Plus bonus ideas in nearby MA and CT. (This guide has been revised and updated: May 19, 2016)

Kidoinfo-100-things-wideConsider 100+ Things To Do with Kids in Rhode Island Kidoinfo’s Bucket List, filled with things to do with your children before they grow up! Fun, food, culture, and history–all unique to our area: these are things we believe every young Rhode Islander should see and do.

For easy planning in any weather and any mood, our list is divided into four categories: Outdoor, Indoor, Food, and Close-to-RI-Favorites. We’ve included a note to let you know if the activity is FREE. (Always a bonus in our book!)

100+ Things To Do with Kids in Rhode Island has been updated again in June of 2014 to incorporate fresh ideas from Kidoinfo readers, and to remove items that have closed or changed since the list made its debut in 2009.

The guide is easy to use–print it out, check things off as you go, add date of visit, make notes, and add your own favorite spots!

Follow Kidoinfo on instagram @kidoinfo: I created a hashtag #kido100things to keep track of all the adventures we try. Feel free to tag your instagram photos so they become part of the collective #kido100things photo collection!

outdoor
IMG_39031. Visit Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence. Learn why the founder of Rhode Island was also a champion of the ideal of religious freedom. Bonus: Lovely spot for an outdoor picnic in season. (Free)

graveyard32. Stroll through Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, and find the resting place of famous souls like horror, fantasy, science-fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft. (Free)

TheHannah3.  Jump aboard the sunken ship The Hannah in Burnside Park (downtown Providence). Open all year long. (Free) Bonus: Attend Kidoinfo Storytime and Art in the Park during July and August. (Free)
4. Tour downcity Providence sights from a new perspective with Providence River Boat Company. Daytime, sunset, and Waterfire cruises available.
5. Watch the sunset over downtown Providence from Prospect Terrace. Park or hike to the top of Neutaconkanut Hill for another great view of the city. (Free)
6. Music! Enjoy concerts at Waterplace Park in downtown Providence. (Free)
7. Experience Waterfire in downtown Providence. Get there just before sunset to see the iconic bonfires as they are being lit. Take a gondola ride or boat ride.
8. Explore Slater Park in Pawtucket to see the animals at Daggett Farm, ride the swan boats on the pond, enjoy the playground, and visit the home of the Rhode Island Watercolor Society.

BigNazoPuppetWorkshop-Kidoinfo9. Visit the window displays of Big Nazo Lab, located in downtown Providence at the corner of Eddy and Fulton Streets. If you’re lucky, you may get a sneak peak inside. (Free)

shepard fairey mural providence10. Visit the original Shepard Fairey mural (commissioned by AS220 in 2010) painted on the side of the Pell Chafee Theatre on Aborn Street. (Free)
11. Make art and enjoy live music at AS220’s annual FooFest in downtown Providence. Takes place over the course of one weekend each August.
12. Pack a picnic supper and dine on the lawn of the John Brown House in Providence while listening to Concerts Under the Elms, Thursday evenings in the summer.

flamingo-zoo13. Visit the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence: meet the animals and play in the Big Backyard space. The zoo also hosts the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular in the fall.
14. Rent a swan paddle boat, canoe, kayak at Roger Williams Park in Providence.
15. Run in the breeze at India Point Park in Providence. Find the pirate ship in the 49-foot ceramic mural located near the playground. (Free)
16. Play at Dexter Park located next to the Cranston Armory in Providence. (Free)
17. Take a hike! Visit Rhode Island Families in Nature to choose from almost four dozen trails throughout Rhode Island. (Free)
18. Play the Rhode Island Farm Scavenger Hunt. Take a road trip and explore 28 of RI’s 1,200 working farms. Visit www.RIFruitGrowers.org to download the map and clues or pick up a pamphlet at a participating farm.

19. Shop from a local farmer. Many outdoor farmer markets open May through November with a handful open indoors the remainder of the year. (Visit www.FarmFreshri.org for a complete list of markets.)
20. Go for a ride on the East Bay bike path from Providence to Bristol. (Free) Ice cream stops in Riverside, Warren, and Bristol. Visit http://www.dot.ri.gov/community/bikeri/index.php for a list of bike paths around the state. (Free)

IMG_243121. Watch Movies on the Block outside on Thursday evenings (June-September) in downtown Providence. (Free)
22. Fly a kite at Breton State Park along Ocean Drive in Newport. Annual Newport Kite Festival in mid-July. (Free)
23. Visit Touro Synagogue, America’s oldest synagogue, in Newport.

