Summer time in Boston can be a little overwhelming, with the hustle and bustle of restaurants opening and closing, day camp closures and extended hours, and baseball stadiums getting set up for the season. It can be overwhelming to be a new mom, with all the things you need to do to keep your baby safe, the overwhelming amount of things to do, and the little sleep you get!
Summer is a great time to take your baby on vacation or to visit your friends or family. However, with all the fun and excitement of running around outdoors comes the inevitable heat, and this can cause some unexpected problems for babies. Babies are much more susceptible to heat related illness in the summertime due to their still-developing immune systems and weaker muscles. So, how can you prevent these problems from happening?
The summer is a busy time for all the families, moms especially. The warm weather brings out families to enjoy the city and each day is full with fun things to entertain the kids. In this post, we will list out some fun things to do with kids in Boston with a baby.
In Boston, where should you wheel your stroller?
Becky, a fellow new mom, shares some of Boston’s finest baby spots, particularly for the spring and summer:
Monday — Play it Local. We live near Cleveland Circle in Brighton, Massachusetts, close to Boston College, sandwiched between the towns of Newton and Brookline. One of the delights of living in Boston is that it is so easy to walk to places of interest . We have a number of favorite neighborhood activities: playing at the Waldstein Playground, walking around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, and visiting the Brookline Public and Newton Free Libraries. While, for the adults, these may not compete in interest value with the Art Museum or the Aquarium, they are free and when you’re a new little guy or gal, probably just as stimulating.
The Waldstein Playground is located behind the buildings on the south side of Beacon Street, between Dean Road and Clinton Path. There are swings for babies and children, a sandbox, a spray fountain to play in, and other climbing equipment. My son’s favorite aspect is that you can watch the “T” trains passing by from the park. The two-mile-long Chestnut Hill Reservoir, which lies close to Cleveland Circle, provides views of the lake as well as local animals like as swans, turtles, and ducks.
Both the Brookline and Newton libraries feature big children’s rooms with a good variety of board books organized so that infants may pick out anything they want.
Tuesday — Make Way for Ducklings One of America’s classic children’s stories, Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings is set in Boston. If you have read this story to your child, you must make a trip to the Public Garden (located in central Boston, at Arlington Street, between Beacon and Boylston streets).
The Public Garden comes alive with trees and flowers in the spring and summer. Much of the grass was roped off when we last went to allow for fresh growth, but we did discover a patch of grass near the duckling sculptures (which commemorate Make Way) where Nick could crawl around. The bronze sculptures of a mother duck and her ducklings provide excellent picture opportunities.
Ride the Swan Boats while you’re there. For $2.75 (for adults; $1.25 for children 2-15), you may take a trip around the Garden’s small pond, where you can get a close look at the park’s actual ducks! Visit the Boston Common’s Frog Pond for a lengthier excursion, where you may wade in the water. Hours may be seen on the webpage.
Wednesday — Visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, located in the Fenway, is one of the country’s oldest art museums. The Museum may seem to be an odd location for infants, and the entrance fee may be exorbitant if you’re on a budget ($15 for adults for the main museum collection and $22 for special exhibits), but it can be a fun day out for everyone. Greek sculptures, Egyptian mummies, Asian ceramics, Impressionist paintings, musical instruments, and modern prints and photos are all part of the encyclopedic collection. The Lane Gallery, with its brightly colored contemporary paintings, is a good location to start since you can point out forms and colors in the vivid art.
The museum offers a tiny room (with change table) at one end of the hemicycle for private breastfeeding of babies, but I’ve also made myself at home on the second floor leather sofas (next to the rotunda) for this reason. The Calderwood Courtyard, located outside the basement level cafeteria, is a great place for your child to make some noise and crawl about.
This museum doesn’t allow touching, but if your child likes looking at picture books, the MFA offers lots of new subjects for examination! [If the ticket price seems exorbitant, consider a City Pass, which is just $39 and includes admission to six area attractions: Museum of Science, New England Aquarium, Skywalk Observatory at the Prudential Center, Museum of Fine Arts, Harvard Museum of Natural History and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum.]
Thursday — Stroll Coolidge Corner and hit the Farmer’s Market One of my favorite activities when Nick was a small baby was to take him to the Brookline Farmer’s Market. From my house it is about a two-mile walk to Coolidge Corner, where on Thursday afternoons the Brookline Farmer’s market is full of people, including lots of moms pushing strollers. You can get all the typical farmer’s market produce, along with flowers, local goat cheeses, and there’s an ice cream truck as well. For a long list of Boston-area farmers’ markets with opening dates and times, see here.
