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20 in November

IS IT JUST A “PHASE”— OR SOMETHING MORE SERIOUS? If your child is struggling, Borderline Personality Disorder may be the cause. We will find the answers, together.



Boston Parents Paper | November 2020

Volume 36 • Number 3


November 2020

24 20 Things to Do in November

10 in November



Boston Parent 841 Worcester Street Suite 344 Natick, MA 01760 • 617-522-1515 Visit us online at PUBLISHER Parenting Media, Inc

4 Family F.Y.I.


8 Great Reads

ART DIRECTOR | Debbi Murzyn

ASSOCIATE EDITOR | Jean Abernathy ADVERTISING SALES Holly Castro, David Morney


Boston Parents Paper is published monthly by Parenting Media Inc. Please note that the advertisements in this magazine are paid for, which allows this magazine to be free to the consumer. Copies of Boston Parents Paper are distributed to locations throughout Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. Past issues are available on our website, Send letters to the editor or article submissions to Submit events to our Family Friendly Calendar at event

• Uber & Car Seat Safety • The Art of Gratitude • Your Child with Special Needs Kid’s Books That You’ll Sneak a Peek At

16 Travel Back in Time

You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy all Plymouth, MA has to offer.

18 Video Games


Can They Be a Good Thing?

20 Be My Neighbor

Helping Kids Connect to Their Community

22 Debt-Free Holiday


8 ways you can give gifts without breaking the bank November 2020 |


Family F.Y.I. Private School Guide


inding the right school for your child is not easy. We just made the task easier with the 2020 edition of our Private School Guide which is now available with information on how to choose the school that’s the best fit for your family, timeline for applying, what to look for when visiting your schools of choice, all available at in the “Our Magazines” tab.

Drawbacks of Being Voted

Most Popular

The Art of Gratitude



recent study out of the University of Virginia found teens voted as “most popular” at age 15 was found children to be a significant predictor of having higher rates of social anxiety at age 25 than the students who were less preferred as someone to spend time with. The researchers found that the students who had strong close friendships, as opposed to being most liked, in their teens showed a relative decrease in depressive symptoms and a relative increase in self-worth measurements from 15 to 25.


Boston Parents Paper | November 2020

gratitude journal is a great way to teach kids how to appreciate and focus on the positives in life. Each day your child can write or draw pictures of the people, places or things in their life that are important and appreciated. Focusing on the positives each day is tremendously up lifting emotionally. This positive way to start or end the day will create an emotion that will carry throughout the day. Kid focused gratitude journals can be bought or handmade, be word or art focused. Even using magazine photo cutouts, pasted into the journal works. The key is to spend a few moments each day and think about what is important to happiness. Be grateful!




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ur 2020 edition of Your Child with Special Needs is filled with information on how to help kids with special needs thrive, what to look for in a mental health care provider, and valuable local resources and support groups. Available online at – just click on Your Child with Special Needs in the “Our Magazines” tab.

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Boston Parent

Your Child with Special Needs


What Caregivers Need to Know

About Rideshare Services and Car Seats By Cassandra Slater, BA, CPST Boston Children’s Hospital


he recent rise of the convenient ride share services are a blessing and a curse for families in states such as Massachusetts. For low costs, it is easy for parents to transport their children from home to appointment without having to pay for parking in a busy city. Individuals and families are drawn to the convenience of the app, but one thing that is often overlooked is the need for child restraint systems. It is law in Massachusetts that every child under the age of 8 years old and 4 feet 9 inches be properly restrained in a car seat or booster seat at all times in a vehicle. This includes any rideshare vehicle. As an Injury Prevention Specialist and Car Seat Technician for Boston Children’s Hospital, I am answering this question from parents frequently: “Do I have to have a car seat if I am riding in an Uber even if the driver doesn’t care?” And the answer is: YES! Being improperly restrained - not in a car seat, in the wrong car seat for their age, car seat not installed properly - in a motor vehicle crash is the leading cause of death for children. Your child must be properly restrained in a car seat for every ride, even if your destination is down the block. You


Boston Parents Paper | November 2020

never know when you and your family will be in a car crash and your small children need to be protected against the intense crash forces. Not to mention, it is against the law for them to ride unrestrained. These child passenger safety laws were informed by trauma experts who understand how crashes cause life-threatening injuries in children. Car seats protect children’s brains, spinal cords, and internal organs by spreading hundreds of pounds of crash forces over a larger area of the body. This means that instead of the head or neck of the unrestrained child taking hundreds of pounds of pressure when they fly into the back of the front seat, that pressure is instead distributed in smaller portions through the harness to the collar bones, strong chest bones, and strong hip bones, protecting their inner organs and keeping them in their seat. We empathize with parents who have multiple children and multiple car seats. Boston Children’s Hospi-

tal has attempted to address the struggle of carrying car seats around by creating a car seat valet system. If a family arrives in a ride share car with their car seats, they can check the seats at the information desk in the main lobby of the hospital so they do not have to carry them from appointment to appointment. After you are all set in the clinic, you can head down to pick up them up, order your car in the valet circle, and install the seat. Our goal is to make sure that every child leaving the hospital is safely restrained. Finally, when choosing a car seat for your child, you might like the look of one particular car seat more than another, but always choose the seat you can easily install without any help and practice installing it correctly. Of course, always make sure the seat you choose is appropriate for the age, weight, and height of the child. Be safe!