PeterSeeger2011FolkFestival24. Experience the Newport Folk Festival at Fort Adams State Park.
25. Visit the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport.
26. Stroll the Cliff Walk in Newport and imagine living in the opulent mansions. (Free)
27. Spend the night at the Rose Island Lighthouse in Newport.
28. Spend the day at Easton’s Beach in Newport. Enjoy the carousel, water slide, skateboard park, and playground.
29. Visit Save the Bay Exploration Center & Aquarium in in Newport.
30. Pack a tailgate picnic and head to Glen Farms in Portsmouth for the Newport International Polo Series. During time-outs, kids run on to the field to stomp down divots. Every Saturday evening in summer.

Beavertail31. Check out the tide pools at Beavertail State park in Jamestown. (Free)
32. Visit a former military fort with a history dating back over two centuries at Fort Wetherill State Park in Jamestown. (Free)
33. Join URI Marine Scientists at Fort Getty in Jamestown on a summer day at low tide for a two-hour beach walk.
34. Visit the Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown.

familybeachfeet-feature35. Have a picnic at Roger W. Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett at sunset. (Free after 5pm)

IMG_319436. Visit every carousel in the Rhode Island area: Crescent Park Looff Carousel (East Providence), Flying Horse Carousel (Watch Hill), Slater Memorial Park Carousel (Pawtucket), Carousel Village, Roger Williams Park (Providence), Easton’s Beach Carousel (Newport).
37. Explore Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth, the oldest and most northern topiary garden in the United States.
38. See Shakespeare in the Park during the summer in Wilcox Park in Westerly. (Free)
39. Visit a blue lobster at the Audubon Environmental Education Center in Bristol.
40. Welcome spring by attending Daffodil Days at Blithewold Mansion in Bristol. Bring your camera!
41. Take a hike up the old ski lift at Diamond Hill Park in Cumberland. (Free)
42. Book a group tour of the Johnston Landfill.
43. Attend a PawSox youth clinic before the Red Sox minor league baseball team’s game in Pawtucket. (The clinic is free. Tickets required for game.)
44. Go bouldering in Lincoln Woods. (Free)
45. Watch a film at the Rustic Tri-View Drive-In, Rte 146, North Smithfield. Open May through September.

strawberry-picking46. Pick your own berries, and make your own jam.
47. Visit the Chapel-By-The-Sea in Colt State Park in Bristol. (Free)
48. Visit the Kettle Pond Visitor Center in Charlestown.
49. Visit the shops, feed the animals, and picnic at the Fantastic Umbrella Factory in Charlestown. (Admission is free.)
50. Swim, fish, play, or go boating at Ninigret Park in Charlestown. Visit the Frosty Drew Observatory on Friday evenings to get closer to the night sky.
51. Go camping in Hope Valley’s Arcadia Management Area.
52. Step back into history and explore Smith's Castle in Wickford.
53. Swim at the Spring Lake Beach Facility and play in the arcade in Burrillville.
54. Go fishing at Sabin Point Park in East Providence. Search for seaglass and play on the playground. (Free)
55. Take the ferry round trip to Block Island for the day.
56. Visit the Jamestown Fire Department Memorial Museum in Jamestown.
57. Have a picnic at Goddard State Park in Warwick. (Free)
58. Ride the Prudence Island Ferry round trip from Bristol for a delightful daytrip.
59. Go on a seal watch. See Harbor seals in Narragansett Bay. View seals from Rome Point from October through April at low tide. (Free)
60. Visit the  Biomes Marine Biology Center in North Kingstown.
61. Visit the tiny pirate playground in Warren. (Free) Followed by ice cream at Imagine.
62. Visit the imPossible Dream Playground in Warwick. (Free)
63. Journey with Blackstone River Cruises to learn about the river’s Industrial Revolution past and recovery to vibrant ecosystem. Stay overnight on a canal boat.
64. Cool off at the Waterpark at Yawgoo Valley in Exeter.
65. Visit the Washington County Fair in Richmond during one long weekend in mid-August.
66. Go ice skating outdoors during the winter or indoors during the summer.
67. Play at Adventureland in Narragansett, including mini-golf, bumper boats, go-karts, batting cages and a carousel.
68. Walk along spectacular ocean views on a natural “cliff walk” at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge and check out the visitor center, just up the road from Second Beach in Middletown.

