Staying in Touch from a Distance

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You don’t have to surf the internet for very long before finding a meme or a post about the first thing people want to do when most of the population has been vaccinated. For me, the answer is easy. I want to see my family. I want my daughter to see her grandparents.

I suspect many of you feel the same way. 

In order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many of us have chosen to avoid spending time with family members, even when those family members live nearby. Thankfully, there are ways to remain in touch even when we’re apart. Here’s a short list of my favorites:

1. Send snail mail

If your child is in a pod, in daycare, on a school campus, or learning remotely, chances are high they’re completing assignments an adult in their lives would love to see. Select one or two pieces of your child’s artwork or written assignments to send in an envelope to their grandparents, aunts, or uncles. You can also include a handwritten note from your child about the assignment and/or one from you detailing what the family has been up to. Even if you’re regularly chatting with your family by phone or video chat, there’s nothing like receiving a surprise letter in the mail from the people you love and miss.

2. Create a slideshow (it’s easier than you think)

Using your smartphone, you can either download an app or use your phone’s photo collage feature (standard with iPhones) to easily make a video using photos stored in your phone. Try the PicPlayPost app for your smartphone to easily create a slideshow with your pictures. If you have an iPhone, go into your photos, select the photos you want to include in the slideshow, then press the button shaped like a square with an arrow going through it (the button used to send the photos by text or email), scroll down, and select “slideshow.” It will automatically create a slideshow to music with your pictures. You can change the music, photo speed, and pictures by selecting “options.” Once you’re satisfied, you can send the slideshow to your loved ones by text or email. To make it extra personalized, choose a song for the background music that means something to them or to all of you. 

3. “Thinking of you” gadgets

Shops like Uncommon Goods have a number of really neat gadgets that make it easy to let your loved ones know you’re thinking of them. Set up one of these lamps in your home, and give one lamp to your loved one. When you or the kids are missing that person, touch your lamp, and their lamp will light up. I love this gift for someone in your life that may be in a senior care facility. These bracelets and photo frames work in a similar way and are especially handy if your loved one has been hospitalized.

4. Virtual movie night

The next time your family decides to have a movie night, tell the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and/or cousins what movie you’re planning to watch. Encourage everyone to watch the same movie on the same night. The next day, have the kids call a family member to talk about the movie. It’ll feel like you watched the movie together. You can compare favorite scenes and funny moments.

Distancing from people we love is hard, but these tips may ease the burden a bit while we wait on the day when we can embrace all of our loved ones again.

Boston Moms Guide to Black-Owned Businesses in Greater Boston

Boston Moms loves to support local! We are excited to share some of our favorite Black-owned businesses, as sourced by our writing team. 

Do you know an exceptional Black-owned business? Let us know in the comments!

Caring for Mamas

Greater Boston :: Click here to contact

Caring for Mamas is a doula service owned by Boston Moms contributor Dashanna Hanlon. Dashanna serves families throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period, helping them to create a beautiful experience. With her guidance, families will feel empowered to advocate for themselves and understand the birthing process.

Little Cocoa Bean Company

Greater Boston and beyond :: Click here to shop

When Boston Moms contributor Tracy Skelly‘s daughter was born, she realized she was unable to find the nutrient-dense, pre-packaged baby food her little one needed to thrive. She created the Little Cocoa Bean Company to fill this void. Little Cocoa Bean Company strives to provide families with access to vital information about nutrition, along with the tools and services they need to thrive during their child’s first 1,000 days of life. 

4 Corners Yoga + Wellness

336 Washington Street, Dorchester :: (617) 506-0519 :: Click here to contact

4 Corners Yoga + Wellness believes yoga should be for everyBODY. In this body-positive space, the dedicated team offers a safe, welcoming, and culturally affirming sanctuary for the community to participate in bodywork treatments, workshops, and classes.

Fusion Dolls

Shop Online

Fusion Dolls specializes in multicultural, biracial, and Black dolls and accessories. Every doll is created with love and care. Each comes with their very own custom outfit, stylish curly hair, vinyl body, and a movable head.

Artifact Soapworks

1770 Massachusetts Avenue, PMB 621, Cambridge :: Click here to contact

If you are tired of plain, boring, square bars of soap, you are going to love Artifact Soapworks! These luxurious vegan soaps are molded into beautiful and unique shapes, giving them the appearance of artifacts! 

Urban Grape

303 Columbus Avenue, Boston :: Click here to contact

Located in Boston, the Urban Grape is one of the most successful and award-winning wine stores in America. Urban Grape is a Black-owned and woman-owned small business dedicated to building community through beverage.

BRED Gourmet

2255 Dorchester Avenue, Boston :: (617) 698-0103

BRED Gourmet founder Tambo Barrow has a passion for burgers, and it shows. Drool-worthy recipes such as the Maui burger (featuring grilled pineapple, pepper jack cheese, crispy onions, sweet plantains, grilled ham, and M&M Ribs’ BBQ sauce) adorn the menu, alongside delicious smoothies and decadent salads. A must-try for any foodie!

Cafe Juice Up

1290 Blue Hill Avenue, Mattapan :: (617) 702-1808

The mission of Cafe Juice Up is to bring healthy blends of fruits and vegetables to underserved communities. These delicious drinks are prepared with clean ingredients in a casual, friendly, and affordable environment. Nutrition has never tasted so good!

Frugal Bookstore

57 Warren Street, Roxbury :: (617) 541-1722 :: Click here to contact

Frugal Bookstore, the only Black-owned bookstore in Boston, was voted the Best of Boston in 2020, and for good reason! They love everything about books! This community bookstore is passionately dedicated to promoting literacy, not only in children, but in teens and adults too. There is nothing quite like the feeling of a book in your hand, and this is the perfect place to pick one out! 

Last Lust

(978) 930-1382 :: Click here to contact

Since owner Fiona Kikoyo created Last Lust in 2017, the brand has flourished in creating gorgeous, unique robes and kimonos that evoke a sense of beauty, style, and comfort. Expanding her brand the following year, she also began to create decorative pillows that enhance any space. 

Maxine’s On Saint James

304 Dudley St, Roxbury :: (617) 207-0551

If you are looking for southern goodness, look no further than Maxine’s! Cooking up old fashioned soul food, their menu includes favorites such as jambalaya and chicken and sausage gumbo. And don’t forget to order the baked mac and cheese — it definitely IS something to write home about! 

Pink & Pretty Nail Salon

107 Savin Hill Avenue, Dorchester :: Click here to contact

In 2020, mother and daughter team Dana Bonner and Florence Taylor fulfilled their dream of opening a nail salon. Guests at Pink & Pretty Nail Salon experience a chill zone where customers feel relaxed as they get a beautiful manicure or pedicure! 

Ripple Cafe

1906 Dorchester Avenue, Boston :: (617) 297-5621

Located in the Ashmont T station, Ripple Cafe serves up something for any kind of appetite! Whether you are looking for bacon or for vegan steak, your taste buds will thank you! If you aren’t in the mood for a killer cup of coffee, try the fresh fruit smoothies. They are as beautiful as they are delicious! 

Shea Butter Smoothies

777 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston :: (617) 922-2181

If you are looking for a health boost but don’t want to sacrifice delicious flavor, look no further than Shea Butter Smoothies. From superfood smoothies to fresh-squeezed juices, nutrition has never been so refreshing! And doesn’t a smoothie bowl sound like the absolute perfect dessert?

Tipping Cow Ice Cream

415 Medford Street, Somerville :: (617) 718-0558 :: Click here to contact

Tipping Cow Ice Cream is a little scoop of heaven, right in Somerville! Their handmade, gourmet ice cream is available in seasonal flavors, and they even offer vegan and dairy-free options! And Tipping Cow doesn’t stop at ice cream — they also handcraft hot chocolate, milkshakes, floats, sundaes, and affogatos, as well as nut-free baked goods that are made from scratch right at the shop.

TrelleBlazers International Hairport

1465 River Street, Hyde Park :: (857) 345-9991 :: Click here to contact

Founder LaTrelle Pinkney-Chase had long dreamed of opening a trendy salon that possessed both the sophistication of a high-end salon and the warm, welcoming atmosphere of a neighborhood salon. And thus, she TrelleBlazed her own path! TrelleBlazers caters to a multi-cultural clientele and specializes in hair color and highlights, edgy cuts, gorgeous updos, detailed and fierce styling, and overall hair care. Every client leaves feeling like they have had a first class experience of being TrelleBlazed!

TRILLFIT

1484 Tremont Street, Boston :: (617) 544-7690 :: Click here to contact

TRILLFIT® is Boston’s coolest hip hop workout! This boutique fitness studio was founded with the idea that exercise should be inclusive and fun — and set to an ill soundtrack! TRILLFIT classes range from cardio dance to sculpt and include something for every interest and skill level. Monthly subscriptions can be used in the studio or digitally, bringing this exciting fitness trend from Mission Hill to anywhere in the world! 

Mama O’s Bakery

Framingham, MA  :: Click here to contact

Mama O has something for EVERYONE. And, she ships! 

