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The Getting-Out Guide :: Boston’s Best Activities for Families This February

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Welcome, February! It might be cold outside, but we can feel the warmth of love in our hearts! There is a whole bunch of fun to love in the Boston area this month, and we have compiled this list of some events that have our hearts aflutter! 

In addition to this guide, our calendar has daily events listed to keep you active and entertained this month!

We’ve also included links to area libraries and recurring events. We know this is not a comprehensive list, so if you think of any fun family activities we missed, please share them with us in the comments.

If you are looking to connect with other moms near you, make sure to join our Community & Conversation Group!

February 1 :: Lunar New Year at the MFA :: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Ring in the year of the rat with free admission to celebrate Lunar New Year! Explore Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese traditions while enjoying a variety of activities, demonstrations, and performances throughout the day. Watch a festive Chinese lion dance performance by Gund Kwok Asian Women’s Lion & Dragon Dance Troupe, enjoy an interactive demonstration from the Wah Lum Kung Fu Athletic Association, New England Headquarters, and go on a tour highlighting works in the Art of Asia galleries.

February 1 :: Garden Dreams Winter Sculptures :: Stevens-Coolidge Place, North Andover

Let your creative juices flow! Families are invited to design, build, and embellish winter sculptures using nature’s bounty. Work as a family, a group of friends, or be paired up with new friends and work together to add imaginative sculptural elements to the Stevens-Coolidge gardens. Cocoa will be served to keep your hands warm and busy! This is a drop-in event. Props welcome.

February 1 :: The Wacky Science Show with Mike Bent :: The Center for the Arts, Natick

Get ready for an award-winning show that teaches that science can be exciting and fun! Kids participate in high energy, hands-on lessons while discovering that simple household items can be used to perform exciting science experiments. Loads of surprises, comedy, and music combine in this perfect complement to classroom activities. Guaranteed to be one of the best science shows your students will ever see!

February 1–2 :: Frozen Jr. :: Greater Boston Stage Company, Stoneham

A story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Disney’s Frozen Jr. expands upon the emotional relationship and journey between Princesses Anna and Elsa. When faced with danger, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humor, Frozen Jr. is sure to thaw even the coldest heart! This production features students in grades 1–9.

February 2 :: Tanglewood Marionettes Perform the Fairy Garden :: Arlington

Join Arlington Family Connection for the Tanglewood Marionettes’ presentation of The Fairy Circus. Featuring over twenty beautifully hand-crafted marionettes, The Fairy Circus puppets will dance, play instruments, juggle, contort, transform, and fly through the air with the greatest of ease, all to the best-loved music of favorite composers!

February 8–16 :: 2020 Progressive Insurance New England Boat Show :: Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston

Calling all boat lovers! The region’s largest and most anticipated indoor marine event of the year, the 2020 Progressive Insurance New England Boat Show is a virtual pleasure cruise for boating enthusiasts of all ages and lifestyles, docking Feb. 8-16 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Whether investigating Salt, the life size humpback whale, captaining your craft in the kids paddle pool, or experiencing the thrill of interactive casting, attendees of the marine expo will enjoy boating activities and education for all ages and skill levels.

February 8 :: Salem’s So Sweet :: House of the Seven Gables, Salem

Celebrate Salem’s So Sweet at The House of the Seven Gables with a day of festive events. Ice sculptures will be installed around Salem through the day. A family valentine workshop and cookie decorating event will take place from 1–3 p.m. Please register here.

February 9 :: Boston Royal Princess Ball :: Boston Marriott, Burlington

Get ready for a day of magical fun for the whole family, brought to you by Dream Parties! There will be stage performances by your favorite princesses, dancing, stories, picture opportunities, and more! Little one will get to participate in princess games and storytime sing-alongs, learn some ballroom dance moves, and more. This event is geared toward children ages 3–7, though all are welcome!

February 9 :: PJ Library Dads, Kids, & Brews :: Castle Island Brewery, Norwood

Grab a pint while spending Sunday morning with the kids at Castle Island Brewery in Norwood. Join other dads at the family-friendly tables in the newly decorated warehouse space. Light snacks provided for the children.

February 9 :: Pinkalicious Valentine’s Party! :: Joanne Langione’s Dance Center, West Newton

Find your “pinkest” tutu and join in on a pinktastic time making valentines and dancing your heart out! Children ages 2–7 will love this energetic Valentine’s-themed dance party!

February 11 :: Winter Nature Power Hour — Who Wears What? :: NRT’s Sheep Pasture, North Easton

Are cows covered in fur or feathers? Do snakes have wet or dry scales? Learn who wears what in the animal world through this exciting new program for parents/caretakers and their toddlers (ages 3–5)! This program will include an art project, a game/activity, and a short adventure hike on the sheep pasture property!

February 15 :: “Magic & Beyond” featuring Illusionist David Garrity :: Regent Theatre, Arlington

David’s Magic & Beyond show includes hilarious stunts of apparent mind-reading, an incredible illusion where a table mysteriously floats around the stage and out into the audience, “dangerous” stunts, a beautiful and artistic illusion involving ordinary hula hoops that perform extraordinary magic, and a hilarious Houdini-style “escape challenge.” Using visual magic and illusions combined with music, pantomime, situation comedy, and audience participation, David Garrity is entertainment for the whole family! 

February 17 :: Baby Yoda All Ages Paint Event :: Barrett’s Ale House, Fall River

Who can resist the cuteness of Baby Yoda? Create your own masterpiece on 9×12 canvas.
This event includes all the materials to make the painting. Adults are free if just assisting younger children. Please register in advance.

February 17–March 17 :: Wizard of Oz Singalong :: Regent Theatre, Arlington

Grab your ruby slippers and click your heels three times to transport yourself to Arlington’s showplace of entertainment for the Wizard of Oz singalong! The theatre will become the Emerald City, and you’re invited to watch this classic movie-musical with all the words to the songs on the screen for you and all your friends to sing along with! Audience members are encouraged to dress as their favorite Wizard of Oz character. The master of ceremonies will lead an on-stage costume parade… munchkins, flying monkeys, wizards, witches, tin men, lions, scarecrows, and twisters are all welcome!

February 19 :: Kids Cookie Decorating :: 4GoodVibes, Medford

In this beginner cookie workshop, kiddos will learn the basics of cookie decorating. Children will be taught the basics of royal icing, piping, outlining and filling, and wet-on-wet icing skills in a step-by-step class led by Shelley, owner of SugarShells! Children will get to make four cookies to bring home!

February 19 :: School Vacation Week Slime Fest! :: Shindigz Parties, Pembroke

Kids will make colored, fluffy slime with all sorts of FUN add ins at this drop off event! Foam beads, fish bowls, mermaid tails, unicorn charms, glitter, etc. will be available to make their slime the slimiest ever! This event is appropriate for ages 5+. Please purchase a ticket in advance to reserve your spot.

February 19–23 :: Disney on Ice: Road Trip Adventures :: TD Garden, Boston

Hit the road with Mickey and his pals for a fun-filled ride in Disney On Ice’s Road Trip Adventures. Exciting twists and turns await as your favorite Disney friends embark on a wild ride to your favorite Disney destinations. 