NEW BONUS ADDITION (Added August 17, 2017)! Brandon's Beach at Burnside Park is a nautical-themed playground inspired by the Ocean State and Providence’s historic harbor, where large ships would dock in the Providence River. The playground is appropriate for toddlers and young children of all abilities, and offers a wide variety of sensory-rich equipment, including pagoda bells, drums, and music pipes. It also features classic swings, slides and spinners. This playground was built in memory of Brandon Goldner and made possible by the generosity of his family and friends.


indoor

DiscoveryStudio

69.  Play at the Providence Children's Museum. Explore the Discovery Studio (inside) and climb the Climber (outside). (Free admission after 5 on select Fridays during the year.)

buddai-risd

IMG_721670. Visit RISD Museum of Art and think like an explorer. Find the mummy or hunt for food motifs. (Free on Sundays and third Thursday of the month.)
71. Visit the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab, just around the corner from the RISD museum. See an amazing variety of specimens on display, including birds, bears and bones. (Free.)
72. Visit the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology in Providence.
73. Visit the Museum of Natural History and Cormack Planetarium in Providence.
74. Enjoy films from around world, and learn about filmmaking at the annual Providence Children’s Film Festival. Takes place during the month of February. (Each year, some screenings are free.)

athenaeum.jpg75. Visit the children’s room in one of America’s oldest libraries: Providence Athenaeum on Benefit Street in Providence. (Free.)
76. See a show at Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) in Providence. Check the schedule to attend the brown bag lunch organ concert series. (Free.)
77. Cheer on the P-Bruins at a hockey game in Providence.
78. Watch an IMAX movie at Providence Place Mall.
79. Watch children’s films at Cinemaworld in Lincoln every morning at 10AM, all summer long. (Children are FREE.)
80. Enjoy a garden oasis all year long at the Botanical Center in Roger Williams Park in Providence.
81. Take the Underdog Tour. Visit all the Providence locations used in the film. (Free)
82. Visit the Johnson and Wales Culinary Museum on the Providence-Cranston line. (Scheduled to reopen September, 2014.)
83. See Kaleidoscope Children’s Summer Theater at Scottish Rite Auditorium in Cranston. Tuesdays during July and August.
84. Go duckpin bowling (no ducks involved). Find a list of Rhode Island Duckpin bowling alleys at The Rhode Less Traveled.
85. Attend story time any time of year at Barrington Books, Books on the Square, or your favorite library. (Free)
86. Children provide the power and operate miniature machinery in the Apprentice Alcove at Slater Historic Mill the birthplace of the industrial revolution in Pawtucket.
87. Learn why we honor Gilbert Stuart by visiting the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace & Museum in Saunderstown. Open May through October.
88. Visit the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket.
89. See a show at Stadium Theater Performing Arts Centers in Woonsocket.
90. Enjoy local food, community, and often music from November through May at the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market at Hope Artiste Village.
91. Jump for joy at an indoor trampoline park: Skyzone in East Providence and Launch in Warwick.
92. Strap on skates and roll to the tunes at United Skates of America in Rumford.
93. Take in a dynamic show with Providence’s young talent at Everett’s Friday Night Live (all ages improv comedy Fridays at 7 PM – break during summer) and Manton Avenue Project, where local actors perform plays written by young playwrights.

food
fountaingelato94.Eat gelato from Venda in DePasquale Plaza in Providence. (In summer, eat near the fountain.)
95. Have wood-grilled pizza at the legendary Bob and Timmy's in Providence. Eat more yummy pizza at the recent pizza additions to the city: Flatbread Pizza Company or Providence Coal Fired Pizza.
96. Have ice cream at Gray’s or The Daily Scoop on Thames Street in Bristol.