Will You Be My Galentine? How I Plan to Celebrate my Gal Pals This February

Valentine’s Day is especially fun when you’re a mom. There’s something wonderful about heart-shaped everything. My 4-year-old has even begun to plan our menu for the day, starting with heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast. What’s not to love about love?

And while I truly understand why some may hate Valentine’s Day (heartbreak, loneliness, fake-Hallmark-holiday), I also think it’s a great idea to start teaching my girls that Valentine’s Day can be about more than just romantic love. This year, I’m going to show them how to celebrate Galentine’s Day! I am going to shower my (female) friends with love and attention. No offense to my male pals; I’m focusing on the girl-love this year! Here’s my big-love plan:

Cards (the fun ones!)

First, I am buying Valentine’s Day cards. That’s right, the fun ones at Target. I haven’t made up my mind yet, but I’m currently wavering between the Disney Princesses with stickers and these super silly banana cards with temporary tattoos. Who knows, I may buy both! I may even splurge and get these amazing Valentine’s Day slap bracelets. Who doesn’t love jewelry on February 14?

Crafts — kid style

Then, I am going to enlist the help of my girls. Nothing says I love you more than homemade crafts, especially the ones you make with a 4-year-old and 2-year-old. For my preschooler, making this paper hug is perfect for when a real hug can’t be given (either because of social distancing or not living close to many of my closest friends!). I also really love this heart suncatcher and can imagine it hanging in the windows of my soul-sisters for far longer than just the month of February. With my toddler, I’m thinking of keeping it relatively simple with these thumbprint hearts or this super cute footprint heart (although I will probably do it on cardstock rather than dough to keep these keepsakes lightweight). My closest friends love my girls as much as they love me, and I know a homemade Valentine is sure to make their hearts flutter. 

Written sentiments

The final piece of celebrating my galentines is to write each one a note, letting them know not only that I am thinking of them, but what I think of them. My friends are the most wonderful women I know. They help me show up for life when I don’t want to. They offer me advice and reassurances when I don’t know I need it. They are mothers, step-mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, co-workers, single women, married women, amazing women, and the greatest confidants I have ever been blessed with. It’s important that I let them know what they mean to me.

Then off to the post office!

I plan to put these artifacts of love together — the cute/quirky/silly elementary school cards, the homemade crafts, and the individual notes — to create a galentine’s package for each of my closest gal pals, and mail them off before Cupid’s big day. I want my daughters to know Valentine’s Day isn’t just about roses, chocolates, and romantic love (not that I’m knocking any of that fun stuff!). It’s about loving the people who love you. I’m lucky to be loved by so many wonderful women, and I look forward to making them my galentines each February, year after year!

Meet a Boston Mom :: Rachael Oluokun of Mama O’s Bakery!

Meet Rachael Oluokun — mom of seven and founder of Mama O’s Bakery!

Moms don’t get the recognition they deserve! As a business run BY local moms FOR local moms, Boston Moms is excited to showcase the hard work local moms are doing — both at home and in their professions.

Mama O's Bakery - Boston Moms

Boston Moms is proud to feature Rachael Oluokun of Ashland for this week’s “Meet a Mom”!

Rachael is a mom of seven and the founder of Mama O’s Bakery. She is a teacher by trade but was inspired by her friends and family to start a bakery in Ashland to sell her delicious and beautiful treats!

Join us in celebrating Rachael and the important contributions she makes at home and at work! 

We asked Rachael to share a bit about herself. Get to know her here! 

Full name: Rachael Oluokun

Business name: Mama O’s Bakery

Children: Mary (27), Elizabeth (24), Esther (23), Priscilla (16), Deborah (13), Nathan (11), and Hannah (9). I have been privileged to homeschool all my children before they finally went into the public school system at various stages of their education!

Hometown: I am Nigerian but I came to the U.S. about 18 years ago, so anywhere I live is home to me. Right now, I live in Ashland, so that is my hometown!

Favorite local restaurant: I like to order the Anh Thu spicy beef fried rice from Anh Thu’s in Worcester.

Favorite local business/brand: Upswing Farm in Ashland/Holliston.

Tell us a bit about your work: My children and I started Mama O’s Bakery last year in the midst of the pandemic. Though I am a teacher by profession (from Nigeria) and not a trained pastry chef, I am very passionate about cooking and baking. Prior to starting Mama O’s, we have had many friends share from our table. Often, they have asked when they can start putting in orders! On my own, I think I would have kept procrastinating, but here we are, by God’s grace and trusting Him for more years of service to the community!

At our home bakery, we love making beautiful and elegantly decorated cakes (even wedding cakes!) and cupcakes, plus pastries like cookies, five types of macarons, brownies, meat pies, and cheesecakes. We also make blueberry muffins and cinnamon rolls upon request. We make everything from scratch, all homemade, including our fruit fillings. We want what you get to not only look good but be delicious and satisfying!

How did your business come about? The shutdown due to COVID was somewhat of a blessing for us. Like I mentioned before, baking has always been part of my life, but I was afraid of how much it would require of me. In short, I was worried about whether anything I put out would be good enough, or if anyone would want to order or buy from me. Earlier in 2020, before the shutdown, a friend from church was determined to help me launch a baking business after tasting my pumpkin cheesecake! Trust me, I was still afraid of doing it, but my children encouraged me to step out, and they continue to support me.

What was it like to start a bakery during COVID-19? When COVID started, we couldn’t proceed with an in-person business, which has been challenging. It has definitely been difficult to be unable to attend some events I have catered for, and to not be able to truly see my customers’ faces and interact with them. Having to rely on social media has been hard, but I am thankful for all the support and I feel really blessed even just for Instagram. When our customers post pictures, it just fills me with joy and lots of encouragement knowing they enjoyed what we baked — thank you to everyone who has supported us in any way!

What is the one thing that surprised you the most about motherhood? I am a mother of seven wonderful children and recently became a single mom. One thing I will say about motherhood that surprised me and keeps surprising me is how much unexplainable joy and privilege I feel (notwithstanding the ups and downs of motherhood) just knowing God has blessed me with these lives to nurture. I am thankful to learn and keep learning valuable lessons from each of my children.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer another working mom? Enjoy EVERY moment (even when things are not going the way you would like them to) of motherhood, and make memories. Our jobs can change or start over, but some moments we can never recreate or have back. I still try to remind myself of this — actually, my children often do the reminding!

What is your favorite kind of self-care? Watching movies and spending time with my brothers and sisters from a ministry called Celebrate Recovery.

What other women inspire you? Recently I watched the story of Madame CJ Walker, and that has really inspired me and resonated with me in many ways. Another woman that inspires me is Mrs. Christie Jaegle, a member of my church (Faith Community Church in Framingham). She is a mother to me and a dear friend.

You can find Mama O’s Bakery on Instagram, and keep an eye out for Mama O’s website, which is in the works!


Are you interested in being highlighted in a “Meet a Boston Mom” feature, or do you know someone who deserves this recognition? Let us know! Please email Chelsey Weaver at [email protected] to discuss.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day for the First Time in 2021

Valentine's Day 2021 - Boston Moms

Truthfully, this title is a little misleading.

My husband has always made an effort to get me flowers or my favorite candy for Valentine’s Day. But my birthday is the week just before Valentine’s Day, so I’ve never put much emphasis on the 14th. I’d much rather celebrate my birthday and move on to the kid’s in March. My husband doesn’t care for all the extra attention the holiday brings, and we reserve any real effort and planning for our anniversary and birthdays. 

But I’ve decided that in 2021 we need to celebrate as much as we can!

Not in a capitalistic “buy all the Hallmark cards” way, but in a way that makes every holiday about celebrating love. I’m not sure which of these we’re going to do, but I’ve come up with a few ideas that will work no matter what mood strikes. Whether you’ve decided to celebrate your love indoors or outdoors, I have a few suggestions to help you center the holiday around reconnection.

The standard dinner date — with a twist

One thing 2020 reinforced for me is that not all love is romantic! After a year that centered us in our homes, it’s likely that many of your relationships could use some rekindling. If you plan to continue your tradition of eating food that someone else made, share the love! Food is the way to every person’s heart. Did you know you can send food to someone else — with ease — via most food apps? You can order or dine local and brighten a neighbor or friend’s day! I highly recommend ordering for friends. Pro tip: Send coffee and sweets or lunch — they likely have dinner covered on V-Day!

The getaway date 

If you’ve dated at all in the last year, you’ve been on a car date. And if you haven’t, I highly recommend it! It doesn’t require stopping anywhere unless you want to, and the price of gas is still decently low, making this my new favorite cheap date. Riding around and listening to your favorite music, a new podcast, or the sound of your spouse’s voice without interruption could be just what you need. Also very high on the list of car dates? Drive-in theaters like Mendon Twin Drive-In. You can reminisce and watch movies like “Beetlejuice” from the warmth and comfort of your car! The cost per vehicle is around $30. I grew up in a big family and think that’s a pretty great deal for a family night out. 

