Top Toys for Kids Gift Guide

Top Toys for Kids 2014
This post contains affiliate links. 

We know you’re so on the ball you probably have all your holiday shopping done already, right? But if you’re at all like me and still not sure what to get your kiddies this season look no further!  Here are our top picks for the hottest toys and gifts this season to help make shopping a bit easier!

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LeapTV by Leap Frog

The LeapTV Educational Game System by Leap Frog is the hottest toy hailed by parents and kids alike. For parents it’s the one game system you can truly feel good about letting your kids have because it’s focused on learning combined with physical movement – awesome huh? My kids and some friends had a chance to give this game system a try recently and everyone loved it. This is definitely a parent fave that’s a huge hit with the kids, too!! Retail $149.95.

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Crystal Kingdom Vanity from Disney

So um, did you guys see Frozen? ‘Cuz it was kind of a big deal. And yeah, kids still want anything and everything Frozen themed this holiday season. Thankfully, there are so many Frozen toys and gifts to choose from out there (no shortage of Frozen merch now, huh Disney??). But our money is on the Frozen Crystal Kingdom Vanity as our pick for the the hottest Frozen item under the tree this year. Inspired by Elsa’s ice castle, the vanity comes with fun beauty accessories, including a hair extension, comb and necklace and can be stored in the vanity’s pull out drawer. Press the gem button for sound effects and to see Anna then Elsa magically appear in the mirror as the vanity plays “For the First Time in Forever

Retail $49.99.

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Doc McStuffins Mobile Cart from Just Play

The Doc is in!! One of the hottest toys this year is the new Doc McStuffins Mobile Cart with working light and sound EKG, horoscope and thermometer to give give on-site checkups and fix boo boos with the built in bandage dispenser. Future docs can even call in the diagnosis using the built in CB and secure their patients for rolling rescue using the gurney and side patient seat! Retail $58.95.

 

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Razor Jr Monster Kix Scooter

The Razor Jr Kix Scooter from Razor is the newest scooter in the Razor family and is so stinking cute that even I want one!! Razor Jr Kix boosts youngsters’ balance and coordination while they have fun, on appropriately sized scooters sized just for them. These come in Unicorn, Cowboy, Monster and Zombie styles that give your little ones scooter that extra personality! Retail $44.95, Available now on Amazon for about $26.50.

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Puppy Surprise from Just Play


Puppy Surprise
 
from Just Play is such a cute little toy this season and if you can find it will be sure to delight your little animal lovers. This is a little stuffed puppy dog mama complete with (surprise) PUPPIES too! Each puppy has a different number and combination of puppies so you are never quite sure what you will get. These are hard to find so if you see one, grab it! I’ve seen a few still on the shelves at BJs recently and they are available stillon Amazon, too. Retail $24.95. Seen this week at BJs for $19.99. 

 

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Tiggly Shapes

Tiggly Shapes and Tiggly Counts are the latest interactive apps from newcomer Tiggly. I had a chance to see these in action and they are so fun and interactive. Designed by world-class educators, Tiggly Shapes and Tiggly Counts are the premier tablet learning toys for toddlers and kids! Tiggly Shapes (designed for ages 18 month – 4 years) comes with 4 elegantly designed geometric shapes, 3 free apps, and 1 felt carrying pouch for easy storage and transportation. Tiggly Counts (ages 3 and up) comes with 5 elegantly designed magnetic counting rods that interact with learning apps on iPads & select android tablets. Tiggly apps are available in the App Store and can be experienced in 8 different languages, including English, Spanish, and Chinese (Mandarin).One of TIME Magazine’s “toys that will make your kids smarter,” Tiggly Shapes develops motor skills, spatial thinking, creativity, and language. Winner of the Tillywig Brain Child award, Tiggly Counts helps develop early numeracy, counting, and math operations. Retail $29.99.

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K’NEX 70 Model Building Set

 

What little builder wouldn’t love the K’NEX 70 Model Building Set This set lets kids build all 70 models – or anything they can imagine with over 700 pieces including building ideas for a hot air balloon, boats, trucks, a sand castle and more! Set includes a convenient storage treasure chest, large enough to fill with other K’NEX sets! Even better, K’NEX is a local to Philly company so you can feel good supporting them too! Retail $44.99 Now on sale on Amazon for $23.99.

 

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GoldiBlox Action Figure

Ya’all know about GoldiBlox, right? If you don’t you should! These toys are awesome are designed to encourage spatial skills, basic engineering principles, confidence in problem solving in young girls! There are great kits like GolideBlox and the Parade Float, GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine, and GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank with different construction activites but new this year, GoldiBlox is offering a new alternative to traditional girl figures with their new GoldiBlox action figure! Check out this so cool GoldiBlox Action Figure with Zipline! LOVE HER! I know this is one toy my two girls will be getting this year for sure! Retail $24.99

 

What do you think? Which of these is your fave? Leave a comment to tell us what your top toy picks are this year!!

