02
Dec 10

Good Day Sacramento and Good Family Fun!

We’ve just added Sacramento!

A big thank you to Julissa Ortiz and the whole crew at  Good Day Sacramento for inviting me to share Mom Maps on air last week. It was so exciting to see the enthusiastic response from local moms and dads. After the segment aired, Good Day Sacramento invited parents to share their favorite local kid-friendly places on their Facebook page. With more than 50 comments, we have been busy making sure everything gets mapped in Mom Maps so you can find these picks next time you make the trip to California’s capitol.

While in Sacramento, we had a great time visiting the ArtBeast Studio. What a fabulous place for kids to explore a whole range of classes and drop-in creative activities. If I lived in Sacramento, I know this would be a favorite for my family. Mom Mapper Shayla and her daughter Kali came along and took this great video.  Little Kali even had the chance to make her  very first painting! (And do check out Shayla’s blog, Me Turned Mom.)

Sacramento is just the latest city to be added to Mom Maps. We now support 27 metro areas and we’re adding more each week with the help of our growing community of moms and dads who love to share their favorite places for kid-friendly fun as well as the many parent bloggers and family travel experts who contribute to our app. It’s a truly collaborative effort. Together we’ve mapped more than 26,000 kid spots and captured thousands of reviews for parents, by parents. Mom Maps has come a long way since I created this app when my family moved to San Francisco and I was inspired to create a tool to find cool things to do with my two year old.

Thanks to the many Sacramento parents who provided their picks and feedback on their favorite kid spots….  and to you, for joining with me to create this great resource for families!

Happy Holidays,

Jill Seman, Founder, Mom Maps

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Download the Mom Maps iPhone app and take all of our kid-friendly picks for Sacramento (and more than 25 other metro areas) on the go, or search online at www.kidsplayguide.com.


23
Nov 10

Get Outside! Tip Sheet for Kid-Friendly, Cold Weather Fun

Photo by Tony the Misfit (Flickr Creative Commons)

Even when the weather turns cold and wet, there’s no end to the activities and places you can explore with kids. You can, of course, opt for staying warm and toasty by browsing our growing list of indoor play areas on the Mom Maps iPhone app or on the Kids Play Guide website. (Also be sure to check out our recent post: “Kid-Friendly Fun on Rainy or Cold Days: Our Favorite Places to Get the Wiggles Out“.).

If, however, your family is up for braving the elements, this just might be the time to discover a new place to explore. Our community of mom and dad mappers has made it easy to find kid-friendly places for outdoor fun in your area and on the road. Browse the “Parks” and “Playground” categories on our iPhone App or website, and you’re sure to find a great new family destination.

To add to the fun, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite links and resources for winter and cold weather activities. Now bundle up, get outside and play!

  • From The Grass Stain Guru: Try a fall color walk or check out some other ideas from her Fall Play video
  • Try these winter nature activities for kids on eHow
  • Download this free Winter Activity Guide from Nature Rocks, chock full of games, activities and safety tips.
  • Our friend Erin (@AKontheGo) recently shared this great article from Wild Backpacker on Staying Warm While Backpacking the the Coldest Weather
  • Did you know? Winter can be the best time of year from some outdoor activities, like exploring tidepools. Here’s a good round up of theBest Tidepools for Kids in California from Trekaroo
  • If you find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area (where Mom Maps/Kids Play Guide is based), ready the rain shield for your stroller and find a great place to a walk on the Stroller Hikes website.
  • We like this list compiled by National Wildlife Foundation/Wildlife Promise on favorite Outdoor Blogs by Parents.
  • Our friends at Fun Orange County Parks have created the first and last resource you need for outdoor fun in Orange County from beaches to parks to playgrounds.
  • For all you Twitter fans, the #PlayOutdoors hashtag is one of our favorites for the best news on outdoor family fun, year round.

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Take Our Skinny Scoop Poll: “When the weather turns cold, what activities get you outside with your kids?”


18
Nov 10

Kid-Friendly Fun on Rainy and Cold Days: Our Favorite Places to Get the Wiggles Out

Do you and your kids find yourselves climbing the walls when the weather gets rainy and cold? Getting the wiggles out while keeping your sanity in tact can be a tall order. So, we’ve compiled a list of fun, kid-friendly, indoor play places to run, climb and burn some energy — from Atlanta to Cinncinnati, Chicago, Seattle and points in between.

