All elementary schoolers learn about the first Thanksgiving and early Native American and colonial life. But did you know that Boston kids are less than an hour away from a living museum where this era is reenacted almost everyday? Plimoth Plantation, located 2.5 miles north of modern-day Plymouth, is a wonderful place to visit anytime, but is particularly special during November and December when seasonal presentations and historic feasts bring the first holidays to life. Bundle up and make plans for a cozy, fascinating day on this bustling property; whether they share a meal with a "pilgrim" or play a traditional game with a member of the Wampanoag Nation, your kids will definitely leave Plimoth with a taste of how their New England forebears lived.
Latest posts by Kelley Heyworth
Ask a family what their favorite trick-or-treating spot is, and it's likely to be their own neighborhood. It's always fun to see familiar houses lit up with spooky decorations or the sweet old lady from down the street answer the door with a witch's hat and cackle. But sometimes, kids—and adventurous parents—are looking for an exciting alternative to their usual route. In that case, you might consider bringing your loot bags and Unicef boxes to one of the following Boston-area neighborhoods, where residents really take Halloween festivities to the next level. (If you're looking for more spooky fun before the big day, check out these haunted attractions—if you dare!)
For families with energetic kids, perhaps the biggest bummer of colder weather is losing the ability to while away entire afternoons at a local playground. Sure, we're blessed with a bevy of spectacular indoor play zones here in Boston, but many charge $10 or more per child for an hour or two of fun. Sometimes, what kids (and exhausted parents) really need is the indoor equivalent of your neighborhood playground—an open, public space where they can pop in, monkey around, and socialize for an hour or two, no reservation or hefty admission required. We've tracked down a few spots in and around town where your kids can play—and you can take a load off—for free. (Note that none of these places allow you to drop kids off, unsupervised; but having some new toys and playmates to entertain them will definitely feel like a break.)
To say Boston loves its Pats would be an understatement. So it makes sense that the Museum of Science's newest exhibit would be an homage to the sport that this town obsesses over for at least half the year. On Sunday, "Gridiron Glory," considered the biggest exhibit about American football ever created, opened at the MOS, and my three boys and I got an early peek. Even if you or your kids aren't football fanatics, read on: There are plenty of interesting scientific and interactive elements—physics! computer stations! a broad jump area!—to keep most any visitor intrigued. And don't miss these other kid-friendly fall and winter museum exhibits...there's something for everyone in our lineup.
Raising a kid doesn't come cheap. There's childcare, plus the downright shocking amount of diapers, clothing, shoes, and food growing bodies go through; tack on some fancy programs, and costs really hit the roof. But that doesn't mean affordable enrichment classes aren't out there; in fact, there are some great programs in and around Boston where kids can learn and hone new skills, at no cost to you. We've listed some of our freebie faves below; and don't forget to check out our new Deals page for lots of free trial classes in and around town.
Here we are, in the thick of autumn harvest season; and along with other fall activities that bring our kids closer to the earth, this week is full of opportunities to discover treasures from the ground. Kids can learn from paleontologists and get an up-close look at some very cool specimens on National Fossil Day, or dig into a farm garden for the makings of a special treat on "Fryday."
There's also a kid-friendly celebration of Sukkot in the Metrowest burbs, and a heartwarming, interactive play about a spelling bee in those parts, too. And don't forget all the Halloween fun, most free, that's sure to get your kids excited for trick-or-treat day. There are even more ideas on our Events Calendar—check in often, since we're adding new activities to the mix each day.
Art museums and kids aren't always a natural pairing. But here in Boston, cultural institutions like the Museum of Fine Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art go out of their way to be welcoming to children, providing them with special guides at the door and recurring educational programs. But our family's favorite is one that remains relatively under the radar, tucked away as it is in the farmland of Lincoln: The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, which reopened on October 6 after a month-long closure as new exhibits were installed. Here are some tips for making a perfect day of it–and helping children appreciate the art and nature that surrounds them.
Columbus Day is an official state holiday, which means kids are blissfully free from school for the day—and we parents are forced to put our thinking caps on. What to do on a Monday in October? Luckily, our city isn't content to let this annual occasion for remembrance pass by without fanfare, and there are some great fall activities to occupy families or—if you're working or busy on Monday, just the kids—for the day. From fairs that celebrate the explorer himself to day-long science and art camps there's sure to be something that will inspire you to make the most out of the holiday.