Best Picks for Holiday Fun for Philly Families


HolidayFun
The holidays are here and there is just so much fun to be had in and around Philly during this magical time of year that you don’t want to miss a moment of the celebrations! To make it easier for you, we’re compiled our list of the best and most festive family fun to be had at the holidays this season – enjoy!!

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
Enjoy ice skating and fun down on the Delaware River with outdoor skating, shops, and fun. Opens 11/28. Admission $3, skate rental $10.

Rothman Ice Rink Dilworth Park
Philly’s newest seasonal attraction offers public ice skating against the backdrop of beautiful City Hall as well as ice skating lessons, birthday parties, and more. $4 for adults, $3 for children. $8 for skate rental.

Elmwood Park Zoo Ice Skating
Elmwood Park Zoo’s new outdoor artificial skating rink opens just in time for the holidays on 11/28. Adults $10.95, children $8.95. Skate rental $4.

Christmas Village
Philly’s own German style outdoor holiday market with more than 60 booths selling food, crafts, gifts and more. Opens 11/27. Free admission. 

Macy’s Holiday Light Show
A not to miss Philly tradition since 1956, take the kids Macy’s Center City to see the stunning indoor light show inside the historic Wanamaker Building with an LED display featuring 100,00 LED lights dancing to holiday music and the famous Wanamaker organ. Free.

Dickens Village
Don’t leave Macy’s without a visit to the 3rd floor to check out the Dickens Village with 100 fully animated figures re-enacting classic scenes from Charles Dickens holiday classic A Christmas Carol. Free.

Zoo Noel
For three weekends of the season, the Philadelphia Zoo is transformed into  Zoo Noel offering a unique experience with Santa as he travels to exotic places such as the rainforest, the outback, the arctic, the safari, and back down on the farm. Free with Zoo admission ($16).

Scuba Santa and Bumble Lights the Tree 
Adventure Aquarium’s live I Believe In Scuba Santa show features Santa’s #1 Helper who tells the story of Christmas Celebration and puts the final touches on the decorations with the help of a very special guest – Scuba Santa himself! Families will also enjoy a special live show with a visit from the Bumble who puts the star atop the tree. Free with admission ($25.95 for adults, $18.95 for children).

Comcast Holiday Spectacular
This beautiful light show experience on one of the largest high resolution LED screens in the world will immerse the whole family in holiday scenes and exciting computer animations. Free. Starts Thanksgiving Day and runs every 15 mins. every hour on the hour from 10am t0 8pm (except 5pm weekdays). Free.

Adventure to Santa – A DreamWorks Dream Place
This newest addition to the holiday fun in Philly includes a unique Santa visit experience at the Cherry Hill Mall in partnership with Dream Works Animation. This unique interactive experience (and the only one of its kind in the Philly area and only 1 of 8 in the country) starts with Shrek and ends with Santa and seamlessly blends storytelling and cutting edge technology. Opens 11/28. Free.

Holiday Railway Train Display at Reading Terminal Market
500 sq. ft. model train display at Philly’s historic Reading Terminal Market with 12 working train lines running through nearly a third of a mile of track. Runs 11/28 – 12/31. Free.

Holiday Garden Railroad at Morris Arboretum
A quarter mile of track and fifteen trail lines are sure to delight train lovers of all ages at the beautiful Morris Arboretum. Opens 11/29. Free with admission ($16 for adults, $8 for youth, free for under 3).

~ A Little Further Afield But So Worth the Trip ~
And if you’re up for a little road trip here are some of our top picks for seasonal fun a little further afield (but so worth the trip!) too:

A Very Furry Christmas
SesamePlace in Langhorn, PA offers a magical holiday experience for the whole family at A Very Furry Christmas complete with holiday shows and unique meet and greets with your favorite furry friends. Admission $24.

Hershey Park Christmas Candyland
Hersheypark Candylane in Hershey, PA brings the holidays to life with two million twinkling lights, beautiful decorations, rides for all ages and Hershey characters dressed in their holiday best. Admission $12.

Peddler’s Village
Christmas in beautiful Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, PA includes the dazzling lights illuminating the village, gingerbread house displays plus a visit with Santa and special holiday offerings from the merchants, too. Free. 

Christmas Fantasy with Lights
Storybook Land in Egg Harbor Township NJ offers a dazzling holiday light display that will transport you to a magical Christmas Fantasy Land with over a million lights around the park that Santa Claus “turns on” every evening at 5pm. Tickets $24.50.

Frozen Ice Palace at the Mall at Short Hills
Don’t miss a uniquely Frozen holiday experience in at this spectacular, interactive Ice Palace, where you can sing “Let it Go” just like Elsa, see special scenes from the movie, create a “Frozen” handprint, take a photo with Olaf on his ice throne, and lots more all within a 30-foot ice dome. End 12/24. Free.

