Wee Bits: Philly Pools, the New Rail Park, Boozy Popsicles, Fun Summer Reading, the Best Baby Play-Mats, and Cool Library Makeovers

Reads, news and happenings for Philly parents this week Read more

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If y’all have been reading everything I have — and I’m sure you have, how can you not? — then we know that we’re not yet out of the woods with this nightmarish family separation business. (Nowhere near out of the woods, it would seem.) Bearing that in mind, here are some ways to help the kids and families who were separated. 


Great, fun Philly.com story about the Rock and Roll Playhouse at Ardmore Music Hall. If it appeals (how can it not?), here’s the schedule. In July, it’s Tom Petty!

Thanks, Philly Mag, for a map of all 71 public pools in Philly, and a list of their opening dates!

The Rail Park is open!!! Here’s what you need to know, via Philly.com.

Spiked watermelon popsicles seems like what we need right now, right?. 

So proud of our city/school district for this story on NBC.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand (and youngest female world leader) just had her baby! 

Hey, guys — remember Jenzy, the brilliant kids’ shoe-sizing and buying app we wrote about? Well, it’s set to launch next week. (They’re aiming for a June 26 launch date!) A few things to remember: They’re available just on iPhone and iPod touch devices right now; they’re optimized for kids 0 to 6 years old; and you can get to them at jenzy.com or @shopjenzy or #sizeeasily.

Happy news in the new baby giraffe at the zoo! Welcome, Beau!

Cool library makeovers! (PlanPhilly)

The best baby play-mats, according to The Strategist. 

Also from The Strategist, because I’m always looking for good summer reads: Here are some books that fiction editors are “reading for fun” (although some of these look decidedly serious, but whatever). 

From Philly.com: “After hazards were exposed, Philadelphia school district launches massive summer cleanup. 

Remember the NYT Modern Love last year, written by the children’s author Amy Krouse Rosenthal? She was dying? The piece was titled You May Want To Marry My Husband. (WEEP.)  Well, her husband just published a follow-up, and it’s great and ALSO WEEP.

Theater fans: The (famed!) Upper Darby Summer Stage kicks off July 3 with The Adventures of Flat Stanley, Jr. Details here!

And speaking of cool artsy things to do, how great does this live-art, hands-on installation — “Figmago” — sound? Described as an “art adventure”, the collaboration between famed muralist Meg Saligman Studio and equally famed dance company, Brian Sanders’ JUNK, will feature secret passageways, color-changing murals, live dancing shadows, acrobatic dance and more totally out-of-the-ordinary art for families to enjoy.

FYI: Guys! Shoe Carnival is hosting a donation program right now in Philly. Right now, local shoppers can choose to donate 10 percent of their total purchase to one of 71 participating schools in the area. Check out the list of participating schools here!

More FREE Fun … This Time On The Delaware River Waterfront

The only thing better than summer fun is FREE summer fun Read more

free Delaware Waterfront kids fun

A few days ago, we highlighted all the FREE programming over at Sister Cities Park — today, we’re going across town to check out all the great FREE stuff to do on the Delaware Waterfront. (Okay, and also some very cheap stuff.) Because there are a ton of options, and hanging out on the water is definitely a Philly summer bucket-list outing.

Fishing with Friends (Second Sundays, June 10th, July 8th, August 12th, September 9, from 3 to 6 p.m. You — and your crew (all ages are welcome!) can cast a line at PIer 68 and see what’s biting. The fishing is run  in conjunction with the Mid Atlantic Youth Anglers, who will provide free fishing rod combos and live bait (as well as some free pointers for newbies and experienced fishermen and women).

Sundays with Pop-Up Play (Sundays, May 13th to September 30th,  11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) Every Sunday at Spruce Street Harbor Park, there’s some kid-friendly activity happening — games, music, movement, science experiments, and so forth, all designed around a theme like building or water science or civic engagement. Just another way to change playtime up, you know?