TIP: Find cold and rainy day fun using the kidsplayguide website or the Mom Maps iPhone app. Use our “Indoor Play Area”  or “Museum” categories or try search words such as: “indoor”, “bowling”, “library”, “gym”, “rink”. And…. check out our previous post on Cool Places, Mobile Apps (and more!) for Kids Who Love Science”, for more indoor fun ideas.

Mom Mapper Shalya recommends the “Eco Lake Aquarium and Science Center” in Burlington, VT for some cold day fun!

Atlanta Area

  • Hippo Hop Indoor Playground (Atlanta)  Jump and climb the day away at this inflatable play space.
  • Champion Kids (Marietta) – Indoor toddler (including kids with special needs) play place offering open play, classes, and parties.
  • DAC Kids Pirates Cove (Acworth)- Little pirates can captain a pirate ship, explore the underwater lair of an octopus or play, try the pirate-themed obstacle course. Priate’s Cove offers open play and parties.
  • Little Bears Indoor Playground - Specially designed for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and children with special needs. Lots to keep little hands and feet busy!
  • Coffee Park (Marietta): Indoor Play for the little one and a cup of joe for mom and dad.

Chicago Area

  • Kid City (Chicago, IL) – Drop in play where kids can explore a pretend city: grocery store, post office, home , movie theater, Reading corner, automobiles, and more. Parties too.
  • Family Grounds Cafe (Chicago, IL) – Indoor play area, storytelling, art, games and music activities. Gourmet coffee and espresso, sandwiches, soups, sweet treats and gelato.
  • Hobbitland Ltd. (Chicago, IL) – A bright spot for a cold day. Lots of wooden toys, play kitchen, dress up clothes, art projects, a blocked off area just for crawlers.
  • Fantasy Kingdom (Chicago, IL) – Themed play areas with kid-sized buildings to explore, costumes and other play activities.

Cinncinnati

  • Go and Play Cafe (Mason) – Indoor play for children ages 3-12 and a cafe for the adults.
  • Cherry Grove Lanes (Cincinnati) – Bowling, pool, darts to keep you entertained and (in warmer weather sand volleyball)
  • Recreation Outlet (Milford) - The folks at Recreation Outlet sell premium play equipment and have also created an indoor Play Zone where kids can run, jump and run in a showroom full of play structures, trampolines and basketball hoops. Check out their open play times or plan a birthday party.
  • Krohn Conservatory (Cincinnati) - Dream of sunnier days while perusing an acclaimed collection of more than 3,500 plant species from around the world.
  • Parky’s PlayBarn (Winton Woods) – An indoor, two-story, farm-theme, accessible playground with soft safety flooring. PlayBarn is designed for ages 2-12.

Sacramento

  • Kings Skate Country (Sacramento and Elk Grove) – Roller and inline skating lessons for all levels and open skate sessions, too.
  • Busy Bees Studio (Sacramento) – Classes, day camps, and parties where kids can do yoga, music, dance, fitness activities.
  • Explorit Science Center (Davis) – Hands-on science learnign and fun with interactive exhibits, a Discovery Room, and a Wet Lab.
  • Lasertag of Carmichael (Carmichael) – 2 story, 6,000 square foot laser tag area and arcade.

San Francisco Bay Area

  • SeeSaw (San Francisco, CA) –  A cozy, 800-square-feet play space stocked with toys, books, and games, good tunes are playing. Classes, Free Wi-Fi, and cafe!
  • Habitot (Berkeley, CA): Indoor play for infants through preschoolers. Drop in play, art studio, themed play areas. See Mom Mapper Shayla’s video from her visit to Habitot.
  • Peekadoodle Kids Club (San Francisco, CA): Classes for ages 0-5. Indoor play space features a Victorian house, a cable car, a grocer’s market, and a giant Golden Gate Bridge. A padded infant lounge and a cafe and boutique for mom and dad.
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum (Sausalito, CA) – Mixes indoor and outdoor interactive play. Places to crawl, make art and music, model trains, and interactive exhibits for hands on play. Cafe offering lunch and snack basics.
  • Exploratorium (San Francisco, CA) – Full of hundreds of hands-on exhibits that mix science and art.