The homebody date 

If your date can’t start until post bedtime, why not make dessert or popcorn together while watching your favorite old movie? Most nights we stay up too late and wonder why we didn’t make the most of it. I’ve found that if we keep the plans super simple before bed, we’re more likely to follow through. Or why not invite the kids in on a fancy date meal whipped up by a local chef? Your kids will feel so special, and you’ll be relieved you don’t have to prep or leave the comfort of your home in February! 

No matter which activity you choose, or if you include your little ones, I hope you’ll decide to spend a little extra time celebrating being loved this year. 

Notes to My Family About Post-Pandemic Living

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post-pandemic life hug - Boston Moms

They say it takes 21 days to create a habit. We are now 11 months into the pandemic, and we have definitely formed many new habits! I don’t know about you, but my family and I have taken on new ways of being — some good, some bad, and some ugly.

Either way, the vaccine is here, and though it will be a while before things go back to normal (will they ever be normal?), I’ve been wondering (and worrying!) about what I’m going to have to re-teach my children and myself.

So, with that in mind:

Dear children, when we enter the post-pandemic world, please try to remember:

When you are walking down the sidewalk and someone comes near you, you can go within six feet of them. Crossing the street to avoid them is no longer necessary — or acceptable.

Sharing is caring — seriously! When you’re at school, the crayon box is not just for you. The toys are not just for you. You guys are all sharing now. And it’s OK if your hands touch.

When the virus is not as everpresent as it is now, Mommy will again discourage Purell. I know I’ve been dousing you with sanitizer now, but I really don’t like it. And I won’t be squirting you every two seconds anymore. I know it’s confusing. Bear with me. 

When we meet people, we shake their hands. When we see people we know, we may hug them. I can’t guarantee we will be blowing candles out on birthday cakes anytime soon, but there will be birthday parties. In real life. 

We will be eating indoors at restaurants again. We will also have people in our home. Please remember how to behave properly. Bodily noises, screaming, and running around are generally frowned upon.

Dear self, please, please, please remember:

Once you are back at work, you will not have as much time for exercise. That is OK.

You will also not have time to make all the from-scratch foods you have been whipping up. That is OK. 

You managed the morning rush, commute, work, pickup, dinner prep, bedtime, pack lunches, sleep, and repeat hamster wheel, and you will manage it again. It will be OK.

Yoga pants and a hoodie are not appropriate office attire. Zippers and buttons are normal and should be welcomed. Same with shoes. 

You do not have to make up for a year of not hugging in one day.

Just like it took a while to lean in to the pandemic life, it will take a while to lean out of it and into the next phase. Give yourself patience.

How about you? What lessons will you have to re-learn and re-teach your family?

6 {Easy} Ways to Make Valentine’s Day Special for Your Kids

If your usual Valentine’s Day plans are looking different this year, don’t worry! Boston Moms has got you covered!

This resource is here to help Boston-area and Massachusetts parents find JOY in even the smallest, silliest holiday! Valentine’s Day is perfect for kids and families, and we hope this guide gives you the inspiration you need to make this Valentine’s Day an extra special one.

How to use this guide:

Each image leads to a family-friendly Valentine’s Day activity or idea. Click on an image to find more info, or take your time scrolling through to find the information that best suits your family.

CLICK AN IMAGE BELOW TO READ MORE

VALENTINE’S DAY BREAKFAST. Stay with us, here! You don’t need to be a “Pinterest mom” to pull off a sweet and special V-Day breakfast for your kiddos. Here are some fun ideas to surprise your kids and bank some mom-points from your little valentines!

Main Course

  • Heart-shaped egg-in-a-hole
    • Use a cookie cutter to cut a heart-shaped hole in the center of a buttered piece of bread. Place on a hot pan, and crack an egg into the heart hole. Cook until almost cooked through, turning the bread to toast the second side. 
  • Heart-shaped peanut butter and jelly toast
    • Use a cookie cutter to cut out heart toast shapes
  • Heart-shaped pancakes
    • Drip your pancake batter carefully in the shape of a heart!

Side Dishes

  • Cut strawberries into hearts
  • Strawberry or raspberry yogurt plus Valentine’s Day sprinkles

Beverages

  • Any PINK or RED juice!
  • Milk with a drop of red food coloring in it
  • Water with fruit punch ice cubes

Roll up your sleeves and embrace the “crafternoon.” We know your schedules are crammed, but try to set aside time to get messy and CREATE together! Save these crafts as keepsakes, or gift them to a grandparent or other valentine!

Heart-Shaped "Stained Glass"

Follow these easy instructions to create your own “stained glass” heart for Valentine’s Day!

Materials:

Cardstock or construction paper, red tissue paper, pink tissue paper, white tissue paper, contact paper, scissors, a pencil.

Instructions:

1. Fold your cardstock in half and sketch half of a heart shape as a guide for cutting. Cutting while the paper is folded will ensure you have a symmetrical heart!

2. Cut out the heart shape. Be careful to center the heart on the paper so you have a “hole” in the cardstock paper and the entire paper is not cut.

3. Cut a piece of contact paper just large enough to cover the entire piece of cardstock.

4. Lay the cardstock on top of the sticky side of the contact paper.

5. Allow your child to decorate inside the heart with tissue paper shapes or scraps! The contact paper will ensure all the tissue paper sticks inside the creation.

6. When your child is finished, place another piece of contact paper (sticky side down) on top of the heart shape. This will “seal” your artwork and ensure nothing stays sticky!

7. Tape your art to a window, and let the light shine through like stained glass!

Thumbody Loves You Valentine

Follow these easy instructions to create your own “thumb-body loves you” valentine or keepsake!

Materials:

Plain white note cards or paper, red stamp ink, a black marker, and a wet paper towel for clean up!

Instructions:

1. Show your child how to stamp their thumb onto the ink pad.

2. Place one thumbprint carefully on your notecard VERTICALLY. This will be your little thumbprint “person”!

3. Using your black marker, add facial features, arms, legs, and hair.

4. Write the words “Thumb-Body Loves You” on the card and have your child write their name if they are able.

5. Repeat for as many thumbprint “people” as you’d like.

6. Deliver to your valentine or hold on to it for a cute thumbprint keepsake of your own.

Heart-Shaped Cookie Decorating

Ingredients

Cookie dough
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon light cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
 
Frosting
2 egg whites
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
food coloring

Instructions

  • Beat butter, sugar, and salt until smooth. Add egg yolks, cream, and vanilla, and beat until fluffy. Add flour 1 cup at a time.
  • Shape into a ball and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Cookie dough can be made 24 hours ahead of time.
  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator for about 20 minutes prior to rolling it out. Roll out on a floured counter or on parchment paper to desired thickness. (I like them pretty thin.) Use cookie cutters to make shapes and place on an ungreased cookie sheet or parchment paper.
  • Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Let cookies cool before decorating.
  • Mix frosting ingredients well and separate into a few different containers before adding food coloring to make desired colors.
  • Use paintbrushes to decorate cookies, add sprinkles, and enjoy!

End your Valentine’s Day with the easiest idea ever… a “PIZZA MY HEART” party! All you need is pizza! Leave the cooking to the professionals and order from your favorite local pizza place, or make your own pizza at home. If you’re feeling extra festive, call around and ask if your local pizza joint makes a heart-shaped pizza!

We like to shop the after-holiday clearance sales and store decor away for future use, but if you are going all-out for your Valentine’s Day celebration for the first time ever, here are some inexpensive options for easy and fun decor!

Click the image below to view and purchase these Boston Moms-recommended products!

Do you have an idea to add? Let us know!

Did we miss a fun activity, recipe, or craft? Let us know!

Email info {at} bostonmoms {dot com}!

Inexpensive and Easy Valentine’s Day Decor + Supplies

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When you purchase something through our affiliate links, Boston Moms may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Love is in the air! Make Valentine’s Day extra special at your house this year by decorating your space and your dining table with these fun (inexpensive) options. Your kids will love it, and many of these items can be saved to use for years to come! Click below to purchase yours!

Snow Days Should Be Snow Days, Not Remote Learning Days

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This year, snow days are causing heated discussions like never before.

I have heard of school districts that have decided there will be no snow days at all. Instead, on days when kids and teachers are unable to go to school in person because of snowstorms, everyone will do remote learning. Other districts have come to the decision that snow days will be snow days.

A few weeks ago, my children’s school sent a parent survey about exactly this. I filled out the survey immediately, stating my preference that snow days be snow days. I tried to consider why we would do it any other way.

The thing is, this is not just about my situation, in my house, with my variables. This is a community issue. A collective issue. Like so many things this year have been. And we need to consider all the angles before rushing to a conclusion.

Does it seem like a bit of a silly issue to be debating? Perhaps. But it comes down to what so many decisions this year have come down to. Who is affected, how are they affected, and is the alternative better or not?

Who is affected, and how so?

In a typical year, with kids attending school in person, a snowstorm can prevent children, teachers, and school staff from safely going to school. The district makes the call to ensure everyone is safe and able to stay home.