February 21 :: Winter in the 1800s :: Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, Boston

Have you ever wondered what harsh New England winters might have been like back in the 1800s, when the pumping station was just being built? Head to the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. to try out a variety of everyday winter activities from the past! Try old-fashioned water collection tools, dye cloth using natural homemade vegetable dyes, taste a favorite winter beverage, learn how early Americans fared before the invention of the toilet, and create a balloon-powered rocket sleigh — an upgrade on the old horse and carriage! This event is FREE and fun for all ages! Suggested donation $3.

February 21 :: Winter Skies at the South Shore Natural Science Center :: Norwell

Join on the eve of the new moon to discover “winter skies.” Through hands-on activities we will explore the constellations, planets, and the lunar cycle. Bring your own clear recycled container to create a lantern to use on a night hike.

February 23 :: Mickey & Minnie Masquerade Ball :: Tumble Beans Cafe, Medway

Come have a ball with Minnie and Mickey! Minnie and Mickey will be visiting Tumble Beans Cafe for a masquerade ball. The morning will be filled with music, dancing, and pictures with Minnie and Mickey. Children are welcome to play the whole time!

February 23 :: The Airborne Comedians :: The Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline

The Airborne Comedians are two performers who’ve traveled the globe performing their high-energy, unorthodox comedy juggling show to the delight of all ages. Dan Foley and Joel Harris throw and catch birdbaths, lawn chairs, electric guitars, and baseball bats in their hilarious juggling routines while balanced atop 6- and 7-foot-high unicycles! A sure bet to make you laugh. 

February 29 :: Beauty and the Beast :: Massasoit Theater Company, Brockton

The classic story tells of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed into his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity.

February 29 :: Silly Soiree :: Boston Children’s Museum, Boston

The Silly Soirée is a unique event in Boston, planned by the kids and for the kids. The formal party and fundraiser allows kids and their grown-ups a fun opportunity for a special date night on the town: dinner and dancing kids’ style! All proceeds from the event allow children and families to access the museum and its programming, regardless of challenging life circumstances.

February 29 :: Leap Day Fun at the Franklin Public Library :: Franklin Public Library, Franklin

There’s an extra day in the year, so make the most of it! Join the Franklin Public Library for leap-tastic games, crafts, and more!

Storytime at Showcase Cinema de Lux :: Patriot Place, Foxborough :: Tuesdays, 11 a.m.

This free weekly storytime takes place every Tuesday at Showcase Cinema de Lux. After a story reading, a special character makes a weekly appearance followed by a short movie.

Public Telescope Nights at New England Sci-Tech :: 16 Tech Circle, Natick :: Tuesdays and Fridays, 8–9 p.m.

The public is invited to join New England Sci-Tech for an evening of astronomy during the spring, summer, and fall months. Depending on staff availability, inside activities such as planetarium shows and visiting the astronomy classrooms may be available. Visitors are also invited to borrow smaller “starblast” telescopes to use on their own.

Urban Air Sensory Friendly Jump/Play Time :: Bellingham :: Sundays, 9 a.m.

This event is specifically designed for children with autism and special needs to enjoy time at the park and have a lot of fun without loud music and flashing lights! The lights will be white and music/video games turned off for those with sensory challenges during this time.

Family Night at Urban Air :: Bellingham :: Thursdays, 4–8 p.m.

Family Night is a crazy deal! Get four ultimate passes, four bottles of water, and one pizza for $79.99. It’s fun for the whole family!

Baby-Friendly Monday Matinees at the Capitol Theatre :: Arlington :: Mondays, 12–2 p.m.

The Capitol Theatre features a baby-friendly movie every Monday afternoon. Please check the theater’s Monday schedule to see what feature has been selected for parents and their infants.

Kids’ Art Club :: Dorchester :: Tuesdays, 4:30–5:30 p.m.

This club has a new art project at the library every Tuesday. Projects include collage self-portraits and artist’s books. Art Club projects are showcased in rotating displays in the library children’s room.

Nature Time at Blue Hills Trailside Museum :: Milton :: Thursdays, 10:30–11:30 a.m.

Introduce your preschool-aged child to nature with this fun program. Programs may feature a story, nature games, crafts, short walks outside, or meeting one of the museum’s animal residents. Meet, play, and learn with other area families. Each program runs for 45 minutes and meets most Thursdays. Museum admission is included with this program. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

JFN Free Friday Playgroup :: Natick :: Fridays, 9:30–11:30 a.m.

Bring the little ones and come join other parents and caregivers in the Metrowest area for a fun-filled morning of play and socializing. There are plenty of songs, activities, toys, snacks, and laughter, as both the children and their grown-ups build connections and lasting friendships.

Backyard and Beyond: Forest Fridays :: Acton :: Fridays, 10–11 a.m.

A great way for the whole family to enjoy time outdoors, the Forest Friday program is held outside, no matter the weather. Every Friday morning there is a nature-based activity based on the weather and season, either in Discovery Woods or out on the adjacent conservation land. All ages are welcome but activities are designed for 2- to 6-year-olds. Please note that the conservation land trails are not ADA or stroller accessible; please wear appropriate footwear and clothing.

Storytime at the Curious George Store :: Cambridge :: Fridays, 10:30–11 a.m.

Small children and their caregivers are welcome at these weekly storytimes, running throughout the year.

SaturPLAY :: Rose Kennedy Greenway – Chinatown :: Boston :: Select Saturdays, 1–3 p.m.

The Asian Community Development Corporation’s youth program, A-VOYCE, hosts a placemaking event monthly to activate and bring children to The Greenway’s Mary Soo Hoo Park. Each month features a different theme with games, activities, crafts, and more. Youth volunteers are on hand to engage children. SaturPlay is subject to weather conditions.

ImprovBoston Family Show :: Cambridge :: Saturdays, 4–5 p.m.

Improv Boston’s improv and music extravaganza is completely made up on the spot every week based on your suggestion. No two shows are alike! Best of all, children who want to participate have opportunities to be on stage and take part in the fun! The show is ideal for family outings, birthday parties, and school field trips. It’s fun for the whole family and best for children ages 4-12.

guide to february pinterest

Non-Candy Easter Treats!

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non-candy easter treats - Boston Moms

Easter is coming! Our annual holiday tradition has been to celebrate at our neighborhood Easter egg hunt. But in this time of COVID-19 and social distancing, that celebration has been canceled. So we’re on our own this year. My kids are little (6, 3, and 1) and massive amounts of sugar make them go CRAZY! So I put together this roundup of non-candy Easter treats — your little ones are bound to enjoy them!

Easter dinnerware

non-candy easter treats - Boston Moms
Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn Kids.

There’s so much adorable Easter- and spring-themed dinnerware out there. Fill your kids’ baskets with placemats, plates, cups, and even silverware. Use a carrot-print bowl to hold all the goodies instead of a basket! Cookie cutters would also be a great idea.

Piggy banks, puzzles, and push toys!

non-candy easter treats - Boston Moms
Photo courtesy of ArksAndAnimals.

If your kiddos have too many stuffed animals, try a different kind of animal toy this Easter. Pull or push toys would be great for the smallest kids. Medium-sized kids might like a piggy bank. And the young AND old can enjoy puzzles — just find one with more or fewer pieces depending on ability.

Clothes and pajamas

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Photos courtesy of Carter’s.

Clothes and pajamas are a great option for any gift-giving occasion. These items need not have bunnies or chicks; items for the changing season, e.g. shorts or T-shirts, or things in spring colors are nice options. Check out Carter’s, Gap, Hanna Andersson, and Target!

Building and crafting

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seedling

Photos courtesy of Walmart (left) and Seedling (right).