IMG_816297. Buy a house made hotdog from The Wurst Window at Chez Pascal — take it to go to enjoy by the fountain in Lippitt Park in Providence.
98. Eat crepes or cupcakes at the Duck & Bunny. Eat out in the back garden, weather permitting.
99. Have a food truck lunch or dinner. Use this link to find a list of trucks and their routes.
100. Have supper at Champlins.
101. Enjoy live music and a fun meal at Buster Krab’s Burger Shack and Beach Bar in Narragansett.
102. Order a coffee cabinet at Delekta Pharmacy in Warren.
103. Have a Del’s lemonade. Find the Del’s nearest you with the tool on this page.
104. Have breakfast or lunch at Crazy Burger in Narragansett.
105. Buy lobster off the boat in Point Judith in Narragansett.
106. Have clam cakes at Aunt Carrie's in Point Judith in Narragansett.
107. Buy pie at Schartner Farms in Exeter.
108. Have a lobster roll at Blount Clam Shack on the waterfront in Warren, or at Crescent Park by the carousel in Riverside, RI.
109. Devour homemade ice cream and visit the cows at the original Gray's in Tiverton.
110. Have lunch at Stanley's in Central Falls, open since 1932.
111. Have a doughboy and walk the beach at Iggy’s in Warwick (open year round) or in Narragansett (seasonal).
112. Have breakfast at the classic Modern Diner in Pawtucket.
113. Sample RI’s favorite donuts at Allie’s Donuts.

closetoriMany free or discount passes are available at the library.

Connecticut

Massachusetts

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From the Kido archives...

We like to celebrate fall by making crafts that remind us of the season’s colors, shapes and textures or using natural materials found on our outdoor hikes. naturefaceMany of these projects are simple and need little advanced planning. Although I show samples of finished crafts, these activities are as much or more about the process, the outdoor adventure and collecting the materials. Plan a walk and bring a bag to hold natural items along the way. Making art with kids can lead to unexpected discoveries and detours. If you want perfection, craft your own piece alongside or after the kids are asleep.

Nature Faces (kidoinfo)
A creative way to explore nature. Grab a bag and head outside with your children. Collect natural materials from your yard, a local park or while hiking. Almost anything can be used to create faces - sticks, leaves, pine cones, rocks, acorns, seeds, flowers, etc. Kids can sort or count the items before they begin. Arrange your found objects into faces. Optional: Use chalk to outline the face first. Make your nature family then take a picture to document it.

I am inspired by other creative crafty folk. Here's a roundup of some of my favorite fall projects:

BotannicalPrints
Hammered Flower and Leaf Prints
(build make craft bake)
Make botanical prints using the natural dyes in plants by gently hammering plants onto paper.
. . . . .

leaf-mobileFall Leaf Mobile (Small Wonders)
Easy to assemble mobile from sticks, leaves and string.
. . . . .

leaf-elephantFall Leaf Pictures (atelier pour enfants)
Arrange dry flat leaves into animal shapes. Mount on board or heavy art paper.
. . . . .

Autumn Maple Leaf Crowns (twig and toadstool)
Weave together leaves into a ring shape to make a crown or necklace.
. . . . .

Leaf Candle Centerpiece (better homes and garden)
Decoupage leaves onto the side of pillar candles.
. . . . .

twig_trivetTwig Trivet (TLC)
Cut collected sticks into a uniform size and mount on board.
. . . . .

Gourd Birds (maya made)
Turn your gourds into 3-dimensional animal sculptures.
. . . . .

Leaf Suncatchers (the muddy princess)
Press found leaves between two pieces of clear sticky back contact paper.
. . . . .

pressed-leaves-Pressed Leaves (martha stewart)
Carry along your own leaf press on your walk made out cardboard and bungee cord.
. . . . .

leaf-rubbingsLeaf Rubbings (simple as that)
After you flatten and dry your leaves, place leaf vein side up under a piece of paper. Place crayon it’s side and rub gently back of over the leaf and watch the leaf appear like magic!
. . . . .

Leaf Prints (skip to my lou)
Paint the back of leaves, then press (using a brayer) paint side down onto paper to create leave prints. Depending on the type of paint used, print on paper or fabric.
. . . . .

 

 

This is one of my favorites from the Kidoinfo archives. (First posted 12/30/11.)  Please share your favorite family traditions in the comments.

general

At every family meal, we go around the table and each person says what he or she is thankful for. - Mark

We love to play short round robin games of either Boggle or Bananagrams at the end of the day.  It's a family event.  We are all in our pajamas, sitting atop the parents' bed with either of those games.  - Josefina

