An Open Letter to My Sons

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young boys playing with a stick in the woods; An Open Letter to My Sons

young boys playing with a stick in the woods; An Open Letter to My SonsBeing a mother of all boys is a category of Mom-Life that I didn’t exactly sign up for, yet here I am. I didn’t choose the Boy Mom life; the Boy Mom life chose me. After years of mothering my sons, I now wear it like a badge of honor.

Raising boys is exhausting. At the end of each day, I am covered in dirt and possibly snot. I am fluent in the language of potty words, I know every superhero (and their powers), and I’ve made more bowls of backyard soup (extra twigs, please) than I can count.

Like every Mom, I have high hopes for my sons. I have wishes, and I have dreams.

An Open Letter to My Sons: 

My wish for you, my sons, is that you always remember the magic of childhood. Remember believing in faeries and superheroes. Always look to the sky on Christmas Eve, no matter how old you may be. May sunsets always remind you of running in the dew-covered grass. I hope the smell of fresh waffle cones always reminds you of the nights we had ice cream for dinner.

I hope no one ever tells you to “man up” or misleads you to believe that “boys don’t cry.” Always express your emotions; they are nothing to be ashamed of. I will always be your shoulder to cry on and your sounding board in times of distress. Feel your emotions, share them, and never hide from them. Do not let the world define who you are; only you can do that.

I hope that you always remain kind, curious, and humble. Be the first to say ‘hello’ to a new kid in school. Lend a helping hand to those in need. Remember that everyone is different, and embrace those differences. Stick up for what’s right, even if no one else will. Always ask questions. Even if I don’t have the answers, I will help you find them. Be proud of the things you accomplish, but never boastful. Try your hardest without fear of failure, celebrate your accomplishments, and learn from your mistakes. If you struggle, push through, but never be afraid to ask for help. If you fall, I will always dust you off and encourage you to try again.

Always keep growing, always challenge yourself, but never let the world change who you know you are. I will always be your confidant, your best friend, your strongest advocate, and your number-one fan. The stress, the bugs, the fart jokes, the potty words, the messy bedrooms, and the dirt were all worth it. You are the greatest thing I have ever done. You are my very best work. Most of all, I hope you know that it is an honor to be your Mom.

My sons, you are the very best parts of me. 

 

Overnight Road Trips Near Rhode Island

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interior of car shopping gps on mounted cell phone

interior of car shopping gps on mounted cell phoneWhen winter finally rolls out of town (this year around Mother’s Day), my family develops a bit of wanderlust.  After being cooped up like hibernating bears, we enjoy taking an overnight road trip near Rhode Island.  Every year, we take a one-week family vacation, but we are also big fans of overnight excursions.  There are certain criteria – the destination cannot be more than 2 hours away, it has to include a hotel with a pool, and it must have at least two really good activities to do to warrant the overnight.  We are not really beach people, so our list does not include Block Island or the Cape.  I’ve decided to include some places that are family favorites and may not be as well known:

Springfield, MA/Pioneer Valley

Only about 90 minutes from Providence, there’s a lot to do.  The Springfield Museums include an art museum, a natural history museum, and the recently opened Dr. Seuss Museum and Sculpture Garden. For the sports fan, it is the home of the Basketball Hall of Fame.  If you go a bit further to Amherst, you can also visit the Eric Carle Museum.  This is one of our favorite places.  Not only do you get to see storybook art from his books and others, but they also have an interactive art studio, library, and many places for picnicking.  Look Park in Florence, MA, has a lot of outdoor activities, and there is a great college vibe in this area thanks to multiple colleges.

Plymouth, MA

Plimoth Plantation is great for kids of all ages (although I warn you that there is not much shade to be had on a very hot day).  You can take a whale-watching tour from the harbor and visit Plymouth Rock and Mayflower II.  If you have a kid who is into history, they will love it.  We always stay at the John Carver Inn because of the fabulous pool with a water slide.