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Great Reads Kids Books that You’ll Sneak a Peak At


HE BIG FAT NOTEBOOK® SERIES, a revolutionary study guide series created by the editors of America’s No. 1 educational bestseller Brain Quest, has been a lifesaver during distance learning. Each indispensable study guide is like getting to borrow the notebook of the smartest student in class, with highlighted key concepts, doodles that illuminate tricky ideas, mnemonics, and more. Covering subjects such as middle school math, science, world history, American history, English language arts and the latest subject, computer science and coding, these guides are extremely helpful to the student (and the distance learning assisting adult!) to be able to navigate key school subjects without frustration! Workman Publishing, $14.95.



e all know what the Constitution is, yet so many, including the next generation of leaders and voters, do not know the meaning behind its words or its true history. THE CONSTITUTION DECODED: A GUIDE TO THE DOCUMENT THAT SHAPES OUR NATION by Katie Kennedy seeks to change that. An accessible yet richly layered work written clearly and simply to explain the Constitution word by word, idea by idea, it gives young readers a true understanding of not only how the Framers envisioned the United States, but also why they made the choices they did. For example, did you know that the First Amendment (the freedom of speech), is not the first amendment because the Framer’s thought it was the most important, but because there were two other amendments which didn’t make it into the final document? And that the Thirteenth Amendment, which proclaimed the abolition of slavery in 1865, was actually not ratified by all of the states immediately? (Mississippi did not officially submit the proper documentation to ratify the amendment until 2013.) The perfect gift for the budding activist or anyone interested in the history of this country, The Constitution Decoded gives young readers the knowledge they need to be active, engaged citizens and informed voters of tomorrow. Workman Publishing, $16.95.

OW TO ASTRONAUT: AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO LEAVING PLANET EARTH by Terry Virts, one of only four astronauts in history to have piloted a space shuttle, flown a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, performed space walks, and commanded the ISS, is a book for everyone who wants to know what space travel is really like. From fighter jets to unwieldy space AINT BY STICKER KIDS: DINOSAURS is the ultimate suits, space station cuisine, and an activity book for young dinosaur enthusiasts and uncensored look at answering the call of nature in zero-G aspiring paleontologists. Kids will love piecing and from bad bosses to bureaucratic nightmares, this offbeat together images of the prehistoric creatures they love, and often hilarious collection of short, readable essays gives including a ferocious T-Rex, an armored Ankylosaurus, a sneak peek behind the curtain of real astronaut life. an agile Velociraptor, and more! The way it works is Workman Publishing, $27.95 simple: Find the numbered sticker, peel it, and place it in the correct space. And with PAINT BY STICKER KIDS: TORIES OF THE SAINTS: BOLD CHRISTMAS the fun continues. From a sparkling Christmas AND INSPIRING TALES OF tree to a fluffy snowman, this activity book is packed with ADVENTURE, GRACE, AND ten playful illustrations that will get every kid in the holiday COURAGE by Carey Wallace introduces spirit! Workman Publishing, $9.95. young readers to stories of faith that are as amazing as Greek myths and as enthralling as folktales like Robin Hood and the Knights of the Round Table. An inspiring collection of epic legends about men and women whose lives were touched by faith, Stories of the Saints conveys these beloved tales in a fresh, accessible way. Workman Publishing, $24.95.




Boston Parents Paper | November 2020

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Gift Guide

By Elena Epstein, Director of the National Parenting Product Awards

Jambo Books

Go! Go! Cory Carson® Cory’s Stay & Play Home™

Give a boxful of children’s book featuring characters of color. Members receive 2-3 books each month that feature diverse children as the stars of their own stories. Starting at $34.99, ages Birth-13,

Explore every room with Cory, Mama and Chrissy Carson mini characters in this 360° playset. Built just for cars with a pretend bathtub car wash complete with scrub brush, ramps and more. Place any SmartPoint® character (sold separately) on the SmartPoint® location to hear them talk, play music and light up. $39.99, ages: 2+,

Rainbocorns Big Hair Surprise The ultimate giant surprise egg comes with over 30 hairmazing surprises including Big Hair Boo-Boocorns, colorful hair extensions, a giant hair clip, Pop & Swap heart gems and more. $49.99, ages 3+,

Designed By Me: Color Decor Dollhouse Budding artists and decorators can bring imaginary worlds to life with a variety of coloring backgrounds and a chimney box of markers. $59.99, ages 3 years +, http://www. Continued on pg. 12 >>>


Boston Parents Paper | November 2020

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Gift Guide <<< Continued from pg. 10

Back to the Future: Dice Through Time It’s up to you to help Doc and Marty repair the spacetime continuum before time paradoxes unravel the very fabric of the universe. Jump in your time machine, complete events, return items, and help restore temporal order. $29.99, ages 10+, https://www.

