There are certain must-do activities for Boston families during these magically long days and warm summer nights. Somehow it all seems to come to a halt once Labor Day arrives and school starts: Bedtimes are once again enforced, the swimsuits are packed away in the closet, and every day is scheduled down to the minute. It’s time to seize these summer days before they start slipping away. Here are 25 Boston summertime experiences to have with your kids before it turns colder, because that's where it ends. (Are you hearing Summer Nights from Grease now? You’re welcome.)
After a morning of hiking, swimming and treasure hunting on Spectacle Island, hop on the ferry. It’s a sort of time machine that will take you and your kids back in time to the Civil War era on Georges Island. The island's Fort Warren once held Confederate soldiers as prisoners during the war. Now, it gives visitors a fascinating glimpse into a time long past and ignites the imaginations of kids (both big and small). There is much to do and many areas to explore on the island, from the museum-like visitor center to the top of the lookout tower. Take the kids on an adventure and challenge yourselves to do everything on this list. (Fair warning: It may take a few visits.)
On a recent summer Saturday, Boston Harbor Cruises ferried us across the Boston Harbor to Georges and Spectacle Islands for a day of adventure. The ferry ride only took forty minutes, but it might as well have been hours, because we felt like we were on vacation – not just in another place, but in another time as well. It's the ultimate Boston summer staycation.
You can easily enjoy both Spectacle and Georges Islands in one day, and passage to both is included in your ferry fare. Spectacle is the quieter, more relaxed of the two and honestly, it’s our favorite. There’s so much good, sandy fun to be had on the former island of refuse. Here are some of the top things to do with kids on Spectacle Island, plus a few tips to make your day even more vacation-like.
Taking full advantage of Boston’s location - the Charles River to the west and Boston Harbor to the east - community boating programs provide numerous opportunities for kids and families to learn to sail in Boston. Look a little further to the north and south, and options multiply. From annual memberships to five-day passes to one-day rentals, the following sailing centers offer packages that will fit your budget and schedule. Note that many of the lesson and camp programs fill up fast, so be sure to plan ahead.
Outdoor ice skating rinks are great for some fun, unstructured time, but if your budding skater dreams of forward skating, backward skating, stops, edges, crossovers, turns and Mohawks, some formal instruction may be just the thing. Lessons are offered at most of the outdoor rinks featured in our related post, and three skating schools also provide lessons at indoor rinks in the area. We’ve highlighted these skating schools and lesson options below; schedules, registration forms and pricing details can be found on the rink or school websites.
Local mom and “Outdoors with Kids Boston” guidebook author, Kim Foley MacKinnon, shares her best family outing tips and picks with you as part of our guest blog series with the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Kids Outdoors Boston free online community.
Going on outdoor summer adventures with your kids often means eating on the go, maybe picking something up at a snack bar or bringing a PB&J sandwich and a piece of fruit. It can be fun to switch the focus to making a picnic the main event, and the setting is the key. Here are some outstanding picnic spots that will make your al fresco meal that much more delicious!
Ever notice how when folks talk about summers back in the day they say things like, “We just went outside and played and we survived.” Yes, surviving is a great achievement, but we can set our sights a little higher, can’t we? We’re sharing our SUMMER OF PLAY with hundreds of ideas for playtime with your kids. So Red Rover those neighborhood kids right on over and teach the whole crew a few of those games that used to occupy the Brady brood in their AstroTurf backyard, and do more than survive this summer. Play!
Due to a recent shift in my career path, I'm staying home with my kids this summer—all 10 weeks of it! There will be no camp to tire them out or nanny to occupy their time. Just one big SUMMER OF PLAY. And one thing that really works for summer play is water; those kids are going to want to get wet!
You may already be navigating your summer days using our SUMMER FUN LIST GENERATOR. Our family started a Boredom Busters jar: a painted Mason jar full of ideas to keep the kiddies busy. Anyone complaining of boredom can open it and pick out an activity. Many of the ideas come from the Mommy Poppins' 100 Summer Play Activities List. And many more are water-based, like the 25 cool and splishy-splashy water activities below.
We're glad you're here at Mommy Poppins Boston, your free online resource for everything for families and kids in the greater Boston area. We'd love to hear from you with any questions or suggestions! — Tara