New! The Philadelphia Hebrew Public Charter School

A new option for kindergartners and first graders opens this fall Read more

Philadelphia Hebrew Public Charter School East Falls

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Guys! This coming fall (2019), a new public charter will open its doors — and we’re getting the word out now, because they’re currently accepting applications. Welcome, Philadelphia Hebrew Public Charter School! The school will offer an academically rigorous curriculum that includes instruction in the Hebrew language and will teach kids of all backgrounds to become global citizens. Read more →

Wee Bits: Day-Off Camps for Tuesday, The Best Family Cars, Magical Removable Wallpaper, and What To Do With All That Candy

News, happenings, great reads and other tidbits for Philly parents this week Read more

wee bits late fall

If you are devastated by the heartbreak and horror in Pittsburgh (who’s not?!), and also, the horror and heartbreak in Louisville, and the pipe bombs … well, there is this ray of goodness to cling to. Not because it fixes what’s broken, but because we need to see the goodness, too. (Via NYT.)

Guys — next weekend is the Love Your Park Fall Service Day, and you can sign up to help clean, plant, mulch, garden and do any number of things at any number of Philly parks, from Starr Garden to Rittenhouse Square to Belmont Plateau and way, way more. A great way to contribute without a massive amount of commitment.

Also: The election is, of course, this Tuesday. Phield House is offering vacation camp for kids out of school — as are several of your other favorite vacation-day camp spots (Philly Art Center, the Schuylkill Center, the Arden, and the Handwork Studio, for example) and also, interestingly, Fairmount Water Works. 

Parents.com gives us a list of the best cars for car seats. 

Twenty-seven school-shooting survivors bear their scars, and bear witness. Powerful piece from NY Mag.

Oh, how I love the Strategist’s roundups. My fave this week? The 14 best removable wallpapers. So good!

From The Notebook: More than half of PA districts have no teachers of color. 

Hey, this sounds cool: On Saturday, November 3, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., you can hit up the Philadelphia Acton Children’s Business Fair at the First Unitarian Church at 21st and Chestnut. It’s a showcase of 16 businesses that are run by kids ages 5 to 12, and they’ll be selling a variety of products. (Paintings! Baked goods! Slime! Pet toys! Lip balm!) Sounds intriguing, no? (More details here!)

Brilliant: A dentist-sponsored candy buy-back program! (via Philly.com.)

Dare to dream: A short list of dreamy family-perfect trips from the NYT. 

Wee Obsessions: Cherry Street Pier

Go for the seesaws, stay for the beer Read more

cherry street pier philadelphia

Really, there’s only one thing you need to know about this new waterfront destination: There are over-sized, illuminated seesaws. They are right there, when you first walk in, and your kids (and you!) will love them.

After 1,000 turns, keep walking, because there’s plenty more to explore at this just-opened park on the Delaware River. There are working artists, interactive art installations, food trucks, a bar and a ton of programming, like craft workshops, antique markets and a pop-up play event on November 4th. (They also have a holiday market, where you can get a Christmas tree, all sorts of delish-smelling greenery and holiday decorations.)

And if none of that sounds like a nice way to spend a few hours with the fam? Well, you should go just to see how much the DRWC has improved this once-desolate waterfront. It’s amazing to see how many people are hanging on Race Street Pier (just next door to Cherry Street Pier) and walking around Penn’s Landing—and their landmark project (this big park) hasn’t even broken ground yet.

 

Spotlight: Land Of Sweets

An awesome family event to start the holiday season Read more

rock school land of sweets philadelphia nutcracker

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It’s hard to believe that we’re already talking about kicking off the holiday season (wasn’t it the first day of school like yesterday?), but here we are. It’s nearly November, and we’ve got the scoop on a really special outing that will help everyone transition from fall to winter in the most festive way possible: On Sunday, November 11, the Rock School for Dance Education is hosting an event they’re calling the Land of Sweets — a party that’s themed around their well-known annual Nutcracker 1776 performance. There’ll be sweets, treats and lots to do, from crown-making to sword-decorating to gingerbread house-building … and more.