Our family has a basket that we keep full of books in the living room.  Whenever a holiday is approaching, we go to the basement to find the kids' books we've accumulated about that particular holiday, be it Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day or Christmas, and we bring them up and put them in the book basket.  Reading them together gets us all excited for the approaching holiday, and because they only come out once a year, they are extra special.  - Lori

birthdays

My wife and I have two kids, aged five and eight. We have a few nice traditions emerging around birthdays. We found it impossible to have birthday parties without getting gifts, so rather than saying “no gifts” we got specific. “Bring a photo of yourself” worked well, “bring a photo of an animal” too, and “no bigger than a grapefruit.” The past few years we have asked for pet food and toys to bring to Providence Animal Rescue League. Our pets have all come from shelters so there is a nice connection for our kids. The REAL tradition becomes loading it all into the car and bringing it down to the shelter. We then hang around, pet some kitties, distribute the toys, and when the staff is not too busy they lavish attention on us. Turns into a nice afternoon. - Geoff

After blowing out the candles on the birthday cake, the birthday person gets “buttered”.  A few family members put butter on the person’s nose as good luck.  It helps them slide through the next year.  Sometimes it gets carried away with the birthday person’s face getting quite a greasing! - Amy

january
Our favorite family tradition is going hiking on New Year’s Day.  This is a great way to confirm the importance of exercise in our lives and spending our free time outdoors and together as a family. - Veronica

february
My favorite family tradition is one from when I was growing up. Every Valentine's Day (and whenever my parents went away overnight) my mother would use Hershey kisses to make a big "I" and then a giant heart and a "U" on the kitchen table. We used to slowly take kisses out and move the rest around to keep the design for as long as possible. I can't wait to start this for my kids. - Heather

october
We have an annual tradition of a neighborhood Halloween Party and parade. It’s a great family and neighborhood tradition we all love it b/c we all love socializing with our neighbors while watching the kids play and have fun. - Cheryl

One of our favorite family traditions is carving the pumpkins on Halloween, toasting the seeds, and boiling the pumpkin meat to have some fresh pumpkin for pumpkin pies, breads and muffins. Yummmm!!!!!!!!! - Joan

november
Every November we create a tree from craft paper on our hall wall and each day a family member adds a leaf for something we are grateful for.  This way before the crazy holiday days we have grounded ourselves in gratitude. - Sunny

We have many traditions! Our favorite holiday tradition is threefold, we always donate and bring to a needy family a complete turkey dinner (with pie);  we always see a holiday show (The Nutcracker, a children's performance, anything really) and we always whip our cream for our holiday pies!  One year we made whipped butter when we were talking instead of paying attention to the whipping cream. - Stacey

Our favorite tradition is that we make my grandmother's Portuguese stuffing every Thanksgiving.  This is a family favorite and everyone gets involved from tearing the bread (for the little kids) up to the actual cooking (performed by Grandpa). - Meribah Dean

Our favorite family tradition at Thanksgiving is to gather for a special breakfast of Apple Cottage Cheese Pancakes in the morning, made by my husband. It is one of the only things he makes, but we are always SO excited for this breakfast. Then the pie baking begins! - Barbi

Every year the day after Thanksgiving we take off to New Hampshire with our son to ride the Polar Express from North Conway.  He loves the magical ride where all kids are in pajamas heading into the mountain to reach their final destination, The North Pole. -Amy Sullivan

Every year during the weekend of Thanksgiving, we head over to Meme & Papa's house for "Grandies PJ Night". Activities include decorating their Christmas Tree, good food and drinks and a matching set of PJs for all the grandkids or "grandies". We start snapping pictures and sooner or later my mom has her Christmas card photo! I think the tradition originally started because my parent's wanted help decorating the tree. Now, the grandkids (ages 3-9) look forward to this fun night and subsequent family gatherings when all of the cousins "just happen" to have on their matching PJs!  - Bethany

december
My favorite tradition is baking holiday cookies.  I still have the kitchen island that I made cookies on with my mother and sisters as a little girl.  It is such a joy to share the island, the memories, and the cookie recipes with my kids now. - Valerie

Our favorite holiday tradition is our daily "Christmas Magic" Christmas countdown (Similar to the idea of an advent calendar.)  And to answer the question why we celebrate this holiday in our house, we say: “We celebrate Christmas magic because this is a magical time of year...We describe how, at its best, it is a time of extra excitement, celebration, generosity and kindness that, in itself, is magic.  It is a time that people connect with their spiritual beliefs and enjoy the abundance that comes from both giving and receiving.  And it is also a time to be especially compassionate to those who do not have people in their lives with whom they can share celebrations this time of year.” - Marta

The Christmas Imp, a little man with a red peaked cap made out of pipe cleaners who my husband and I hide in a new location in our house every day December  1-24. The idea is that he's there to observe the kids and report to Santa if they've been good. The kids love to find him. On Christmas Eve, he's in the Christmas tree and on Christmas Day he's gone, presumably having left with Santa. This is a tradition that's been in my husband's family for three generations, and each nuclear family makes their own Imp. - Esther & Daniel

Step off the 21st-century treadmill and celebrate the simple life at Coggeshall Farm Museum's 42nd Annual Harvest Fair on Saturday, Sept. 19 and Sunday, Sept. 20 from 9 am to 4 pm. The festival takes place on the 48-acre living history farm located at 1 Colt Drive in Bristol.