Be sure to have the phillyfun4kids app installed on your iPhone so you can find updated seasonal fun fast when you’re out and about too!!  

Weekend Phillyfun Picks – Nov. 21-23

Thanksgiving is almost here and the chilly temps sure do make it feel like the holidays have arrived! But before you start your turkey prep go make some family memories at one of these great fun events happening this weekend in Philly!

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The Nutcracker

Friday Nov. 21st – Sunday Nov. 23rd
Upper Darby Performing Arts Center
601 N. Lansdowne Ave
Upper Darby, PA

You know it’s really the holidays when The Nutcracker is in town as it is this weekend at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center in Upper Darby, right outside of Philadelphia. Shows run Friday November 21st through Sunday November 23rd tickets start at just $10. This family friendly performance will enchant even the littlest audiences (ideal for ages 4 and up).

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Rothman Skate Rink at Dilworth Park
Friday Nov. 21st – Sunday Nov. 23rd
Dilworth Park
Broad and Market Streets
West Side of City Hall
Philadelphia, PA

Icy fun continues at the new Rothman Skate Rink at Dilworth Park this Friday November 21st – Sunday November 23rd. Philly families can now enjoy outdoor public skating against the backdrop of our landmark City Hall. Adults $4, children 10 and under $3, skate rental $8.

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Montgomery Mall Children’s Play Area Grand Opening

Saturday Nov. 22nd
Montgomery Mall – Sears Court, Lower Level
230 Montgomery Mall
North Wales, PA

Come out for the grand opening of the children’s play area at Montgomery Mall this Saturday November 22nd at 10am and enjoy a ribbon cutting ceremony led by Santa, free kid friendly activities and complimentary breakfast provided by Wegmans. Free.

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GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon Kids Fun Run
Saturday Nov. 22nd
22nd Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway
2200 Ben Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA

The Kids Fun Run, part of Philadelphia Marathon Race weekend, is a family friendly non-competitive short-distance event geared for kids ages 6-12. The first 325 participants will receive a T-Shirt, a finisher medal, post-race refreshments and more! $15. Parent or guardian must be present onsite. Race begins at 10:30am. Registration starts at 9am.

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A Very Furry Christmas
Saturday Nov. 22nd – Sunday Nov. 23rd
Sesame Place
100 Sesame Road
Langhorne, PA

The seasonal festivities kick-off at Sesame Place this weekend with the return of A Very Furry Christmas featuring all of your favorite furry Sesame Street pals. The park is transformed into a Christmas wonderlands with millions of lights, festive decorations, plenty of rides and fun and of course special visits with all your favorite Sesame Street characters and event Santa in his Furry Workshop! Tickets $24 online, $29 at the gate.

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Imagination Movers Reindeer Party

November 22nd – November 23rd
Sesame Place
100 Sesame Road
Langhorne, PA

The Emmy-award winning Imagination Movers perform their fan faves along with some holiday classics with a twist at their Reindeer Party happening at Sesame Place this weekend. Performances will run Saturday November 22nd and Sunday November 23rd at 2pm, 3:30pm and 6pm. Tickets $10. Park admission not included and is required.

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Fairmount Park Gingerbread House Display

Friday Nov. 21st – Sunday Nov. 23rd
The Shops at Liberty Place
1625 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA

Don’t miss the Fairmount Park Gingerbread House Display featuring 12 gingerbread houses handcrafted by Philadelphia chefs and made to look like historic sites in Fairmount Park including Strawberry Mansion, SMITH Playground and more. Free.

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Franklin Square Holiday Festival and Electrical Spectacle
Friday Nov. 21st – Sunday Nov. 23rd
Franklin Square
6th & Race Streets
Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia’s oldest square, Franklin Square, is transformed into a magical holiday setting starting this weekend with the Electrical Spectacle holiday light show and more. Plus new this year, shop for handmade gifts at the Holiday Market and sample local beers and snacks in Ben’s Bites and Brews, too. Festivities are offered 4-8pm daily. Entrance is free. Some attractions ticketed.

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Free Admission on Sunday Mornings
Sunday Nov. 23rd
Brandywine River Museum
1 Hoffman’s Mill Road
Route 1
Chadds Ford, PA

Enjoy free admission to the beautiful Brandywine River Museum on Sunday mornings including this Sunday November 23rd between 9:30am – 12pm. Free.

Leap Into Gaming with LeapTV

This is a sponsored conversation by LeapFrog. I received free products in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

LeapTV MommyParty
Several months back I was fortunate enough to get to check out a preview of the newest product from LeapFrog called LeapTV. I saw it in action at the Blogger Bash NYC Sweet Suite event and just loved it immediately. You see… we’re a big gaming house. We have several game systems and I am not sure if any of them are really truly appropriate for my 4 and 6 year old to be honest. So when I saw the LeapTV I knew I really wanted to try it out and see whether my kids (who at the ripe “old ages” of 4 and 6 are already “veteran gamers”) would relate to it or whether it would seem too “young” for them.