Berkshires, MA

This pushes the limits of two hours, but it’s worth the extra half hour in the car, and it still counts as an overnight road trip.  We usually stay in either Pittsfield or Lenox.  The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield is a hidden gem, and we enjoy Hancock Shaker Village, which is similar to Old Sturbridge Village.  For older kids or children interested in art and/or history, there are many historic houses, the Norman Rockwell Museum, and several art museums.  Great Barrington and Lenox have fun downtown areas with many kid-friendly restaurants.  There are also fantastic parks with hiking trails.

North Fork/Eastern, Long Island

I may be a bit biased since I grew up on the Island, but using the car ferry out of New London makes this a reasonably easy weekend destination.  Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead is wonderful, and the Long Island Game Farm, right off the Long Island Expressway, is a zoo with quite a few exotic animals.  Harbes Family Farm, located in the middle of wine country, has many activities, including a barnyard, farm stand, hayrides, and more.

Salem/Gloucester, MA

One word – witches.  If your kid is into all things spooky, this a perfect overnight road trip near Rhode Island.  We did not take my kids until they were a bit older (for fear of needing to provide therapy after), so the scary attractions might need to wait until your child is at least age 7 or 8 (although you have to know your kid). Hammond Castle is modeled after a medieval castle, drawbridge, and all, right near downtown Gloucester.  The downtown areas of both Salem and Gloucester have cute shops, delicious seafood, and an ocean breeze, even on a hot day.  Neither town has a lot of hotels, but nearby Danvers does, and that is where my kids fell in love with Sonic milkshakes.

One of the great things about Rhode Island is that there is so much to do here and many other wonderful things nearby.  This summer, pick a weekend, plan a trip, and show your family how many fun destinations there are right in our own backyard!

 

Motherhood as a Mirror: Our Children As a Reflection of Our Best & Worst

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When your children begin to walk, talk, and grow into their personalities, you get to see little versions of yourself.  It might be one of the most rewarding facets of parenthood.  You and your partner get to pass on your best qualities and behavior, or at least try to.  You pridefully watch them grow in your image, on a solid foundation of your values and beliefs.

But it also means you can pass on some of your less-than-ideal qualities.  Sometimes, looking at your child is like looking into a mirror to see your reflection. Through your children, you sometimes see things you may not like about yourself.  As a parent, you become more aware that not only do you need to teach your children better, but you need to teach yourself too.

For example, when I am upset or angry, I am a classic “door slammer” or, at a minimum, a “shut-doors-and-cabinets-really-fast-and-loudly” person.  I know shutting doors angrily won’t solve any problems.  But I didn’t realize how often I did it or how undesirable it was to display this behavior until my then 5-year-old slammed a door when he was upset.

I’m not saying to beat ourselves up for our mistakes and character flaws.  But we should recognize that through motherhood, you can not only become a better parent with time, but also a better person.  Maybe for you, it’s not door-slamming.  Maybe it’s swearing, how you treated someone, your lack of patience while waiting in line at Target, or the amount of time you spend on your phone. It can be anything you see magnified through the lens of parenting. Let’s face it: It’s a bit uncomfortable to watch your child mimic an undesirable behavior that you know they learned from you.

Motherhood is beautiful and rewarding.  But it’s not always easy, and it’s definitely messy (literally and figuratively).  Being a mom has pushed me toward being a better person.  I am not going to pretend I am perfect.  In the throes of my emotions, I admit I’ve slammed a door in front of my kids since.  But since the first time I realized my son was picking up on this behavior, I take pause when I know I am not acting my best.  It turns into an opportunity to have a frank talk about how I know I can do better and how to admit when I make a mistake.

While we don’t want to see our children take on our flaws, I believe the opportunity to teach your children that no one is perfect is also an important lesson.  Owning mistakes and choosing to learn from them is an equally valuable lesson for children and parents alike.

 

3 Tips to Get Your Kids Outside This Winter

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Toddler in hat and coat with a squeezy bottle of water. Cubes of ice are on the ground among the leaves.
My youngest experiments with freeing frozen treasures from ice at Tinkergarten. Yes, that’s a perineal squirt bottle- we know all the fancy tricks.

Winter with kids can be tough. Here are three tips to get your kids outside this winter!