Seattle Area

  • REI Seattle Store (Seattle, WA): The motherlode of gear—plus a mountain bike test trail, gear-testing stations, a 65-foot climbing wall and more hands-on fun
  • Lynnwood Bowl & Skate (Lynnwood, WA): The name says it all… a roller rink and 24 lanes await you.
  • Kidz Bounce (Issaqhah, WA): 12,000-square-foot indoor play space that features two play rooms and more than a dozen inflatables, including obstacle courses and 35-foot slide
  • Shankz Black Light Miniature Golf (Olympia, WA) – What kid wont love a little glowing 3-D mini golf in a jungle, underwater or prehistoric setting. Party room available as well.

Washington DC

  • Great Kids Village (Columbia and Silver Spring)- Drop in play time and day care, classes, cafe, and parties.
  • Adventure Park USA (New Market Maryland) – Arcade, Laser Tag, Indoor 4-level “Prospector Playground”, climbing wall and other attractions.

Other Everyday Places

… and don’t forget about some of the everyday places that can offer entertainment when the weather gets grim. Libraries get crowded on rainy days, but are free and fun.

And while shopping at our local IKEA recently, my 3 year old had a blast checking out the room vignettes, trying out ALL the chairs and testing out the kids toys scattered throughout the store. (They also have a supervised play area for preschoolers and older, where kids can play while you shop.) A nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt to cap off the visit, made for one happy camper! IKEA store finder.

Looking for more kid-friendly fun from parks, to playgrounds, museums to indoor play places and restaurants? Kids Play Guide has got you covered rain or shine! Click over to www.kidsplayguide.com and browse our growing list of more than 25,000 kid spots or take Mom Maps on the go with our iPhone app. It’s quick and easy to map and review your own favorites, too.



15
Nov 10

Video: Featured Kid-Friendly Place, Hapuna Beach (Big Island, Hawaii)

Kids Play Guide Mapper Stacie shares this video from a recent trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. This is one of the best (and only) big sandy beaches on the island. It’s on the Kohala Coast which home to many resorts (Hapuna Beach adjacent to the Hapuna Prince and Mauna Kea Hotels). Hapuna Beach has lots of amenities: big parking lot, lifeguard on duty, bathrooms, picnic areas, grills, snack shack.  It’s a great place for boogie boarding, although (beware!) the conditions can be rough at times. Overall, a great place to spend the day with the family.


In addition to mapping some of her favorite kid-friendly places on the Mom Maps iPhone app and Kids Play Guide website, Stacie writes a blog called “A Little Yumminess“, which covers family recipes and kid-friendly food adventures in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. And… if you’re interested in kid-friendly food on the Big Island, click here to view her “Big Island Food Adventure” video post.

Looking for more kid-friendly fun from parks, to playgrounds, museums to indoor play places and restaurants? Click over to www.kidsplayguide.com and browse our growing list of more than 25,000 kid spots or take Mom Maps on the go with our iPhone app. It’s quick and easy to map and review your own favorites, too.


05
Nov 10

Featured Video: Totland (Berkeley, CA)

Mom Mapper Shayla shares this video from a recent trip to the Totland Playground in North Berkeley, CA. Totland has the goods from sand to swings to lots of “donated” toddler toys — shade, water and tables aplenty, too. It’s totally fenced in which parents of wee ones will appreciate and pssst… we’ve heard it’s a good place for a park birthday party or play date.

Check out this video from Shayla of “Me Turned Mom“, where she blogs about parenting, cool stuff, and interesting places….. and find more kid-friendly places in Berkeley and beyond using the Mom Maps iPhone app, or by browsing www.kidsplayguide.com.

Now get out there and play!


03
Nov 10

Featured Mapper: Travel Mamas

So how did we find the more than 24,000 kid-friendly places mapped in our Mom Maps iPhone app? We’ve been building  a vibrant community of parent Mappers who love to share their favorite picks and places for outdoor and indoor play, learning places, family dining and more. We’d like to introduce you to Travel Mamas, a fantastic site for anyone who wants to travel with children…and stay sane!