The highlight of the afternoon, though, promises to be the live dance performances, which will feature the ethereal Sugar Plum Fairy as she engages in her beautiful battle with General Mouse Howe, leader of the redcoat mice. Kids (and their adults) have the opportunity to watch rising dance stars from around the world dressed in gorgeous costumes, and then actually meet the General, Ben Franklin and some of the other dancers who are featured in this very special, Philly-centric rendition of The Nutcracker.

There are two opportunities to participate in the Land of Sweets fetes on November 11 — there’s a 1 p.m. start time and then another at 3 p.m. In both cases, the party promises to be a lovely way to introduce the children to dance, or to the The Nutcracker, or to The Rock School, which one of the region’s premiere institutions for dance training. And at very least, the event sounds like a fun, festive afternoon for the whole family, no!? And I should mention: There’s FREE PARKING in the Rock School lot at 1226 Broad Street.

ALSO! Through November 9, Wee readers can get a special pricing deal: Wee readers get an extra $20 off every purchase. Just email Rick Clark at clarkr@therockschool.org to take advantage of the offer, which is valid through Nov. 09. (They’re also offering a 50 percent discount for veterans and active U.S. military personnel.) You can read more about the parties here, and buy your tickets here.

 

Wee Bits: Exquisite Libraries, Flu Shots While Pregnant, The Magic of Big Bird, Halloween Nature Hikes, and Peak Leaf-Peeping

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

wee bits

Love these lists of kids’ gift ideas from The Strategist. This edition? Great gifts for 5-year-olds.

“I need cheese for my egg” is my new work mantra. (Via The Cut.)

Parents.com gives us everything we need to know about getting the flu shot while pregnant.

This NYT story about Caroll Spinney — the man who has always played Big Bird on Sesame Street, and who is finally retiring — made me cry. It is very lovely.

Thanks Philly Voice, for telling us how to make a Gritty costume.

Speaking of Halloween: This Saturday (October 27) from 10 a.m. to noon, you can take the kids — in costume of course — for a fun stroll on Forbidden Drive. You can expect an easy, 1.5-mile guided hike (courtesy the Friends of Wissahickon), and also a chance to register in a drawing to win a kid’s party in your home, complete with a clown, balloon twisting and face-painting. The hike begins at the Cedars House Cafe below Northwestern Avenue, and registration is recommended. PS. Wear appropriate shoes! For more information contact Cesali Renn at renn@fow.org.

The Atlantic‘s photo tribute to exquisite libraries is really something spectacular.

Huh. Peppermint bark Oreos actually sound amazing. I’m in. (People.com.)

And now for something completely different: When was the last time you read beautiful poetry? You might appreciate this one. (I did!)

Rhythm Baby fans — from 10/29 until 11/3, every single class Julie teaches will include the annual Halloween costume contest. The most creative baby costume (ages 4 months to 3 years) wins 10 FREE music classes! (Winner will be announced the weekend after Halloween!)

Hey guys, were you aware that “peak fall foliage” in the greater Philadelphia region is likely going to be in the third week of October through the end of the month, with some species into early November? Me neither! But that’s what the director of horticulture at Morris Arboretum says, and that makes me want to plan a trip there.

And finally — a deal for great music classes in and around Philly. We Kids Rock is open for winter registration now, and there’s a discount!

So. Much. Halloween.

Grab those kids and prepare for sugar overload. Read more

halloween stuff philadelphia

Hey guys, you looking to really get your money’s worth (or, for you homemade folks, your time’s worth) out of those kids’ costumes? Well, you’re in luck — there is SO MUCH TO DO in coming weekends to celebrate Halloween with the children. I included some of these happenings in last week’s news round-up, but given how much is happening — and how many things we keep hearing about — we figured it bore repeating in post this week. Here, a snapshot of options for y’all:

WhatThe 7th annual East Passyunk Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday
When: October 27, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Details: You can expect the usual festive fun: child (and dog!) costume contest, live music, pumpkin painting, treat bags for the first 400 kids, food and drink, a craft fair, trick-or-treating along the street, and more.

What: South Street Headhouse District’s PumpkinFest and South Street trick-or-treating
When: October 27, from noon to 5:00 p.m.
The Details: The event is held inside the Headhouse Shambles and includes neighborhood trick-or-treating, performances from Philly School of Circus Arts, costume contests, a magician, pumpkin decorating, hay-wagon rides, pumpkin-pie eating contests, straw mazes … you get the general idea.