In this scenario, adults who typically work outside the home may be inconvenienced. Some employers might close the office so the adults can have a day off. What I have seen happen more often, though, is employers allowing their employees to stay home on the snow day but requiring them to put in a full day from home. And this is in addition to shoveling snow and taking care of the kids!

When it comes to the teachers, snow days might mean being home with their own children and also still having to shovel snow (and perhaps help an elderly neighbor, for example). Let’s not assume that when there are snow days our kids’ teachers are sitting at home all day watching TV and eating snacks.

Now let’s imagine what it might be like to require all students and teachers to engage in remote learning during a snowstorm this year.

In my children’s school district, about 20% of the children have been learning remotely since the beginning of the school year; the rest have been going in person since late September. If all the students have to switch to remote learning for a day or two of a blizzard, this means the kids who have not been remote learning have to figure out how to do so with little preparation. The parents who have not been juggling their work and their kids’ learning have to somehow find a way to do so or take time off work. The teachers who have been struggling to find a balance between teaching in person and trying to provide quality remote learning as well now have to all of a sudden do a full day or two of remote learning on short notice.

And then, how long do you keep them learning remotely? How do you coordinate siblings with different schedules? How do parents keep up with a job that is still requiring the same level of productivity?

I know that those who have been learning remotely have had to figure out the best way to handle these questions. I do not want to take away from your challenges, but you have had some time for trial and error; the families whose children have been going to school in person should not be expected to when we are used to having snow days and planning the school year with some extra days built into the calendar just in case.

Is there a better alternative?

I cannot speak for everyone, but my experience here in New England is that children (and often the parents too) love that first snow day. I grew up in the tropics, but I remember in college here in Massachusetts waking up during a blizzard to watch the ticker at the bottom of the TV screen to see if school was canceled. I lived on campus, and we would all get super excited about snow days.

We have all gone through a lot recently. Our lives have changed drastically, and our kids have not been able to do everything they’re used to. School is vastly different even for those who are attending in person, but especially for the kids learning remotely. Shouldn’t we all band together to let ourselves and our kids enjoy this one thing?

Will it make that much of a difference in our kids’ education to have a handful of snow days, as they usually have each winter? I do not think it will have a negative impact. Quite the opposite, in fact. I think it will bring back some normalcy. Some of what they are used to and expect during the winter months each year.

A letter from a superintendent in West Virginia has been making the rounds on social media recently, and his announcement that school will be closed for a true snow day has resonated with me.

“So please, enjoy a day of sledding and hot chocolate and cozy fires. Take pictures of your kids in snow hats they will outgrow by next year and read books that you have wanted to lose yourself in, but haven’t had the time. We will return to the serious and urgent business of growing up on Thursday, but for tomorrow… go build a snowman.”

Whatever your experience ends up being, mama, I hope it works out for you. Make the best of it — your kids will continue to thrive!

The Best Books for Raising Inclusive Kids :: Black Protagonists and Historical Figures

Have you considered the impact the books you choose for your at-home library can have on the little people you are raising? Including books that feature characters and families who look like yours, as well as ones who don’t, is integral to raising inclusive children.

Boston Moms encourages you to diversify your own little library! We are excited to share lists of our favorite books, curated by our team of local moms, to help you narrow down your options.

For Black History Month, we are happy to publish our first list of the year — a compilation of our team’s favorite books that celebrate Black characters, culture, and historical figures. 

We are always learning, and we want you to join us on our journey!

Black History Month books - Boston Moms

“When Parker Curry came face-to-face with Amy Sherald’s transcendent portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery, she didn’t just see the First Lady of the United States. She saw a queen—one with dynamic self-assurance, regality, beauty, and truth who captured this young girl’s imagination. When a nearby museum-goer snapped a photo of a mesmerized Parker, it became an internet sensation. Inspired by this visit, Parker, and her mother, Jessica Curry, tell the story of a young girl and her family, whose trip to a museum becomes an extraordinary moment, in a moving picture book.” Book summary courtesy ParkerLooksUp.com.

“Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he’ll do anything to make her — and her hair — happy.

“Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair — and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere.” Book summary courtesy of the publisher.

“An important book for all ages, Little Leaders educates and inspires as it relates true stories of forty trailblazing black women in American history. Illuminating text paired with irresistible illustrations bring to life both iconic and lesser-known female figures of Black history such as abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, poet Maya Angelou, and filmmaker Julie Dash.” Book summary courtesy Amazon.

“Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.” Book summary courtesy of the author’s website.

“Critically acclaimed author Jabari Asim and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator E. B. Lewis give readers a fascinating glimpse into the boyhood of Civil Rights leader John Lewis.

“John wants to be a preacher when he grows up—a leader whose words stir hearts to change, minds to think, and bodies to take action. But why wait? When John is put in charge of the family farm’s flock of chickens, he discovers that they make a wonderful congregation! So he preaches to his flock, and they listen, content under his watchful care, riveted by the rhythm of his voice.” Book summary courtesy of the publisher.

“Author-illustrator Vashti Harrison shines a bold, joyous light on black men through history in this #1 New York Times bestseller.

“An important book for readers of all ages, this beautifully illustrated and engagingly written volume brings to life true stories of black men in history. Among these biographies, readers will find aviators and artists, politicians and pop stars, athletes and activists. The exceptional men featured include writer James Baldwin, artist Aaron Douglas, filmmaker Oscar Devereaux Micheaux, lawman Bass Reeves, civil rights leader John Lewis, dancer Alvin Ailey, and musician Prince.” Book summary courtesy Amazon.

“This gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another comes from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.” Book summary courtesy of the publisher.

Did we miss any awesome books? Let us know!

Email [email protected] to tell us YOUR favorite book for your inclusive at-home library, and we'll add it to our list!

Meet a Boston Dad :: David Supple, NEDC

Boston Moms is thrilled to announce our 2021 partnership with New England Design & Construction! So, we’d like to re-introduce you to our friend, local dad and business owner David Supple. You’ll see a lot of David in this space this year, as he helps to answer our questions as our architecture, design, and building EXPERT!

Meet David Supple — Architectural DesignBuilder and Boston Dad!

Full name: David Muñiz Supple  

Occupation/business name: Architectural DesignBuilder, New England Design & Construction (NEDC)

Children: Abaline (4) and Gabriel (6)  

Hometown: Boston (I am from Rowayton, CT, originally and went to college at Tufts here. After a stint on the West Coast I settled down here, married a beautiful Boston girl, and we started a family)

Favorite local restaurant: So many great restaurants in the Boston area — I’d say Zaftigs Delicatessen with family and Grill 23 for date night.

Favorite local business or brand: There are many — we try to shop and support local as much as possible and thus love quite a few. I do have a special place in my heart for Urban Grape in the South End as well as Beacon Hill Chocolates… they are amazing. Also, Bridgette Wallace’s G Code House is a nonprofit and social enterprise we highly believe in. We very much love our city and try to do a large amount of community work to give back and help those who need it — simply because we can and we enjoy seeing those around us succeed. I highly value our local trade and vendor partners — all the small businesses that make us whole. It is entirely a group activity with 30 different partners on a project really being a community — the success of the entire project depends on the care and quality of work by all, and a single entity not performing endangers the success of a project.  

Tell us a bit about your family: My children love performing and sports and are talented artists — much of which has to do with my incredible wife who is always fostering their interests and turning them into creative activities we do as a family. She’s an incredible mother.

Tell us a bit about NEDC: We have a unique, talented, and extremely tight-knit company of about 20 — sustainable designers, architects, and master artisans. We care for each other and carry a high standard for ourselves and our clients. “Lifting Spirits with Spaces” is our mission. Design Build and the return of the architect to his original role as master builder are subjects I’ve grown passionate about over the past two decades. I graduated from Tufts with a degree in architecture and, unfortunately, found years of academic theory to be woefully inadequate when confronted with real life. To address this imbalance I took a job as a carpenter to teach myself to actually BUILD. I’m now extremely proud of the team I’ve built over the past two decades — true professionals in sustainable architectural design, planning, and construction and just sincere, caring people. We do it all for our clients in one Architectural Design Build package — the way the masters did it for thousands of years, crafting homes for those moving and changing the world.

How does NEDC serve local families? Our contribution to our community is to lift the spirits of the inhabitants of the spaces we create. Our environments have a profound impact on our well-being and day-to-day lives. We are all committed to and passionate about creating precisely the right space for our clients to lift them up and help them create their lives and dreams.

What is the one thing that surprised you the most about parenthood? To be honest… all of the poop and the sometimes very large size of it.

How do you manage the juggle of business ownership, your various community efforts, and parenthood? I keep a schedule and set it up to excel (not balance) in all aspects of life.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer a new dad? I have amnesia from the early years, so I’m not sure I’m the best to advise… not a lot of sleep was happening there. I’d let them know they are doing great and to keep going and enjoy the ride!

What is one way you take care of yourself? Since I am currently on a pretty consistent workout regimen, I would say that — along with clean eating. I played football and lacrosse at Tufts and try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Consistent exercise makes a huge difference in my physical and mental well-being.

