride.

Sylvan EDGE STEM Classes (Almost) Too Cool for After-School

We're forever amazed by the things kids are learning to do these days. From coding to building robots, today's kiddos are mastering critical 21st century skills that will help them excel in school and, ultimately, their careers. And the best part of all is that places like Sylvan Learning have figured out how to make engineering, coding, and even math, fun. Sylvan Learning believes that engaging and interactive experiences during this pivotal time help nurture an early love of STEM, which can literally serve kids for a lifetime.

We recently took a bunch of kids to try out a Sylvan EDGE STEM program for an afternoon, and we couldn't believe what they created. Check out the video to see what your little learners could be doing at Sylvan.

This Elite Bronx Tennis Program Helps Kids Become Pros

According to Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers, "ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness," and when it comes to tennis, Centre Court Logistics agrees. The philosophy behind the elite training program is that sufficient practice in a particular skill can take anyone to top-tier proficiency, and students who start clocking those crucial hours on the court at an early age are best equipped to succeed. That's exactly why during their next round of tryouts, which take place this summer, the coaches will be looking for tennis-loving kids ages five to ten who hope to one day play with the pros.

5 Reasons These Giant Blue Blocks Are a Birthday Party Must

Before you call in the clowns or hire another Elsa impersonator, there's a new way to keep kids entertained at your next birthday bash! Real Good Play brings a safe, structured, mobile play system and a trained play associate to your home or venue, encouraging hours of endless exploration for partygoers. The system features Imagination Playground's™ Big Blue Blocks, which come in seriously abstract shapes that can be creatively lined up, stacked, and connected, inspiring children to design their own inventions, environments, and activities. Conceived and designed by award-winning architect David Rockwell, the blocks are already a big hit at many of the finest Children's Museums worldwide, but Real Good Play is first to bring the fun to your own backyard (literally).