WhatRittenhouse Row Halloween celebration
When
: October 27, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Details: Kids (and grownups) can come in costume for trick-or-treating at Rittenhouse Row stores, restaurants, hotels and more. (At Capital One, between noon and 3, there will be stories read on the hour in the back of the cafe, and afterwards, kids decorate a pumpkin-frame magnet to take home.) You can check the website the day before to see participating stores, or look for the cats in the windows of participating businesses.

What: The annual SWCC 5K (Southwest Center City 5K Run)
When: October 27, at 8 a.m.
The Details: This (Halloween-themed!) series of runs raises money for both Stanton and Chester Arthur elementary schools. This year’s 10th annual race happens on, yes, October 27, beginning at 8 a.m., at Stanton Elementary. There’s the 5k, and also two kids’ fun runs — the Monster Mile (a 1.5-miler for kids aged 6 to 14, starting at 8 a.m.) and the Spooky Sprint (a 100-yard dash for kids under 6, which kicks off at 8:45 a.m.). There’s also a “fan zone” with games, trick-or-treating, and the Schmear It bagel truck. Sounds fun, no? Sign up here!

What: The Schuylkill Center’s annual Halloween hikes and hayrides festival
When: October 26, from 6 to 10 p.m.
The Details: Hike through a candlelit forest to meet nocturnal animals (eeek!), then enjoy hayrides, crafts, food trucks, s’mores and more. $5 online pre-registry for members only; $10 tickets at the door for the general public.

What: Smith Memorial Playground’s Healthy Halloween 
When: Saturday, October 27, 10 a.m. to noon.
The Details: The annual event invites families to come in costume to enjoy the petting zoo, nature play, arts and crafts, live music, healthy snacks and more. Admission is $10 per kid, though members and Access card holders get in free. You can get tix here.

WhatFranklin Square’s Pumpkin Decorating Saturday and Trick-or-Treat Trail 
When: Saturday, October 20, noon to 2 p.m. and Saturday, October 27, noon to 3 p.m., respectively
The Details: Kids can decorate their own pumpkin this Saturday and spend next Saturday customizing their own Halloween treat bag, then following the trail map to find “tasty surprises” throughout the park. Both FREE events are recommended for kids 10 and under. (You can also tack on a trip on the Lightning Bolt Express train for a few bucks, or play a round of spooky mini-golf if you’re there from 6 p.m. on.)

What: Boo at the Zoo 
When: This weekend and the following weekend, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Details: Kids are welcome to wear costumes for the zoo’s trick-or-treat safari (there’s a map and everything!), and enjoy a trip through the not-so-scary extinction graveyard focusing on animals that have gone extinct or are in danger of doing so). There’s also a hay bale maze and a photo opp in front of the giant pumpkin wall — and members are welcome to arrive an hour early (8:30 a.m.) to enjoy the less-crowded zoo.

What: Witches & Wizards Weekend (the festival formerly known as — sigh — the Harry Potter Festival)
When:
The event begins on October 19, but the family-friendly stuff is really on October 20, noon to 5 p.m.
The Details: In Chestnut Hill — specifically, Chestnut Hill College, Woodmere Art Museum, and designated locations surrounding Germantown Avenue — families can watch a Quidditch Tournament, do the straw maze at Woodmere Art Museum, do crafts for kids at the Hocus Pocus Headquarters, see live circus performers and Mad Science demonstrations, or take a hayrides … to name a few options. It’s free to attend, with pre-registration here, and tickets are sold on-site for fun, kid-centric paid activities at the Hocus Pocus Headquarters.

What: The Annual Fairmount Halloween Festival and Parade 
When: Sunday, October 28, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
The Details: Kids come in costume for a parade, art-making, music and general merriment.

What: Seaport Spooktacular 
When: Saturday, October 27, 1 to 6 p.m.
The Details: Kids can trick-or-treat on the decks of Cruiser Olympia, or decorate pumpkins and glowing charm bracelets or a pumpkin scrimshaw, or visit the mad scientists’ lab to dig up “some ghoulish surprises.” There are also ghost stories on Schooner Diligence, a face painter, cider and more. (Costumes encouraged.) You can get tickets here.