While my friends who still find time to read grown-up books argue over the merits of the film version of Gone Girl, I've been worried about a completely different page-to-screen adaptation: Disney's live-action take on Judith Viorst's 1972 kids' classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (PG). I know from experience that sweet and slim picture books often become stale and bloated family movies. Yet my nine-year-old still insists on seeing pretty much every one of them, especially when they're based on a beloved book like Alexander, which she read so many times its spine finally gave out.
But though the title is tailor-made for bad reviews, Alexander is far from terrible, horrible and all those other negative adjectives. The film cleverly expands on the premise and moral of the book—that we all have bad days—by making every member of Alexander's family suffer the same kind of rotten luck and humiliation he usually does. My daughter and I laughed out loud several times during the brisk 80-minute movie, though often at different things. And looking around the New York International Children's Film Festival preview screening we attended, most families seemed to have a similar experience. The kids were particularly enthusiastic about the movie—afterward, a bunch of them shared their hilarious reactions on video.
Sure, a haunted house is great and a haunted castle is even better, but if your kids have been there and done that, they might be looking for more this Halloween. That’s where theme parks come in. During the month of October New England’s theme parks go all out for Halloween, mixing the thrills of the rides with chills you get from spookiness seeping into every area of the park. Even if your kids aren't into the scary stuff, there is plenty of Halloween-themed fun to be had during the daytime for younger children, too.
For little kids, Halloween is usually more about the treats than the tricks. The excitement is in getting dressed up, making decorations, and enjoying sweet treats from neighbors – not gore, creepy stuff, or being scared silly. I guess that usually comes later, although it’s hard for me to imagine a time when my kids will appreciate the more macabre side of Halloween.
For fun, not-so-scary – but maybe slightly spooky – Halloween happenings in and around Boston this month, read on. I’ve rounded up activities for creative types, nature nuts, and animal lovers who just want the Halloween festivities to be sweet.
If you went to the One Family Music Festival last year, you have a pretty good idea of how rockin’ the Boston Kids Really Rock music and arts festival will be. Conceived of and organized by the very same visionary, Karen Kalafatas of Karen K and the Jitterbugs, the festival will feature many of the same wonderful Boston bands and community-building activities for families. What you may not know is that Boston Kids Really Rock is going all out with Dan Zanes as headliner and special guest Father Goose. The festival's focus is on sharing messages of kindness, creativity and community spirit with Boston kids. Mommy Poppins Boston will announce the winners of our Boston Kids Who Really Rock contest at the festival, too. We're excited to celebrate local kids and tell the inspiring stories of how they are making a difference in their communities.
If that’s not enough to convince you, keep reading for the top five reasons to make some time in your schedule and take the kids to the Lawn on D this Sunday for a glorious day of community, music, arts and family fun.
A recent study estimates that the average adult spends about an hour a day waiting for something—the bathroom, the cashier, the bus, you name it. But parents seem to wait around even more than that. Plus we get the added bonus of hearing our kids whine, "I'm bored!" and beg incessantly for our smartphones.
But waiting with your kids doesn't have to be dull. You can turn that downtime into quality family time by finding ways to play together (and no, we're not talking about Candy Crush). Inspired by our series of SUMMER OF PLAY posts, here are 10 no-tech activities to try when you're stuck waiting somewhere—hopefully you won't be there long enough blow through all of them in one go!
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 Bostonfree online community.
Let’s be honest: it only takes so long to pick out a pumpkin, even if your kids like to examine every pumpkin in the patch for the perfect jack-o-lantern. My family likes to combine pumpkin-picking with something else, like a corn maze, a train ride, or a fall festival. Here are a few places to elevate your autumn outing.
The Museum of Science recently sent me tickets to check out the 4D movies it is currently showing: Dora & Diego and Happy Feet. My three year old doesn't nap anymore, but every afternoon we have "rest time," when I'll put on a short movie to let her body rest. I was excited to switch it up and go experience something a little different for an afternoon. But let me tell you, it was the opposite of "rest time"! 4D movies feature multi-sensory effects to provide a thrilling immersion into short films. Sure, I knew this going in, but I thought, "What could be so thrilling about a cartoon penguin and a pre-schooler?"
Larger-than-life corn mazes offer families the challenge of finding their way through winding paths to solve a mystery, claim a prize, or just make it to the other side - a perfect fall activity that gets kids and parents working together. Choose a farm with a corn maze to take your apple picking and pumpkin patch excursions up a level, plan an unforgettable birthday bash for your child, or just have a blast as a family. Here are four of the Boston area's best corn mazes for an outdoor autumn adventure.
Nothing says fall in New England like a family excursion to the apple orchards. With many orchards to choose from, families can head a short distance from Boston for their choice of places to pick their own apples starting in early September through mid-October.
We’ve assembled a list of some of our favorite places to pick apples near Boston, but with over 50 farms in the area offering apple picking, there are many more to choose from. In addition to apple picking, many of the orchards offer petting farms, country stores, hay rides, corn mazes, and other kid-friendly activities, so leave plenty of time to take advantage of all these farms have to offer. You can also plan your child's fall farm birthday party at some of the farms.
And if you're looking for some ideas for what to do with all those apples, we've put together some of our favorite apple recipes for inspiration!
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