Sack Race 400 x 300

Harvest Fair engages visitors of all ages in friendly competitions, games, lively music and dance, hay rides, pony rides and much more against the backdrop of a working 18th-century living history farm.

This year's event features performances by some of the region's most beloved performers for children and families, including two-time Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Bill Harley on Sept. 19 and nationally renowned multicultural storyteller Norah Dooley on Sept. 20. Contra dancing lessons with live music and a professional caller will be held on Sept. 19, and visitors will see authentic Morris dancing by the Ladies of the Rolling Pin on Sept. 20.

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The daily program also includes an apple pie contest, watermelon seed-spitting contest, and "A Gentleman's Disagreement," performed by two of Coggeshall's historic interpreters.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.coggeshallfarm.org or directly from Coggeshall Farm Museum. One-day tickets are $7 for children (under 12), seniors (62-plus) and active-duty military; adults are $10. Children 3 and under are free. Two-day tickets are $12 for children, seniors and military, and $15 for adults. For information on discounted tickets for Coggeshall members, email c.elder@coggeshallfarm.org or call 401-253-9062.

You can try your hand at more than a dozen 18th-century games, like Jacob's Ladder, graces or hoop-and-stick. Discover one-of-a-kind handcrafted items from local toymakers and artisans, visit heirloom sheep and cattle on a hayride through the pasture, and put your own artistic skills to work at the craft tables. Family-friendly food will be provided by a variety of local food vendors, along with jonnycakes on the grill.

Harvest Fair will feature the first-ever Arts on the Farm Exhibit, displaying works of art that were inspired by or created at Coggeshall. You can also find bargains and heirloom-quality surprises at Coggeshall's Trash and Treasures Sale.

All proceeds benefit Coggeshall Farm Museum, a nonprofit living history museum founded in 1973 to preserve the 1790s salt marsh farm and serve as an educational resource to the community and beyond.

A full schedule can be viewed here.

Kids of all ages are invited to their local public library this summer to discover new books and presentations by summer reading program educators and artists.

Youthposter

Every Hero Has A Story (Children's Program)
SEE magicians, storytellers, puppeteers, artists, dancers, musicians, and poets; WIN prizes, including free admission to exciting places; TALK about your favorite books; and, MEET other kids.

Unmask! (Teen Program)
Teens … Discover great books for your summer nights (and days). Check in at your local library to find out about great workshops … watercolor painting, cartooning, improv, crafting, animation, poetry, and magic.

Escape the Ordinary (Adult Program)
The adult summer reading program is designed to encourage adults to read during the summer months while creating positive publicity for the library.  Over the summer, adults can explore new genres or interests which gives the library the opportunity to highlight books of interest.  The adult summer reading program also offers an excellent model of lifelong learning and reading to the children participating in their own summer reading programs.

Summer Reader and Teen Reader Wallet Cards
Summer readers, children and teens, may earn wallet cards for free admission to the listed Rhode Island attractions by participating in the summer reading program at their local public library. Requirements for earning the card may vary. Inquire in the children’s or teen services departments. Read Wallet Rules.

Schedule
View the master schedule
View the programs for children
View the programs for young adults.
View the participating libraries offering adult programs.

About the Summer Reading Program
Information about the annual Summer Reading Program.

Still not inspired? Read Kate DiCamillo's Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Participate in Your Local Library's Summer Reading Program.

Ooops! Mother's Day is this Sunday and you may well have forgotten or not got around to making a card or grabbing a gift for that special Mom in your life. Check out these easy ideas for all ages (including adults) to save your bacon just in time for Sunday morning!