My first winter as a new mom was the now legendary New England winter of 2014-15. Snowfall records were broken across the region. It was piled so high that walking down the continuously shoveled streets was like walking through tunnels of ice. At the time, my husband was out at work all day with our only car and so if I wanted to get out of my house I had to walk with my then 9-month-old strapped to me in the carrier, the pair of us looking like some kind of abominable snowman, covered in so many layers to keep us both warm. I will never forget the experience of trying to climb over snow stacked high to the curb and slippery sheets of ice, praying that she and I would just stay upright. Our short journey to CVS at the end of the street, or a friend’s house a few away became fully-fledged missions of daring feats.

A snowy street with a car parked between piles of snow that are higher than the car
The snow in Boston in 2014/15 was higher than the fences and  parked cars.
woman walking in the snow with babies hat just visible from carrier in front. Toddler walks behind in full snow gear
I particularly enjoyed (note the sarcasm) this walk on a snowy day after my second was born (she’s strapped to me in the carrier). My then 3-year-old bitterly complained while walking as slowly as possible. I took this photo to remind me that even though it was hard, we did it!

Maybe that experience scarred me, but ever since, and certainly as our family has grown from one to three kids, I’ve found myself becoming more and more reluctant to brave the winter weather. It isn’t just the thought of the cold and the ice that I find off-putting, but even the very idea of trying to get all of us dressed and ready to go out in it. There’s three of everything to wrangle all the layers on before I’ve even thought about myself, and some days it feels like we spend longer putting it all on and taking it all off than we actually spend outside!

But the last two years of covid winters cooped up at home have made me even more determined to change this narrative for me and my family. When we choose to stay inside, we get less exercise, more screen time, and frankly, the inevitable cabin fever makes us ten times more likely to drive each other nuts! On the flip side, experts continually tell us that exposure to nature and the great outdoors has so many benefits in all four seasons.

For children, getting outdoors in the winter is especially important.

girl in snow gear sits in the snow with a bucket full of snow and dolls in the bucket, She holds a bowl of snow and a spoon
Cryogenic experiments with plastic dolls happening just outside our back door. Sometimes the back door is as far as you can make it.

Fresh air and sunlight increase circulation, builds the immune system, contributes to healthy sleep patterns, lowers stress,  provides unique sensory experiences, and offers the opportunity to develop grit and resilience. so, when I feel daunted at the prospect of getting outside during the coldest month, I remind myself that this experience is a gift to me and my family;an investment in my children’s present and future health and well-being.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it won’t be challenging!

Here are three tips that will make it easier to get your kids outside this winter:
Have the right gear:

When you’re not dressed appropriately for the weather it’s tough to feel cheerful in it. This winter I have made sure we have all the right gear to be comfortable outdoors, without breaking the bank. I’ve invested in some cozy base layers, warm joggers and fleeces, snow pants, and thermal insulated jackets. I’ve made sure boots still fit and each of us has a couple of pairs comfortabe of merino wool or thermal socks to wear. I also plan to reorganize my entryway so that coats, gloves, hats, and neck gaiters are easily accessible and ready for us to grab.

For a really excellent and up-to-date guide to winter gear for all ages, and discounts on family-recommended brands, check out this Winter Gear Guide from Tinkergarten. You can also check out their tips on how to get wiggly kids to bundle up for winter.

Have the right mindset:

Our children take their cues from us. If we grumble about the weather and express reluctance to go outside, then it’s not surprising that they will not feel excited about it either. This doesn’t mean we just have to suck it up and get on with it for the sake of our kids, rather, if we try to find things that we enjoy about the winter and lean into them, we can put ourselves in a better mindset for dealing with its challenges. I love this ‘What is Your Winter Mindset?’ post, which encourages us to ask ourselves these honest questions:

  • How do I really feel about this winter?
  • How does that change when I take my parent hat off (if that is even possible 😉)?
  • What is hard about winter where I live?
  • What is really special about winter where I live?
  • What do I feel most excited to do/experience today/this winter?

If we are the kind of people who just prefer to be cozy inside with a cuppa we can still honor that preference. It’s possible to have an even greater appreciation for these rhythms when we come in from the cold. They are something we can look forward to, or even take outside. This winter we’ll be taking a flask of hot tea or cocoa for an outdoor winter tea party!