Veterinarian Practice with Pets Lovingly treat a variety of animal patients back to health. Includes X-ray image hanging on the wall, examination table, doctor’s case and much more. $59.99, ages 3-8, https://www.

PRIZM fx-CG500 Calculator With a large, soft keyboard and convenient drop-down menus, the PRIZM fx-CG500 is easy to use and includes a high-resolution, color, touchscreen LCD display (over 65,000 colors!). It also includes a Color Link function for graphs, charts and spreadsheets and is permitted for use on the AP, SAT I and II, PSAT and NMSQT exams., $129.99. Plus, distance learning support at learning!

100 Animals Book™ Hold 100 animals in your hands with the touch-sensitive pages featuring 12 habitats and environments. Switch the language setting to hear about the animals and listen to songs in either English or Spanish. $17.99, ages 18+ months,

Monster Jam Megalodon Storm A remote control vehicle that can dominate water AND attack land. Performance tires will allow you to conquer any terrain – water, dirt, rock, snow while performing 360 degree spins and wheelies. $49.99, ages 4+,


Boston Parents Paper | November 2020

Healthy Roots Dolls: Zoe Doll Meet Zoe, who has learned to love her hair, specially designed with curl power that allows it to be washed and styled with real products. She wants all kids to love their curls too. $79.99, ages 6+,

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Gift Guide BUENOS DÍAS – Spanish Learning Songs

Rainbow Jellies Magically create your own collection of squishy characters. Inside the cloud full of magical surprises reveal and select a sweet face, tuft of floofy hair, pop and squeeze the magic goo to create a custom-made bubbly, quirky and adorable squishy characters. $19.99, ages 6-8 years,

A celebration of the vibrant music, language, and culture of the Spanishspeaking world. Irresistible salsa, merengue, flamenco, reggae, and Andean rhythms encourage kids to sing along as they learn traditional foods, animals, songs, instruments, and more. $14.99 (CD), $9.99 (download), all ages, https://

Smashers Dino Ice Age Surprise Smash, fizz, build and battle. The giant blue dino egg comes with over 25 different icy surprises inside. Follow the arctic scratch map through different ice age themed compounds to uncover each piece of your Smash-O-Saur. $ 24.99, ages 4+,

Real-Action Fire Engine Features a ladder that extends to over 2 feet high and rotates a full 360 degrees, a retractable fire hose and more. The truck opens to reveal an exciting command center with all kinds of authentic details built right in—from a radio and a computer to tools and gear. $49.99, ages 3+ years,

Cool Maker Hollywood Hair DIY studio that lets you design your own hair extensions. Load the hair ribbon, press the button and watch as it magically transforms into a cute hair extension. Comes with curler and spray bottle. $24.99, ages 8+,

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Continued on pg. 14 >>> November 2020 |


Gift Guide <<< Continued from pg. 13

Squeakee the Balloon Dog An interactive balloon pet that’s part dog, part balloon. Bursts with personality with over 60 sounds and movements– barking, sitting and scooting. Inclusdes multiple touch sensors and responds to voice commands. $59.99, ages 5+, http://www.

Blue’s Clues & You!™ Really Smart Handy Dandy Notebook Learn what’s new with Blue and Josh! Includes 14 light-up app icons to introduce colors, counting, shapes, weather, health and hygiene and phone, music and mail apps for pretend play. $14.99, ages 2+, blues-clues-really-smarthandy-dandy-notebook/_/Aprod80-610700

DinoMazing Egg Decorator Explore your inner paleontologist with this dynamic craft kit that’s two activities in one. Decorate and then crack open the shell to discover a surprise collectible covered in colored slime. $25.99, ages 3+,

The Animal An unboxing truck where The Animal can claw and climb over anything in its way – including its own box. The Animal transforms from powerful 4×4 truck to beast. The Animal can be placed back inside its box and the entire unboxing can be repeated over and over again. $39.99, ages 4+, https://www.

BRIO Smart Tech Sound Action Tunnel Travel Set This 37-piece interactive toy train set uses Smart Tech Sound technology that allows the battery-powered Record & Play Engine to communicate with its surroundings. Multicolored lights, motion and sounds enhance the imaginative play. $199.99. Ages 3+,


Boston Parents Paper | November 2020

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By Cheryl Maguire

ou don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy all Plymouth, Massachusetts has to offer. Located 40 miles south of Boston, Plymouth is one of America’s first towns. It was named after Plymouth, Devon England due to the physical similarity. The downtown area along the Plymouth Bay offers scenic water views while you shop or dine in one of the many restaurants. Be sure to check the calendar for special events such as the Plymouth Ice Festival, Art in the Park, concerts in Kellogg Park all summer long, Fall Festival, and Santa’s Arrival.