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Since 2009, Travel Mamas has been offering insightful tips and resources for family travel written for parents, by parents: from packing lists, to air travel and road trip tips, to destination guides covering the globe, and lots, lots more. Colleen, the original Travel Mama, began this endeavor when she found herself looking for “tell-it-like-it-is advice from real moms” while planning her own family travels. Not finding the kind of content she was looking for, she created the Travel Mamas website.

We’re proud to team up with Travel Mamas to map some of their favorite kid-friendly places. So now you can take the Travel Mamas’ kid-friendly travel picks and recommendations “on the go” using the Mom Maps iPhone app (or browse online at www.kidsplayguide.com.)

Follow Travel Mamas


01
Nov 10

Featured Video: Video Postcard from San Francisco

We might be biased in our affection for San Francisco because Mom Maps happens to be based in the lovely City by the Bay, but it’s always fun to get a visitor’s perspective! This travel video postcard courtesy of Travel Bigo / Family Travel Forum will give  you a flavor of some not-to-be-missed sights in and around San Francisco that will appeal to the whole family

…. and while you’re visiting, make sure to grab the Mom Maps iPhone app and you can find lots more family fun places while you’re on the go from restaurants to playgrounds, museums and indoor fun, and access photos and reviews form other parents, too (or browse online at kidsplayguide.com).

Thanks again to the good folks at Travel Bigo / Family Travel Forum! We’re proud to team up to map thousands of Family Travel Forum’s favorite kid-friendly places and reviews so you can take their incredible library of family friendly travel content “on the go” using the Mom Maps iPhone app (or browse online at www.kidsplayguide.com.)

Family Travel Forum is a great first resource for planning your next family vacation:


20
Oct 10

Halloween Tip Sheet for Parents: Pumpkin Patches, Last-Minute Costumes, Safety Tips and Activities

Do you love Halloween as much as we do? We’ve been mapping kid-freindly places for Halloween and fall fun which you can browse at www.kidsplayguide.com or take on the go using the Mom Maps iPhone app. We’ve also been scouring the web for the handiest links and resources, our essential reading list for parents, to give you a leg up on your Halloween planning.

First up, check out our own Kids Play Guide round upParents Pick: Favorite Pumpkin Patches and Places for Halloween Fun covering the San Francisco Bay Area, Portland-Seattle, Chicago, and Washington DC. Next check out these other great links for events, activities and crafts, last minute costumes, safety tips and other general spookiness.

and last but not least……


09
Oct 10

Parents Pick: Favorite Pumpkin Patches and Places for Halloween Fun

Fall is in the air. While we’re sad to say goodbye to summer, we’re looking forward to cozy sweaters, autumn leaves, hot chocolate and probably our favorite of all  — some good old fashioned Halloween fun. Of course Halloween wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a pumpkin patch. From simple pumpkin fields to elaborate corn mazes and festivals, here’s a round up of some of our favorite pumpkin patches.

San Francisco Bay Area

  • Arata Pumpkin Farm (Half Moon Bay): A Halloween fun bonanza with 6 acre corn field, Minotaur Maze, Hay and Train Rides, Picnicking and more.
  • Peterson’s Farm Pumpkin Patch (Petaluma) – Rated in the top 5 best pumpkin patches in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2010. Praised as a good place to take small children for pumpkin picking for pumpkin picking by the Marin Mommies’ site.
  • Web Ranch (Portola Valley) - Organically grown U-Pick pumpkins, haunted house, corn stalks and indian corn. Attractions on weekends: Jumpy House, Pony Rides, Petting Zoo, Face Paint, Hay Rides
  • Pastorino Farms (Half Moon Bay) – A big field of pumpkins to choose from, gifts, food, hay rides, train rides, ponies, pet and feed farm animals, giant slides and jumpers. Weekend activities include  haunted house and face painting.
  • Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm (Concord)- Halloween fun for 30 years. Giant Tube tunnel, a giant tic-tac-toe board, bean bag toss, pyramid of straw, the “Ball Return”, duck races and train ride.
  • Spring Hill Farm (Petaluma) - “Peter Pumpkin Patch” :  U-Pick pumpkins,  fresh made cheese, dig for potatoes, homemade ice cream
  • Grandma’s Pumpkin Patch (Healdsburg) – Halloween crafts, picnicking, hay fort, a corn maze and tractors  to climb on. Handicap accessible.
  • Fisher Farm (Sebastopol) – U-Pick pumpkins (choose and cut Christmas trees too)