The options for builders and crafters are endless! Lego, for example, makes a series of Easter-themed BrickHeadz and other sets that would be perfect for tiny builders. Playdough (you could even make your own and stuff it into plastic eggs) or chalk comes in egg shapes this season. Make a pom-pom bunny using a kit from Seedling (pictured above). Google will take you down a rabbit hole (pun intended) of Easter- and spring-themed crafts!

We’ll be doing some sweets this Easter but will also mix it up with some of the non-candy Easter treats presented above! How will you celebrate?

 

Online Learning Resources for an Accidental Homeschool Mom

learning resources - Boston Moms

Last week, I became an accidental homeschool mom, or so it seems.

The truth is, I don’t plan on actually homeschooling my child.

Yes, I’m a former teacher.

Yes, I know that having a learning gap is not ideal.

I also know that sometimes we just need to let the kids play

In the midst of everything, I’m secretly a little happy about having a few weeks with my kiddo unexpectedly. I’m excited for board games, movie nights, endless games of hopscotch, and bubbles in the backyard. However, I’m also going to need to keep my kiddo’s mind occupied at least long enough for me to shower and maintain some of my sanity. The reality is that I’m an introvert and she’s an extrovert, and when she’s uttered 300,000 words before lunch my brain feels a little fried.

With that said, we are not labeling this list “homeschool resources” — instead we’re calling them “learning opportunities.” They are all free.

These learning resources are broken down by category, and all of them have my teacher brain seal of approval. 

Multidisciplinary

    • Scholastic Learn at Home is a comprehensive lesson plan program that has a daily lesson available. You can choose your child’s grade level and participate in daily lessons that include a virtual story, a nonfiction video, and a virtual activity. If your child is not interested in the daily topic, you can manually choose one that is better geared toward their interest. 
    • ABCmouse.com is regularly used in our family and is available as both a website and an app. You can start with a 30-day free trial.
    • PBS Learning Media is always free, and it has a comprehensive and easily searchable library of videos for all grade levels — with all different subjects. 

Literacy

    • Hooked on Phonics is offering a month’s worth of content for only $1. It’s appropriate for kids from pre-K to 2nd grade and can be used on multiple devices for multiple children.

Music education

    • Chrome Music Lab is a wonderful tool for younger children to really learn about beats, melodies, and musical notes — and to have the opportunity to create their own songs! It’s fun, educational, and can be used with headphones.
    • Busy Kids Do Piano has a free coupon code for a month’s worth of virtual lessons with code PIANOATHOME.

Math and science education

    • Mystery Science has pulled their most popular lessons and put them on the website for anyone to use — no login or account is needed. There are mini-lessons and full lessons for grades K-5.
    • Gizmos is giving unlimited access to their entire library for 60 days. This interactive website allows for students to gain a deeper understanding of challenging math and science topics.
    • The San Diego Zoo has a beautiful series of videos, stories, and activities about all your favorite animals. You can even do an “in-depth” study of each animal using their incredible and user-friendly animal profiles. 
    • The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy will read your child books about sharks and then do a fun shark Q&A! They go “live” on Facebook then archive the videos so you can watch whenever you want. 
    • The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden may be closed to visitors, but each day you can visit their website or Facebook page for a “Home Safari” — a live video about one of their animals and an accompanying quiz.

Movement

    • GoNoodle is like “Just Dance,” but for kids, with easy-to-follow dance moves. The videos are just a few minutes long and are great for a short “break time” to expel extra energy.
    • Fluency and Fitness has made their platform of incorporating learning with movement activities free temporarily. The content is for K-2, with a library of over 900 videos.
    • Cosmic Kids Yoga is a popular YouTube channel with high-quality yoga for kids ages 3 and older. It’s a wonderful tool for any day and has a fast, fun pace for active kiddos. 

Culture

Art

    • The Kennedy Center has created a series with their artist in residence called Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems. Each day a new video with instructions for a kid-friendly drawing is uploaded. 
    • Art for Kids Hub is a family-friendly YouTube channel created by a family of six that loves to be artists together. Their tutorial videos are engaging and themed. This channel could easily be used in conjunction with the Scholastic daily lessons listed above. 

May the force be with you! I hope one of these learning resources brings you 15 minutes of relative peace.

 

“Mommy, Come Play With Me”

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play with me - Boston Moms

“Mommy, come play with me.”

I heard this phrase at least 30 times today from my 4-year-old. She is always prone to wanting Mommy or daddy to play with her, but today was different. She was different. She would not let me out of her sight. She needed me by her side at meal time, play time, TV time, and even potty time. 

It was hard not to feel annoyed as I struggled to get anything productive done. Honestly, I could have really used a good five minutes to myself. But the moment I thought I had snuck away for some solitude, the call came again: “Mommy, come play with me.”

At some point — between escorting my girl to the bathroom and going back to our board game — it occurred to me why my daughter was acting differently today.

Because our world was different today. 

My daughter is not old enough to fully understand coronavirus or social distancing, but she knows we cannot see our friends right now. She knows she is not going to school to see her teacher and classmates right now. She knows we are not going to church right now. She knows Daddy is home from work every day now. She knows we are not going to stores or out to eat or to any of her favorite indoor play places right now.

On some level, our children know things are different right now. Their level of understanding may vary, but kids are extremely intuitive. They may not be able to verbalize the confusion or unsettledness they feel in these extreme circumstances, but they do know how to say, “Mommy, come play with me.”

Practicing Gratitude in the Midst of Coronavirus

gratitude - Boston Moms

“I’m feeling really grateful in this moment,” I confessed to my husband during our family’s nature walk on day three of social distancing. I felt a twinge of guilt over this emotion knowing so many families and individuals are suffering worldwide in the chaos caused by COVID-19. 

Gratitude is a skill I try to practice every day — on my worst days and my best days. I find that on my best days, it is easy to identify three areas of life I am grateful for. On my worst days, it is a little harder to shift my mindset to focus on the positives. Sometimes I have to start with gratitude for the air in my lungs, the electricity in my house, or “Friends” re-runs on TBS. Actively pursuing gratitude helps me realize I have enough. 

I usually find that once I start naming my thankfulness, it is hard for me to stop. 

It takes little to no effort to get weighed down by the stress in our lives, hardships, and most recently, worldwide pandemic. In anxious moments, it is a little more challenging to notice what is going well around us. 

Personally, the panic of coronavirus hit me hard on one particular day. It seemed that much in our country changed from that one day to the next: travel bans, school closings, employees encouraged to work from home, events and gatherings canceled, and the massive run on groceries. 

Because of my work with VIPKid, I had witnessed firsthand the impact of my Chinese ESL students and their families being quarantined at home since January. This insight caused me to prepare our family by buying extra groceries (that I knew we would eat anyway) the week before. While I did not need to step foot in a grocery store on that day that hit me hard, I did legitimately need gas in my car.

As we often do, I picked up my daughter from preschool at noon, and we drove to fill up with gas on the way home. But this day was different. Traffic was insane. It took us much longer to reach our local gas station. The grocery stores we passed had no parking spots available. Drivers were impatient with each other. I had to wait 30 minutes to reach a gas pump at the station. By the time we got home — an hour later — my nerves were fried, my adrenaline was pumping, and the fear had seeped in. The hysteria had reached our town, state, and country.

