Weekday Picks for LI Kids: Weather Wizards, Dino Week, Feb. 15-19

Many Long Island kids are off from school this week, and luckily for parents, there is plenty to keep the little ones occupied. From art projects and book readings to dinosaur exploration and learning about weather patterns, this week is packed with fun for kids of all ages.

For more, check out our Long Island events calendar. You can also get the best events of the week sent directly to your inbox each week if you sign up for our newsletter.

NYC Bowling Alleys That Welcome Kids

Bowling is a perfect indoor family activity when you find yourself with some spare time (sorry—couldn't resist). At about age 5, children really start enjoying it, making it an ideal family outing. Bowling birthday parties are a hit for the school-age set and most venues offer special packages and pricing.

There are traditional bowling alleys—think leagues, snack bars, pro shops—in the outer boroughs, but Manhattan's spots err on the side of grown-ups. Don’t worry though: Kids still can bowl in the borough—you just have to know when to go. Here are 16 places to bowl with kids in New York City, across all five boroughs.

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Presidents, Engineers, and Snowzilla, Feb 15-19

If you're leaving town this week, you're missing out. Boston is bursting with fun and enriching activities for families on Presidents' Day and through February school vacation. Local museums, libraries, theaters and attractions are hosting programs to celebrate Engineers' Week, Presidents' Day, the Lunar New Year, and Black History Month—many free, some you'll have to pay for (but we think are worth the money).  The difficulty isn't in finding things to do with the kids, it's choosing just a few. We're here to help! We've selected one or two events each day that don't take a lot of advance planning, are a little bit off the beaten path, and will fill your family's week with more than time-fillers. Of course, we know that kids need to get their sillies out, which is why we also have suggestions for rock climbing gyms, bowling alleys, and indoor play spaces

Have a wonderful week, and if you get stuck for ideas, take a look at our Events Calendar

Weekday Fun: Midwinter Recess, Theater, Movies and Nature

It's midwinter recess for millions of public school kids in New York City, which translates to lots of offerings aimed at keeping kids happy, engaged and entertained over the next several days. Highlights include an Inside Out movie screening and art workshops at the Museum of the Moving Image, FREE daily nature activities in Prospect Park, Charlotte's Web at the Queens County Farm Museum, Puppetwork's latest production and hands-on chocolate workshops. The City Bakery Hot Chocolate Festival will warm you up as you work your way through new museum exhibits and cool kids theater.

Speaking of theater, we're hosting a second Mommy Poppins Readers Night at the New Victory Theater. Readers save 20 percent on tickets to the 7pm production of Untapped on Saturday, February 20, and enjoy exclusive post-show activities with our friends at Gate Hill Day Camp. See our event listing for more details.

If you're looking to escape the city for all or part of the week, our Day Trip and Travel Guide offers plenty of suggestions. My gang is heading north to Smuggler's Notch for a snow sports extravaganza, but you don't need to go that far to hit the slopes. Plenty of ski and snowboarding resorts are a short drive from NYC. If you've already had enough of the cold weather, a balmy indoor water park may be more your speed.

Read on for this week's top picks. You can find more fun in our 35 Things to Do in NYC with Kids Over February Break, or, as always, check our Event Calendar and Winter Fun Guide. Have a great break!

Free Summer Camps for Boston Kids

Summer camp can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, it can be free. Yes, you read that right: Free summer camp! There are several options right here in Boston for both young kids and teens that cover everything from academics to the arts. If you don't find a good fit for your family, check out our post highlighting wicked cheap summer camps for kids in Boston. 

Paint-Your-Own Pottery: 5 Places Westchester Kids Can Get Crafty

Kids are known for bringing home a suitcase-sized amount of artwork each month. Pottery, however, seems to stand apart from the coloring pages and fingerpaints, perhaps because of its sheer durability. We’ve rounded up some of the places in Westchester and Rockland that offer paint-your-own pottery for kids. All have unstructured studio time for kids and adults, as well as happy hour times for parents to get together. 

These studios are open year-round and feature a rotating selection of crafts to match the seasons and annual holidays. Call ahead to find out the lead time for firing and getting your piece back when you want it.

Looking for more art fun for kids? Check out our Classes Guide and sign up for our FREE newsletters

Introducing the New Mommy Poppins Web and Mobile Site

If you’ve visited Mommy Poppins in the last week, you’ve probably noticed that we have a brand-new website. We hope you like it! Our new site is designed to offer a better mobile experience, as well as a less cluttered design and easier navigation. Since the launch, we’ve been getting great feedback from readers and have been fixing some initial bugs and making more improvements. We wanted to take a moment to show you around the site and highlight some of the new features.

Best New Winter Art Exhibits for NYC Kids

New York City is chock-full of amazing art museums for adults and kids—an especially nice treat in the thick of winter when the chill has many families looking for warm, indoor fun (complete with hot cocoa, of course!). We've pulled together six new and inspiring art exhibits for NYC families, as well as a couple of must-see installations that will be closing soon.

Need more inspiration? We recently reviewed the new dinosaur exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, Vikings in Times Square, a tech-focused Silicon City installation at the New-York Historical Society and a brand-new kid-friendly museum in Williamsburg. See, winter isn't so bad, right?

Best Places to Go Bowling With Boston Kids

Bowling is fun for all ages, but hitting the lanes with children is particularly enjoyable because it's an activity that's hard to strike out with, whether a kid is on target hitting the pins or just whips the ball down the gutter. And not a lot has changed in bowling since parents were young.

Greater Boston offers a lot of bowling choices, many of them family-friendly places that have been around for decades. Be warned that this rundown skips some very cool bowling meccas, such as Lucky Strikes on Landsdown Street in Boston or the King's chain, because those places attract 20- and 30-somethings who come to drink and eat well while they bowl – not the best spots to bring your 5- or 6-somethings to. With that in mind, here are a dozen bowling lanes that cater to families looking for a fun afternoon out or an indoor birthday party place.

Strike a Pose at Monkey Do! Yoga in Brooklyn

Let's be honest: Kids practically invented yoga. From happy baby pose to downward dog, these forward bends, twists and headstands come naturally to youngsters. The just opened, kid-focused Monkey Do! Yoga in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, sandwiched between two family-packed neighborhoods, Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, gets this.

The cozy, 700-square-foot studio focuses exclusively on classes for kids and families, which means an emphasis on play-based yoga that incorporates kid-sized props, games, stories and songs and fun themes like a Girls Are Superheroes session. Prenatal yoga, baby and me yoga, yoga for crawlers and family yoga where caregivers can join the fun and weekly open play hours are also on tap. Read on for our review. 

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