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 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.
You don't have to go broke to have fun with kids in and around Boston this summer. There are lots of free things to do, whether you want to enjoy the sunshine outside or cool off indoors. Read on for a summer of free events, festivals, crafts, music, games, movies and more.
And if you're looking for times when you can visit local museums at no cost, check out our roundups of free museum hours in Boston and the greater Boston area (after you read through this list of free things to do with kids in Boston this summer, of course).
This weekend, Disney rolls out an action-packed sci-fi adventure for older kids that reminds us that there's a whole lot more to the Mouse House than princesses and singing snowmen. Tomorrowland is a glorious thrill ride for tweens, teens, and the adults who take them places. It is not a movie for little ones by any stretch of the imagination—not because of anything inappropriate (the film is rated PG), but because the breakneck pace of both the complicated plot and the relentless threat of peril is likely to leave anyone younger than 10 curled up in a ball begging for explanation. But for older kids? Pure gold. Tomorrowland has all of the action and humor of an Indiana Jones flick, the sci-fi impact of Star Wars or Doctor Who, and the feel-good, inspirational message of vintage Walt Disney—all with some heart-pumping George Clooney charisma and a pair of ass-kicking young girls thrown in. In short, I got to see a film last night that my son and I loved equally. Read on for everything a parent might want to know (no spoilers).
In the realm of pick-your-own, I don't think there's a better fruit for kids to pluck than the strawberry. The plants are close to the ground so no poles needed for reaching high-up fruit. They're small, too, and the berries are accessible without having to reach way into the plant. Ripe berries are clustered together, so kids have the satisfaction of picking a lot in a short period of time so it doesn't get boring. And no prickers!
June is "strawberry month" and most farms are open for picking by mid-month; some are even ready sooner. Read on for farms where you can pick your own strawberries and tips for getting the most out of the experience. Check back in the summer for our updated blueberry picking post.
When taking my kids to see a live performance, my hope is that we're wowed, challenged, or inspired to laugh with wild abandon. Thrill of Contact, the last installment in Boston Ballet’s spring Perception series, succeeds at all three. Here’s how (plus an important warning, from one parent to another):
I had a great time walking the Freedom Trail with my family recently, but I have to admit, the stops we made along the way to grab something to eat turned our fun day into a wicked awesome day.
Little stomachs usually start to rumble sooner than big ones, so before those grumbles start spilling out of wee mouths, it's smart to make a pit stop at one of the tasty places below. These spots are listed in order of where they appear on the way, and none are far off the trail.
Cohasset may be small, but it sure does pack a punch when it comes to kid-friendly activities. Nestled on the South Shore, Cohasset is a quaint and friendly community full of active, happy families. I've heard it described as like living in a Norman Rockwell painting. With its beautiful scenery, adorable town, and no divided highway to speak of, it's also a wonderful place to visit with kids. These are my top 25 picks for things to do with kids in this lovely town by the sea. (Be careful—you may never want to leave!)
If you've seen the movie, you might just wonder, How in the world could Shrek be turned into a musical?
The answer is simple. Start with a smash Broadway script and score, cast a bunch of talented actors, throw in a gifted musical director (who really knows how to translate the sounds of bodily functions to the stage) and a skilled crew, and there you have it. Well, then, of course, there's the director, choreographer, musicians, set and costume designers, prop master, puppet designer, lighting director...
Okay, so maybe it's not so simple to create an engaging and entertaining show that appeals to both kids and adults. But the Wheelock Family Theatre's production of Shrek the Musical, about a grouchy ogre, a feisty princess and a loquacious but kindhearted donkey, does it, and does it so well that when the curtain closed on the final makes-you-want-to-dance-in-your-seat song, my 9-year-old son and I looked at each other and said, "We want to see that again!"
Here at Mommy Poppins we’re big supporters of kids learning to code; we've written posts about free websites and apps that can help children hone the design, logic and problem-solving skills they need for coding. If you’re the parent of a tween or teen, chances are pretty good that Minecraft is part of life at your home. This summer, kids ages 9 to 13 can combine their love of the game with learning the basics of coding at "Summer of Minecraft" camp.
Our sponsor, Connected Camps, is partnering with Institute of Play, a nonprofit organization, in offering this low-cost, four-week online camp. Kids can be taught everything from the basics of building to coding in-game in a safe, multiplayer environment—all from the comfort of their own home. If this sounds interesting, be sure to read on for an exclusive offer for Mommy Poppins readers, as well as the chance to win one free spot at the camp.
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.
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