We got the chance to find out last weekend at our LeapTV Leap Into Gaming Mommy Party sponsored by LeapFrog! We invited some friends and neighbors to come check it out with us on a Friday afternoon. Earlier that day my 6 yr old daughter and I set it up. My hubby (and head gamer and IT support in our house) was out of town at a conference so I was a bit nervous that I’d even be able to figure it out and get it set up in time for our guests to arrive. Well, not only was it easy enough for me to figure out how to set up but my daughter pretty much took over once I got the video cable and power all set up – she basically configured it and had it ready for play in no time flat!

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LeapTV is designed just for children ages three to eight years old and is unique in that it changes the way children learn by combining activity with movement and best-in-class educational curriculum. And, really that is key – right??? We have some game systems that incorporate movement and the kids really love those but they don’t come close to the type of educational experience the LeapTV provides kids along with all that fun physical movement!

The LeapTV system is simple and intuitive with a motion-sensing camera that immerses the child directly in the game through three unique ways to play:
Body Motion: Children get to be the star of their own game as the motion-sensing camera captures a child’s moves and instantly puts them into the game to explore activities such as defending goals, karate-chopping fast moving blocks, scuba diving and more.
Pointer Play: Pointer play is when the controller transforms into a pointer with a mere twist and allows kids to slice through fruit, swing from buildings and more.
Classic Control: Puts the fun directly at the child’s fingertips with classic play moves such as A and B buttons and tilt and shake controls to enable go-kart racing, sledding and more.

LeapingLearners

After game set up and some green themed decorating the guests started to arrive and immediately wanted to play the new LeapTV! And they all loved it! Our little guests ranged in age from 3 to 7 years old with every age in between and every kid played and loved moving and jumping along or answering math questions to “power up” before bowling or jumping to catch bubbles and so much more.

The LeapTV currently has 9 game cartridges and will have 100+ games by the end of the year. Games adapt to each child’s level – starting with the most basic skills and then adjusting as they go. The two games that we tested out at our LeapTV party were LeapFrog Sports and LeapFrog Dance & Learn. The kids loved them both! In LeapFrog Sports, children got to be the Super Goalie leaping and blocking soccer balls with their bodies and heads. Or, with a quick transformation of the controller, kids got to bowl and cheer each other on as they got strikes (and even gutter balls merited cheers at our party!)

When they were not actively playing the LeapTV, kids were sprawled out on the floor coloring their Pet Play World printables. To get your own Pet Play World printables, check out the Leap Frog Learning Path for these exact printables and other fun age appropriate activities for kids. Pet Play World is a game that is built into the system where kid can choose their new pet and decorate their rooms, change their colors and create all sorts of customized environments for them. My older daughter loved this game!!

Check out this fun video of all the fun we had at our Leap Into Gaming LeapTV party!!

One of our party guests shared that her friend who is a teacher was adamantly opposed to having game systems in the house for her children but this new LeapTV system was the only one she would allow! I thought that was some pretty powerful testimonial to just how educational this system really is!

Kids and parents alike will love the new LeapTV game system and after our review and Leap Into Gaming Mommy Party I’m sure that it will be a top toy under the tree this season!!  Thank you Leap Frog!!

Disclosure: This was a sponsored conversation by LeapFrog. I was selected from over a thousands applicants to host a LeapTV Leap Into Gaming party to test out the new LeapTV system. I received a free LeapTV game set and two game cartridges as well as a Leap Into Gaming MommyParty kit. As always, all opinions expressed about educational games that kids enjoy being awesome are our own.

Eagles Fan Plan and Giveaway for Eagles Tickets

Confession… So last week I attended my very first Eagles game. It was the Monday night game against the North Carolina Panthers and trust me – it was an incredibly fun experience for my first game! Now I’m SO excited to share an opportunity for one lucky phillyfun4kids Eagles fan to win their own pair of tickets to the upcoming game on Sunday 11/23 at Lincoln Financial Field! Read on to find out more about the NRG Eagles Fan Plan and how you can score your own tickets to this Sunday’s game!

EaglesTix_Giveaway

NRG is the Official Energy Provider that powers the Philadelphia Eagles and Lincoln Financial Field. NRG Home offers an energy solution that is customized for the Philadelphia Eagles Fan!

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Have you heard about the Eagles Fan Plan from NRG yet? The Eagles Fan Plan is the only electricity plan that lets you power your home and show your team pride all at the same time.

Because fans on the NRG Eagles Fan Plan are football fanatics, they receive some unique perks, like:
• An authentic Philadelphia Eagles helmet
• Supports green energy

The Eagles Fan Plan gives you an easy way to go green by supporting wind power with 5% solar-generated green energy and 12 months of fixed pricing.