PLIMOTH PLANTATION offers you a chance to experience life in the 17th century. There is a recreation of an English village built by Pilgrims and a Wampanoag Homesite. The Pilgrims are actors dressed in costumes and they speak with accents. The Pilgrims fully immerse themselves into their roles and will answer questions based on how their character would answer that they are impersonating. They use both documented facts about their character (a real historical person) along with general information about the time period.

THE WAMPANOAG HOMESITE staff are not actors. They are either Wampanoag or from another Native


Boston Parents Paper | November 2020

Nation. They also will answer questions about their culture but from a present day perspective. Some of the staff demonstrate how to play an accident tribal game, hubbub, which is still played today. Other staff reenacts different types of cooking and food they ate. You could easily spend an entire day talking to Pilgrims and Wampanoag people, wandering through the various refabricated homes and learning about the 17th century history.

MAYFLOWER II is a part of Plimoth Plantation museum located in downtown Plymouth, about a ten minute drive from the main location. The boat is a full-scale reproduc-

tion of the ship which brought the Pilgrims to Plymouth in 1620. This replica was built in 1955-1956 in England and is an actual working ship that sailed to Plymouth, MA. Similar to the English village, there are actors aboard the ship to recreate the experience of the 17th century and answer questions.

PLIMOTH GRIST MILL is also a part of Plimoth Plantation museum, located a short walk from the Mayflower II. The mill is a replication of the original Jenney Grist Mill used by the Pilgrims in 1636 for grinding corn. It is powered by water. Inside the museum, you can grind corn and sift it to make cornmeal. There is a small water wheel to see how it works and you can interact with it.

BREWSTER GARDENS is located outside of the Plimoth Grist Mill. It is a beautiful stroll through the gardens back to the waterfront area. The Town Brook stream runs throughout the garden and is used by the Grist Mill. In the 17th century, the stream provided drinking water for the Pilgrims. The park contains a statue

of The Pilgrim Maiden by Henry Hudson Kitson (1922) and The Immigrant Memorial by artist Barney Zeitz (2001) in honor of the Pilgrim settlers.

PLYMOUTH ROCK is located in Pilgrim Memorial State Park, near the Mayflower II and the Brewster Gardens. The park has picturesque views of Plymouth Harbor and the Mayflower II. Most people who see Plymouth Rock are disappointed with the small size but it is still viewed by more than 1 million people per year. There isn’t any evidence Plymouth Rock was the actual stepping stone for the Pilgrims but it was identified for being the spot by Thomas Faunce whose father arrived in Plymouth on the original Mayflower.

You can get a discounted Plimoth Plantation visitors pass from the library if you have a library card or know someone who does. Every year the Highland Foundation,, offers one Friday (date, usually during the summer, varies every year) when admission is free to everyone for Plimoth Plantation, Mayflower II and Plimoth Grist Mill. • There are plenty of Bed and Breakfast or hotels to stay in if you plan to stay overnight. • There are many other significant historical buildings and museums you can visit. You can view a list here: https:// • There are two public beaches, Plymouth Beach and White Horse Beach.

Due to Covid restrictions some items may not be available. Please check ahead for available activities.


Cheryl Maguire holds a Master of Counseling Psychology degree. She is married and is the mother of twins and a daughter. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, Parents Magazine, AARP, Healthline, Grown and Flown, Your Teen Magazine, and many other publications. She is a professional member of ASJA. You can find her at Twitter @CherylMaguire05



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By Soundarya Ganesh he daunting question every parent finds themselves asking: are video games bad for my child? This question is not new, but parents continue to struggle with its answer. In 2020, technology has only become more prevalent with the switch to online learning and the upcoming release of high-tech gaming systems like the new PlayStation 5, coming November 12th, enticing bored kids and frustrated parents alike. As the pandemic continues to limit this year’s activities, we once again find ourselves asking, is it okay for kids to turn to video games instead of spending time playing with friends? The answer is simple: yes. In fact, parents with children fascinated by technology as well as parents who are just looking for an engaging way to entertain their


Boston Parents Paper | November 2020

children while still giving them a leg up have already begun turning toward gaming as an opportunity for keen developmental, social and even academic growth. Here’s why:

Gaming encourages high-level abstract thinking One of the often-overlooked ways in which gaming stimulates children is its demand for high-level thinking and quick decision making. Through the repeated use of the intense thought processing required in any engaged gamer, children’s abstract thought processing capabilities are challenged, pushing them further towards crucial developmental milestones. Hand-in-hand with this, there is an increase in logical reasoning while they attempt to manipulate their way through different situations consid-



ering a variety of possible paths and observing the results of other players’ choices. Furthermore, as children continue to game, there is an expansion in their overall learning capacities as we see them master new skills in these virtual worlds and continue to meet challenges the Tanglewood Marionettes. Reservations required. FREE. with an617-514-1644; towards learning in everyday life. Even better? played “alongside” WinterGames Backyard Birding, 10:30am, peers Boston encourages Nature collective learning which results in social Center, 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan. Learnskill to usedevelopgo on a bird hike and create some seed and ment asbinoculars, well.

fruit art for the birds to enjoy. Registration required. Youth, $7. 617-983-8500;

GamingMatias helpsLatelier, children become collaborative10:30am, Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St., Arlington. An hour of magic and surprises from a Chilean thinking team players magician and mentalist. Adults, $10; youth, $8.