Spruce Street Harbor Park (Open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, through the end of September.) Speaking of Spruce Street Harbor Park — entry is, of course, free, and there’s a million ways to while away a couple hours at this shaded, magical perma-pop-up. (Chess! Hammocks! Fountains! Bocce! Boat-watching!) You will need to bring a couple bucks if you want to grab a snack from one of the many, many food options … or bring a picnic, which we’ve done many times. Part of the park contains Summerfest, which is essentially like a mini carnival. It’s fun to walk through, certainly — though if you bring the kids, you’ll also want to bring a few bucks, as most of the attractions for Summerfest cost a little cash. (Rollerskating on the RiverRink, for example, is $3 admission and $10 for skate rental; there’s also a carousel and Ferris Wheel for $4 a pop; there’s also mini-golf for $5 a person; and arcade games for … well … quarters. You get the idea.)

Storytime in the Lodge (Saturdays, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) Each week, kids can sit down for a snacks and a story in the open-air lodge right off the RiverRink.

Screenings Under the Stars (Thursdays, July 5 to August 30, 8:30 to 11: 30 p.m.) If you’re willing to keep everyone up a smidge later than usual, there are FREE movies (movies like Star Wars: The Last Jedi; A Wrinkle in Time; Coco; Despicable Me 3) at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing on Thursdays in July and August. Go on … it’s summertime! Who needs a reasonable bedtime?

Peddle-boating on Penn’s Landing (Hours vary from now through September 30). Okay, so it’s not free, but it’s $8 a person ($5, if you’re a member of the Independence Seaport Museum!), and you can do kayaks, rowboats or peddle boats.

Citizen Science Lab (Saturdays and Sundays through TK, 11 a.m., 1 and 3:30 p.m.) Kids get to experience some hands-on science demos at the Independence Seaport Museum. The science is focused on the Delaware River’s biology, ecology and chemistry, and also incorporates some language arts, history and basic engineering. Again, good for a change of pace!

Meantime … if y’all want to see a full list of events happening this summer (from music to yoga to movies), here’s the place to do it!

Photo Credit: Matt Stanley

Spotlight: A Secret Spot For Beautiful Baby Gifts

Egan Rittenhouse has the sweetest little finds Read more

baby gifts

If you know Egan Day, the jewelry store on 16th Street, then it will come as no surprise to you whatsoever that the spinoff boutique, Egan Rittenhouse (inside the Rittenhouse Hotel, just off the Square) is filled with the most exquisite, dreamy things. (I have long believed that owner Kate Egan has the best taste of anybody in this city — she’s all about refined and beautiful, but never too serious or pretentious.) In short: I’m a big fan.

The reason I’m gushing here on Wee about this place is because I’ve failed to note before that Egan Rittenhouse has a tiny but wonderful selection of special gifts for babies and young kids. We’re talking colorful baskets and blankets; artsy, clever little books (a counting book using Alexander Calder art; a book about opposites using art from Ellsworth Kelly); hand-carved wooden animals; Playsam racing cars; gorgeous M. Crow children’s chairs; the sweetest felted Little Lamb mobiles; velvety soft bibs and baby towels that stand out from the norm.  And more. So next time the usual Buy Buy Baby registry routine isn’t what you want, you might consider a browse here. (PS. There are so many beautiful non-baby gifts, too — Rodin lotions and vases and fresh flowers and hand-painted tableware … you’ll love. And because the place is also a flower shop, it smells like a garden. It’s transporting!)


Wee Bits: Last-Minute Father’s Day Gifts, An Inflatable Run, The Pothole Problem and Beachwear Laughs

News, happenings, reads and other good stuff for Philly parents this week Read more

wee bits philadelphia news

Wherever you happen to fall on the proposed (and killed) tax abatement bill (which proposed ending the 10-year tax abatement on new construction to fund schools), this testimony from a teacher who was all set to plead before Council might make you cry.

This is old, but wow, does it hold up. Because I think we all need a LAUGH right about now.

The U.N. told the U.S. that separating migrants kids from their moms is illegal. (If you want to scream at someone, you can contact Senator Toomey here and Senator Casey here.)

So Dominos is going to fill our potholes? Sure! (Philly Mag)

From The Strategist: 45 Last-Minute Father’s Day Gifts That Will Still Get Here in Time

Hey, I like this inspirational Go Fund Me! (Via WHYY.)

Y’all! This family-focused Inflatable Run at Citizens Bank Park sounds super fun. On June 23, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., you and the crew can run the 1-mile/5 K inflatable obstacle course (hilarious!), and hang around for live music, food trucks, carnival games, face-painting, magic shows, a massive water-balloon fight, and more. Tickets are $15 to $45, depending on what type you buy, and you can get ’em here.