Coolidge Corner offers a mix of excellent local stores, restaurants, and chains: don’t miss Brookline Booksmith, an award-winning local bookshop, and Magic Beans, a lovely (though pricey) toy store. On Tuesday mornings at 11 a.m., Magic Beans hosts a story time for children aged 0 to 3, as well as Music Together sessions on Fridays. In the rear of the shop, there’s a playscape with a train table and toys for kids to check out, as well as a rocking rocker where I’ve breastfed Nick many times. Head north on Harvard Avenue from Magic Beans to a children’s park a block or two up on the right side of the street.
Cambridge Common and Barefoot Books on Friday Across the Charles River from Boston lies Harvard University, which is situated in Cambridge. Just strolling around the brick buildings and soaking in the “smart” is worth a visit to the magnificent historic main campus. Cambridge Common, a short walk from campus, features a lovely gated children’s playground with sandbox, climbing equipment, and swings.
Barefoot Books, one of Cambridge’s gems, is located farther out on Massachusetts Avenue (approximately a 15-minute walk or a short drive). This publisher’s retail shop, located at 1771 Massachusetts Ave, displays their lovely books, as well as readings for infants and youngsters on Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. and original illustrated art work for emerging young gallery-goers.
Saturday — New England Aquarium. The Aquarium is another of Boston’s more pricy attractions ($17.95 for adults, $9.95 for 3-11 year-olds), but one that is cool on a hot summer day, and bound to delight all members of the party. Compared to some of its west coast counterparts, the New England Aquarium is on the small side, which is just as well for a baby. In the main hall of the aquarium you’ll find several enclosures of penguins, whose vocalizations reverberate around the building. Small tanks can be found around the perimeter of the building with different types of fish, or specific habitats. In the center of the building is a massive tank with giant sea turtles, sharks, and eels that you can walk around, up to the top. At the top of the ramp, you can look down into the tank. Additional exhibits can be found downstairs and sea lions swim in an enclosure outside (accessed through doors at the rear of the building). The Aquarium can be crowded and noisy, so plan your visit during a weekday if at all possible. [Also part of City Pass, see MFA, above]
Sunday — Familiarize yourself with your resources: Maternity Isis Isis Maternity is a non-profit organization and a chain of businesses that provide birthing education, instructor-led baby playgroups, seminars, book signings, and other activities. Isis has contracts with Brigham and Women’s Hospital (where many of my friends have had their kids), as does Cambridge Birth Center, where my son was born. Isis is an excellent source for baby toys and products (such as slings, Boppy pillows, Robeez shoes, and so on) as well as nursing and pumping supplies (such as replacement parts, nursing bras, milk storage bags, and so on).
Lactation consultants may be contacted via phone or at a free drop-in “Breastfeeding Talk” at Isis. We haven’t yet signed up for one of the six-week “developmental playgroups,” but if they’re half as good as the Newborn Essentials class we attended before Nick was born, I can only imagine how amazing they are. If you join Isis ($39 for a six-month subscription), you’ll get weekly emails with child development information and links to helpful websites.
How to Get There and Back
Ride the T My son loves trains, and for him, riding the “T” is a special treat. The “T” (short for MBTA, or Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) is a system of subway and street level trolleys, organized into four color-coded routes. The T is a great way to get around Boston, which has notoriously challenging driving, and even worse parking. When Nick was a newborn, we just took him on the train in the Bjorn.
It’s more difficult now that he’s mostly in a stroller. Although some lines have newer trains with low decks for easy access [in which case you should enter via one of the back doors], most green-line T trains have high stairs. When I know we’ll be taking the T, I use the umbrella stroller and just heave Nick up the stairs in the stroller. Because Boston is an ancient city, most T stations lack elevators, so plan on carrying your stroller up and down flights of stairs. The person selling tokens at the stations will open a special gate that will enable a stroller to pass through the turnstiles. On the MTBA website, there is a fairly helpful PDF booklet regarding accessibility.
A word about Logan Airport in Boston If you’re visiting Boston from another city and traveling into Logan Airport’s Terminal C, you should be aware of Kidport. A big play area for young children is located at one end of the terminal (opposite the food court). It’s a great place to kill time while waiting for a flight, with picture windows facing the runways, plenty of rocking chairs, and several different play stations (a model airplane to “fly,” a Lego table, a luggage ramp to slide down, a play kitchen, and a wonderful giant kinetic sculpture where balls move through a maze triggering noises as they go). If your kid is still too little to crawl, the mirrored walls at each end of the terminal may be of interest to them.
Becky Senf is a Ph.D. student at Boston University and the mother of a one-year-old Nick. We appreciate her for her contribution and encourage all of our readers to do the same!!
This summer is just around the corner, which means that it’s time to start planning the trip for your little one. I’m a parent to a little girl, and I’m sure you are, too. I’ve compiled a list of activities to do in Boston with a baby, summer edition.. Read more about things to do with toddlers in ma and let us know what you think.
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