Is there anything else we should know about you or your work? We are genuine, transparent, and highly caring. We all have families and love to help create beautiful homes and spaces for others.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? Nature. “All things share the same breath — the beast, the tree, the man… the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports… Whatever a man does to the web, he does to himself.” — Chief Seattle

We’re looking forward to having David share his expertise with Boston Moms this year! In the meantime, you can see more of David and the work of NEDC on Instagram (@nedesignconstruction), Facebook, and the NEDC website.

Everything I Wish I Had Known When Moving to the Boston Area

moving to Boston - Boston Moms
Photo by todd kent on Unsplash

Are you moving to Boston soon? Just moved here? Welcome! 

My husband and I relocated to Boston from Dallas in 2018 with our then 2-year-old daughter and a baby boy due 3 months after we arrived in Massachusetts. Having previously visited the Northeast, I knew I loved all the area had to offer — plenty of nature to explore, history to experience firsthand, and real seasons. 

But my excitement was also balanced with apprehensions. In some ways, acclimating to this new region felt like acclimating to a whole new country. In 2.5 years of living in the Boston area, I have met multiple fellow transplants who share the same nervous concerns I felt. This is the advice I give to new New Englanders, and everything I wish I had known when I made the transition to the Northeast. 

1. Do not be scared of winter 

Our family moved in May, and I spent the entire summer interviewing my new friends about the season I was actually fearful of. What should my kids wear? Will we be able to drive on the roads? Just how much snow are we talking?

That first winter was definitely a learning experience, but it went much smoother than my mind had led me to believe it would. 

My son was a baby for our first cold season, so I was up around the clock nursing him. The sound of metal scraping snowy asphalt became familiar as I would hear the snowplow starting around 3:30 a.m. The sunrise revealed that there were snowplows and sand trucks everywhere! The interstates and major roads were always cleared, and as long as fluffy white flakes were falling from the sky, workers were diligently maintaining the roads. I felt completely safe transporting my babies in winter weather. I also learned that the ground is not covered in snow for the entire season — it comes and goes. 

As for dressing my kids, I found that cotton gloves were useless against wet snow play, and the adorable puffer coat I bought my daughter was returned immediately when I realized it was not waterproof. Waterproof is key for allowing safe and dry outside play during the winter months. The expensive brands are tempting, but Target apparel has kept my family warm and toasty just fine. These are the essentials I have on hand for my kids every winter:

  • Beanie or trapper hat big enough to cover the ears
  • Waterproof winter gloves
  • Waterproof winter coat
  • Fleece-lined leggings or jeans
  • Snow pants
  • Lined snow boots that will comfortably wrap around a bulky snow pant 
  • Since it is NOT safe to strap kids in their car seats while wearing winter coats, I also recommend keeping a blanket in the car to keep them cozy until you have reached your destination.

2. How do you say these town names?  

Glah-chester? Walt-ham? Chath-am? Pronouncing New England towns was a huge source of anxiety for me as my husband and I looked at different properties with our realtor. Part of me felt that it would be insulting to mispronounce the names of towns we were visiting.

My advice: Ask a local, because you’ll never guess. 

It was important to me that I join several mom’s groups to quickly make new friends in the area. One of the most helpful meetings I attended allowed for newbie moms to ask local Boston moms how to pronounce challenging town names. We sat around drinking coffee and laughing as the conversation took up the better part of an hour. If not for that group, I still would not know how to properly pronounce Haverhill, Worchester, or Leominster.   

3. The reputation of Boston drivers 

Contrary to stereotypes you might have heard, Bostonians are some of the kindest, most genuine, down to earth people you will ever meet — until they are behind the wheel of a car. Kidding! Boston drivers do tend to be on the aggressive side. To their credit, Massachusetts drivers are ranked some of the safest drivers in the country. The strict no texting while driving law could contribute to drivers’ focus.

And drivers need to be focused — you will understand why the first time you maneuver through the paved-over cobblestone streets of downtown Boston. No simple grid system exists in the heart of the city. These streets have been traveled for centuries, and as you marvel at old photos of Paul Revere’s North End home, you visualize just how much the city has built up over hundreds of years. 

What helped me to gain confidence driving in this historic city was one big realization: No one knows how to drive in downtown Boston! 

Be patient with yourself and others as your GPS tries to navigate you through one-way streets, lengthy traffic jams, twists and turns, cars cutting you off, moving vans stuck on Storrow, and loads of pedestrian traffic. You’ll be fine!

4. What about housing? 

Boston housing threw me for loop more than just about anything our family encountered. We moved to Boston with a dog, plus two young children. This seemed innocent enough, but it led to a long, challenging housing search. My husband and I were looking to rent, but the majority of landlords we encountered did not allow pets. Some allowed cats, but our 15-pound pug was not welcome.

The age of the buildings in the Greater Boston area inevitably means that properties built before 1978 are likely to contain lead paint. As a result, all children in Massachusetts under the age of 6 must be screened for lead poisoning each year. De-leading a home is expensive, so some landlords prefer not to go through the hassle. 

When our realtor would locate a property that allowed pets and had been de-leaded, we were always in line with 8-12 other eager applicants. Whether buying or renting, housing in the Boston area is extremely competitive — and expensive. 

5. The unfamiliar becomes familiar

Relocating our young family of four to Boston was not the easiest thing I have ever done. In fact, it was really hard. There was a lot of stress, a lot of learning, and a lot of tears involved. But the honest truth is that it was all worth it to call this incredible place home. I would do it all over again… but preferably if I could do it knowing what I know now.  

I Am Grateful for the Time COVID-19 Gave Me

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COVID family - Boston Moms
Photo courtesy Karyn Novakowski of Kin + Kid Photography

Every year, sometime in mid-August, after six or eight weeks of summer vacation, I brush my crazy hair out of my eyes and mutter to my husband, “These kids need to go back to school.”

By the time September comes, I breathe a sigh of relief and happily scoot my (practically feral by that point) children off to school. Our grocery bill goes down, and the constant sibling bickering ceases. We all enjoy each other a bit more as we all realize that absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

But everything changed when COVID-19 hit. 

The school closure began at two days, then extended to a few weeks. My husband and I joked about how we would lose our minds if the district opted to finish the year without ever going back to the school building. Just imagine a full six months without a break! 

And then it happened. In April, it was decided that the remainder of the school year would be remote.

And once it was over, it happened again in the fall as our school district opted to not go back until November. And then again as they extended remote learning until January. As of this moment, it looks like it may be extended yet again. 

But, do you know what didn’t happen?

I didn’t lose my mind. 

I have been home with my five children, day in and day out, for over nine months now, and I have yet to reach the “mid-August” point. The kids aren’t on each other’s last nerves. They don’t fight all day, every day. I am not pulling my hair out and wishing the days away. In fact, it is quite the opposite. In our understanding that we must stay home together to be safe, there has come a strange sort of peace. Everyone gets along a little bit better than before. We have created new family jokes and rituals. We have become closer. 

This isn’t to say I enjoy every minute.

There have been plenty of remote school days that have dissolved into tears and frustration. But intertwined into those days are the moments where I am able to hear things I wouldn’t normally hear — the tentative first notes of learning the flute during 4th-grade band, the praise from a teacher for a well-constructed sentence, the pride in a volunteered algebra answer. 

These are the moments I will treasure in the years to come — where teenagers sneak away from their own desks to wave hi to the kindergarten teacher over Zoom, or to give a high five when they hear a younger sibling achieve a goal we have all listened to them work on for days. The times when I sneak to their doors, making heart hands and stage whispering “I LOVE YOU” during class, or simply being able to be there to give a hug when an assignment is difficult. 

Because of COVID-19, we have bonded in a way that we wouldn’t have in our busy pre-quarantine lives. Together, we have made up silly new ways to hug each other, implemented “mandatory” kitchen dance party time, had countless movie nights, experimented with crazy hair colors, and made an effort to make our dog “Instafamous.” (I would venture to say we have achieved our goal, as @PennyTheCoonhound currently has over 5,000 loyal fans.)

Quarantine hasn’t been easy, but I am grateful we have had this time together. We won’t ever forget the months we spent cooped up at home.

And I haven’t reached “mid-August” yet.

Why Do I Look Pregnant When I’m Not? A Primer on Diastasis Recti

Why do I look like I am four months pregnant when I gave birth over a year ago?

Why does it look like a football is coming out of my belly when I do crunches?

Is it diastasis recti? And what is that, anyway?

I wish I had known all about posture, alignment, and diastasis recti well before my kids were born — they’re now 13 and 16 years old. Despite all my fitness training, I didn’t know about their importance and impact until I was eight months pregnant with my second — and jackknifing off the OB exam table.

What was that bulge above and beyond my pregnant belly? It looked like a scene from “Alien”! “It’s a normal part of pregnancy and will go back to normal post-delivery,” my OB said. OK, file that away for “must research.”