A full night’s sleep offered some needed perspective: My family was safely home together. We had plenty of food. We were all healthy. As the media highlighted those who were not as fortunate, I knew I did not want to take our situation for granted. 

In the midst of coronavirus, here are three ways I am practicing gratitude.  

Time with family

My husband’s job demands a lot of his time. Through social distancing, we have been given the gift of time together. I am grateful for our family walks, time for conversations, freedom to play games, family meals all together, and sharing a glass of wine on our patio after the kids go to bed.  

Kindness on display

Despite the greediness of bulk shopping and consumers hoarding items in their fear, there have been so many selfless acts balancing the scales. I am grateful for neighbors bringing medical supplies to other neighbors who need them most. I am grateful for the humanity of those announcing on social media that they will provide meals to any family in need who sends them a direct message. I am grateful for the business owners and athletes compassionately giving from their own paychecks to make sure hourly workers still get paid while they wait to return to work.

Community connections

Social distancing has the potential to create isolation. But instead, friends are checking on each other, asking how older parents are doing, and offering to help if anyone needs anything. I am grateful for my friends who have connected with us, whether from 1,800 miles away or 8 miles away. 

No doubt about it, these are crazy, unknown times we are living in. As you attempt to navigate through all the noise, make sure you take a moment to stop, exhale, unclench your jaw, notice the good around you, and give thanks.

 

Boston-Area Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt

Boston-area families won’t be able to attend our typical Easter egg hunts this year, but with a little help from our local communities, we can go on an Easter egg hunt while still practicing social distancing! Similar to the “bear hunts” and “chalk walks” we’ve seen happening in neighborhoods all over America, our egg hunt works best if lots of neighbors (young and old) participate.

So, spread the word in your local neighborhood!

How it works::

  1. Download and print the Boston Moms Egg Hunt template!

  2. Decorate your favorite egg.

  3. Display your egg(s) in your windows by Wednesday, April 8

Egg Hunt April 9–12::

Go on an egg hunt with your loved ones to see how many eggs you can find! *Don’t forget* to take a picture of the beautiful eggs you find and share to the Boston Moms Facebook thread and tag Boston Moms on social media!

Let’s see how many towns in the Boston area participate!! 

The Staying-In Guide :: A Boston Moms Guide to Activities that Can Be Done at Home

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As moms, we are used to the hustle and bustle of daily life with children. We are constantly on the go, taking our kids to school, sports, activities, play groups, and story hours. 

Now, though, we are being forced to slow down. Schools are closed, all activities are cancelled, and we are home with our children day in and day out. As the hours have ticked by and turned into days, then weeks, we are being faced with the challenge of keeping our children active and stimulated.

Boston Moms has got boredom covered! We have compiled this list of activities and resources that can be done from the comfort of home! Do you know of any resources that should be added to this list? Contact us and let us know!

Even if you can’t get there in person, you can tour the Boston Children’s Museum online!

Art Museums

Louvre Museum, Paris

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam 

Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy 

Musee d’Orsay, Paris

Guggenheim Museum, New York

The British Museum, London

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea

Pergamon Museum, Berlin

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

MASP, São Paulo, Brazil

National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City

Zoos and Aquariums

San Diego Zoo

Zoo Atlanta (direct link to their adorable Panda Cam!)

Smithsonian National Zoo, Washington D.C. 

Reid Park Zoo Lion Cam, Tuscon, AZ

Ouwehand Park Polar Bear Cubs, Rhenen, Netherland

FarmFood 360 — Tours of Canadian Farms

Houston Zoo, Houston, Texas

Cincinnati Zoo Virtual Safari

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California

New England Aquarium, Boston

Georgia Aquarium

National Aquarium, Baltimore, Maryland

Seattle Aquarium, Seattle, Washington

Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Clearwater, Florida

Walrus Cam of Round Island

Destinations

Ellis Island, New York

Google Street View of Pompeii, Italy

The Great Wall of China

Tour England

Yellowstone National Park

Live view of Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia

Alaska’s Fish and Game Trails

Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico

360 Degree Tour of U.S. National Parks

Northern Lights Live Camera

You don’t even need to stay on Earth! Tour Mars or see the Saturn 5 Rocket!

Looking for more? Google Arts and Culture has teamed up with 2,500 museums from around the world to offer virtual tours. See the complete list here.

Mo Willems Lunch Doodles

Free Online Art Classes with Paint Sip Fun

Free drawing classes with Carson Ellis

Free drawing classes with Wendy MacNaughton

Stop Motion Kids Camp with Trisha Zemp

Draw Every Day with JJK by children’s book illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka

Drawing With Toddlers by children’s book illustrator E. B. Goodale

Free drawing classes with children’s book illustrator Thyra Heder

Comic book illustration with Jarrett Lerner

Free online art classes with Anna Abramzon Studio

Free online art classes with The Hansen Art Studio

Free online art classes with The Creative Collective 

MazeToons Cartooning Classes

Color Our Collections — Coloring content based on collection items from 113 art museums

Debbie Allen offering an online dance class via her Instagram feed

Laurie Berkner Band offering free kids music performances most weekdays at 10 a.m.

Wayne Potash and the Music Fun Band offering free kids music performances

Metropolitan Opera Free Virtual Shows

15 Broadway Plays and Musicals You Can Watch On Stage From Home

All-Arts offering digital screening of films relating to music, dance, and theater

Grammy Museum releasing never before seen interviews with entertainers

Berlin Philharmonic offering a digital concert hall

Broadway World offering daily “living room concerts” with Broadway stars

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center offering daily releases of archived videos 

Seattle Symphony streaming live videos of performances

 

Online activities and learning are wonderful, but we all need a technology break once in a while! Here is a list of ideas to keep your family active away from technology!

Read every picture book on your bookshelf.

Bake something from scratch.

Use electrical tape and make “roads” for your kids’ toy cars.

Write someone a letter, or draw them a picture! 

Write a play with your family, and perform it for each other. That video will be priceless a decade from now!

Play balloon ping pong! Tape a popsicle stick or a paper towel roll to a paper plate to create your paddle, and bat that balloon back and forth! 

Build a giant tower. Do you even need to use blocks? What about rocks, Matchbox cars, or even shoes? 

Have a race! Run, hop, crab walk — any kind of race you can think of! 

Make your own playdough! 

Put a bar of soap in the microwave to create soap clouds

Learn the names of the plants (and weeds!) in your yard. How many of each are there? 

Make up a story together. Write it down and illustrate it! 

Put water, oil, and drops of food coloring into a jar to create fireworks in a jar!

Learn how to make paper.

Have a board game marathon. 

Have the little ones give all of their plastic toys a bath! Water play and clean toys, all at once!

Choreograph a dance routine with your kids.

Make a scrapbook. Or maybe make that baby book you never made when your kids were babies! 

Plant a garden. 

Make a blanket fort! 

Bird watch. Research what kinds of birds you see in your yard! 

Create a stuffed animal using your old clothing. Sock puppets count!

Play with cornstarch and water! Make Oobleck and slime! 

Do a big puzzle as a family. Or, have a puzzle race with smaller puzzles: Put several puzzles (20+ piece puzzles) in a paper bag and shake it up. Pour pieces out and give each person the puzzle box they are to put together. Go! (Cooperation tends to be a result as pieces are traded.)

Create art using items you have found around the house. 

Draw your whole family.

Clean out the car (this won’t be fun for the kids — but just think of how great it will be for you!).