Have the right community:

Like many things in life, getting outdoors in winter is easier when we do it together. Sometimes meeting others is the motivation we need to do what feels hard by ourselves. Leave yourself plenty of time to get ready and meet another family an outdoor winter play date. Take snacks and perhaps have a simple outdoor activity up your sleeve to kickstart the fun; staying active while you’re outdoors will help keep little ones warm! Tinkergarten has tons of free DIY Activities and also produces a free monthly play calendar with weather-appropriate ideas for every day of the month.

I’ve also found Facebook groups like #OutdoorsAll4 Facebook Group and 1000 Hours Outside truly inspiring as it enables you to connect with thousands of caregivers and educators, who are working to build purposeful outdoor play into their routine in all the seasons, and can help us build upon these three tips to get your kids outside this winter.

Toddler in hat and coat with a squeezy bottle of water. Cubes of ice are on the ground among the leaves.
My youngest experiments with freeing frozen treasures from ice at Tinkergarten. Yes, that’s a perineal squirt bottle- we know all the fancy tricks.

This winter I’m particularly excited to be a Tinkergarten Leader! The curriculum (which is designed to fill your weeks with outdoor pla) is exactly the motivation I need to get my family outdoors regularly, and I can’t wait to explore the wonders of winter with other families in my community. We’ll turn the outdoors into a discovery lab, as we invite kids to wonder, observe, experiment, and work together (and enjoy warm Tinkergarten tea, too!). If it feels hard to do this by yourself, why not come and join us for a weekly class in a beautiful local space? We’d love to see you there!

This winter I will not to let the weather dictate whether I stay indoors or not. We are saying NO to cabin fever! Get your kids outside this winter!

You can learn more about Tinkergarten here

Festivals and Favorites for Winter in Rhode Island

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Rhode Island State House in snow

As moms, it seems like we are always trying to find activities to keep our families busy during the cold months of winter in Rhode Island! We have a few ideas for you to add to your list!

Shop an Indoor Farmer’s Markets

In Lil’ Rhody, cold weather doesn’t have to stop you from getting your farm fresh favorites! These winter markets are packed with local vendors selling everything from baked good & produce to candles & coffee. A great way to get out of the house with something for everyone’s taste. 

South Kingstown Farmer’s Market: URI, West Kingston, RI | Saturdays, 9am-12:30pm, November 4, 2023 – March 30, 2024

Pawtucket Wintertime Farmer’s Market: The Guild, 461 Main St, Pawtucket, RI | Biweekly Fridays, 12-3pm (January, February, March, 2024)


Catch a Hockey Game! Between the Providence Bruins, Friars, Brown, URI, and JWU there are plenty to choose from. And it’s not just for boys either.  Many local colleges have Women’s Ice Hockey teams too, a perfect way to spend the day with that special little girl (or boy) in your life. 


Visit the Annual Newport Winter Festival Ten non-stop days of fun to break you out of those winter blues. This year’s line up includes ice sculpting demonstrations, Teddy Bear Tea, live jazz, Mac & Cheese Smackdown, Beach Polo, a Chili cook off and more.

Newport Winter Festival February 16th-25th, 2024


Check out the Providence Children’s Film Festival This expansive festival takes place at multiple locations and features 140+ films from over 35 different countries, as well as workshops for kids and a Young Film Makers Showcase. Some of the screening are even free! 

Providence Children’s Film Festival February 16th-25th, 2024

Indoor Play in Rhode Island and Beyond

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Full length low angle portrait of happy African-American boy jumping on trampoline in colorful kids play center, copy space

The Ultimate Guide to Indoor Play in Rhode Island and Southeastern MA is here! We have searched high and low to find all of the local spots to play regardless of the weather, and complied them into one huge guide to make it easier for YOU to get the kids out of the house and get them playing! For more ideas check out our Rhode Island Family Rainy Day Guide, head out to a local library, or, for budget friendly options check out one of these 27 local places you can get in free!

