While the weather may have led many Bostonians to flee the city during February break, the spring temperatures may tempt families to stay local for April vacation.
The family-friendly activities below are all happening during the week of April 17, which is spring break for many local school districts. From special museum programming to free swimming sessions, these events will keep your children active and immersed in culture during vacation—aka, away from Netflix.
The Boston Children’s Museum will celebrate children’s literacy all week long with a myriad of different types of storytelling, including Japanese picture stories, live plays, and hands-on stations where kids can create flip books, bookmarks, and more. There will also be a movement-focused story time with Urbanity Dance Company and a World Play puppet show. (Monday, April 17 to Saturday, April 22; Boston Children’s Museum, Boston; $16 for adults and children, free for kids under 12 months)
Before select shows during school vacation week, kids can get fluorescent paint applied to their faces and relax in the theater’s “Lounge-U-Lum” that includes interactive music and light installations. After the performances, guests can take selfies with members of the Blue Man Group. Restaurants near the theater will be offering free and discounted food for kids. Kids must be at least 3 years old to attend shows. (April 15 to April 23, various times; Charles Playhouse, Boston; various prices)
Let the kids get their hands dirty (outside the house). At the Boston Public Market, they can make chocolate “dirt” pudding with Taza Chocolate and learn how to cook omelets. You can take a farm-to-kitchen family cooking class and/or a class by Red’s Best that helps kids identify local seafood species. The New England Aquarium will have a touch tank available on April 17. Parents are just asked to register in advance, as there’s a 15-person class size maximum. (Monday, April 17 to Saturday, April 22 at various times; Boston Public Market, Boston; $9 to $15)
During school vacation week, the Boston Centers for Youth & Families will offer all-day activities for kids, free swim lessons for children and adults, and lifeguard classes for teenagers. Plus, they’re holding an All Girls Sports Festival, a four-day event that allows girls ages 11 to 14 to try out different sports and fitness activities. (Tuesday, April 18 to Saturday, April 22 at various times; BCYF centers throughout Boston; free to $175, depending on the activity)
From Tuesday through Friday, families can immerse themselves in family art walks, story hours, and art-making activities, such as a Native American family blanket-making session, and music and dance performances that invite children to join in and learn about the dance styles of different cultures. All activities are free with museum admission, which is always $0 for kids during school holidays, and $25 for adults. (Tuesday, April 18 to Friday, April 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Wednesday; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; free with admission)
This 10-day event will inspire the inquisitive members of your family. Children will be delighted by the Science Carnival and Robot Zoo on Saturday, April 15; it will feature more than 100 exhibits, including rocket launches, liquid nitrogen ice cream tastings, and, for the non-squeamish, the chance to hold an actual brain. Adults can participate in programming that includes discussions about fake news and aliens. See the entire list of events on the festival’s website. (Friday, April 14 to Sunday, April 23 at various times; various locations throughout Cambridge; many events are free, while some require tickets and registration)
The ICA is giving families the chance to learn and share more about where they come from with the new interactive exhibit “Fish Out of Water.” The installation, created by Houston’s Bennie Flores Ansell, is made up of images of flying fish each marked with a different origin country, symbolizing the journeys of Boston’s immigrant population. After viewing the installation, families can make airborne creatures with stencils, special papers, and artists’ paint markers to reflect their own ancestors’ journeys. Their work will be added to the installation. (Tuesday, April 18 to Friday, April 21 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; ICA, Boston; $15 for adults, free for kids ages 17 and younger)