My healthy baby boy was born, and I went back to teaching and running. Then my symptoms started. Every time I ran, I could barely walk the next day due to hip pain. Leaking had started with impact. I ran a road race at three weeks postpartum and peed my pants all the way to the finish line.

Something was not right. My fact-finding brain decided to research all I could. I self-diagnosed and figured it was diastasis recti. I had not been aware of my muscle imbalances or the impact of pushing my fitness so soon after childbirth. My posture and alignment were off. I was breathing incorrectly and holding my breath upon exertion. Little did I know then that all of this had an impact on my diastasis.

Everyone is different. Symptoms are different and diastasis recti does not occur with all pregnancies. Sometimes a diastasis is not always the cause of symptoms but the result of something else going on in the body.

So what is it? Diastasis = Separation.

With diastasis recti, the connective tissue in the midline is stretched thin, allowing the outer abdominal muscles, the recti or “six pack” muscles, to separate. This separation and weak connective tissue fail to protect the organs or support the back. If the separation is large enough, the organs will protrude, creating that bulge in the belly. One is more prone to hernias with a diastasis! I developed an umbilical hernia after my second pregnancy.

A diastasis can be caused by the continuous forward forceful pressure on the weak part (belly button) of the connective tissue of the rectus abdominis. This intra-abdominal pressure can be from a growing uterus, improper lifting, or improper breathing — especially upon exertion. It can also be due to over-toned muscles, such as oblique dominance. I was notorious for holding my breath during exertion and stress! A diastasis can occur only above the belly button, or just below the belly button, or all the way from your sternum to your pubic bone, like mine was.

How is it diagnosed and measured?

I self-diagnosed, and since diastasis recti is measured by finger width, I thought mine was only two fingers, which is the minimum for diastasis recti. Not bad — I’m fine, I thought. But I went to an RN/personal trainer/diastasis recti specialist, and she assessed me at four fingers at my belly button. It also ran all the way up to my sternum and down to my pubic bone. I was not diagnosing myself correctly.

If you want to attempt a self-check before being seen by a professional, take a look at this helpful video by Dr. Sarah Duvall.

How can someone heal from diastasis recti?

If you find you have a diastasis, contact your OB/PT — especially if you have symptoms. Meanwhile, back off to easier levels of any exercise that is giving you symptoms. Try to recognize what movement makes your symptoms worse, and decrease the stress and the load on the body. Keep a list. Educate yourself. Seek help. 

I used my body as a case study. After meeting with many experts, learning, studying, and getting more specialized certifications, I healed my own diastasis recti with exercise. Healing with exercise is not the case for all, and sometimes, depending upon the severity of the diastasis, surgery can be required. However, surgery won’t fix incorrect movement patterns.

In seeking healing, be mindful of your daily movements, whether you’re exercising or not. Anything that causes exertion can be a trigger — like lifting, twisting, sitting, standing, having a bowel movement, sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose.

Learn effective strengthening exercises that will help bring the separated muscles closer together and help heal the connective tissue.  And address movement patterns and muscle imbalances. Look at ALL of your movement patterns, how you breathe, how you breathe with your movements, how you stand, and how you sit.

In addition, it is like any other injury — you will always have a weakness if you are not mindful of your breath, form, and movement — especially when you are tired (no sleep with little ones, work, life, etc.) and not as apt to be mindful of these things.

Closing a diastasis does NOT guarantee it will stay closed. (It is ongoing, like dirty laundry!) But working to heal from diastasis recti is life-changing behavior!

2021 Guide to Summer Camps in Greater Boston and Beyond

As busy moms ourselves, we know that finding summer camps in and around Boston is often high on your to-do list! We are so fortunate to live in an area where camp options abound. But how do you decide which one is the right fit? Are there camps you haven’t thought of or discovered yet? When are the registration dates, and how do you find one that fits the interests of each one of your children?

While we long for the lazy days of summer, we also know there are childcare and entertainment needs week after week. We hope this guide to summer camps in and around Greater Boston, brought to you by LINX Camps and Dexter Southfield Summer Camp, provides the insight you need to plan a fun and stress-free summer.

We are grateful to each of the camps that elected to sponsor this guide for a featured listing, and we encourage you to scroll to the bottom to see a COMPREHENSIVE list of more than 100 local summer camp options!

What will summer 2021 look like? We know at LINX Camps it will include at least three things: safety, SPIRIT, and smiles!

LINX Camps followed the best health advice in 2020 while maintaining a rich, magical experience. And they are 100% ready to do the same in 2021! LINX Camps’ expert staff recognizes each camper’s strengths to support the growth of younger campers while building character in older ones. The flexible sessions and extensive services provided make for an all-encompassing experience that creates an inclusive community in which everyone thrives. Register for as little as one week.

Ages: 3–15 years old
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Dates: June 21 to September 3
Additional Services: Lunch, Early Drop-Off (8–9 a.m.)

Enjoy growing savings when registering for two or more weeks; 2.5% discount guaranteed for ACH payments.

Dexter Southfield believes that all children should be campers, because the power of a summer camp experience is life changing. Summer camp builds character and self-esteem, and it’s a great way to meet friends and, of course, have fun!

The key to a successful summer camp experience is exposure to a variety of camps and programs that inspire creativity, happiness, and excitement. With 13 different program offerings available to children 3.5–14 years old, Dexter Southfield has a camp for every child. When you enroll in Dexter Southfield Summer Camp, you will receive exceptional customer service and enjoy the benefits of faculty-driven school buses, best-in-class facilities, and a highly trained staff. Above all else, your child will laugh, learn, and grow.

The Trustees takes pride in offering amazing outdoor camp experiences, at seven Trustees world-class properties on the North Shore, Metro West, and South Shore. Read more about each camp below!

Whether your campers like farms or fields, woods or waves, art-making or culinary creations, the Trustees has an exciting — and safe — summer lined up for them. Farm, coast, art, and forest adventures cultivate a sense of wonder and develop connections with the natural world and new friends.

The Trustees offers weeklong sessions from June 21 to August 27, with full-day options for ages 4–14, plus CITs and teens at select camps. Registration is now open. Find more information, become a member, and register at thetrustees.org/camps

Appleton Farm Camp | Ipswich

Appleton Farm Camp, Ipswich (ages 4-13, plus CITs)

With rolling grasslands, grazing livestock, vegetable gardens, an active barnyard, and historic buildings, Appleton Farms — the oldest continuously operating farm in the country — introduces campers to a working farm through exciting and educational activities like feeding animals, collecting eggs, working in the garden, farm-based science experiments, and lots of outdoor hiking.

SummerQuest | The Crane Estate, Ipswich

SummerQuest at the Crane Estate, Ipswich (ages 4-14)

Campers start their day with songs and games in morning circle then break into small groups to dive into theme-based activities. Every afternoon, campers enjoy swim time on a private beach, engage in creative craft projects, and play active games on the 2,100-acre Crane Estate, making this the ultimate summer adventure.

World’s End Camp & Weir River Farm Camp | Hingham

Weir River Farm Camp, Hingham (ages 5-13, plus CITs)

Campers who are animal lovers will never want to leave this 75-acre working farm!

World’s End Camp, Hingham (ages 5-13, plus CITs)

The World’s End Trackers camp lets younger campers explore the shoreline, fields, and forests of this iconic Hingham property learning how to find deer tracks in the mud, build a home for a hermit crab, or create “binoculars” to spot birds and butterflies. The World’s End Adventurers program for older campers builds understanding of the connections between the natural world and themselves while exploring the importance of protecting special places for people, plants, and animals.

The Hive | deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln

The hive at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln (ages 5-16, plus CITs)

At deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, the hive provides an ideal atmosphere for young explorers to make connections to contemporary art, artists, nature, and ideas as well as to each other. Campers venture through the museum galleries, 30-acre sculpture park, and natural landscape to discover how artists use artistic, scientific, and social tools to explore ideas about self, community, and the environment. NEW! Summer Studio for Teens weekly sessions offer older creative campers the space to refine and expand their artistic skills alongside accomplished teachers and artists.

Farmer, Forester, Chef! | Powisset Farm, Dover

Farmer, Forester, Chef! at Powisset Farm & Noanet Woodlands, Dover (ages 6-12)

Campers focus on the three things that make Powisset Farm unique — the farm, the forest, and the kitchen. At the 109-acre working farm, campers care for animals and vegetables, learn their way around the kitchen discovering how to prepare healthy recipes, and then explore the natural world at neighboring Noanet Woodlands.

Rocky Woods Nature Explorers | Rocky Woods, Medfield

Rocky Woods Nature Explorers, Medfield (ages 5-10)

NEW! Outdoor adventures abound at historic 491-acre Rocky Woods Reservation — in the forest and by the ponds. Learn about flora and fauna, identify trees and discover animal habitats, go ponding, and explore the trails. Discover life in the woods — from the famous beaver construction sites to songbirds, bullfrogs, and underwater creatures — and learn to build a fire and cook yummy treats, try fun nature crafts projects, and meet lots of new friends who all share your delight in the outdoors!