Food & FunIndoor play Rhode island fast food playspace

Chuck E. Cheese’s:
650 Bald Hill Rd. Warwick, RI
287 Washington St. South Attleboro, MA

McDonald’s:
721 Taunton Ave. East Providence, RI
531 Pleasant St. Attleboro, MA
444 Washington St. Attleboro, MA
876 Bald Hill Rd. Warwick, RI

Chick-fil-a
1100 Fall River Ave, Seekonk, MA
252 Washington St, South Attleboro, MA
1500 Bald Hill Rd, Warwick, RI
9 Taunton St, Plainville, RI

Dave & Busters
40 Providence Pl, Providence, RI

Knead Doughnuts: 135 Elmgrove Ave, Providence, RI
The east side location features a pretend doughnut shop play area to keep the kids occupied while you sip coffee with a friend. And the doughnuts are killer too, of course.

CinemaWorld Lanes & Games: 622 George Washington Highway, Lincoln, RI
More than a movie theater, CinemaWorld is also a full service restaurant and bar that offers bowling, laser tag, and an arcade.

Breaktime Bowl & Bar, Pawtucket, RI
The only place on this list that is for grown ups only (because we deserve to play too!). Located in Hope Artiste Village, this upscale pub is home to the oldest continually running duckpin bowling alley in New England and serves grub that is leagues beyond your typical bowling alley fair. The perfect low-key date night. 21+

Sports & GamesIndoor Play rhode island sports center playspace

Monster Mini Golf Seekonk, MA 
It’s Halloween at year at this glow-in-the-dark mini golf spot. 

Rock Spot Climbing, Multiple RI Locations
All ages rock climbing. (Yes, they even have toddler classes!) 

United Skates of America, East Providence, RI 
Roller skating is a great indoor activity for the whole family. They even offer training skate rentals for the youngest skaters in your life. 

Battleground Z, Lincoln, RI  
Battleground Z offers a full range of indoor play and sporting actives including things like dodgeball, archery tag, (foam) dart wars, laser wars and more. Something for every age range ages 3 and up.

New England Sports Village, Attleboro, MA 
A large indoor ice rink with public skating hours throughout the week.

Fantasy Land, Seekonk, MA
This family arcade is basically an indoor amusement park with seven full sized rides for kidsto enjoy. (Kids must be 36 inches tall to ride so break out the growth chart before you go.) 

Snapdraggon Baseball, Exeter, RI 
Use those cold and rainy days to work on your swing. Batting cage rentals are available for 60 minute or 30 minuet slots. Book online before you go. 

Ryan Amusements, Newport, RI
This Newport game room has over 50 games, on two floors for kids of all ages. 

Ace Archers, Foxboro, MA
Kids and adults can embrace their inner Robin Hood at this indoor archery range. Ages 8+

R1 Indoor Karting, Lincoln RI 
Indoor Play doesn’t get much better than this. Aspiring NASCAR drivers rejoice! Junior Karting sessions are specifically designed  for ages 6-17. R1 is also home to an all ages “sports bar” with billiards, darts and bowling lanes. (Free shoe rental!)

Cranston Veterans Memorial Ice Rink, Cranston, RI
When it’s a little too wintery outsides this indoor rink is the perfect place to hit the ice. 

Laid Back Fitness, Warwick, RI
This indoor Ninja Warrior style gym has operate open gym hours throughout the week for kids ages 4-10 and for kids ages 11+.

Lazer Gate, Swansea, MA
This place has everything. Laser tag, indoor black lit mini golf, bumper cars and seven indoor bounce houses. 

Mastermind Adventures, Swansea Mall
Next level indoor play. As an alternative to screen time, Mastermind’s board game lounge is free all day Friday to everyone. They also host other various games and activities on Friday & Saturday including a Friday Night Nerf Wars! 

Duckpin Bowling, Various locations
The small ball size makes duckpin bowling perfect for the younger crowd. A couple places to get you started are Town Hall Lanes in  Johnston and Dudek Bowling in  Warren. 

Arts & Science


Thank you to the Children’s Museum for Sponsoring the Arts & Science Section of our Guide to Indoor Play. We love our membership to the Providence Children’s Museum because the kids find something new they love every time they go & we know they are learning valuable skills.