781-646-4849; Because so many of us associate video games with isolation, it comes as a surprise to most adults that SOUTH gamingTracking actuallythe bolsters skill growth in children. Wintersocial Wild Thing, 9am, Francis William Bird Park, 251 Washington Walpole. See Jan. 14 listing. Through playing video games,St., children become virtually connected with2-6pm, peersWorld’s and are constantly seen Winter Warm Up, End, Hingham. Get outdoorsbouncing for hiking, ideas sledding, owland prowls collaborating, offsnowshoeing, of each other and taleseach around the campfi re. Adults, youth, free. learning from other’s mistakes: all $10; skills children 781-740-7233; will need in future personal and professional settings. Family Owl Prowl, 7pm, Blue Hills Trailside Museum, Especially important in this 6-feet-apart era where 1904 Canton Ave., Milton. Practice owl calls and meet kids aresome starved interaction with of thefor museum’s resident owlsothers before their going own on a age, gaming alsotoharnesses a sense of community and night hike search for them. Registration required. $10. 617-983-8500; belonging which have been proven critical in healthy childhood emotional development. The7pm, social element Stargazing: Jewels of the Night, North River of Wildlife Sanctuary, 2000 Main St., Marshfi eld.when Join they being able to build these connections online enthusiast Peter Reed as he guides you can’t inastronomy person satisfies the need to interact, joke around through the constellations. Registration required. $13. and continue developing their identities. 781-837-9400;

capitalizes on their interest in gaming to get them excited about coding. Coding has shown to give children a leg up while taking exams and in their future careers, and developing soft skills like critical thinking and problem solving. WEST Many parents are struggling to continue challenging Valentine Card Making Party, 10am, The Eric Carle Museum, 125 West Bay Road, Amherst.and Popsocially in to make their children both academically during this special your family, friends or classmates. time of valentines isolationfor and ensuring developmental milestones Registration recommended. $12 per pair or trio. continue to be met. Although increased screen time can 413-658-1100; make parents a little hesitant, technology and gaming can be a safe yet thrilling way to stimulate children and ensure they continue to grow. In the era of “together but The Enchanted Forest, 10:30am, Coolidge Corner apart,” gaming provides an unexpected Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. Artbarn, asolution youth to continued childtheater development. community company, presents the tale of a

29 Sunday

family vacation gone wrong. Adults, $13; youth, $10. 617-734-2501; Soundarya Ganesh, is the owner of iCode in Wellesley. iCode is a national computer science education franchise offering after school NORTH and summer programs, equips children with the skills and knowlWard Winter Fest, noon to 3pm, Ward Reservation, edge to compete today’s technological environment. Andover. Exploreinthe property on a guided hike, or bring your snowshoes and sled to play. Then warm up with refreshments by the fire. $10 per car. 978-886-5297;

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Lots of Participation & Fun for All! 508-358-1614 • November 2020 | 19 TOP 10

Be my N neighbor: Helping kids connect to their community By Malia Jacobson


Boston Parents Paper | November 2020

eighborhoods—and connections within local communities—have never mattered more. Per research, where children live, play and attend school impacts everything from how much they exercise to their grades. Studies also show that “social embeddedness,” or strong ties to social and cultural relationships within the neighborhood, can boost kids’ social, emotional, and academic outcomes. As families plan to stay closer to home through 2021, neighborhoods provide important opportunities for socialization, connection, and play. Like growing a garden, cultivating a richly connected neighborhood takes time and effort, but families can reap rewards for years. Here’s how to create social connectedness in your corner of the world.


Let’s roll CREATING A CONNECTED COMMUNITY starts with getting to know your neighborhood and your neighbors, says Catherine Bagwell, professor of psychology at Oxford College of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. “One of the most important ways to foster relationships

One of the most important ways to foster relationships with neighbors is to create opportunities for children to have frequent, positive contact and interactions with them. with neighbors is to create opportunities for children to have frequent, positive contact and interactions with them,” she says. Often, this simply means playing outdoors, from a driveway game of hopscotch to a backyard soccer scrimmage. Help kids get to know their area by creating a scavenger hunt that includes specific neighborhood landmarks, and ask other kids on the block to participate. For a safe, socially distanced outdoor activity for little ones, create a regular weekend “Roll and Stroll” or “Wagons and Wheels” playdate to bring kids together outside.