Play with sidewalk chalk. Make sidewalk chalk paint! Create a masterpiece on your walkway or driveway!

Create your own Olympics! Who can be the sock-toss-into-the-laundry-basket champion? 

Go for a hike! 

Ride your bike! 

Make your own bubble solution and bubble wands and have a big bubble contest! 

5 Inspiring Books for Your Little Feminist

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I love Women’s History Month

I appreciate and adore it. For many holidays and observances, I stock my daughter’s bookshelf with titles that support our learning about those dedicated days and months. However, if you happen to peruse my toddler’s bookshelf on any given month, you probably wouldn’t notice any difference from our February stash. 

Mostly because there isn’t any. 

I’m raising a fiery, strong-willed, red-headed threenager. She prefers to have an audience at all times, she sings loudly and shamelessly until the whole neighborhood is listening, and she is one heck of a leader. 

Which brings us back to her bookshelf. 

I’ve purchased and returned way too many books that I felt sent her the wrong message, for one reason or another. Sometimes, I really just despise how women and girls are depicted in children’s literature, and it makes me extra thankful when I’m able to find a book we both love. In honor of Women’s History Month, here are our tried and true favorite feminist books, chosen for you by my favorite 3-year-old, in no particular order.

1. “How Much Is a Little Girl Worth?” by Rachael Denhollander

Written by a powerful advocate, attorney, and mom, this book is aimed at helping girls understand their own value. It’s beautifully written and genuinely brings tears to my eyes every single time. Rachael’s passion for building strong girls and women jumps off the page beyond her beautiful poetic rhymes. The illustrations are captivating and appropriate. (This book does have an overtly Christian tone.)

feminist books - Boston Moms

2. “A is for Awesome” by Eva Chen

What’s better than an amazing woman for each letter of the alphabet? From Beyonce to Malala, this book has a wide variety of women role models for a younger audience. The descriptions are short, the letters are distinguished, and it’s perfect for the 0–3 audience. The pages are bright and attractive, and the last page features a mirror for “wonderful you”!

feminist books - Boston Moms

3. “Tough Chicks” by Cece Meng

This lighthearted book is about three little girl chicks who are loud, independent, and tough. They love to do “tough chick” things like diving off the fence and racing the bugs, while their mother receives criticism to “make them be good” and learn how to find grain and build a nest. Their equally tough mom always stands up for them and allows them to break gender stereotypes until they eventually save the farm. The illustrations are fun, and it’s an “easy” read for parents.

feminist books - Boston Moms

4. “One Love” adapted by Cedella Marley

I love this book because it simply but vibrantly features a female protagonist who works to bring her whole community together to make their world a better place. Adapted by Bob Marley’s daughter, it can be sung or read, and it truly encompasses his original message.

feminist books - Boston Moms

5. “Her Body Can” by Katie Crenshaw and Ady Meschke

It’s hard to find a good body-positive book that features female characters of diverse sizes. I love the message that all bodies are beautiful regardless of their size. This is a great book to teach self-love and body-positive affirmations to young girls. 

feminist books - Boston Moms

Happy reading!

 

Tips to Take Care of Yourself During a Global Pandemic

take care of yourself coronavirus - Boston Moms

Things are uncertain and scary right now. There’s no way to know when life will return to normal — when we’ll all look back on this time and say “remember when.” But there are certainly some silver linings to it all. We’re slowing down and really focusing on family time. We’re doing everything we can to make sure things are relatively calm as we set new routines for our kids. If you’re anything like me, you’re also using this time for yourself as best as you can. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what our kids need most, but we can’t forget to take care of ourselves right now. Because, as we all know, you can’t pour from an empty cup. So here are a few suggestions for how to take care of yourself amidst the craziness.

Exercise

Gym shut down? That’s OK! Even if you aren’t inclined to get outside and run (alone), there are still plenty of ways to get your sweat on! There are tons of great options to work out at home for free or a low cost. Yoga options are plentiful. Even if you don’t have a Peloton, the Peloton app is inexpensive and full of content to keep you sweating. (Bonus: You can work out virtually with friends.) YouTube has countless videos from amateurs and experts. Even Instagram has workouts! I firmly believe that moving your body is necessary for stress relief — and we all need it now!

Meditate

You need to find some peace. I’ve tried to meditate countless times but couldn’t seem to get there. This time, I know I need it. I’ll be using the Peloton app, but I’ve also tried others. Calm and Headspace offer free meditations, and even the FitBit has meditations! If you are only getting five minutes to yourself, find some peace!

Try a new hobby (or rekindle an old one)

While I’m not actively finding a new hobby during this time, I am working on getting better at the things I enjoy doing but don’t excel at. My Cricut is going to get a lot of use over the next few weeks, even if it’s just to make cards to send out to family (I’m certainly not a Pinterest mom). I love to bake, but my decorating skills could use a lot of work. A recent binging of The Great British Baking Show has me ready to try some new things — and get my kids involved. Now is the perfect time! Use the downtime to rediscover something you used to love (pull those knitting needles out of the closet) or find something new to enjoy!

Read

Any other bookworms? My list of books I’m waiting to read is long, and I’m going to try to get through as much as I can! The Libby app through the public library is a great resource for ebooks and audiobooks and will feed your book-loving soul. Get all hygge and curl up with a good book.

Practice self-care

I know, self-care is a hot topic. And we aren’t even sure what the term means at this point. I’m going to use this time to figure out a curly hair routine that works for me, tweeze my eyebrows to perfection, and take the time to do those face masks that are sitting on my bathroom vanity. The laundry can wait (it’s not going anywhere, and neither am I).

Don’t forget about yourself right now. We’ve got a long road ahead of us, and you’ve got to take care of YOU! What are you going to do for yourself?

 

… and You Also Have Cerebral Palsy

I can think of so many things I wish I had known before the doctor diagnosed my beautiful daughter with cerebral palsy on that perfectly sunny summer day some months before her first birthday.

I wish someone had told us that although having a diagnosis will allow her to access medical treatment and therapy to help her succeed, it does not change the beautiful soul we already know and love so dearly.

I wish I had taken a moment to snuggle her in my arms and realize she is the same amazing, smart, and snuggly baby she was before our appointment.

I wish we had known about the hard days — and that we were allowed to have them. I wish I had known that I was not alone, and that there was an amazing network of moms who would embrace me with open arms. They would be there to pick me up on those hard days, and give me space to grieve and heal.

Most importantly, I wish I had realized that having cerebral palsy was just ONE thing about her; it was not the defining characteristic of her entire life. Frankly, someday, it won’t even be the biggest or the most interesting thing about her. 

cerebral palsy - Boston Moms
This photo marks the first time my daughter wore her SMO braces and was able to stand at the couch without assistance.

Time passed, and I agonized over telling her that she has cerebral palsy. The where, when, and how haunted me for more than a year. At the time, I thought it was a really, really big deal. I consulted several social workers and therapists and tried to understand the “best way” to introduce her to cerebral palsy.

Looking back, it feels almost silly. All that anxiety, planning, reading.

Sometimes it’s hard to even remember how I felt back then because it all seems a little blurry. It was almost like the planning period before a big event — after the event happens, you hardly remember the “before.”

I do remember, though, the first time I used the words “cerebral palsy” in her presence. She exclaimed that her favorite Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood character, Chrissie, has [leg] braces just like her.

“This is it,” I thought to myself. “This is the best moment I’m ever going to have to bring it up, ready or not.”

