There are not many kids' films that I actively look forward to, but Disneynature's Earth Day releases have become an annual tradition that I savor. Previous years' delights have included Chimpanzee, Bears, and African Cats, all of which have raised money to preserve the habitats of their stars. This year, Monkey Kingdom joins the all-star team of animal documentaries produced by this crew. Read on to find out what we love about the film (and seeing it at Hollywood's El Capitan Theatre), and to see whether your little ones are ready to love it, too.
Each year on or around April 22, Boston comes alive with many special events to celebrate Earth Day. Kids learn about protecting the environment and how the entire family can become more green. From community service projects like the DCR’s Park Serve Day, to festivals at the Spellman Museum and EcoTarium, to a celebration at the Franklin Park Zoo, families can get outside, have fun, and make a difference.
One of the sweetest things about living in New England is being able to experience maple sugaring first hand. Bostonians don’t have to go very far to enjoy maple sugar festivals, take tours of farms, watch sap being boiled down in sugar houses, or learn to tap maple trees.
Of course, the best part is tasting the final product – in syrup form poured over pancakes, as candies, and even in hot dogs (!). Celebrate maple sugaring season with special events and visits to these local maple farms.
With Christmas quickly approaching, it’s easy to get lured in by the mega-sales, sparkling lights, and shiny wrapping paper. Even for those of us who try our best to be good to the Earth during the rest of the year, the holiday season can completely derail our efforts as we endeavor to please everyone, outdo our neighbors, and make Christmas magical for our kids. Celebrating Christmas in an Earth-friendly, sustainable way doesn’t mean taking the fun out of the party. Here are tips to help you go green (and maybe even save some green) this Christmas in Boston and beyond.
Apple picking is a favorite Fall activity with kids and Connecticut has dozens of wonderful apple picking orchards and farms that make a great day trip. If you’d like to stay in Fairfield County, you have only a small selection to choose from, which may be why all of the orchards get busy on the weekends. My kids and I like to head out first thing in the morning to beat the crowds. For even more orchards, be sure to check out our post on Pick-Your-Own Apple Orchards in Western CT. No matter where you go, you'll find that apple picking is a great outing for toddlers especially when you combine it with cool activities like corn mazes, hay rides, petting zoos, and farm markets with fresh pressed cider, donuts and pies.
Keep in mind that crop conditions change from day-to-day, so it’s always a good idea to call a location or check the website before you head out. Some orchards are reporting a lighter than normal crop this year due to last year's long winter followed by heavy rains in the spring. You'll have to help your little one pick according to the rules of the farm, but you'll always find helpful, friendly farm workers willing to lend a hand and demonstrate the proper picking technique. Be prepared for a port-o-potty, since most locations don't have bathroom facilities out in the orchards. Make sure to dress in warm layers and wear comfortable shoes. And bring your appetites!
Halloween is a holiday that celebrates creativity. Decorations and costumes provide opportunities to let your imagination go wild and to see old things in a new way. The policy in our house is that costumes must be created primarily from things we already have. Last year, my Smurfs-obsessed child went as Gutsy Smurf – his kilt and sash were made from an old flannel shirt we had stashed in a “get rid of” bag in the basement. In that vein, I've found a few DIY costume pieces that could be the inspiration for (or cherry on top of) a great costume. I've also rounded up some Halloween decor to create with your kids. Why buy decorations when you can make fabulously spooky ones like these? (If this post inspires your inner crafter and you're looking for even more ideas, take a look at these cheap and easy Halloween crafts from our LA editor.)
Halloween is almost here, and my kids don’t have costumes. It’s not unusual for us to wait until a week before Halloween to put something together, but this is cutting it a little close, even for us. I searched the web for the best costumes that are easy to put together quickly and use things we probably already have around the house. I was also inspired to come up with a couple of ideas of my own. Here are 9 last-minute Halloween costumes for kids that can be made in no time and on a dime (OK, maybe a few dollars, max).
If you're also looking for quick and easy Halloween decor ideas or just need a fun mask, check out DIY Halloween 101.
There are many reasons not to take your kids out for traditional, around the neighborhood, nighttime trick-or-treating: Your little pumpkin is just too young and is afraid of the dark; you have a sensory-sensitive child (like mine) and a complete meltdown seems inevitable; you’re trying to move toward a more earth-friendly or less sugary Halloween; or you just want your kids to think more about giving than getting.
Whatever the reason, there’s no need to feel left out on Halloween. There are plenty of alternatives to traditional trick-or-treating for Boston area families, and dare I say, they may be even better than the real thing!
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