There are many reasons not to take your kids out for traditional, around the neighborhood, nighttime trick-or-treating: Your little one is too young, you have a sensory-sensitive child who is not amused by cackling animatronic witches, 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 they may be even better than the real thing!
If the idea of an overnight stay in the woods doesn't sound much like a vacation, then this post is for you! Even if you've never gone camping before, a little planning and a can-do attitude will ensure a great time and lasting memories for the whole family. For starters, you might not realize that tent camping isn't the only option at campgrounds today. Some of the best campgrounds near Boston for families offer yurts or cabins to make a first-time stay more comfortable.
And don't even worry about the kids. Mine love their favorite computer games and TV programs as much as the next, but once they're outdoors, they're too busy with trees, campfires, and critters around them to miss any of that indoor stuff. Read on to find out how to make the most of an overnight in the woods, and how to instill a love of the great outdoors in your children.
Massachusetts is considered one of the best locations in the world to see whales, which makes us feel pretty darn lucky. With Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary (whale central in the warmer months) practically in our backyard, we Bostonians have our pick of whale watch cruises. You can take a New England Aquarium Whale Watch right from Long Wharf and be back in time for dinner in Faneuil Hall, or pick from the many cruises heading out from the North Shore and South Shore. Whichever whale watch you choose, it's sure to be an extraordinary excursion.
One of the things I'm truly loving about living in the 'burbs now that the weather's nice is the opportunity to be close to nature. The South Shore is known for its beautiful forests and marshes, and is home to a wide variety of birds, seals, and other forest friends. Mass Audubon's South Shore Sanctuaries—North River, Daniel Webster, and North Hill Marsh—are ideal places to discover the area's natural treasures.
North River serves as the indoor base for the three sanctuaries, with a nature center featuring a discovery room for kids, turtles, fish, an archeological station, bathrooms, and a gift shop. As we drove up the winding road to the North River Sanctuary's main building, we felt transported into a different world. Everything was so vibrant and bright, lush and crisp. Once inside, my son had a blast playing with the toys and exploring, while I learned about the variety of programs and things to do at the three sanctuaries.
Since its inception almost 50 years ago, the Great Hudson River Revival (aka the Clearwater Festival) has grown from a small nomadic folk gathering into the country’s largest annual environmental celebration. Founded in 1966 by Toshi and Pete Seeger, the Clearwater Festival draws thousands of visitors to the shores of the Hudson River for a family-friendly weekend of music, dance, storytelling, theater, hands-on learning, water activities, arts and environmental education in Croton-on-Hudson's Croton Point Park. All proceeds from this groundbreaking festival—which made our June GoList—go directly to protecting, preserving and sustaining the river through the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. nonprofit organization. The 2015 fest is coming up the weekend of June 20-21, and it's a great way to teach kids about protecting our planet while having a lot of fun.
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.
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