Check it out! It’s an easy way to save money and go green on your energy plan while showing your Eagles pride too!

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GIVEAWAY

Now one lucky phillyfun4kids Philadelphia Eagles fan will have a chance to win 2 tickets to the Sunday 11/23 Eagles game and an Eagles Jersey. Simply fill out the rafflecopter form below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck. Fly Eagles Fly!!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post as part of the NRG Blogger Program. I was provided with two free tickets to the Eagles game as well as two free tickets to giveaway to one lucky reader and other goodies like signed Eagles Jerseys and footballs to giveaway. 

 

Weekend Phillyfun Picks – Nov. 14-16

Yes, the Arctic Vortex may be descending upon us but that just makes it feel more like the holidays, right?? Enjoy all the festive fun available for families in and around Philly this weekend from the grand opening of the new Dilworth Park skating rink to gingerbread house displays, light shows and lots more!

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Grand Opening of Rothman Skate Rink at Dilworth Park

Friday Nov. 14th – Sunday Nov. 16th
Dilworth Park
Broad and Market Streets
West Side of City Hall
Philadelphia, PA

It’s the grand opening of the Rothman Skate Rink at Dilworth Park this weekend Friday November 14th – Sunday November 16th. Philly families can now enjoy outdoor public skating against the backdrop of our landmark City Hall. Adults $4, children 10 and under $3, skate rental $8.

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Fairmount Park Gingerbread House Display
Friday Nov. 14th – Sunday Nov. 16th
The Shops at Liberty Place
1625 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA

Don’t miss the Fairmount Park Gingerbread House Display featuring 12 gingerbread houses handcrafted by Philadelphia chefs and made to look like historic sites in Fairmount Park including Strawberry Mansion, SMITH Playground and more. Free.

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Franklin Square Holiday Festival and Electrical Spectacle
Friday Nov. 14th – Sunday Nov. 16th
Franklin Square
6th & Race Streets
Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia’s oldest square, Franklin Square, is transformed into a magical holiday setting starting this weekend with the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show and more. Plus new this year, shop for handmade gifts at the Holiday Market and sample local beers and snacks in Ben’s Bites and Brews, too. Festivities are offered 4-8pm daily. Entrance is free. Some attractions ticketed.

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Pennsylvania Ballet Day

Saturday Nov. 15th
12-3pm
Germantown Ave
Chestnut Hill, PA

Families will enjoy a meet and greet with dancers from the Pennsylvania Ballet including a visit with The Nutcracker’s Sugarplum Fairy and Mouse King and also get to enjoy a family scavenger hunt with a chance to win tickets to the Pennsylvania Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker. Free.

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Free Admission on Sunday Mornings
Sunday Nov. 16th
Brandywine River Museum
1 Hoffman’s Mill Road
Route 1
Chadds Ford, PA

Enjoy free admission to the beautiful Brandywine River Museum on Sunday mornings including this Sunday November 16th between 9:30am – 12pm. Free.

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Kennel Club of Philadelphia National Dog Show
Saturday Nov. 15th – Sunday Nov. 16th
The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center
100 Station Ave
Oaks, PA

You know the holidays are here when the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s National Dog Show is back in town! Don’t miss one of the oldest and most prestigious dog shows in the nation happening this weekend Saturday November 15th and Sunday November 16th at The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA. Enjoy over 175 breeds with over 1,500 dogs competing for “Best in Show” and available for up close meet and greets too! Adults $14. Kids ages 7-12 $7, Free for kids 3 and younger.

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Gyotaku: Japanese Fish Printing
Norristown Farm Park
Barley Sheaf Dr. & Germantown Pike
E. Norriton, PA

Kids can enjoy an afternoon of Japanese Fish Printing or “Gyotaku” at the Norristown Farm Park this Sunday November 16th at 1pm. Kids ages 10 and older can use recplicas and real fish to make these traditional Japanese prints perfect for turning into unique holiday gifts this season. $5.

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Yah-Oh-Way!

Sunday Nov. 16th
2pm
Parkway Central Library
1901 Vine Street
Montgomery Auditorium
Philadelphia, PA

Head to the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central Branch this Sunday November 16th at 2pm for Yah-Oh-Way! featuring dances of various Native American nations as well as drumming, traditional costumes and music. Free.

Weekend Phillyfun Picks – Nov. 7-9

The family fun is ramping up with much to do in and around Philly that will get you feeling festive and enjoying all there is to do with your kids this first full weekend in November!!

