There’s really no argument about it: Boston is a fun city for all ages. But if you live around here you know that busy tourist seasons can mean that the usual institutions for family outings can get very crowded. If you’re looking for somewhere fun to take the kids but don’t want to face the agony of trying to find a parking space near the aquarium (without paying a thousand bucks for a garage spot), look a little bit outside the city! Here are nine of our favorite places for kids that are all less than an hour from Boston (even less if you already live in one of the surrounding suburbs!).
If you haven’t already heard, the construction of the new building at the Discovery Museum in Acton, Massachusetts has been completed and will open its doors with a celebration weekend, March 3rd – 4th, 2018. We got a sneak peek during a members preview day and were blown away by the sheer size of the new building; its spacious and modern feel; and how the museum managed to combine the elements of two buildings into one.
The Concord Museum in Concord, Massachusetts has a special exhibit during November and December called “Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature“. During the holiday season, the museum is filled with about 30 or so trees that are decorated by original ornaments based on children’s storybooks. Volunteer decorators use their imagination to dress up the trees based on a story’s theme, illustrations, or characters. Our daughter’s kindergarten class took a field trip there and she enjoyed it so much that she wanted to go back so that she could show me her favorite trees. It really was quite an amazing and inspiring exhibit! So much creativity was poured into making each tree a work of art.
I saw this video on how to build little sleighs using candy canes and mini chocolate bars, and decided to try making some with our daughter. It’s a really cute way to spread some holiday cheer to friends, teachers, and neighbors – and they’re simple to assemble. She provides a helpful video on her website but here are some things that we did differently (plus a couple of things I learned along the way).
I’m sure that there must be a gazillion Christmas themed stamp sets, so how do you choose one? One aspect that I look for when it comes to buying new products is versatility. Can I use it in more than one way? How can I get the most use out of it? And when it comes to stamp sets, I try to think of how many designs I may be able to come up with. I had the opportunity to try the “Ready for Christmas” photopolymer stamp and die cut set by Stampin’ Up! and enjoyed creating different scenes with it.
It seems to be that time of the year again where more than a handful of friends (including one of our daughter’s teachers) are expecting babies to arrive anytime soon. I played around with the “Popping In” stamp and die sets from Waffle Flower Stamps to create a couple of super cute cards, and our daughter made something to give to her teacher too.
One thing that I’ve been appreciating more these days is the ability to use crafting supplies in multiple ways. Take for example, a stamp set and coordinating dies. Manufacturers have made it much easier to create stamped images and then cut them out by using detailed dies (with the help of cutting tools and machines) for paper crafting. But today, I decided to try them out on felt instead and managed to create a fun little playing board for our 5-year-old to play with. In this particular example I used the “Basket Bunch” photopolymer stamps and coordinating dies from Stampin’ Up.
Here is a way to create quirky love themed cards featuring the “Favorite Human” clear stamp set by Technique Tuesday but you can substitute it with any of your favorite stamp sets. This is also a great way to let little hands help make fun cards for Valentine’s day (or everyday) as you can stamp the image and let them color in the images.
As a parent of a toddler, I’ve found that it can be difficult to work on a project with my child present in the room without sparking her curiosity. She’s all about touching and feeling “mama’s toys” as she likes to call my collection of stamps and ink pads, so I like to involve her in small ways that won’t necessarily disrupt a project.
I’ve also made it a point to involve her in what I like to call “collaborative effort” projects or cards that we send to family and friends. This is a great way to craft together where you (as the parent or teacher) can sort of relax and allow a child some artistic freedom yet still create a structured project in the end.
The easiest way that I’ve found to do this is by stamping an image onto white cardstock and then allowing her to “color” it in with markers, crayons, colored pencils and sometimes her dot paints. Not only does she feel like she is helping me, she feels important and proud when I show her the end product.