Hi Boston Mamas! I am new to the Boston area and have a 21-month-old little girl. I need things to do with her this fall/winter and weekends/rainy days. Also, I need some ideas for her birthday this fall. I would LOVE some suggestions! (FYI, we've done Boston Children's Museum, Aquarium, etc... we're looking for something a bit more interactive and smaller scale). Also, we live in Watertown so closer to that side of town would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance!
Welcome to Boston! I hope you're adjusting well to the area; it's a wonderful place to raise a family!
It's definitely a good idea to stow away some ideas for inclement weather (given that we'll have plenty of winter to endure once it comes). Here are some ideas that come to mind that are close to Watertown -- I'll make note of birthday party ideas in tandem with activity ideas where relevant, and also share comments I received via Facebook:
Play Spaces. Particularly during the cold/wet weather, it's imperative to have play space options, otherwise your home will become a total disaster zone. (If you have a play/romper room that can withstand being a disaster zone, awesome, but not everyone has the space for this! Plus, it's nice to get out of the house.) One play space I like that isn't too far from Watertown is Together in Motion in Arlington. This is a great play space particularly for toddlers because everything is soft and padded; you don't have to worry about them climbing too high on hard structures. We've also attended a few birthday parties at Together in Motion and it's a really nice venue for parties.
Also, via the Boston Mamas Facebook community page, Zipi and Prudence both offered props for the play space Inside PlayGround in Watertown; they also host birthday parties. Prudence also shared: "Belmont Kidspace is about to start up again, and there is lots of good programming in the Watertown Free Library, YMCA in West Newton. Watertown Family Network also has some wonderful activities." And my friend Roxanna also suggested: "Creative Movement in Needham, LINX in Wellesley, Gymboree in Newton, Kids U in Needham, and Warren Center in Wellesley."
Art Studios. Art is another wonderful indoor activity for kids. If you'd like to keep the mess outside the home, Muckykids is a new art studio for children on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge, and they offer open studio time, classes, and host birthday parties. The Kids Place for Fun is on your side of town in Newton and also offers drop in studio time, classes, and birthday party services. And right in Watertown, there is the Arsenal Center for the Arts. They don't offer kids open studios like Muckykids or the Kids Place for Fun, but they do offer parent/toddler art classes.
Music. As a former semi-pro musician and music teacher, I of course am a big advocate of music for kids. From the Boston Mamas mamapreneur network, I know of Boston Aardvarks, which offers music classes in Newton. And there's also Music Together, a longstanding provider of music programs for kids. If you go to their class locator page, you can plug in your zip code or address to find classes near you.
Language. If you're interested in introducing your daughter to a different language, ABC Spanish in Motion (which I also know about via the Boston Mamas mamapreneur network) offers classes in a number of locations (Belmont, Cambridge, and Newton would be closest to Watertown). Laurel started learning Spanish when she was in day care via a visiting Spanish program and loved it.
Other Classes & Playgroups. If you haven't already explored Isis Parenting, it's worth checking out. Check out their section on Classes by Age & Stage and you can see offerings such as music and movement, art, Spanish, and general play. The locations in Needham and Arlington would be closest to you.
Your Local Library.In the free and awesome domain, I'm a huge fan of the public library system. Check the Watertown library for story times and other programming options, and don't forget that you can access other libraries in the Minuteman Library Network as well. Also, many libraries have discounted museum pass programs so if you decide to venture into the city to one of these attractions, definitely check out pass availability.
Home Sweet Home. And finally, some days, it's just too crummy out to bundle the kids up and venture outside. In these cases, I suggest embracing the crummy weather and having a hibernation day. Hang out in jammies, bake some treats, and enjoy some ideas from this round up of rainy day activity ideas.
I hope these ideas are helpful Amy!
Image credit: Muckykids Art Studio
Have a question for Christine? Drop her a line! And of course feel free to comment in if you have recommendations beyond those made above.