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Santa’s Arrival

Various Malls and Locations

Ho, ho, ho!! It’s the official arrival of Santa at various malls and locations around Philly. The big guy makes his grand debut at the following locations this weekend:
– Oxford Valley Mall, Langhorne, PA
– King of Prussia Mall, King of Prussia, PA
– Springfield Mall, Springfield, PA

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Sugarloaf Crafts Festival
Friday Nov. 7th – Sunday Nov. 9th
Greater Philadelphia Expo Center
100 Station Ave
Oaks, PA

All weekend long, enjoy the return of the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks. Over 250 of the nation’s top artisans will be on-hand with unique creations in many media. Plus enjoy live artist demonstrations and family entertainment too including live interactive storytelling with Middle Earth Studio, too. Tickets $10 (good all three days). Children under 12 free. Get tickets online for $2 ticket discount too.

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The World-Famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids
Friday Nov. 7th – Sunday Nov. 9th
Adventure Aquarium
1 Riverside Dr
Camden, NJ

The world-famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids swim on over to Adventure Aquarium for their final days of a limited engagement visit this Friday November 7th through Sunday November 9th with underwater shows along with the sharks and other sea animals. Guest also get to meet and greet the mermaids and have a photo opp, too! Free with admission. $25.95, adults, $18.95 children 12 and younger.

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The Giving Tree 5th Annual Working Hands Project
Saturday Nov. 8th
Wissahickon Middle School
500 Houston Road
Ambler, PA

Teach kids about giving back this season and all year long at the 5th Annual Working Hands Project this Saturday November 8th starting at 10am. Enjoy hands-on activities and projects that help benefit the hungry, homeless, elderly, children in need, military personnel and animals, too. Free. Suggested $5 donation per child. Register online at www.givingtreefamilies.org

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Train Festival

Saturday Nov. 7th – Sunday Nov. 9th
Camden Children’s Garden
3 Riverside Dr
Camden, NJ

The annual train festival returns to the Camden Children’s Garden this Saturday November 8th and Sunday November 9th from 1-4pm. Don’t miss a moment of the fun with character meet and greets with the popular PBS “Dinosaur Train” characters (Saturday only) plus train crafts, model train displays, face painting, and more! Free with admission. $6 per person, free for ages 2 and under.

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Free Admission on Sunday Mornings
Sunday Nov. 9th
Brandywine River Museum
1 Hoffman’s Mill Road
Route 1
Chadds Ford, PA

Enjoy free admission to the beautiful Brandywine River Museum on Sunday mornings including this Sunday November 9th between 9:30am – 12pm. Free.

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Second Sunday Family Workshop: Maya Jade Death Mask
Sunday Nov. 9th
Penn Museum
3260 South Street
Philadelphia, PA

It’s Second Sunday of the month which means kids and families can enjoy the free Second Sunday drop-in workshop series at the Penn Museum on Sunday November 9th from 1-4pm. Kids will work with paint and mosaic tiles to decorate a Maya Jade mask. Free with admission donation. Suggested $15 for adults, $10 for kids ages 6-17 and free for kids under.

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PECO Family Jams: Stamp Creations

Sunday Nov. 9th
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
1020 South Street
Philadelphia, PA

This Sunday November 9th marks another in the PECO Family Jams series at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens with the opportunity to make your own Stamp Creation with unique rubber stamps from artist Isaiah Zagar’s personal collection and watercolor paints. And join a family friendly tour at 1pm or 3pm too. Free with admission. $7, adults, $3 kids ages 6-12, kids 5 and under free.

Weekend Phillyfun Picks – Oct. 31st – Nov. 2nd

Happy Halloween weekend to all! Hope you and your littlest goblins and ghouls had a frightfully fun night trick or treating!! But the fun doesn’t need to stop as the fall festivities continue all weekend long in and around Philly this weekend!

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Hayrides to the Witches House and Pumpkinland
Friday Oct. 31st – Sunday Nov. 2nd
Linvilla Orchards
137 W. Knowlton Road
Media, PA

Linvilla Orchards continues the Halloween season with Pumpkinland fun and the popular Hayrides to the Witches House running Friday October 31st through Sunday November 2nd. Families can select their pumpkins from the over 100 tons on display and enjoy fall treats and fun and then hop aboard the hayride to the witches house too (evening only). Hayrides to witches house run from 5:30-8:30pm. Pumpkinland runs 8am – 6pm. Free admission. Some events ticketed.

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Bubby’s Birthday Bash & National Bison Day
Saturday November 1st
10:30am
Elmwood Park Zoo
1661 Harding Blvd.
Norristown, PA

It’s Bubby’s birthday and you are invited to celebrate at the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown this Saturday November 1st at 10:30am. Come fete the Elmwood Park Zoo’s official mascot, Bubby the Bison, as he celebrates his birthday on National Bison Day with activities centered around bison including bison feedings, the grand opening of the new Bison Express train and of course birthday cake and games too! $14 for adults, $10 for kids ages 3-12.