Rhode Island Museum of Science & Art, Providence, RI
The exhibits and experiments at this new RI museum will keep your hands and your mind occupied. Perfect for artists and scientists alike. 

Fab-You-Us Family Fun Center, North Providence, RI
Drop in music, dance, arts, crafts and movement classes for kids and adults with both drop off and stay and play options. 

Museum of Natural History & Planetarium at Roger Williams Park, Providence, RI
In-house scavenger hunt and hands on exhibits will gets keep your kids engaged while they learn.  =

Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium, Bristol, RI
Part natural history museum, part aquarium this educational center has hands on exhibits for kids of all ages  and a designated play area for kids under 6 stocked with books,  puzzles, nature toys and lots more. 

Biomes Marine Biology Center: “New England’s most hands on Aquarium” will hold the attention of the whole family and there is a gated marine life themed  play area for kids ages six and under.

Paint Your Own Ceramics, Various Locations 

Channel that rainy day energy into a work art at one of these studios:

Pea Poddery, Cumberland, RI

Weird Girl Creations Pottery Studio Barrington, RI

Clayground Studio, East Greenwich, RI

Create! Color Art Studio, Naragansett, RI

The mission of Providence Children’s Museum is to inspire and celebrate learning through active play and exploration. The Museum welcomes children and adults of all backgrounds and from all communities by:
-Presenting hands-on, play-based exhibits and programs that explore arts, culture and science, technology, engineering and math.
-Fostering children’s cognitive, social, emotional and physical development.
-Embracing a wide range of abilities, learning styles and forms of creative expression.
-Creating safe and welcoming environments in which visitors and staff share with and learn from one another.
-Being accessible and responsive to all families – culturally, physically and economically.
-Working in partnership with other organizations to meet the needs of children and families.
-Increasing awareness and knowledge of the ways in which children and families learn.

Riddle RoomsRhode Island riddle room indoor play

5Wits, Foxborough, MA
An immersive, adventure experience with variable endings depending on the choices your group makes. Each adventure spans several riddle rooms. A one of a kind experience for the whole family. 

Great Escape, Providence, RI
The in room game master provides personalized guidance and clues if you need it. This Riddle Room is 12+

Escape RI, Providence, RI
Four escape rooms for 2-6 players. 10+

Lock & Clue Escape Room, Pawtucket, RI
The only local escape room with an experience especially designed for kids!  The “Zany Zoo” is “especially made for younger escape enthusiasts in training aged 7-11.” All rooms are private rooms. 7+

RI Riddle Room
Kids as young as seven may participate, but the game themes may be too mature for many young kids. 7+

All in Adventures Emerald Square Mall, North Attleboro, MA
Nine rooms of various difficulty levels and maturity levels. All ages welcome. 

Trampoline Parks & Bounce Houses
Rhode Island Trampoline ParkTrampoline Parks:

Skyzone, East Providence, RI
Altitude Tampoline Park, North Attleboro, MA
Launch Trampoline Park, Warwick, RI
Aero Trampoline Park, Woonsocket, RI
Fun City Trampoline Park, Seekonk, MA

Bounce Houses:

Bounce! Emerald Square Mall, North Attleboro, MA
Bounce U, Warwick, RI
Monkey Joes, North Attleboro, MA
Forekicks, Taunton, MA

Play Centers & Open Gyms

Renaissance Gym: East Providence, RI
Open gym hours all week long for walking children under the age of 5.  

Playdate: Seekonk, MA 
Enjoy a cup of coffee while your kids enjoy a creative, active play environment designed for kids ages 0-6.

Emerald Square Mall Play Area: North Attleborough, MA
If you need to get some shopping don  and have little ones in tow head over to Emerald Square mall and take advantage of their free play area  for littles. 

Little Seeds: Plainville, MA
In addition to a variety of themed areas for kids to play there is lots of seating, free WiFi, a self-serve coffee and tea bar, changing tables in both bathrooms, and a rocking chair in the “little woodland” area.

Providence  Children’s  Museum: Providence, RI 
Burn some energy while you learn through play. Featuring something for kids fo all ages. There is even a Littlewoods section that  is designated for kids under the age of four. 

The Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River: Fall River, MA
This place is loaded with fun activities from climbing, to legos. Even the hallways are lined with things to do and explore. 

Impossible Dream: Warwick, RI
The  Inside Out Playground at Impossible Dream  is open January -March and perfect for kids of all ability levels. 

Bellani Maternity, Warwick, RI
In addition to the variety of classes Bellani offers for the preschool and younger crowd, they also have open gym hours several times a week for active kiddos ages six months to three years

Wiggle Kids, Swansea Mall, MA
Inclusive fitness classes for all ages & abilities. All classes are on a drop in basis, pay one price and take as many class you want that day! 

We’d love to hear about your favorite place for Indoor Play in Rhode Island! Comment if we missed a spot!

Best Sledding in Rhode Island

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Father and daughters playing in snow sledding, New England, US

With snow on the horizon it’s time to talk sledding! There is nothing more quintessentially winter than sledding. Dust off your snow pants and check out one of these local favorite spots for Sledding in Rhode Island.

Please use common sense by choosing an area free of trees and other obstacles to keep everyone safe with you enjoy your snow day. For more info on sledding safely, check out these tips  from Kids Health.

Colt State Park, Route 114, Bristol

Colt State Park is right on the water, so be prepared for cold. But there is plenty of parking, gazebos for cover & ample options.

Chase Farm, 669 Great Rd., Lincoln

Diamond Hill Park, 4300 Diamond Hill Rd, Cumberland

Diamond Hill used to be a small ski resort, so the sledding is top-notch with some trails that are several miles long. Pack a thermos and snacks, the kids won’t want to leave!

India Point Park, 201 India St, Providence

Bundle up, it will be cold by the water, but the sledding is great and it’s just a short trip into Providence to grab some Hot Cocoa to warm up!

Roger Williams Park, 1000 Elmwood Ave, Providence

There are hills galore of various sizes at Roger Williams Park. Bonus! If the kids get too cold you can head over to the Botanical Center or the Rainforest Exhibit at the Zoo to warm up.

Fort Adams State Park, 80 Fort Adams Dr, Newport

Fort Adams is great to visit anytime of the year, but covered in snow it’s even more beautiful. With lots of parking, plenty of history, and close proximity to lots of great Newport lunch options this would make a great family excursion the day after a storm.

Johnston War Memorial Park, 1583 Hartford Ave, Johnston

Great hills behind the softball fields and easy parking!

RI Country Club, Barrington, 150 Nayatt Rd, Barrington

The Country club is a great choice for older kids who want big hills, but there are also some great smaller hills for the younger set.

Neutaconkanut Hill Conservancy, Legion Memorial Dr, Providence

This popular sledding spot is a great place for hiking & they even offer guided hikes in the winter. Follow them on Facebook for details.

Capron Park & Zoo, 201 County St, Attleboro, MA

Just over the border in Attleboro, Capron Park Zoo has some great sledding spots, ample parking & popcorn in the Zoo’s gift shop!

Ice Skating in Rhode Island

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Happy boy with red hat, skating during the day, having fun

Maybe it’s all the Hallmark Movies we’ve watched over the years, but ice skating just screams “Winter Wonderland” to us. Here are our favorite places to go ice skating in Rhode Island! Make sure you hit up one of our local favorite spots for hot cocoa after.  Be sure to wear long socks, warm clothes, and pack any safety gear that might help your kiddo to feel more confident on the ice! 

The Providence Rink | The Providence Rink 2 Kennedy Plaza, Providence, RI


Gurney’s Newport Skating Center (outdoor, waterfront winter skating rink in Newport RI) 4 Commercial Wharf, Newport, RI


Winter Skate at Patriot Place, 2 Patriot Pl, Foxborough, MA


Ocean Community YMCA Washington Trust Ice Rink, 61 Main St, Westerly, RI


For those of you who prefer to go ice skating in Rhode Island indoors, here are a few rinks that offer public skating year round!