Safe spots REMEMBER LONG HOURS spent roaming your childhood neighborhood? Many adults do, but kids today don’t get nearly as much unsupervised outdoor time as their parents did, mainly because of concerns about safety. When neighborhoods are viewed as less safe, kids spend more time inside, get less exercise, and are less connected to their communities, according to research. Per Bright Horizons Family Solutions, a child care provider, helping kids feel safer in their community fosters a healthier, more balanced perspective to counteract the sometimes-scary world depicted by news reports. Families concerned about neighborhood safety can establish guidelines for outdoor play, like checking in with parents every hour or always coming home by nightfall, and explore community centers where kids can play with their peers in a more supervised setting. Devices like the GizmoGadget, GizmoPal, or Tinitell GPS watches provide GPS tracking and basic phone service to give parents peace of mind while kids enjoy “free range” neighborhood play.


Grass roots BY THE TEEN YEARS, kids may be too involved in school and extracurricular pursuits to spend much time on unstructured, run-around-the-neighborhood play. But for entrepreneurial teens, or any kids motivated by earning some extra cash, starting a neighborhood business can build community connections along with independence, social skills and earning power. A quick look around the neighborhood can help teens determine which type of business might flourish—are there lots of lawns in need of care? Professionals who travel and need pet or house-sitting? Or would a snowshoveling, car-washing or dog-walking business work best? Handing out business cards or flyers around the neighborhood helps teens make face-to-face connections with people in their immediate area. Meeting the neighbors and earning money are the immediate benefits, but learning about neighborhood needs and figuring out a way to fill them is an exercise with longterm learning value. Malia Jacobson is a nationally published journalist. Her latest book is Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers and Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades. November 2020 |


8 Ways

to Have a Debt-Free Holiday


happens earlier and earlier every year.

The holiday music starts playing at the start of November, and the stores have holiday items out before Halloween is even over. AND THE COMMERCIALS

FOR TOYS! That’s when I really start to feel anxious. And what

will we get for our relatives this year? How will we show our appreciation for people like teachers and daycare providers without burning up our credit card? Don’t worry … here’s some help! By Kerrie McLoughlin


Boston Parents Paper | November 2020


Have a plan.

Yes, this means using that dirty word: budget. I set up a budget in Excel every year and love it because I can easily set formulas to add and subtract for me. This way I can play with numbers to see how much I actually have available to spend on each person on my shopping list. If doing a budget in Excel isn’t your thing, head to www. for a free downloadable and printable holiday budget planner.


Rack up the credit card reward points, but only if you can handle it.

If your credit card has a rewards program where you can get gift cards based on how much money you put on your credit card, use it. Caution: you must be able to pay off every cent you put on by the due date. If you don’t have it budgeted, don’t spend it. I’m able to earn a few hundred dollars’ worth of gift cards for holiday spending every year using this system, which I can then use to shop or just give the gift card as a gift itself. If you go to http://, they compare the top credit card reward programs for you.


Give up on trying to impress.

Sure, the mailman would dig a $100 gift card to a local restaurant, and your sitter would love a $100 iTunes card, but you probably can’t afford that or you wouldn’t be reading this article. Do what you can and let people appreciate you for who you are!





Rack up the MyPoints.

I’ve been a member of for many years and have earned gift cards not only by reading emails (5 points each), but by sometimes spending money with certain merchants they support. I’m quickly working toward saving up 10,000 MyPoints, which will equal $50 cash in my PayPal account. The bonus is that I use my credit card to purchase gifts I would have bought anyway, so I double my holiday earning power.

Make it yourself!

Gifts in a jar (, like cookie, cake, pie and drink mixes and other homemade treats always go over well, and they are cheap to make! Put them in reusable containers, and you’ve gone green, as well!

Sell stuff.

Getting rid of your clutter not only makes you money, but it also makes room for incoming holiday gifts. You can sell books, toys, clothes, movies, music and more at consignment shops, www.Craigslist. com or even throw a garage sale if you’re really feeling industrious!

Buy used.

Now that your “trash” is going out of your house, you can find “treasure” at thrift shops, consignment shops, garage sales,, and What a great way to save at least 50% on items you’re looking for.


Buy nothing!

To stay out of debt, consider not buying a gift for your spouse and letting him or her know you want nothing but to live a debt-free life full of security and hope for the future. If you just can’t stomach that, it can be a fun time trying to find something for each other on a $10 budget each! A love poem is free and goes a long way in my house. Kerrie McLoughlin blogs at about her roller coaster ride life homeschooling 5 kids.

November 2020 |


By Alyson Young Gregory

Things to Do C

hilly days spent exploring the stunning colors and cornucopia of outdoor adventures that our region, practically made for autumn, offers, followed by cozy returns home are the hallmark of the season—and there’s plenty to do! Head out to these local events to support your community and take in the sights and tastes we fall for every season! With the ongoing, rapidly changing safety restrictions, please check with the location to ensure events continue to be offered.