Summer at BC High is located on the beautiful BC High School campus on Morrisey Blvd. in Boston, a five-minute walk from the Red Line and Commuter Rail train stops at JFK/UMass. Campers entering grades 5–11 will experience a wide variety of sports camps, academic courses, and specialty camps instructed by highly educated teachers and state champion coaches. Join for an enriching summer — from June 21–August 13, 2021 — for camps focusing on SAT test prep, college essay and the common app, baseball, basketball, football, Lacrosse Academy, Minecraft, movie making, and coding, and so much more! Visit BC High’s summer pages on their website for more information and to register. Some programs will have an option of virtual or in-person depending on the academic course or specialty camp.

This summer, the French Cultural Center is staying safe and moving all their programs online; but rest assured, their mission and curriculum are as exciting as ever! What to expect from an online adventure? A mix of French lessons, exercises, and fun interactive games managed via the video conferencing app Zoom, as well as daily hands-on projects to do at home. All will offer an immersive and interactive approach to learning French.

The summer program will run on a weekly basis over the course of 10 weeks. Children can enroll in 45-minute, 60-minute, or 90-minute classes depending on their age level.

Ages: 5-12
Dates: June 21 to August 27
Hours + Pricing Vary by Age

Pedalheads is a learn-to-ride bike camp best known for getting kids as young as 3, off training wheels and riding on their own.

We combine a fun group setting with specialized equipment, tailored cycling lessons, and incredible instructors to build confidence and get some of the most tentative kids biking on their own. We also offer advanced bike lessons that focus on road safety.
This Summer we are excited to be brining our popular week-long day camps to the Boston area.

For kids ages 3 and up.

Camp Dates:  Week-long Bike camps – Schedule and Locations TBD

April 6th, 2021 – Summer registration open date

[email protected]  // 1.888.886.6464

Leaders 4SC is a virtual summer workshop for middle school (rising 5th to 9th grade) students on leadership, communication, decision-making, and advocacy. Leaders 4SC aims to train the next generation of civic leaders — members of a community who actively participate in society. By the end of each week, students will have completed one writing or speaking project defending their position on a major issue, participated in daily discussions on current events and issues, and participated in daily task-force activities role playing as key decision makers.

Leaders 4SC will run for six weeks from July 5 to August 13, 2021, and students can join for any combination of weeks. Registration is now open; applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Students must be registered by the Friday prior to their intended start date.

Acera’s Summer STEAM Camp is a creativity-based arts and sciences day camp where children can nurture their natural desire to inquire, create, and innovate! Acera’s staff consists of professionals with significant experience in the classroom and in their own fields of expertise, including award winners, active research scientists, and working artists. This summer, Acera will offer both small group in-person camps as well as virtual programming for kids ages 4-17.

Registration opens on February 15, 2021.

On more than 1,000 acres of adventure in Dover and Westwood, Hale Day Camp, Hale Mountain Biking Camp, and Hale Adventure Camp offer everything from swimming lessons to camping trips to a private skills park. Tuition even includes perks like bus service for campers and year-round membership for camp families.

Maine Camp Experience

Maine Camp Experience (MCE) is a group of 30+ premier overnight summer camps and a comprehensive camp-planning resource. MCE has coed, all girls, and all boys camps for kids ages 7-17 located throughout the state of Maine. Maine Camps ran successfully in 2020 — mitigating any COVID outbreak — and will do so again in 2021! Each MCE camp is situated on a beautiful lake, features vast fields, and offers top-notch activities, instruction, facilities, directors, staff, and supervision. Campers enjoy land and water sports, arts, nature, and active adventures. Kids unplug, have fun, make lifelong friendships, learn new skills, and gain confidence and independence.

Full-summer, half, and short sessions are available. MCE’s Campcierge™ provides free, expert guidance. These camps are the “gold standard” — many have been operating for more than 100 years. Each summer, more than 20,000 campers enjoy camp in Maine. Research and enroll today at www.mainecampexperience.com or 877-92-MAINE.

Pine Village Preschool Summer Camp

At the Pine Village Summer Camp, campers will jump into Spanish immersion on their adventure through Spanish-speaking countries and regions! Pine Village offers two four-week summer sessions for children from 15 months to 5 years old. If you are interested, please fill out the Pine Village Summer Camp inquiry form to receive more information.

2021 Dates (Toddlers/Preschoolers)
Summer Session I: July 5 – July 29, 2021
Summer Session II: August 1 – August 26, 2021

As with the school year, families can choose anywhere from two- to five-day schedules. Each day, children and teachers will embark on a magnificent imaginary journey to explore Spanish-speaking countries and experience life as a child in a different country. Activities include dancing and crafts, cooking, and games.

Kidstock! Creative Theater

Kidstock! Creative Theater summer programs provide a variety of options, fun, and flexibility for kids ages 4–12 and pre-teens and teens ages 12–15 to explore creative theater, develop acting skills in a low-pressure environment, and work together to create a fully staged show at the end of each session. The Kidstock! summer schedule is flexible for all families and calendars with individual day sessions at the beginning and end of the summer and one-week sessions throughout the heart of the season. There are also morning and afternoon extended-day options for busy families. Each week, programs will explore a different theme. Summer programs are divided by age group to participate in unique and age-appropriate lesson plans, combining drama with art, movement, and music to help students create their own original presentation. Check the website for specific descriptions on each age-appropriate program, example schedules of the day, and information on schoolyear opportunities and custom birthday parties.

PRE-REGISTRATION is available until April 1 — save your spot in any program and decide after April 1 to complete your registration by making payment by 4/15.

Want to be a part of our 2021 Summer Camp Guide?

We want to show our readers all the great camps available right here in the Boston area. Partnering with us allows your business greater visibility with a large targeted market of local families. Join us and help enrich the lives of Boston moms!