Smithfield Municipal Ice Rink 

Levy Rink 

Boss Ice Arena 

New England Sports Village (Attleboro, MA)

RI Sports Center

Cranston Veterans Memorial Ice Rink

Pirelli Veterans Arena (Franklin, MA)

Did we miss your favorite spot to go ice skating in Rhode Island? Let us know in the comments below and our team will be sure to add it!

Rhode Island’s Best Hot Cocoa

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Hot chocolate drink with marshmallow in a cup on wooden board with cinnamon and star anise, top view.

There is absolutely no better way to warm up after a long day of sledding or ice skating, and it’s a perfect way to spend some special one on one time with your kids. We can guarantee an afternoon at one of these places will turn around the gloomiest of Rhode Island winter days. Don’t see your favorite cuppa on our list? Let us know what we’re missing! Here are a few of Rhode Island’s Best Hot Cocoa spots:

The Shop | Fox Point: 460 Wickenden St, Providence, RI 

Wildflour Vegan Bakery: 727 East Ave, Pawtucket, RI

Bolt Coffee Company at The Dean Hotel: 122 Fountain Street, Providence, RI

Dave’s Coffee: 5193 Old Post Rd. Charlestown, RI


Getting out of the house not in the cards? We love this homemade hot cocoa recipe from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon (8 grams) cornstarch
3 ounces (85 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder, any kind you like
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or the seeds from a tiny segment of fresh vanilla bean
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until powdery, or chop/grate the chocolate as much as possible and add to the rest of the ingredients. To use, heat one cup of milk in a pan until steamy and add three tablespoons of mix. Whisk until mix is dissolved and hot cocoa begins to simmer. Store leftover mix in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 months.

5 Great Kids Podcasts

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Portrait of happy smiling child in headphones listening to music on city street over orange wall background
Copyright Rohappy for iStock

5 Great Podcasts to Enjoy with Your Kids

When things start to get out of control at my house the combination of fine motor activity + podcast has been a salve that has worked very regularly. I plop all three kids (ages 8, 5 & 3) down at the table with play-doh, legos, a sensory bin, crayons, whatever. I’d throw on one of our favorite 5 great kids podcasts and they would easily play well, for at least an hour! To be honest, I usually ended the activity before they were tired of it.

These five great kids podcasts tried and true podcasts are the perfect thing to keep my kids busy and learning anytime when things at home start to get a little crazy.

Eat Your Spanish
Short family-friendly episodes that combine music, stories, and interactive content, we discovered Eat Your Spanish due to my guilt over completely neglecting the kid’s Spanish Education. (Their school Spanish starts in first grade.) Even my three-year-old has been singing along with the songs. “It teaches you Spanish really well and it’s also REALLY fun to do because you get to listen to songs and play games with the words.”-My 8 year old

Brains On
My science-loving 2nd grader can’t get enough of this podcast, but the content is engaging and well presented enough that most kids would be drawn in. “It teaches you about science and different things.” – My 5 Year Old

Smash Boom Best
This has long been my family’s favorite car trip podcast for a while. Smash Boom Best is a debate show that faces off two fun things (chocolate vs. cheese, unicorns vs. dragons) against each other. Over the course of three rounds, two debaters make their case for their side and after each round, a kid-judge awards a point. There are sound effects, and all the while kids are learning some interesting things about the topics presented.  It encourages great conversation, when we listen to it we pause the show in between each “round” and talk about which debater we each think won and why.

Story Pirates
This one is more fun than educational, but the kids love it. Story Pirates take stories written by kids and turn them into songs and sketch comedy shows. It is a riot, and their lineup of special guests (Kristen Bell, Billy Eichner, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dax Shepard, Bowen Yang, Paul Scheer, Claire Danes, John Oliver, David Schwimmer, and Lake Bell) is impressive.

Smash Boom Best

This is a debate style podcast from the same makers of Brains On. In their words, “Every episode takes two cool things, smashes them together and lets you decide which is best.”  Batman vs Spiderman, Narwhals vs Jellyfish, Pancakes vs waffles..you get the idea and you can probably see how this could lead to a friendly (but fiery!) family debate of your own. Especially that last one. I mean, who likes pancakes better than waffles? Right?

What kids podcasts does your family enjoy together? Let me know in the comments!

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