“Wow, buddy! She does have braces just like you! Chrissie has CP, just like you do too.” And that was that. She went back to happily watch her show, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief that was so big it made me feel a little dizzy. We had previously decided to use the abbreviation “CP” because it was easier for a 2-year-old to pronounce and understand. She was unfazed, assigning little meaning and importance to what I had just said.

The beautiful truth is, the day I first told her about her CP probably won’t be a defining moment in her life, because she was really too young to remember it. It was, though, a defining moment in mine. It was a shift in the way we related to each other, and for the first time since her diagnosis I felt like I wasn’t lying to her anymore. It was in that moment I found the power of being honest, open, and matter of fact.

And now, some years later, we’re happy and generally well-adjusted. We have a wonderful team of doctors who take pride in helping her live her best life. We’ve found wonderfully inclusive places that allow her to pursue her interests and passions outside of school and therapy. And maybe most importantly, we know where to turn when we have bumps in the road, and we’re thankful for our well-established “tribe” that’s always there for us when we find one. Mostly, these days, we’re just thankful, because we all understand that her cerebral palsy is just ONE thing about her.

When we started this journey, cerebral palsy seemed like a really intimidating disability, mostly because there are so many misconceptions that have been perpetuated for decades.

Like anything else, it’s important to know the actual facts. Like how CP is the most common motor disability in children, affecting about 1 in every 345 children. And how CP can affect different parts of the body — all four limbs, one side of the body, or both legs. And how roughly 60% of children with CP can walk independently, and motor disability can range from minimal to profound. And how CP can be a result of being born too small, too early, stroke, or birth complication, but the specific cause of CP in most children is unknown.

If you’re interested in learning more about cerebral palsy, check out these resources!

https://ucp.org/
https://www.yourcpf.org/
https://cpfamilynetwork.org/

Setting Goals with Kids During the Coronavirus Quarantine

setting goals during coronavirus quarantine - Boston Moms

“Sure, I can write a post about setting goals with kids during the coronavirus quarantine.” — Confident Me

“Hey kids, we’re going to be home for an extended period of time together. What do you think some of our goals should be?” — Optimistic Me

Kid 1 (age 7): “I want to learn how to make water from nothing!”
Kid 2 (age 5.5): “I can fart really smelly! Want to see?!”
Kid 3 (age 3.5): “Watch me dump [jump] this!” 

Doesn’t look like our “social distancing” is going to be productive. Let’s try this again!

“Hey kids, let’s set some goals together! What if, 3-year-old, we worked on recognizing one letter a day? And 7-year-old, what if we tried to work up to running one mile without stopping? And 5-year-old, let’s really work on nailing down reading! I know you’ve got this! And for me, I’m going to run every other day and finish a bunch of house projects that I’ve put off, like building a raised bed in front of our house.” — Take-Charge Me

Mom: Breaks car vent loading lumber from Home Depot pick-up. Bonus: Kids learn a few new vocabulary words. Downside: They can’t use these words in front of Grandma.
Kid 1: “I want to run around in the backyard forever. Naked.”
Kid 2: “My brother is going to do my reading for me; he promised.”
Kid 3: “Watch me dump this!”

“Hey kids, here’s what we’re going to do! I’ve made a very reasonable schedule, which involves lots of time playing in the backyard (clothed), lots of snacks, and a little bit of intentional reading and math time — plus bonus features like drawing with your favorite artist! Doesn’t this look like fun!?” — Determined-to-Make-This-Work Mom

Kid 1: I’m starving. When is the third breakfast?
Kid 2: Huh?
Kid 3: I just broke it.

And scene. </> 

We’re neck-deep in uncharted territory.

We’re all learning as we go, and what started out as the best possible goals three days ago might need to be modified now under real-life circumstances. 

As we set goals with our kids, it’s important to give ourselves grace for the bizarre circumstances we find ourselves in now. I began this week with high expectations and now have lowered them significantly. We’ve had some hard days and some good days. We’re all in this together, and man is it messy (as seen above)!  

Here are a few lessons I’m learning along the way:

  • My kids function best when they get lots of running around and playing time. We can call this “building gross motor skills,” but really it’s just being a kid. Alternate between intentional activities and movement or free play. Take advantage of Go Noodle or Cosmic Kids Yoga to build in some wiggle space. It’ll help them concentrate in the long run.
  • In terms of education, focus on things that can be fun as well as educational. I grew up as a homeschooler, and the majority of our day wasn’t spent sitting in front of a desk — we did experiential learning. Practice math by baking and doubling the recipe so you can drop some off for a neighbor. Practice vocabulary through playing Scrabble. Learn about science by planting seeds.  
  • Schedule in quiet solo playtime, whether you are working from home or not. This is a perfect opportunity to stretch this muscle and teach our kids to enjoy snuggling up with a book, playing playdough, or drawing — by themselves. And parents, to stay sane, you need that occasional break. Make it part of your rhythm.
  • Be flexible. As we are learning from the current ever-changing news cycle, things change rapidly. Make a schedule — and set goals, because kids need to know what to expect — but be willing to hold it loosely, and adapt to what your kids are communicating. If they’re having a blast building Legos, don’t move things along to get to “requirements.” Don’t be so hell-bent on a particular goal that you miss the bigger lesson your kids are learning about kindness and care for others.
  • Focus more on debriefing rather than covering everything at the beginning. Anything can be educational or a growth moment if you know how to interpret it with your children. Tomorrow, my children are going to learn about angles as we extract the beams from our mini-van and (try to) build a garden box. Then we’re going to learn about botany and weather as we plant seeds. They won’t understand any of this — they’re going to think we’re just having fun with hammers and soil — until I help them understand it.

Hang in there, mama! Despite what Instagram tells us, none of us have it figured out. You’re doing just fine.

On COVID-19 and Facing Fear :: There’s More to Learn than Handwashing

COVID-19 fear - Boston Moms

There’s a meme going around with the words, “Thanks for the Coronavirus.” It’s written over a picture of the school where I teach. Our population is roughly 60% Asian. 

Four weeks ago, before the real hysteria set in, one of my students was shopping, minding her own business. A stranger walked by her and said, in her direction, “Hey, Coronavirus.” She’s Vietnamese. And heartbroken.

On the last day of school, during my first-period class, one of my Chinese students said, “Italy hates China. The whole world hates China.” And he shrugged his shoulders like it was a natural reaction. That broke my heart.

It’s one thing to understand that the first known case of COVID-19 occurred in China in November 2019. It’s another to take that information and allow it to create widespread xenophobia. All of my students, regardless of race, are scared of the horrific potential this virus poses.

I understand why people meet fear with hate. I understand how uncertainty can scare people so deeply that the only response they can muster is anger. I also understand how the possibility of isolation can cause people to act irrationally, hoarding basic necessities and putting their own needs about others’.

But these times of fear, uncertainty, and sickness deserve better. Our babies deserve better. We need to show them better. 

As a country, we sat and watched as COVID-19 ravaged China, with social media playing the essential role in creating viral videos. Then, we sat and watched as it ravaged Italy, more quickly than we could imagine. And now it’s here, in the United States. And we have some choices to make.

I propose we choose love and kindness in the face of fear and uncertainty.

How do we do this? In small, simple steps.