NOVEMBER 1ST North Andover —Wind your way along the self-guided, magical pumpkin trail at The StevensCoolidge Place for a non-scary Halloween treat and nocturnal animal scavenger hunt that will delight children of all ages. The nighttime story walk illuminated by hundreds of pumpkins, light installations, and lanterns combines education and fun for an inspiring family outing complete with goodie bags for the kiddos. Costumes and flashlights encouraged! 24

Boston Parents Paper | November 2020


#1 Nocturnal Animal Pumpkin Trail


#2 Scout Days: A Tale of Two Cultures NOVEMBER 7TH Plymouth —Discover the great innovators and entrepreneurs of the 17th-century Plimoth Colony and Wampanoag Homeland where scouts can immerse themselves in the daily lives and traditions of the English and Wampanoag people and work together to earn the “Tale of Two Cultures” patch!


#3 The Story of Thanksgiving Day NOVEMBER 26TH, 27TH Plymouth—Learn about the story of Thanksgiving Dinner. Savor America’s most celebrated meal with all of the traditional New England trimmings in the place it all began with Pilgrim role players and Native interpreters for an unforgettable living history and holiday dining experience! Ticket price includes Museum admission. November 2020 |


#4 New England Harvest Feast NOVEMBER 7, 14, 21, 22, 25,27,28

Plymouth—Take a

#5 Fall Fun on the Farm NOVEMBER 1ST, 8TH

Southborough—Embrace the splendor of New England’s

harvest season with a family Sunday Funday outing to Chestnut Hill Farm! Tickets include fall favorites featuring hayrides, a scavenger hunt, a goat barnyard, climbing haystack, games and activities, live music, and access to local food, beer, and craft vendors. 26

Boston Parents Paper | November 2020



culinary journey into the past and reserve your seat at the table for an evening filled with 17th-century hospitality, lively entertainment, and authentic seasonal fare hosted by historians and Native and Pilgrim visitors from the past.

#6 Hike with Goats NOVEMBER 1, 8TH, 15TH

Southborough —Channel your


inner goat herder on this Heidiesque adventure and walk the scenic grounds of Chestnut Hill Farm with your very own playful (and sometimes stubborn) harnessed goat. Learn from a farm staff member how to walk your goat on a leash, then set off on a most curious adventure with a most perfect hiking companion! Have little ones? Check out the All About Goats weekday programs featuring goat stories and hands-on grooming! Pre-registration required.

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#8 Fall Fun at Powisset Farm

#7 What’s cooking at Powisset Farm?


Dover —Celebrate everything fall

scratch cooking at their very own workstations fully stocked with personal kitchen tools and ingredients! NOVEMBER 4TH,11TH, 18TH

Kiddos in the Kitchen (ages 7-11): November 4th: Pizza Oven, November 11th: Cupcakes, November 18th: Pasta Teens in the Kitchen: November 6th: Dumplings


Dover—Inspire budding young chefs to learn

in New England has to offer at Fall Fun at Powisset Farm! Join in every Saturday and Sunday from 124:30pm to enjoy views of the farm and fall foliage, live music, walking trails, Storywalk, hayrides, climbing haystack, fall produce and a visit to see the barnyard animals. Farm fresh pizza from our outdoor brick oven, wine and craft beer from local breweries will be available for purchase. Timed entry tickets required.


Lesley Ellis Fall 2020 Events Parent Ed Series

These virtual events are open to the public. To register, please email Tricia Moran at Pandemic Parenting: Mindfulness and self-care strategies during these challenging A Zoom link will be sent to you. Join us and invite a times with Rebecca Arnold. friend or neighbor, too! Learn more about these events at

Thursday, November 5, 7 p.m.

Little Learners Series First Thursday of Every Month For parents and young children, ages 2 - 5 years. Join Lesley Ellis teachers as they read stories, sing songs, and explore a variety of fun, educational activities. 34 Winter St. | Arlington, MA 02476 |


Boston Parents Paper | November 2020


#9 Harvest Season Appleton Farms Pizza Picnics & Hay Rides Ipswich —Go on a picnic featuring

seasonally-inspired wood oven pizza, then tour the 35-year-old farm’s spectacular grounds with a family hay ride at Appleton Farms. Test your skills at hay bale parkour, sample a sweet treat along with some cider, and explore a guided pasture walk before you wrap up another perfect fall day.

#10 The Great Pumpkin Chuck & Family Hike




Southborough—Work off your Halloween haul

on a guided family hike with a view, then head over to the farm’s trebuchet—aka catapult— and watch the staff slingshot your mealy jack-o-lanterns through the air and smash to the ground to become compost at this special harvest event hosted by Chestnut Hill Farm. Pumpkin bowling for kids, a burning campfire, and hot cider and s’mores kits for sale make this a first-rate fall activity! Timed entry tickets required.



Learn more: Toddler–Grade 8 | Newton Centre, MA Need-based financial aid is available November 2020 |


Full Moon Hikes

Take your pack out after dark to celebrate the full moon on these staff-led guided nighttime nature tours and inspire the whole family with an unexpected celestial experience.