409520696c654d4c1e2171e4cf6c2c75

Paper Flower Pot (Food, Love and Life)

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Yarn hearts (hello, Wonderful)

5-free-printable-mothers-day-book-kids

Free-Printable-Mothers-Day-Book-Kids-3

Personal Book about Mom (hello, Wonderful)

5eb60e6579fd338359aaba41e2e0da63

Paint Swatch Coupon Book (Shannon Berrey)

newspaper-howto-0511mld107144_vert

Newpaper Page about Mom (Martha Stewart)

6-mothers-day-flower-art(1)

Flower Power Mommy (hello, Wonderful)

a3d996709e7988f987bef70e16daf0d7

Finger Print Plant Pot (Kids Stuff World)

The wonderful RI Wool and Fiber Festival takes place on May 16th from 9am to 4pm. Combining animals, history, delicious food in an idyllic setting and good old fashioned crafts and games, this is one of our own family's favorite annual events.

Three Sheep 400 x 266

Against a backdrop of a working 18th century farm, artisans, vendors and producers of wool and natural fibers from across the Northeast will come together for a day of public celebration and exhibition. The event also features the first-ever Coggeshall Cook-Off, where chefs of all ages are invited to make their best early American dessert.

Compete in the Coggeshall Cook-Off
Do you make the best Syllabub in town? Is your apple brown betty legendary? Are you an aspiring chef eager to show your talent?

All ages are invited to participate in the Coggeshall Cook-Off by preparing your best early American dessert. Contestants must purchase tickets to the festival and arrive with their dessert and recipe card by 10 am on Saturday, May 16.

Prizes will be offered prizes in four categories: Ages 12 and Under, Ages 13 to 17, Ages 18 and up, and Professionals. Judging will be performed by a panel of local chefs, Coggeshall Farm staff and David Dadekian, founder of Eat Drink RI. Winners will be announced at 12:30 on Saturday, May 16. For a complete list of rules, email c.elder@coggeshallfarm.org.

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Demonstrators, Vendors and Guilds
Artisans and vendors from across the Northeast are participating in the festival, including:

• Dancing Threads RI
• Deb & Jean’s Mittens
• Dirty Water Dye Works
• Evergreen Farm (angora rabbits, fibers, handspun yarns and wearables)
• Foxfire Farm (felted bags, blankets and other items)
• Gigi Bonin Hand-Dyed Yarns
• Havana Banana (vintage buttons, ribbons, laces and trim)
• Joyette Studio (hand-sewn bonnets, bibs, pouches headbands)
• Katrinkles Knitting Jewelry
• Kevin Ford, Sheep Shearer
• Loop by Loop Studio
• Maybe Tomorrow Farm
• Ocean State Knitting & Crochet Guild
• Play at Life Fiber Arts
• Quare Fibre
• Rising Sun Earthworks
• Sit & Knit Tent
• Spiral Bracelets by Michelle
• Supermarno Studio (knitted and crocheted bracelets)
• Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe
• The Rocking “O” Alpaca Farm
• Third Floor Studio
• Thistle Hill Farm
• Wendy’s Wonders (handspun yarns)
• Yarncrafters (hand-dyed mohair, hand-spun yarn, scarves and blankets)

Food, Music and Dancing
Talented food entrepreneurs from Hope & Main, a food business incubator in Warren, will be sampling and selling their gourmet goodies. You can also get a healthy, delicious meal from the gourmet food trucks, Plouf Plouf, Championship Melt and Like No Udder.

Polish up your singing voices and get ready to sing along with the sea shanty band, "Sharks Come Cruising." Dancing encouraged!

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Family Fun and Kids Activities
Make your own flower headband, learn to swing a beetle mallet, play a game of Graces, help us wash and card freshly sheared wool or have your face painted. The historic farmhouse will be open for tours during the festival, with interpreters dressed in 18th century clothing. We encourage you to wear your own historic outfit!

The children will be invited to participate in a celebratory Maypole dance at approximately 1 pm, at the conclusion of judging for the Coggeshall Cook Off.

Ticket sales and event information can be found at Coggeshall Farm. Tickets are $10 adults, $7 children and seniors and children under 3 years are free.

Looking for some fun and interesting things to do during the upcoming vacation week? Check out the following ideas: From furry animals, seals and bluebells to mud, masks and tree canopy walks - there is plenty to do in our local area to keep even the busiest of littles happy.

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1. Explore the bluebell woods at Swan Point Cemetery.

2. Make Tin-Can Stilts using old tomato cans and clothes line.

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3. Visit the amazing and whimsical Fairy Gardens at Roger Williams Botanical Gardens.