Rather than attacking each other for stocking up on toilet paper and hand soap, we can recognize and understand that fear is driving many to act this way. Rather than scolding the 20-somethings for continuing to go out to bars and clubs when we are supposed to be practicing social distancing, we can remember our 20s (when we thought we were invincible and nothing, not even a virus, could stop us) while at the same time strongly encouraging them to heed the warnings set forth by the CDC. Rather than shunning those of Asian descent, we can recognize that they are as scared of this new virus as non-Asians.

People are people. I can disagree with what people are doing without attacking them. I can use moments when I feel anger growing inside me in response to other peoples’ actions as learning opportunities. I don’t have to meet anger with anger or fear with fear. I can meet both with love and kindness.

This isn’t easy. Mostly because I, too, am angry and scared and sad. I want to go back to normal. Unfortunately, it looks like this is the new normal, at least for a little while. As uncomfortable as I am, I can’t take that out on others. And while I’m happy that everyone has a newfound love for handwashing, I’d like to encourage a love for kindness, compassion, and love itself.

How else are we to get through this?

 

We’re All Homeschooling Now (and That Isn’t a Bad Thing)

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homeschooling coronavirus - Boston Moms

When I was a little girl growing up in rural New Hampshire, I was homeschooled. At the time, it was very avant-garde of my mother to keep us all home for elementary school. Now, a few decades later, coronavirus has our schools closed for the foreseeable future, creating many unintentional homeschooling families.

And I’m here to assure you that from a kid’s perspective, it’s awesome.

Our days were loosely scheduled, with the morning reserved for schoolwork and chores, the afternoon solely for play. This was, undoubtedly, my favorite part of being homeschooled — the free time. When I did attend public school in middle school, that was the thing I noticed the most — how a lesson could take so long. I couldn’t believe how long it would take my 7th grade social studies class to get through a chapter; 45 minutes seemed awfully long. 

The benefit of working one on one (and with your parent, to boot) is that the lessons are tailored to you, and if you’re uncertain of the material there is no social pressure to not ask questions. It can make lessons easier to understand — concepts were broken down in a way that made sense to my young mind. My mother met with us individually to go through our schoolwork, teaching us the concepts from each book, ensuring that we understood the concepts by doing some of the practice problems with us. Once we had gone through our materials, we were off to complete the work that would be checked the next day with our mother. 

I don’t remember specific lessons or our exact weekly schedule, but I do remember the ease with which I learned at home with my mom. I remember finishing my school work and my chores and dashing out the door by 11 a.m. to play outside in the woods with my siblings. I remember knowing that as soon as I finished my schoolwork and chores, I was free to play for the rest of the day. I loved that. 

So while having our children at home for the next few weeks may seem daunting, remember: We as the parents set the tone for our homes. We have the ability to make this time at home positive and filled with love. If we are able to implement a schedule and homeschool, great! Use this time to help develop a love of learning in your child. Discover the type of student they are and where their strengths and weaknesses are at school. Teach them things they aren’t able to learn at school: baking, outdoor exploration, or whatever your forte is. We should take advantage of this time at home to really learn with our children. About our children. 

If teaching your child certain lessons isn’t coming easily to you, try your best, but mostly focus on making memories with your children. Go for walks, play outside, complete house projects together, sort through their clothing, play board games (and really teach them the rules). Check out these ideas for your time at home. There is more to learn in life than simply academics, and we can all use this time to learn and grow together as families.

I Didn’t Expect to Have to Worry About My Parents Yet

worry anxiety coronavirus - Boston Moms

My parents are 73 years old. My in-laws are 69 and 70. I am fortunate to have all four of these wonderful people in my life — and healthy. To be honest, I had not yet started to give any thought to having to one day care for them, given their advancing age.

And then the world got hit with a pandemic, sending our lives as we knew them into a whirlwind of uncertainty and confusion, incredulity and panic, faith and fear, and on and on like a massive record-breaking rollercoaster only suitable for self-described thrill-seekers.

All of a sudden, this almost-40-year-old mom of two (that’s me) thought to herself, “Oh my goodness, what if my parents get it?” And anxiety set in. A kind of anxiety I had not experienced before. One that makes me feel scared and ill-equipped. One that makes me angry when people do not heed the warnings and recommendations of health officials. One that makes me feel impotent.

We have probably all heard that older adults are at a higher risk of experiencing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), with worse symptoms than younger adults and children. What’s worse, older adults may end up in intensive care units and/or actually die. I thought I had another ten or so years before I had to worry about my healthy and active parents needing care-taking or needing me to worry about them. But this coronavirus had other plans.

So what can we do when this anxiety creeps in and we feel like we do not have the tools to handle it?

1. Pause.

Take a moment to acknowledge what you are feeling, and let yourself name and feel the emotions coming up. Breathe. Tell yourself (and try to do this until you believe it), that you will be able to handle whatever does happen, but that in this moment, if your parents are still doing OK, all you can do is support them in remaining that way.

2. Follow the recommendations of health officials where you live — seriously.

And encourage your parents to do the same. If your parents live nearby you can stay abreast of their situation and be there for them if they need you. If your parents live far away you can stay in touch via phone, chat, Facetime, etc., and see how they are doing, providing support and/or reminders as needed.

3. Reach out to friends for advice.

Think of friends or neighbors you know who have already been in a situation where they had to care for their parents due to illness and/or old age. Reach out to them. Ask them to share their tools with you. And here I suggest you not only ask for practical things to do and ways to handle the situation, but also for ideas on taking care of yourself as you navigate this new territory.  

4. Have faith.

Whether you are religious or spiritual, tap into your belief system to help you find a way to let go of the added feelings of responsibility and anxiety around this. There is only so much we can do. So we do what we can, and we let go of the rest. Much easier said than done, but in these times especially, we do not have much of a choice but to be the people our parents need us to be — their adult children who are here to support them if and when they need us, to the best of our abilities, and with all our love. 

Coronavirus Screen Time Roundup :: Making the Most of Your Time at Home

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coronavirus screen time - Boston Moms

If you are reading this post and are a parent, chances are, you’re at home. And your kids are home. And you may have no idea when your kids will no longer be at home.

Yes, the coronavirus is spreading. Companies have instituted work-from-home policies. Schools have closed. Daycares have closed. No one knows exactly what is coming next.

Whether you are expected to continue your paid employment working from home, or are simply working to keep you and your little people alive and not tear your hair out, these are stressful times. 

And many of us are turning to screens for help.

Whether it’s Netflix, Disney+ (thank you for releasing “Frozen 2” early!), or apps, there are so many electronic ways to keep our kids occupied. Regardless of your usual stance about screen time, you may be relying on devices a little bit (or a lot) more over the next while.

You may be wondering just how much “Peppa Pig” you can take, or maybe you’re wondering how you can expand your children’s screen repertoire. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to up your children’s screen time game during this COVID-19-induced break from school. Here are a few we recommend:

Take a trip around the world

For those looking to travel without breaking quarantine, take a tour of Iceland. You can also virtually travel to Venice’s ornate opera house, La Fenice, and watch a string quartet play Beethoven. Take this time to explore the Louvre, the Guggenheim, or the National Gallery of Art without leaving your house. You can also get really classy and watch opera at the Metropolitan Opera.

Get moving

If you’re looking to keep your kids moving, make sure to check out Go Noodle, which combines movement and education. Also, make sure to try Cosmic Kids Yoga. Your kids will embrace their inner yogi and will hopefully namaste out of your way. Personally, I’m hoping to do this one with my girls.