#12 Meteor Madness Hike NOVEMBER 14TH

Medfield­—Go stargazing with your family during

a fall meteor shower just outside the city at Rocky Woods in Medfield with a moderate terrain hike where you can wish on a star and discover the night sky atop the summit of Cedar Hill. Want some help identifying constellations? Download the free SkyView Lite app and simply point your phone at the sky!

#11 World’s End NOVEMBER 30TH

Hingham—Step out into the light of the full moon onto century-old cart paths with a World’s End Ranger to spot nocturnal woodland wildlife, discuss the different moons of the months, and get your kids outside under a canopy of stars. 30

Boston Parents Paper | November 2020


#13 Brew Moon & Green Friday Brew Moon Family Hikes NOVEMBER 14TH, 27TH

Southborough—Enjoy a 30-minute hike along the farm’s

beautiful trails then spread out your picnic blanket and indulge in flights of craft beer tasting for adults and fresh popcorn and s’mores kits for the kids at these family-loved events!

#14 Castle Hill on the Crane Estate NOVEMBER 29TH

Ipswich—Bathe in the tranquil

light of the moon rising over the Atlantic and admire this spectacle of nature at twilight together with your loved ones on the Family Beaver Moon Hike on the grounds of the Crane Estate. SCHOOLS & CHILDCARE CENTERS

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LEADERS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION THE TOBIN SCHOOL Preschool – Kindergarten 73 Cottage Street • Natick, MA 01760 508-655-5006 •


2020 TOP 10

TOBIN CHILDREN’S SCHOOL Infants – PreK 71 Cottage Street • Natick, MA 01760 508-653-6300 • TOBIN SCHOOL WESTWOOD PreK & Junior K 1054 High Street • Westwood, MA 02090 781-329-7775 •

45 Matignon Road, Cambridge, MA | 617-499-1459

WESTWOOD CHILDREN’S SCHOOL Infants – Preschool 808 High Street • Westwood, MA 02090 781-329-7766 •

November 2020 |


#16 deCordova Sculpture Park NOVEMBER 1ST, 30TH

Lincoln—Nighttime at the

Southborough —Fall into the pages of a children’s

storybook installed along one of the farm’s trails and enjoy a colorful autumn walk designed to inspire parents, caregivers, and young children to get moving and build interest in nature and reading together!


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#15 StoryWalk on the Trails


museum! View the famed outdoor sculpture park in a whole new lunar light as Museum docents guide you along a tour of old and new art installations for a unique after dark visit!

Your wellness matters to us! Travel over to for our most up-to-date hours and programs, the latest on the newly restored Mayflower, and information about the steps we’re taking to create a healthy, safe and fun visit. 137 Warren Avenue, Plymouth, MA (508) 746-1622 | @PLIMOTHPLANTATION1620 @PLIMOTH


#17 The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art Amherst—Combine a fall day of

leaf peeping in the Berkshires with a love of art and reading and a visit to The Carle where everyone can celebrate their favorite classic picture books at the Let’s Talk! Animals from the Collection exhibit. Explore original works of art that brought beloved characters such as Frog and Toad, Stuart Little, Peter Rabbit and more to life in the tradition of anthropomorphism—can you guess what that is? Of note: ask about the Art Project to Go! members program when reserving advance tickets.

#18 The Eric Carle Museum Everyday Art Program:

Painting with Found Materials



Explore painting with a variety of everyday found materials and experiment with the many ways that paint can be scraped, rolled, pressed, mixed, and painted onto paper. Add to a collaborative installation at the museum or take your artwork home with you. They will be using washable tempera paint, dress for mess! In the Art Studio by appointment or as a takeaway bag at the Admissions Desk.

November 2020 |



Concord­—Admire holiday trees and wreaths of all

shapes and sizes decorated and inspired by themes from beloved children’s books during this month-long family favorite celebration!

#20 Bad Weather Options Visit Boston’s Aquarium or Museums

Boston—Weather not great? November weather can be tricky. In

case you need a rainy/frigid temperature plan many of Boston’s attractions have re-opened albeit under limited operations. While many of the interactive exhibits, classes and demonstrations are not happening you can expect full safety protocols in place to provide an entertaining encounter. Most required pre-purchased, timed designated tickets to space out patrons. Check with the organization prior to the visit to see how you can experience our great resources again!

Review current policies in accordance with Massachusetts reopening guidelines and the evolving Coronavirus pandemic. 34

Boston Parents Paper | November 2020


#19 Opening: 25th Annual Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature

Alyson Young Gregory is a native New Yorker, and Bostonbased freelance writer, mother, and Holistic Health Educator specializing in Ayurveda. She has a passion for maximizing vitality through nutrition based on environment and individual body constitution for all ages, supporting children’s wellness policies, and finding inspiring local activities for families.



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Boston Parents Paper | November 2020