Want to thrill your kid or wow an out-of-towner? The New England Aquarium, just maybe the crown jewel of our many awesome downtown attractions, seems to produce more oohs and aahs than just about any other tourist spot in town. That may be because its regular highlights are living creatures who age, change, and shift positions depending on the day; or perhaps because the scientists there are regularly adding new, interesting species into the mix. Case in point: the new, exceedingly rare yellow American Lobster, whose arrival makes for a seasonally appropriate cornucopia of crustaceans in the suddenly colorful Northern Waters Gallery on the Aquariums third floor.
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We're calling this arts' appreciation week in Boston—from performing to visual arts, there's something that's going to speak to every type of creative kid across the region. At the week's start, children can flock to the library to enjoy a mini acting class or a feel-good puppet show. A little farther west on Wednesday, nature—and sculpture—will be on display. To close out the week, some of the most brilliant figure skaters will be performing in Allston to help raise money for the Dana-Farber cancer center. That's art—and sport—for a great cause.
If you're a mom of twins, consider heading to Walpole to meet and swap notes with others who will truly get you. There's connection to be had—and perhaps just as important, Bubbling Brook ice cream. I think you ladies deserve at least a double scoop.
For more September treats in Boston and beyond, check out our Events Calendar.
Not loving the idea of your kids whiling away the afterschool or weekend hours in front of a tablet or computer? But what if they were engaged in programs that help nudge them away from mindless click-and-tap games and toward some serious 21st century computer skills? These cutting-edge area programs introduce children to coding and programming concepts through interactive games and challenges, and provide an alternative to these great online coding courses by enouraging collaboration in a social setting. My takeaway, after learning about these cool classes: Not all "screen time" is created equal!
Back-to-school doesn't have to mean the end of fun. This week, lots of kids are back for their first almost-full week of pencils and books (or fingerpaint and circle time, in the case of many of our little ones); but around Boston, there are still loads of fun activities to round out kids' days with a blend of enrichment and entertainment. After they've had their fill of Labor Day fun, kids are encouraged to think locally and selflessly at the same time at a Boston cultural program in the Central Library's map room. A free dance program as well as a big ol' playdate keep children entertained through hump day, while an evening hayride at the Metrowest's most popular (and prettiest) farm will have kids counting down to Friday. For more early September activities in town and beyond, check out our Events Calendar.
Do you know there's a piece of plastic in your wallet that helps you save money, rather than spend it? (No, not that DD credit you got at Christmas and forgot about.) We're talking about your Boston Public Library card! BPL (free) membership allows you to check out some pretty terrific books, yes, but it also entitles you and your family to a lot of discounts and fun activities you might not know about. Bonus: Many of these perks can be accessed 24/7, from the comfort of your own couch. So next time you or the kids are craving some interesting entertainment, flash that BPL card—think of it as parenting platinum.
Also, for some of the best free fun around, don't forget to look at our daily calendar for storytimes and events among the stacks. What would we do without our libraries?!?
Summer's just about through—what to do? We recommend mixing up a little enrichment and some plain old fun this week, whether school is in session or just about to be. Help your kids ease back into critical-thinking mode at an emancipation-themed storytime in Newton, or spark some scientific inspiration with an astronomy night downtown. With organized sports back in season, you might consider taking them to sharpen their soccer skills with some very special pros at the Esplanade. If mudpies are more your kids speed, there's an amazing pile of dirt just waiting to be explored in the northern 'burbs. Finally, there are fireworks—a fitting kickoff to Labor Day weekend and send-off to summer.
Craving more? Our Events Calendar has lots more ideas to make the most out of this week and beyond.
If your family is familiar with "warped walls" or worships some guy named the Cowboy Ninja—or you simply have a kid with energy to burn—we've found a place for you: Action Athletics in Wellesley. Though a lot of camps and gyms are starting to offer obstacle course activities as more and more kids become hooked on the television show American Ninja Warrior, Action Athletics is the real deal: It's the training home of several prominent TV Ninjas, including Jon "the Giant" Alexis, Jesse Labreck, and Allyssa Beird. And with 25 different obstacles that can be made into countless configurations, it also caters to challenge-seeking children—of all ages—who want to leap, swing, and test their limits, just the way their Ninja heroes do.
When I found out that Action Athletics was expanding from its Newton location to a big new space in Wellesley, where we live, I thought I'd bring my sons and their friends to give it a try. Here's what we learned and what we thought about the place. (Spoiler alert: We've been back three times since). This fall, the Newton location is reopening, too, giving families more options for channeling their inner Ninja.
Not exactly rejoicing over school's looming start? This week of parties will keep you in a celebratory mood. No doubt you've caught wind of Monday's big cosmic event: Commemorate it with other humanoids at a solar eclipse party around town. Or, meet up with other families for a fete for kids in one of our city's great parks. If music and movement capture your child's imagination, don't miss the always-rollicking dance carnival capping a local orchestra's summer events season.
If you and yours are actually psyched for pencils and books and all that, the week concludes with two super events for story lovers. Some famous children's illustrators will be at a meet-and-greet in Watertown Thursday, and one of Disney's most beloved princesses will be reading aloud at a carousel near the beach.
Soak up your free days before they slip away! Our Events Calendar has lots more ideas to make the most out of this week and beyond.