Keep up with the academics

For those looking for more traditional online education resources, Brainpop and Khan Academy Kids are giving free access to their entire websites during school closures due to COVID-19. There are also many more sites offering resources, too. 

Entertain your preschooler

If you are parenting the preschool set and are missing your weekly circle time or music class, be sure to check out Circle Time Fun or Stacy Peasley’s YouTube page for new daily YouTube singalong videos created exclusively for this period of no school. Stacy Peasley is a Natick mom and musician who is putting up this content for free; she suggests you consider making a donation to Natick Service Council, an organization that helps people facing economic uncertainty and will likely see an increase in traffic over the upcoming weeks.

Note: If you are finding the price of internet to be a burden, please check out Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which provides low-cost, and currently no-cost, internet services to those who qualify. 

What about you? How are you getting through the pandemic? What are your screen tips and tricks?

 

Feeding Your Family :: Greater Boston Food Resources During COVID-19 School Closures

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Boston Moms is committed to bringing timely and necessary resources to our readers in Greater Boston and beyond. With the recent school closures due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) concerns, we understand that access to food might be limited for some families in our area. Below you will find resources for sourcing food in your community. These resources have been pooled by our followers and team. If you have an additional resource that you believe should be mentioned, please email meghan[at]bostonmoms.com.

Statewide Resources

Project Bread Food Source Hotline

The toll-free Project Bread FoodSource Hotline is the only comprehensive statewide information and referral service in Massachusetts for people facing hunger. It can connect you to food resources in your community. Call 1-800-645-8333 (TTY 1-800-377-1292).

Greater Boston Food Bank

The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) partners with 520+ hunger-relief agencies across Eastern Massachusetts to bring access to food to nine counties and 190 towns and cities. Use the GFB agency locator to find a list of food assistance options in your community. 

School Systems Offering Bagged Lunches

Boston

Click here for meal sites for children.

Arlington

Free bagged lunches Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Thompson Elementary. 

Beverly

Bagged lunches will be available for pick up by any child age 18 or younger at Beverly High School from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Beginning Tuesday, March 17, bagged lunches will be delivered to the following parks in the community: Apple Village, Goldway Park, and Holcroft Park. If you have a child who is a student in Beverly and you are unable to access any of these meal sites, please reach out to Food Service Director Christina Leal at [email protected] 

Brockton

Grab and go lunches are available at Brockton High School, South Middle School, North Middle School, and East Middle School. Free lunch options will be available at these satellite locations in a drive-up fashion. Children must be present in the vehicle to receive a meal. 

Everett

Meals-to-go are available at the Everett High School lobby from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. These lunches will be available until Friday, April 17, with the exception of Good Friday (April 10). To be eligible, students must be enrolled in the Everett Public Schools or Saint Anthony’s School.

Framingham

Beginning March 18, food services will be offering grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the following locations: Cameron Middle School, Barbieri Elementary School, Fuller Middle School, and Woodrow Wilson Elementary School.

Lowell

There will be a food truck on location for 30 minutes per day at each of the following sites: The Bartlett School, Greenhalge School, Murkland School, Reilly/Sullivan campus, and the STEM Academy (Rogers). See the schedule here.

Lynn

A free grab-and-go lunch service is available for all LPS students at Classical, English, Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, and Marshall Middle School between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

Malden

Free breakfast and lunch are available at Malden High or Salemwood (breakfast 7:30–9 a.m., lunch 11 a.m.–1 p.m.). 

Milford

The free grab-and-go breakfast and lunch program in Milford, for students and adults, will be available from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Memorial School parking lot at 12 Walnut St.

Plymouth

Lunch will be served between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. daily at Hedge Elementary School. Any child under the age of 18 will be provided with a meal, no documentation required. Enter around the back of the building, through the blue cafeteria door. Breakfast items will be available to bring home.

Randolph

All children will receive a free breakfast and lunch every day. Meals will be bagged and ready for pick up each day. See the Randolph Public Schools website for menus and updates.

Rockport

A lunch pick-up station will be available in Gloucester at the O’Maley Middle School Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. All children ages 18 and under, regardless of their free/reduced/full pay status will receive a free complete nutritious bagged lunch.

Somerville

Families can pick up meals Monday through Friday between 9 and 11 a.m. at three central locations across the city — East Somerville Community School, Winter Hill Community Innovation School, and West Somerville Neighborhood School.

Stoughton

Grab-and-go breakfast and lunch bags will be available for any Stoughton Public Schools student. Drive-through locations will be located at the Dawe, the Gibbons, and at OMS. Parent/guardian or student pick-up times will be 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. each weekday.

Wellesley

Please click on this link to make your meal selections before 7 a.m. on the day you would like to order. Pre-ordering for the week is encouraged. Ordered meals can be picked up at Wellesley Middle School (side entrance by the loading dock off D’Auria Drive) between noon and 1:30 p.m. daily. 

Weymouth

Student meals will be available for pick up between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Seach Primary School and Abigail Adams Middle School.

Restaurants Offering Free Lunches for Children

Sarcastic Swine :: Abington

The Sarcastic Swine is offering free food from a selected kids menu to kids in Rockland, Abington, and Whitman. They will deliver to children needing lunch for free, as long as they are given an hour’s notice, no questions asked. Call 781-871-0033. Foods offered: grilled cheese, hamburger/cheeseburger, eggs and bacon, chicken fingers, caesar salad, and mac and cheese.

G&S Pizza :: New Bedford

G&S Pizza is offering a free slice of pizza to any child until schools re-open.

Wings Over New Bedford :: New Bedford

Wings Over New Bedford is offering one free kids meal per child (offer valid in store only).

True North Nutrition :: New Bedford

During the next week of school closures, if any child is in need of a healthy meal and lives in the New Bedford area, they are invited into the Neighborhood Nutrition Club (812 Kempton St.) and True North Nutrition (2331 Acushnet Ave.) for a healthy meal shake and a protein bite at no charge, no questions asked. Each shake has everything the body needs and is loaded with essential nutrients.

The Phoenix Restaurant :: Fairhaven

The Phoenix Restaurant is offering a “kids eat free” special Monday through Friday from the kids menu.

Tipsy Toboggan :: Fall River

Any student who comes in during lunch (with a parent or not) will be given a free kids meal at Tipsy Toboggan, no questions asked. Will continue until schools are back up and running normally.

The Star Drive-In :: Taunton

The Star Drive-In will have free kids brown bag lunches available from 12–2 p.m. These will be available to any Taunton Public School student residing in the East Taunton area in need of lunch during the city’s school closure. The Star Drive-In requests that you ask for what you need and leave what you don’t for others in need.

The Breakfast Spot :: Roxbury

The Breakfast Spot is offering free lunch for neighborhood youth from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Reach out to Romilda with any questions — (617) 363-6380.

Alfredo’s Italian Kitchen :: Lynn

Alfredo’s will provide free meals through March 20. Residents with concerns about feeding their kids can call the restaurant at 781-584-4954.

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Guide To Boston

Online Learning Resources for an Accidental Homeschool Mom

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In the midst of everything, I'm secretly a little happy about having a few weeks with my kiddo unexpectedly. I'm excited for board games, movie nights, endless games of hopscotch, and bubbles in the backyard. However, I'm also going to need to keep my kiddo's mind occupied at least long enough for me to shower and maintain some of my sanity. The reality is that I'm an introvert and she's an extrovert, and when she's uttered 300,000 words before lunch my brain feels a little fried.