Last week there was an article in the NY Times, “Watch How You Hold That Crayon,” about OT and handwriting. In the article Anthony DiCarlo, a Principal stated, “In the last five years, I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of kids who don’t have the strength in their hands to wield scissors or do arts and crafts projects, which in turn prepares them for writing."
He goes on to say that while many kids head back to school with accomplishments like music, yoga and sports classes, they may not have logged enough time in open-ended play. “I’m all for academic rigor,” he said, “but these days I tell parents that letting their child mold clay, play in the sand or build with Play-Doh builds important school-readiness skills, too.”
As a child I did not go to a local school, and it was always my dream to be able to walk to class. Now grown up with kids of my own, I live in a very foot-friendly Los Angeles community. From the moment my kids could take off on two feet, we have been promenading in the park and walking to the library, the grocery store, the farmer’s market, and our multiple options for fro-yo. I like to think that I have modeled safety and caution, and hope that's been absorbed by my children.
My daughter is off to middle school next year and I know she is going to want to walk. Should I let her? Yes. No. Maybe. It is possibly more difficult to parent a middle schooler than to be one.
While we've written plenty of posts about downhill skiing with NYC kids, we've never covered cross-country skiing. Also known as Nordic skiing, cross-country skiing is a great winter sport for families. Children as young as five can ski alone, and parents can tow tots in a sled or carry them in a backpack while on the trails. You can't do that while swooshing down a mountain!
Cross-country skiing is a fun way for active kids to burn off energy in the colder months and spend time outside. While you use most of the same equipment that you'd need for a day on the slopes—skis, boots, bindings, poles, goggles, helmets and warm clothing—cross-country skiing is nowhere near as dangerous or as expensive as downhill skiing. You won't be at risk for slamming into a tree at full speed, and trail passes usually cost about $20 per person.
After a good snowfall in New York City, you can cross-country ski just about anywhere. I've seen people doing it in parks and even right down the middle of Fifth Avenue before the snow plows cleared the street. But if you're looking to go cross-country skiing in a more scenic (and less bumpy) environment, there are tri-state area destinations that offer many miles of well-groomed trails, as well as amenities like warm lodges where you can sit back, relax, sip on hot cocoa and enjoy a family meal.
Unlike traditional ski resorts, most cross-country trails aren't in the business of making their own snow. So you're going to have to wait for the white stuff before you can get out there. Once that happens, here are six spots where families can enjoy cross-country skiing, most less than a two-hour drive from New York City.
These local turkey trots, jingle bell runs, and other holiday-themed races are kid-friendly (a few also dog-friendly), festive, and even downright silly. And they’re for a good cause. So, grab the kids, sport your most festive running attire, and go for a run together.
Across Westchester County, families will be celebrating Thanksgiving this month with a rather unusual tradition--the turkey trot. No longer a fancy dance step, the turkey trot is an annual tradition in many places--and often involves an actual frozen turkey! Running a 5K can torch 300 to 500 calories, depending on individual person and their current fitness level. That’s enough for a second helping of Uncle Jim’s famous pumpkin pie, extra gravy on everything or a cup full of stuffing!
We've rounded up some of the best turkey trots around Westchester so what are you waiting for? Get out there and preemptively work off your Thanksgiving dinner while raising money for some good causes. Be sure to click through to the event listing for even more details. And look for more fall fun on our Events Calendar and our November Go List!
Whether your family is inspired by the amazing winners of our Boston Kids Who Really Rock contest or you've just been thinking about teaching your kids ways to be kind, you can start pumping the positive vibes of kindness right now. And you don't have to do it alone. There are a slew of organizations -- local, national and international -- that can help plant the seed that will grow your child into a pint-sized philanthropist. All it really takes is one small act of kindness, of which there are many to choose. Read on to discover how these organizations are hoping to change the world one act of kindness at a time, and how you can get started.
As parents, it seems like the list of things to worry about never ends. From prenatal health to getting them into college, raising kids is probably the most anxiety-provoking thing we will ever do. And, as if that isn’t bad enough, the 24-hour news cycle seems determined to inject new fears into our overwrought minds all the time.
But, as it turns out, much of what we’re told to be concerned about is actually quite harmless, while more likely dangers are seldom discussed. If we’re going to put so much energy into worrying about our kids, let’s at least worry about the right things.
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!
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