Chicago Area

  • Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm (Crest Hill) – Huge maze (17 acres and 5.5 miles of winding paths), climbing on Fort Cottonwood, barnyard playland, veggieland, haunted barn and petting zoo.
  • Butterprint Farm Pumpkin Patch (Monee) – U-Pick pumpkins, 3/4 mile round trip hayride, scarecrow maze, squash and gourds, local farm honey, Indian corn, hardy winter mums, straw, and cornstalks.
  • Jonamac Orchard (Malta) - A family-owned apple orchard and pick-your-own pumpkin patch. Hayrides and a corn maze, country store featuring one-of-a-kind apple donuts and fudge.

Seattle-Portland

  • Sauvie Island - Pumpkins haunted maze, corn maze, cow train, market, free hay rides!
  • Stocker Farms (Snohomish) – pumpkins, haunted “field of screams”, duck races, trout fishing, barrel train.
  • Remingler Farms (Carnation) – U-Pick pumpkins, 2 mazes, farm theater, kettle corn.
  • Fall City Farms (Issaquah) – U-pick pumpkins (Christmas trees too), chickens, goats, live jazz and bluegrass music.
  • Cravens Farm (Snohomish) – Halloween fun for more than 27 years. Pumpkin scenes with a harvest twist, 15 acre corn maze, pumpkin slinger, face painting, kettle corn, tractor pulled hay ride, farm animals, gift shop and espresso.

Washington DC

  • Homestead Farm (Poolesville) – pumpkin and apple picking, hay rides, maze.
  • Gaver Pumpkin Patch (Mt. Airy) - pumpkins, corn maze, large farm animals, straw mountain, pedal bike track, giant slides, pirate ship, bale mazes, toddler corn maze, and play areas.

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Kids Play Guide: Find Kid-Friendly Fun at Home or the Road

Kids Play Guide was created by a San Francisco mom to help parents share and review their favorite places for kid-friendly fun. Our great community of parents and family travel experts have mapped more than 24,000 parks and playgrounds, indoors play places, museums and kid-friendly restaurants across the US.

Log onto www.kidsplayguide.com to browse thousands of kid spots, reviews and photos for parents, by parents. Take Kids Play Guide on the go with our Kids Play Guide: Mom Maps iPhone app. Using your phone’s GPS, you’ll find what’s nearby and how to get there.


23
Sep 10

Featured Mom Mapper: Fun Orange County Parks

So how did we find the more than 24,000 kid-friendly places mapped in our Mom Maps iPhone app? We’ve been building  a vibrant community of parent Mappers who love to share their favorite picks and places for outdoor and indoor play, learning places, family dining and more. We’d like to introduce you to Fun Orange County Parks and Michele Whiteaker. She’s a KaBOOM.org Playmaker and self-proclaimed playground blogger who considers it her community service to share the scoop on outdoor play in Orange County.

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We love Fun Orange County Parks! It’s an incredible resource for outdoor play covering playgrounds and parks from Anaheim to Fullerton, Newport Beach San Clemente and everywhere in between. The best part is that the the information comes straight from parents who live and play in Orange County . What we also love about the site are the sections that feature ideas for nature-based play, kids activities, and family road trips — and even some music playlists to keep you going. You won’t want to miss the “Super Search” section where you’ll find handpicked lists in categories ranging from Park Birthdays, to Sand-Free Parks, Water (Puddles), and Beat the Heat.

We’re thrilled to team up with Fun Orange County Parks to enable you to browse hundreds of their Orange County park and playground recommendations and photos on-the-go using our Mom Maps iPhone app.

Now get out there and play!

Follow Fun Orange County Parks

  • www.funorangecountyparks.com
  • @OCPlayParks (on twitter)
  • Facebook: Fun Orange County Parks
  • If you’re a Twitter fan you may also want to check out the great hastag “#playoutdoors” where you can get your daily dose of links and resources for outdoor play culled from around the Twitter-sphere.

Download the Mom Maps iPhone app or search our library of kid-friendly places online.