Boston is packed with great indoor party places that cater to kids. But there are still plenty of parents—myself included—who really enjoy hosting a good, old-fashioned, at-home birthday party. The one catch: Coming up with ways to keep kids engaged that don't involve trashing the house. Recently, we rounded up some of our favorite musicians, magicians, clowns, and character actors who travel to homes to perform for Boston-area kids. But in the event you have a child who yearns for something a little different, we've scouted around for party entertainment that's a little outside the gift box, so to speak. Whether you have a kid who's into exotic creatures, cooking, or just romping around, you can count on one of these companies to create a one-of-a-kind party for your unique birthday boy or girl. Rates fluctuate by group size and sometimes seasonally, so be sure to ask details when you reach out for more information.
Latest posts by Kelley
One of Boston's most iconic winter landmarks is set to get a sweet makeover this weekend—just in time for Valentine's Day! As if we weren't already smitten with the blue-lit trellis that adds a magical glow to the North End waterfront, the Friends of Christopher Columbus Park (FOCCP), led by curator Robyn Reed, have been busy transforming it into a "Tunnel of Love" that will be open to the public starting Feburary 10 and through the rest of the month. Families with kids of all ages are invited to come to the park for the tunnel's official unveiling between 4pm to 9pm this Saturday to stroll through the revamped trellis, post for selfies with specially designed "cupid wings," and enjoy a few sweet surprises.
From splashy musicals to TV-inspired celebrations, Boston is a hub of special performances suitable for all ages. Live shows are a fun way to get out of the house, learn something new, and experience the arts. Whether you've got a preschooler or a preteen, there are some great shows happening in the area this year, from Paw Patrol to—yes, it's really happening!—Hamilton. To help you plan ahead, we’ve rounded up this list of shows coming to the area this winter, spring, and fall.
Picking the" best" sledding hills is dicey business. Like sports teams and pizza places, most people are partial to the ones they grew up living near, and going to; proposing that someone crosses town lines to sled seems ludicrous, even treasonous, to some. Yes, a big part of the fun of sledding is running into (sometimes literally) the neighbors you haven't seen since the end of Daylight Saving Time. And yet, we still think it's a blast to throw the saucer or tube in the back of the car and scout out some fresh terrain—sledding tourism, if you will. Luckily, because we live in a manageable-sized city, it's reasonable to hill-hop when sled-worthy days are plentiful. Here are sledding spots we think are worth driving to; and if you haven't missed our rundown of places to go tubing, check that out, too.
For parents, New Year's Day is a time to focus on the 3 Rs: rest, resolutions, and—finally!— routines, which we can all finally get back to now that holiday "break" has passed. But even for those of us who couldn't be more eager for the rhythms of school and work to start again, it's a treat to take one last day to close out the holiday season and officially welcome winter. Here's what's happening—or simply open—on January 1.
What holiday show is blissfully brief, requires no reservations, allows spectators to jump around, and—best of all—free? Tailor-made for revelers with limited attention spans and a penchant for eye candy, Blink! is a growing Boston tradition that's splashier than ever this year with more colors and songs, and special events for kids. Centered around the 85-foot fir tree (the Northeast's largest) in the middle of the Faneuil Hall marketplace, Blink! is a light show incorporating some 350,000 LED bulbs set to flash in time to piped-in holiday music, from Mariah Carey to the Pops.
Homemade gifts are sooo adorable; a home covered in glue and paint, not so much. Holiday time and winter weekends are an ideal to time for kids to unleash their creativity, preferably a distance from your own upholstery. With "open studio" hours that welcome kids without a reservation, these crafty spots provide a variety of artistic materials for children to choose from and plenty of room to experiment. They'll be entertained; and you may even get a cute keepsake for yourself out of the bargain.