Baby, it’s cold outside! The winter months can be tough, especially when it’s just too frigid to play outdoors. The kiddos are probably going stir-crazy and there are only so many craft projects they can do and movies they can watch. We’re here to help with 20 fabulous activities to keep the family busy all winter long. With everything from story times to music events to fun with animals, kids will have a blast all season long. And go ahead and supplement your idea list with our Indoor Activities: 25 Ways to Spend a Rainy Day in NJ.
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.
There is nothing quite like bundling up the family in winter gear and spending some quality time in the snow. Whether it's the wind rushing past as you speed down a snowy slope or the peaceful crunching of cross-country skiing and snow shoeing, there is some kind of magic in that mixture of fresh cold air and hot chocolate. It can be a weekend getaway to the mountains or an afternoon of throwing ourselves against a nearby hill; skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and pretty much any other winter sport are some of the best re-boots around.
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.
There are many ways for young speed demons to get a rush outdoors in winter, from racing down mountains on skis to sledding down the highest hills around on snow tubes. But for kids looking for both speed and height, winter coasters and zip lines at several New England resorts offer some fast, chilly thrills. Make sure to call in advance as rides often depend upon weather conditions.
The holidays are upon us. Grocery stores have clearanced out fall goodies to make way for winter holiday treats. Malls are playing Christmas carols and setting up Santa's chair for young visitors. And our Mommy Poppins calendar is no different. This weekend, we notice some holiday events creeping onto our pages with many more to come!
However, there are some non-holiday events to embrace before we are immersed in the season. There are Boy Scout or Girl Scout events to help scouts earn badges. If you are looking for a bargain, check out this weekend's consignment sales. Or, channel your artsy side and make a mosaic cookie plate... just in time to leave cookies for St. Nick on Christmas Eve.
Poor November! After the Halloween decorations and political campaign signs have all come down, it seems November doesn't have a chance as we are thrown right into the winter holidays. However, our jam-packed Mommy Poppins calendar and our November Go List remind us to pause and take time to enjoy some family fun.
If your family appreciates the arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art offers multiple programs this weekend: Family Gallery Tours, Drawing in the Galleries and Tours for Tots. If the theater appeals to your clan, there are plenty of shows to keep the family entertained. The Walnut Street Theatre's Mary Poppins opened this week while The Media Theatre's Annie Jr. and The Players Club of Swarthmore's Peter Pan still have performances going on. And, don't forget it is the last weekend for the Weeki Wachee Mermaids so be sure to swim over to Adventure Aquarium for their unique performance.
Remember, take some time and enjoy the 11th month of our calendar... because, you know, there are only 3 more weeks until Black Friday...
There are some staples in Fairfield County when it comes to entertainment for little kids, and Earthplace is one of them. It is clean, easy and reliable as a go-to morning/afternoon killer, no matter what the season. Granted, you could also be done in there in about 20 minutes, but that’s only if you’re the type who need heaps of bells and whistles — which the preschool set does NOT! Here’s how to take
The Halloween season is filled with family-friendly fun all over the tri-state area, and a favorite fall destination is our sponsor, the New York Botanical Garden. NYBG is famous for its art installations throughout the grounds, and its annual Halloween exhibit of pumpkins and gourds in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden is particularly awesome. In addition to tons of kids' activities to enjoy, you can check out unbelievable pumpkin carving creations the weekend of October 18 and 19, followed by a display of North America's largest pumpkins on October 25 and 26.
My son and I are frequent visitors to the New York Botanical Garden, and we decided to mark the changing season by checking out the Haunted Pumpkin Garden on its opening day back in 2011. He kept squealing, "Hey Mom, look over here!" and "Dad, you have to see this!" as he came across caterpillar, black widow and giant scorpion pumpkin statues, and grinning gourds perched on fence posts and the Discovery Center's roof. He loved it so much that visiting the Haunted Pumpkin Garden has now become an annual fall family tradition.
In addition to the display, which is on view now through Friday, October 31, NYBG has scheduled a slew of related programing, like a special pumpkin carving weekend (October 18 and 19) when visitors can watch Master Carver Ray Villafane create intricate pumpkin sculptures. You can even learn how to make your own pumpkin masterpieces during a one-day workshop with Villafane on Thursday, October 16, where participants learn his signature carving techniques. Then on the weekend of October 25 and 26, the largest pumpkins in North America will once again call NYBG home (pose your little ones next to these giant pumpkins for great photos).
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