I can still remember the thrill when I first saw Jurassic Park, the whole new world that first time that Steven Spielberg brought dinosaurs out of the past and moved them around on a screen for us in a way that did not look remotely animated. It was breathtaking and would have been an amazing thing to show a child - if not for all of the violent death and destruction brought on by Spielberg's intensely PG-13 plot. If only there were a way to bring dinos to life with that same impact, but in a way that little ones could better handle - perhaps even learn from. And with that, we bring you Walking with Dinosaurs.
Years spent at Nickelodeon prepared Roberta to launch Mommy Poppins' Los Angeles branch. She served as LA Editor for GoCityKids, National Editor for ParentsConnect, and Editor for NickMom. After two years as Mommy Poppins' LA Editor, Roberta became Editor-in-Chief at Mommy Poppins - which works out well for her son, who enjoys his role as Chief Guinea Pig for all things fun in LA and beyond.
Latest posts by Roberta
So we're back in school. We're packing lunches, going to PTA meetings. and overseeing homework. And we're probably starting to wrap our minds around figuring out some enrichment classes to fill in the gaps and/or add some sparkle to the process. Your child might attend a school with a great onsite, low-cost after-school program, which takes care of half the question already; on the other hand you might be trying to figure out the shortest distance between your house and a place to constructively use those ballet shoes. Open houses and free trial classes make the hunt for great classes a little more do-able, which is why we offer this list of 10 great places that offer chances to try it out for free, either in the coming weeks or - in many cases - all year long.
Another Labor Day, another chance to honor hard work by taking a few days off—like our NYC editor, Raven, who is away in Martha's Vineyard celebrating the end of summer. Even without her here, Mommy Poppins can lead the charge away from labor this holiday weekend, and toward all that is fun, festive and/or FREE this week, in easy reach of the city. Feel free to bury your heads in the sand for one more weekend before facing the back-to-school music.
Care to escape the city for, say, Elizabethan England? It's never too late (or at least not until late September); the New York Renaissance Faire is still going strong in Tuxedo Park, including the holiday Monday. Or spend a few corny hours in Sleepy Hollow for Philipsburg Manor's CORNucopia celebration in Westchester.
If you're headed for the Hamptons this weekend, there's a Pow Wow worth stopping in on, and our New Jersey team has several suggestions for day trips in the Garden State (or you plan-ahead types can take a look at upcoming September festivals in NJ). Connecticut has fairs and festivals popping up all over this holiday weekend, including a life-affirming Labor Day parade in Newtown.
Here's what else we covered on the NYC site this week:
Whether you're looking for an interesting place to have a birthday party or just something to do to keep idle hands from emptying the toy chest onto the living room floor, mini golf can be a real crowd pleaser for kids of all ages. Like the big version of the sport, the miniature version can be a great way to spend time outdoors (without inspiring the critical looks one would collect letting little ones run free on an 18-hole course), and there's little chance of getting bored with all the other entertainment these places pack in. From purists to adrenaline junkies, mini golf courses can keep the whole family entertained.
They just don't make summer vacation the way they used to - by which I mean it didn't used to end in the middle of August. But since you get what you get and you don't get upset, it's time to make the best out of the small amount of summer left to us. Catch some free movies; dance at some free concerts, and indulge in some beach shack food and ice cream. This week there are meteor showers and campfires worth staying up late for, so long live summer break!
If you were raising your kids in, say, Utah—or any other place that doesn't have a Mommy Poppins daily calendar to point you in fun directions—you'd have to work a lot harder to keep your summer days playful. Our SUMMER OF PLAY partner, KaBOOM!, works with community leaders around the country to create more spaces and ways for kids to enjoy balanced and active play. Mother of three and registered nurse, Cyndalynn Tilley, is one of these community leaders in Woods Cross, Utah, and she's shared some of her favorite ideas for finding opportunities to play while doing ordinary daily activities. Backyard games are great when you have the time and space, but what about when you have to bring kids along to do chores like shopping and laundry? Even then grown-ups can help kids get the play they need to thrive.
What are your secrets for finding play in mundane situations? Share pics of your inventive playtime ideas on social media for a chance to win great prizes in our SUMMER OF PLAY CHALLENGE. Then for even more inspiration, check out our SUMMER OF PLAY photo gallery on Facebook to see what others are posting.
When folks talk about summers back in the day, they say things like, “We just went outside and played.” OK, but what did we play—anyone remember? We’ve got hundreds of ideas for playtime with your kids, but we especially love these throw-back games that used to keep us entertained until the streetlights came on. So Red Rover those neighborhood kids right on over and teach the whole crew a few of the games that the Brady brood played in their AstroTurf backyard!
Every Thursday we draw your attention to the best of the best things to do with kids around LA over the weekend, to make sure that the most intriguing activities on our events calendar don't pass you by. We also kick off each month with a Go List highlighting the weekend events worth planning ahead for. We talk about weekends a lot. But what about weekdays? Don't parents of toddlers crave fun outings all week long? Don't school aged kids love being picked up with an adventure to embrace? You could take them to see the Pompeii exhibit at the California Science Center. You could take them on a scavenger hunt at the Santa Monica Pier. Or you could take them to do one of the following five things that we think make this week different.