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The World-Famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids

Saturday November 1st – Sunday November 2nd
Adventure Aquarium
1 Riverside Dr
Camden, NJ

The world-famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids swim on over to Adventure Aquarium for their local debut this Saturday November 1st for a limited engagement with underwater shows along with the sharks and other sea animals. Guest also get to meet and greet the mermaids and have a photo opp, too! Free with admission. $25.95, adults, $18.95 children 12 and younger.

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Peddler’s Village Annual Apple Festival
Saturday November 1st – Sunday November 2nd
10am – 6pm
Peddler’s Village
Routes 202 & 263
Lahaska, PA

The annual Peddler’s Village Apple Festival is taking place Saturday November 1st and Sunday November 2nd from 10am – 6pm in Peddler’s Village. Enjoy a celebration of all things apple with apple tastings, apple pie eating contests, live entertainment and much more. Free admission and free parking.

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Penn Museum Day of the Dead Celebration

Saturday November 1st
10am – 4pm
Penn Museum
Philadelphia, PA

The Penn Museum teams up with the Mexican Cultural Center and the Mexican Consulate to offer their Day of the Dead family celebration on Saturday November 1st from 11am – 4pm. Enjoy this unique celebration with music, dance, crafts including sugar skull making, tastes of Mexican hot chocolate and traditional “pan de muerto” bread and more. Plus enjoy the centerpiece of the celebration by viewing the Day of the Dead alter in the Rotunda too. Free with admission.

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Free Admission on Sunday Mornings and Pirate Adventure Day
Sunday November 2nd
10:0am – 12pm
Brandywine River Museum
1 Hoffman’s Mill Road
Route 1
Chadds Ford, PA

Enjoy free admission to the beautiful Brandywine River Museum on Sunday mornings including this Sunday November 2nd between 9:30am – 12pm and get to take part in Pirate Adventure Day too! This nautical themed day filled with fun for the family will include rope-tying demonstrations led by Pirates of the Northern Star, a hunt for treasures, daring tales of journeys at sea and of course pirate themed crafts and art activities, too. Free.

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Northern Liberties Annual Fall Festival
Sunday November 2nd
1pm
Liberty Lands Park
900 Block of 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA

The Northern Liberties Annual Fall Festival is happening at Liberty Lands Park on Sunday November 2nd starting at 1pm. Come out in costumer for a flurry of fun with games, face painting, fire truck visits, a moon bounce and more. Free.

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Day of the Dead Festival and Parade
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
1020 South Street
Philadelphia, PA

Don’t miss the Dia de los Muertos parade and festival on South Street this Sunday November 2nd at 1:30pm. The parade starts at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens and ends on the 400 block of South Street with food, drink, art and fun for the whole family. Free.

Save The Children: 2 Year Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy

Do you remember how fearful we all were preparing for Hurricane Sandy? It was one of the scariest, most nerve wracking experiences of my post 9/11 life watching weather reports and following social media, trying to prepare my house and my family for what was looking like a storm we had never experienced before. And we were the lucky ones. We made it by with some lost power (2 days maybe), lost food, and a “fun” family camp in the living room experience for our girls.

Wednesday, Oct. 29 is the 2-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy’s U.S. landfall. Hurricane Sandy affected 24 states, killed 162 people, caused more than $50 million in damage and damaged or destroyed 650,000 homes and hundreds of child care centers and schools.

It was the day that life turned upside down for thousands of children who suddenly lost everything – including their very sense of stability. Save the Children is still working with many of these children to help them rebound.

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- Save the Children’s recent poll shows that 49% of U.S. parents don’t feel the very prepared to protect their children from disaster.

– 51% don’t think their child’s school or child care center is very prepared either.

– A whopping 74% of parents don’t think the federal government is prepared to protect their kids should disaster strike!

Help motivate and educate families (including your own!) to get prepared, so that ALL of our children are better protected from disaster.

What can you do to help prepare for a natural disaster:

1. Check out Save the Children’s Disaster Plan Checklist for Families and schools/childcare. Check with the administrators at your school to see if they are following this checklist.

2. Think about reunification planning. If you should get separated from your child if they would ever be evacuated from their school or child care, how would you know where to find them???

– 42% of parents don’t know where to find their children if evacuated from school or child care! (And I am embarrassed and a little shocked to admit that I don’t know the answer to this for my own children either.)

3. See how your state does in protecting children from disaster while they’re in school or child care. Check the map:

4. Lead a PREP Rally. This is a fun and helpful event that educates children and families about emergency preparedness. Prep Rallies provide community members with the resources they need to get ready and be safety advocates.

5. Sign the pledge to protect children from disaster. This pledge gets shared with state government if it doesn’t meet Save the Children’s disaster report card preparedness standards for schools and child care.