4-Week Summer Media Program for Boston Youth (BNNtv) Boston
A Step Ahead, New England  
ABC Spanish in Motion Summer Camp  
Acera Summer STEAM Camps Winchester
Agassiz Village Summer Camp  
Appleton Farm Camp Ipswich
Axiom Learning Cambridge
Beacon Hill Nursery School Summer Programs Boston
Beaver Summer Camp Chestnut Hill
Belmont Hill Summer Programs Belmont
Berklee College of Music, Summer Programs Boston
Boating in Boston Boston
Boston Leadership Institute Summer Programs Wellesley
Boston Nature Center Summer Camp Mattapan
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Haverhill Haverhill
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem Salem
Boys & Girls Club of Woburn Woburn
Broad Meadow Brook Day Camp Worcester
Brookline Music School Brookline
Brookline Smart Summers Theater Arts Program Brookline
Brooks School Day Camp North Andover
Camp Cabot at Waltham YMCA Waltham
Camp Casco  
Camp Cedar Hill Waltham
Camp Chickami Newton
Camp Evergreen Andover
Camp Menorah on Lake Chebacco Essex
Camp Sewataro Sudbury
Camp Thoreau Summer Day Camp Concord
Camp Welch Fall River
Cedardale Day Camp Groveland
Cedarland Summer Camp Haverhill
Coastal Ocean Science Academy Nahant
Coastal Ocean Science Academy Summer Programs Nahant
Codemakers Brookline
Codewiz Arlington  
College for Kids/Arts Alive: Northern Essex Com. College Haverhill
Community Art Center/ ArtRocks Summer Camp Cambridge
Community Boating Inc. – Junior Program Boston
Concord Academy Summer Camp Concord
Concord Conservatory of Music Summer Camps Concord
Create-a-Cook Summer Cooking Programs Newton
Creative Arts Community School for Art Music & Theatre Reading
Cuvilly Arts & Earth Center Ipswich
Dedham Country Day & Sports Camp Dedham
Delphi Academy Summer Camp  
Dexter Southfield Summer Camps Brookline
DIScover Summer Clinics Danvers
Discovery Camps at Old Sturbridge Village Sturbridge
Drumlin Farm Assabet River Camp Sudbury
e’ inc. – the environment discovery & action center Boston
Edge on Science, 2 Locations  
Empow Studios Boston
Engineering & Design at The Advent School  
Esh Circus Arts Somerville
Everwood Day Camp Sharon
Explore Japan Program Milton
Exxcel Gymnastics and Climbing Summer Camp  
Fay Summer Camp Southborough
Fessenden Summer Camps Newton
French Summer Camp at the International School of Boston Cambridge
Girls Who Code Free Summer Immersion Programs Cambridge
Greater Beverly YMCA, 2 Locations  
Guard Up STEM Camps & Day Adventures Burlington
Habitat Education Center & Wildlife Sanctuary Belmont
Hale Day Camp Westwood
Harbor Discoveries Camp Boston
Hooray for Books Hopkinton
i2 Learning at Shady Hill Day Camp Cambridge
iD Gaming Academy for Teens Cambridge
iD Tech Camps for Kids & Teens (MIT) Cambridge
Irish Cultural Centre Canton
Ironstone Farm Summer Programs Andover
Kaleidoscope Creative Arts and Science Camp Newton
Kaleidoscope Summer Creative Learning Andover
Keys for Kids Summer Arts program Lexington
Kids 4 Coding Summer Tech Program  
Kids Summer Drama Workshops: Greater Boston Theatre Stoneham
KidsArts! Multicultural Afterschool and Summer Program Jamaica Plain
Kidstock! Creative Theater Winchester
Kingsley Montessori School Boston
KTBYTE: Computer Science Education Academy Lexington
La Vida Adventure Camp Wenham
Leaders 4 Social Change Online
LINX Camps Wellesley
Lyric First Stage Summer Program Boston
Maine Camp Experience Maine
Mass Audubon Summer Camps  
Mazemakers Weston
Metrowest YMCA Summer Camp, 2 Locations  
Middlesex Community College Summer Camps Bedford
MIT Day Summer Camp Cambridge
Music Programs at The Rivers School Conservatory Weston
New School of Music Summer Programs Cambridge
Nicole’s Art Spot Needham
Nike Vogelsinger Soccer Academy Andover
NO KIDS ALLOWED Summer Classes for Curious Middle Schoolers Hamilton
Nobles Day Camp Dedham
North Bennet Street School Summer Workshops Boston
O’Shea Chaplin Academy of Irish Dance Melrose
Ocean Protection Advocacy Kids, Inc. Cape Cod
Okie Dokie Art, Swim & Nature Island Camp  
Olympia Fencing Center Cambridge
One Stop Fun Camps: Drama, Karate, Gym & Swim, Dance Westford
Our Space Our Place Coding Camp for the Blind  
Parkway Community YMCA Camps  
Passport Summer Camp Cambridge
Performing Arts Center of MetroWest (PAC) Framingham
Pine Village’s Avion Imaginario Summer Camp, 9 Locations  
Pingree Day Camp Hamilton
Pocket Full of Tales at TCAN Natick
Russian School of Mathematics​ (RSM), 11 Locations  
South Shore Art Center Cohasset
Sports International Football Camp: NE Patriots Academy Lowell
Steve & Kate’s Camp Boston
Summer at BC High Boston
Summer at Riverbend Natick
Summer Camps at St. John’s Prep Danvers
Summer Camps at The Rivers School Weston
Summer Fenn Day Camp Concord
Summer in French (French Cultural Center) Winchester
Summer Recess at Lexington Montessori Lexington
Summer Science Weeks: Harvard Museum of Natural History Cambridge
Summer Science Weeks: Harvard Museum of Natural History Cambridge
Summer Studios at PEM Salem
Summer Youth Sailing Programs at Courageous Sailing Charlestown
SummerQuest Ipswich
The Business of Doing Good, 3 Locations  
The Trustees Camps
Multiple Locations
Torit Montessori Summer STEAM Boston
Walnut Hill School for the Arts – Summer Programs Natick
Waltham Boys & Girls Club Waltham
Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation North Andover
Worcester JCC Camp Worcester
Camp Evergreen Andover
Ironstone Farm Summer Programs Andover
Kaleidoscope Summer Creative Learning Andover
Nike Vogelsinger Soccer Academy Andover
Middlesex Community College Summer Camps Beford
Belmont Hill Summer Programs Belmont
Habitat Education Center & Wildlife Sanctuary Belmont
4-Week Summer Media Program for Boston Youth (BNNtv) Boston
Beacon Hill Nursery School Summer Programs Boston
Berklee College of Music, Summer Programs Boston
Boating in Boston Boston
Community Boating Inc. – Junior Program Boston
e’ inc. – the environment discovery & action center Boston
Empow Studios Boston
Harbor Discoveries Camp Boston
Kingsley Montessori School Boston
Lyric First Stage Summer Program Boston
North Bennet Street School Summer Workshops Boston
Steve & Kate’s Camp Boston
Summer at BC High Boston
Torit Montessori Summer STEAM Boston
Brookline Music School Brookline
Brookline Smart Summers Theater Arts Program Brookline
Codemakers Brookline
Dexter Southfield Summer Camps Brookline
Guard Up STEM Camps & Day Adventures Burltington
Axiom Learning Cambridge
Community Art Center/ ArtRocks Summer Camp Cambridge
French Summer Camp at the International School of Boston Cambridge
Girls Who Code Free Summer Immersion Programs Cambridge
i2 Learning at Shady Hill Day Camp Cambridge
iD Gaming Academy for Teens Cambridge
iD Tech Camps for Kids & Teens (MIT) Cambridge
MIT Day Summer Camp Cambridge
New School of Music Summer Programs Cambridge
Olympia Fencing Center Cambridge
Passport Summer Camp Cambridge
Summer Science Weeks: Harvard Museum of Natural History Cambridge
Summer Science Weeks: Harvard Museum of Natural History Cambridge
Irish Cultural Centre Canton
Ocean Protection Advocacy Kids, Inc. Cape Cod
Summer Youth Sailing Programs at Courageous Sailing Charlestown
Beaver Summer Camp Chestnut Hill
South Shore Art Center Cohasset
Camp Thoreau Summer Day Camp Concord
Concord Academy Summer Camp Concord
Concord Conservatory of Music Summer Camps Concord
Summer Fenn Day Camp Concord
DIScover Summer Clinics Danvers
Summer Camps at St. John’s Prep Danvers
Dedham Country Day & Sports Camp Dedham
Nobles Day Camp Dedham
Camp Menorah on Lake Chebacco Essex
Camp Welch Fall River
Performing Arts Center of MetroWest (PAC) Framingham
Cedardale Day Camp Groveland
NO KIDS ALLOWED Summer Classes for Curious Middle Schoolers Hamilton
Pingree Day Camp Hamilton
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Haverhill Haverhill
Cedarland Summer Camp Haverhill
College for Kids/Arts Alive: Northern Essex Com. College Haverhill
Hooray for Books Hopkinton
Appleton Farm Camp Ipswich
Cuvilly Arts & Earth Center Ipswich
SummerQuest Ipswich
KidsArts! Multicultural Afterschool and Summer Program Jamaica Plain
Keys for Kids Summer Arts program Lexington
KTBYTE: Computer Science Education Academy Lexington
Summer Recess at Lexington Montessori Lexington
Sports International Football Camp: NE Patriots Academy Lowell
Maine Camp Experience Maine
Boston Nature Center Summer Camp Mattapan
O’Shea Chaplin Academy of Irish Dance Melrose
Explore Japan Program Milton
The Trustees Camps Multiple Locations
Coastal Ocean Science Academy Nahant
Coastal Ocean Science Academy Summer Programs Nahant
Pocket Full of Tales at TCAN Natick
Summer at Riverbend Natick
Walnut Hill School for the Arts – Summer Programs Natick
Nicole’s Art Spot Needham
Camp Chickami Newton
Create-a-Cook Summer Cooking Programs Newton
Fessenden Summer Camps Newton
Kaleidoscope Creative Arts and Science Camp Newton
Brooks School Day Camp North Andover
Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation North Andover
Leaders 4 Social Change Online
Creative Arts Community School for Art Music & Theatre Reading
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem Salem
Summer Studios at PEM Salem
Everwood Day Camp Sharon
Esh Circus Arts Somerville
Fay Summer Camp Southborough
Kids Summer Drama Workshops: Greater Boston Theatre Stoneham
Discovery Camps at Old Sturbridge Village Sturbridge
Camp Sewataro Sudbury
Drumlin Farm Assabet River Camp Sudbury
Camp Cabot at Waltham YMCA Waltham
Camp Cedar Hill Waltham
Waltham Boys & Girls Club Waltham
Boston Leadership Institute Summer Programs Wellesley
LINX Camps Wellesley
La Vida Adventure Camp Wenham
One Stop Fun Camps: Drama, Karate, Gym & Swim, Dance Westford
Mazemakers Weston
Music Programs at The Rivers School Conservatory Weston
Summer Camps at The Rivers School Weston
Hale Day Camp Westwood
Acera Summer STEAM Camps Winchester
Kidstock! Creative Theater Winchester
Summer in French (French Cultural Center) Winchester
Boys & Girls Club of Woburn Woburn
Broad Meadow Brook Day Camp Worcester
Worcester JCC Camp Worcester
A Step Ahead, New England  
ABC Spanish in Motion Summer Camp  
Agassiz Village Summer Camp  
Camp Casco  
Codewiz Arlington  
Delphi Academy Summer Camp  
Edge on Science, 2 Locations  
Engineering & Design at The Advent School  
Exxcel Gymnastics and Climbing Summer Camp  
Greater Beverly YMCA, 2 Locations  
Kids 4 Coding Summer Tech Program  
Mass Audubon Summer Camps  
Metrowest YMCA Summer Camp, 2 Locations  
Okie Dokie Art, Swim & Nature Island Camp  
Our Space Our Place Coding Camp for the Blind  
Parkway Community YMCA Camps  
Pine Village’s Avion Imaginario Summer Camp, 9 Locations  
Russian School of Mathematics​ (RSM), 11 Locations  
The Business of Doing Good, 3 Locations  
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