4. Search for treasures at Third Beach, Middletown - one of the best sea glass beaches in RI.

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5. Head North and visit the Ecotarium in Worcester. Check out the treetop canopy walk and get half price admission on Earth Day (24th April).

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6. Check out some library passes from your local library for free or discounted entry to many local museums, art galleries and aquariums.

7. Meet Furry Farm Friends at Providence Children's Museum on 24th April. Animals include a soft sheep, llama, goat and rabbits.

8. Make mud pies. Use shells, sticks and stones to decorate your pies.

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9. Visit beautiful Rome Point, North Kingstown to go seal watching. Lots of seals have been seen recently and it is an easy stroll for all ages.

10. Create cardboard masks out of old boxes. Perform a show for your friends and family.

Photo Credits: Bluebells: Suzanne Cadge, Stilts: Sabrina Helas, Seaglass: Pinterest, Tree Canopy: Ecotarium, Mud Pie: Handsonaswegrow, Masks: Ikatbag.

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Since our local elementary school has tightened food rules to restrict giving candy etc, we have been trying to think up some easy ideas for non-food Valentines gifts for my daughter's first grade class.  Here follows some multi-age, inexpensive ideas to fit the bill.

* Fabric Hearts (image shown above). Can be made out of scrap fabric and filled with dried lavender.

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* Heart-shaped bird treats.  Pop a mixture of gelatin and bird seed into heart shaped tins.  Check out this easy recipe for more details.

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* Friendship Bracelets for your classmates (also keeps children occupied on snow days)!

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* Yarn hearts - I love this easy, inexpensive idea which could be made into any shape.

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* Valentine bubbles - great for younger children to give to their preschool friends.

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* A useful pencil decorated with a handmade heart or wound up in a cute caterpillar paper.

Happy Crafting and Happy Valentines Day!

 

By Cathy Saunders, Director of Education, Providence Children’s Museum

I started school in the early 70s, a white child in a Boston suburban school that had integrated busing. I wondered what it would be like to have an hour-long bus ride to school, but I gave no thought to why other students traveled so far each day. A few years later, when a special holiday was created to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and our teachers began to talk with us about the civil rights movement, I began to understand things that I was seeing around me.

Rochel Coleman in "M.L.K.: Amazing Grace" at Providence Children's Museum.

I was shocked to learn that white and black children had not been allowed to go to school together or even play together. I was relieved to know that someone as courageous as Dr. King had stood up to the injustice – and I was in awe of the pictures of thousands of people who stood behind him at rallies and marches. They were all brave. It made me scared and proud.

I was relieved to know that I wasn’t growing up in that confusing time when children were barred from attending school. But then I started to notice and question other things that didn’t make sense. How come the children from Boston were bused to our schools, but we weren’t bused into Boston schools? Even though black and white children played together, how come we lived in different neighborhoods and why did we have different toys?

My parents did not always know how to discuss these issues with me. But, they were honest and truthful about their own experiences, even when it felt insufficient to me. Sometimes I asked the questions at very embarrassing moments. They compassionately answered my questions as I posed them, and asked me how I thought things should be. I didn’t just want answers, I wanted to make things right.

Fast forward to 2015. Now Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday and the president of the United States is African American. So much progress has been made; we have moved beyond many of the problems that spurred the civil rights movement. Yet, recent events in Ferguson and New York City have made it painfully clear that discrimination, prejudice and inequality based on race are still present.

Why is Dr. King’s work relevant to the issues of today? How do we talk with children about these difficult issues? It’s important that we do not put Dr. King on a pedestal. He didn’t work alone; many people, black and white, old and young, were involved. These leaders and every day heroes of the civil rights movement can be inspiration to us now – there are things that both adults and children can do to help combat racism. That’s why the Museum is committed to celebrating Dr. King’s legacy each year. Through performance, displays and an interactive activity about discrimination, parents and children are given a unique opportunity to discuss these hard issues – about history as well as where children see inequality in their own lives.

Every family will have their own starting point to this conversation. In addition to the Museum’s event there are some excellent resources that might be useful for your family:

Join Providence Children’s Museum’s Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, January 19 from 11:30 AM to 4:00 PM. See history come to life through songs and stories during powerful performances of “M.L.K.: Amazing Grace” at 11:30 AM, 1:00 PM and 2:30 PM. Also explore a display of photographs, words and books describing Dr. King’s life and work and take part in a provocative anti-discrimination activity. Learn more.

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