Losing your entire sense of stability at such a young age can be devastating. Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program allows children to express their feelings and learn critical coping skills that allow them to bounce back and more forward. Without adequate support, children often fall permanently behind in school while they grapple with intense sadness, depression and anger. Two years after Hurricane Sandy, Save the Children continues work with children in the hardest-hit communities in New York and New Jersey.

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Here is a recent picture of children from New York City’s Lower East Side expressing their feelings through drawing in Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program.

Remember, disaster can strike at any time. Educate yourself and your child’s school/day care now before it’s too late.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this post. I personally am concerned that my family needs to do everything it can to be ready in the face of an unexpected natural disaster. Save the Children is helping families like mine educate themselves and be more prepared when/if disaster strikes. 

Weekend Phillyfun Picks: Oct. 24-26

The Halloween fun continues in and around Philadelphia this weekend with spooky fun and festival fall happenings for all ages. Don’t miss one of these great family friendly fun events for all.

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The Great Pumpkin Carve
Friday Oct. 24th – Sunday Oct. 26th
Chadds Ford Historical Society’s Barn Visitors Center
1736 Creek Road
Chadds Ford, PA

The Great Pumpkin Carve takes place all weekend running Friday October 24th through Sunday October 26th from 5-9pm on the grounds of the Society Barn Visitors Center. This outdoor event features giant pumpkins with over sixty carvers participating as well as live music, hayrides, food and a haunted trail sure to delight little goblins and ghouls. $10 for adults, $5 for ages 7-17, 6 and under free.

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10th Annual Upper Darby Community Festival Day
Saturday October 25th
Upper Darby High School
601 N. Lansdowne Ave
Lansdowne, PA

Come out for a day of family fun on Saturday October 25th from 10am – 2pm for the 10th Annual Upper Darby Community Festival Day taking place at Upper Darby High School.

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Boo at the Zoo
Saturday Oct. 25th – Sunday Oct. 26th
Philadelphia Zoo
3400 W. Girard Ave
Philadelphia, PA

It’s the final weekend of Boo at the Zoo this weekend running Saturday October 25th and Sunday October 26th from 10am – 4pm at the Philadelphia Zoo. Kids can dress up in their favorite costumes and trick or treat throughout the Zoo to get candy, treats and discover Halloween fun too! $20 for adults, $18 for children ages 2-11, free for under 2.

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Fall Festival 

Saturday October 25th
Headhouse Square
2nd Street between Pine and Lombard
Philadelphia, PA

The free Fall Festival at Headhouse Square on 2nd Street between Pine and Lombard is happening this Saturday October 25th from 12-5pm. Bring the whole family for a festive afternoon including circus performers, hayrides, pumpkin painting, live music, shopping and more. Free.

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Spooky Mini-Golf
Friday October 24th – Sunday October 26th
Franklin Square
6th & Race Streets
Philadelphia, PA

Spooky Mini-Golf continues at Franklin Square this weekend running Friday October 24th through Sunday October 26h from 6-9pm. Philly’s favorite mini-golf course is transformed for the Halloween season with spooky surprises, fog, and special lighting to ensure a spooktastic time for all. Tickets $7-$9.

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The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular
Saturday October 25th – Sunday October 26th
Sesame Place
100 Sesame Road
Langhorne, PA

Great dressed in your best costumes and head out to The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular at Sesame Place running this weekend Friday Oct. 24th – Sunday October 26th for some not-too spooky Halloween fun. Enjoy two new Halloween shows, themed mazes, and even a hayride with your favorite furry friend. Plus enjoy all the usual rides and attractions and fun for the whole family. Tickets $38-$63.

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Pumpkinland & Hayrides to the Witches House

Friday October 24th – Sunday October 26th
Linvilla Orchards
137 W. Knowlton Road
Media, PA

Linvilla Orchards continues the Halloween season with Pumpkinland fun and the popular Hayrides to the Witches House running Friday October 24th through Sunday October 26th. Families can select their pumpkins from the over 100 tons on display and enjoy fall treats and fun and then hop aboard the hayride to the witches house too (evening only). Hayrides to witches house run from 5:30-8:30pm. Pumpkinland runs 8am – 6pm. Free admission. Some events ticketed.

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Free Admission on Sunday Mornings
Sunday October 26th
Brandywine River Museum
1 Hoffman’s Mill Road
Route 1
Chadds Ford, PA

Enjoy free admission to the beautiful Brandywine River Museum on Sunday mornings including this Sunday October 26th between 9:30am – 12pm. Free.

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Fairmount Halloween Festival
Sunday October 26th
3:30-5:30pm
Fairmount Art Center
2501 Olive Street
Philadelphia, PA

The 8th Annual Fairmount Halloween Festival is happening Sunday October 26th from 3:30-5:30pm at the Fairmount Art Center. This free family fun event will feature play zones, live music, face painting, arts and crafts and more. Come in costume and enjoy the Fairmount Halloween Parade that starts at 5:30pm at 25th Street.