Another uplifting piece (via Inky) coming from Philly schools, and a class of kids who got paid for blowing a zero-fighting goal out of the water.

The Prince movie theater is running The Incredibles 2, and kids’ tickets are $8 (grown-ups are $13). 

The Please Touch Museum prez penned a sharp op-ed for the Inky about the (mini) controversy over its Drag Queen story time.

Who knew Warner Bros. would be such a killjoy about the (charming! And now defunct) Harry Potter Festival in Chestnut Hill? (Philly.com.)

Fun new camp alert: The Rebel Girls Adventure Camp, a week-long day camp for girls between 8 and 12 brought run by a nature-focused organization called GeoVentures, sounds awesome. There’s a nature-based curriculum filled with stories and lessons from famous woman leaders throughout history; GPS-led scavenger hunts; eco-crafts; exercises that build wilderness- and leadership skills and more. The description from them: “While camp activities include wilderness games and nature skills, its main focus is teaching girls the social, emotional, and leadership skills they need so that they can become our next generation of leaders and role models.” Cool, no? Camp is offered in Ambler and in Haverford — check out the dates and the details here.

Speaking of camp: There’s still openings in the Phield House summer day camp! 

Wee Spotlight: Sister Cities FREE Kids’ Programming

Because we’re always looking for fun things to do that don’t cost a ton of cash Read more

sister cities programming summer

I suspect that very few of us need a reminder about how wonderful Sister Cities Park is in the summer, what with the splash pad and the boat pond and the climbing rocks and the sweet little perch atop the park, not to mention all of the run-around space … but I did think it might bear reminding everyone that the awesome Center City hang has FREE PROGRAMMING several days a week for kids and/or families (through August 15).

Mondays: There’s Story Art, which is a story reading from the Free Library, followed by nature-themed crafts. 10:30 a.m. There’s also Young Science Hour, which involves demos, activities and experiments from folks at the Franklin Institute. 11:30 a.m.

Wednesdays: There’s Grow Up Green, which is outdoor play and activities led by Philly Parks & Rec (for kids 3 and up). 10:30 a.m. There’s also Crafty Creations, which is a craft project inspired by the The Fabric Workshop and Museum’s current exhibit. 11:30 a.m. And there’s also Nature in the Park, which can be anything from games and experiments to live-animal meetings and nature walks courtesy the Academy of Natural Sciences. 12:30 p.m.

Thursdays: Pairings on the Parkway actually runs through August 30, and is a BYOB events that features live music from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. each week, and the boat pond stays open late. (They do sell wines by the glass, and beer by the can, as well.)

Nice to keep in mind for some of those slow summer days, yes!?

Wee Alert: It’s Sign-Up Time for Philly Art Center’s After-School Art Program

The super-popular program fills up fast, so now’s the time to lock it down Read more

philly art center after-school care

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By now, you guys have all probably heard about (or participated in) Philly Art Center’s awesome After School Art program for kids ages 4 to 12. I know in my neighborhood, it hovers somewhere between a time-honored go-to and a Philly kid rite of passage — and that’s largely thanks to the convenience that the Art Center folks bake into the program. To wit: They offer FREE school pick-up; they allow you to choose the day or days you need; and they keep the kids happy and busy (and fed — there are snacks!) until 6 p.m.

As for the kids’ perspective, heading over to the Philly Art Center after school means that they get to spend time drawing, painting, printing, sculpting, designing and building. This isn’t just craft-making or babysitting — the kids are taught actual skills by the Center’s lovely instructors. Additionally, there’s outside time and, as I mentioned, snack time, so it’s really a fun way to end their school day alongside their little buddies.

If you want to guarantee your spot, NOW is the time to sign up. School begins a bit early this year (in August!), and the program is in high demand. If you’re on the fence, you can read more about it all here. (You might also take into consideration that all three outposts — Fairmount, Queen Village and Cherry Hill — are open on days when public schools are closed and that they do half-day pick-ups and vacation camps, as well.) Ready to sign up? The forms are here. (Bonus: You’ll feel so good starting the summer knowing that your fall plans are already in order!)