Kiddie Pool 20/07/16

At the Audubon
The New Hampshire Audubon is offering an in-person event at the Massabesic Center (26 Audubon Way in Auburn;, 668-2045) on Saturday, July 18, from 10 to 11 a.m. Learn to “Be a Nature Detective,” a program geared toward families and featuring outdoor exploration (families will have their own investigation area), according to an email from the Audubon. Masks will be required and the center (and restrooms) will remain closed, the email said. Advance registration is required. The cost is $30 per family.

At the drive-ins
Teens and up might want to check outFootloose (1984, PG but Common Sense Media pegs it at 13 and up). The movie will screen Friday, July 17, at 8:50 p.m. (or so, depending on when it gets dark) at Fieldhouse Sports Drive In (12 Tallwood Drive in Bow; Tickets can be purchased online for $20 per car (for up to four people, each additional person is $5).

On Monday, July 20, head to Portsmouth (the Pease campus of Wentworth-Douglass Hospital) for The Lost Summer Drive-In Movie Series, presented by the Prescott Park Arts Festival (which canceled its summer programming) and sponsored by Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. Drive-in movie-experiences have been created in two locations — Pease on Monday nights and Blue Mermaid/Tributary Brewing in Kittery, Maine, on Friday and Saturday nights (on July 17 and July 18, the movie is The Princess Bride) — with programming scheduled to run through Sept. 5. See the movies and reserve a spot (suggested donations are $25 per car; pre-bagged popcorn is available for $6.24) at

Or head to Hampton Beach on Monday, July 20, for a free screening of Toy Story 4 (G, 2019). “Movie Night Mondays at the Beach” are scheduled to run through Aug. 31; movies begin at dusk, about 8 p.m., according to, where you can find a list of upcoming movies and an explanation of procedures. Admission is free.

Kiddie Pool 20/07/09

Cars and food trucks
The Aviation Museum of New Hampshire (27 Navigator Road in Londonderry;, 669-4820) will hold its annual Classic Car Show outdoors on its grounds on Saturday, July 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event, which welcomes vehicles of all makes and eras, including odd or unusual vehicles, will include a raffle, a yard sale and several food trucks, according to a press release (which also noted that while the museum remains closed, portable toilets will be available). Admission costs $5 per adult; children 12 and under are free; admission is cash only, the release said. The museum’s reopening is scheduled for Saturday, July 18.

In-person science
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center (2 Institute Dr. in Concord;, 271-7827) reopened last week and will be open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., in July and August, according to the website. Admission costs $11.50 for adults, $10.50 for students and seniors, $8.50 for children ages 3 to 12 and free for children up to age 2, plus an additional $5 per person for planetarium shows, the website said. Visitors over the age of 2 are required to wear masks and sanitizing wipes will be provided to wipe down exhibits before use, according to the website, which runs down the list of other protocols.

SEE Science Center (200 Bedford St. in Manchester;, 669-0400) has scheduled a few “members only” weekends in early August. On the first two Saturdays and Sundays (Aug. 1 and Aug. 2, and Aug. 8 and Aug. 9), the museum will offer admission by pre-reservation to members between the hours of 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. (between 1 and 2 p.m., the staff will do a deep cleaning of the museum), according to the website. Guests will be asked to stay six feet apart, a temperature check will be done at the door and everybody above the age of 2 will be required to wear masks, the website said. Memberships start at $100 and include a year of free admission for everybody in a household, the website said. See the website for details about the member weekends and the in-person summer camps, which start July 27.

Family movies
Catch Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PG-13, 2019) at the Merrimack Parks & Recreation’s Movies in the Park series at Wasserman Park (116 Naticook Road in Merrimack) on Friday, July 10, at 8:30 p.m. A movie that ties up the nine-movie saga of the Skywalker family, Rise of Skywalker is two hours and 22 minutes long. The screening is free, open to residents and non-residents and weather-dependent. See or call 882-1046.

For more family films, check out some of the offerings at area theaters, which are screening older films mixed in with some of the 2020 releases that have made it to theaters. For the younger moviegoers, check out Trolls World Tour (PG, released in April), which is screening at Chunky’s in Manchester, Nashua and Pelham, andDespicable Me(PG, 2010) screening at both Chunky’s and the Milford Drive-In, where it is paired with Shrek(PG, 2001). For older moviegoers, check out the double feature of Ghostbusters (PG, 1984 — so like a 1980s PG, be warned) and Jumanji: The Next Level (PG-13, 2019). The 1984 Ghostbusters is also screening at Chunky’s, as is The Goonies(PG, 1985) andJaws (PG, 1975). 2016’s The Jungle Book (PG) is also screening at Chunky’s. See and for details. These film line-ups are through July 9 and may change on July 10.

Kiddie Pool 20/06/25

In-person summer camp!
SEE Science Center (200 Bedford St. in Manchester; 669-0400, is accepting registrations now for its in-person summer camps, which will be held in July and August, according to a press release. FIRST PLACE Invention Challenge camp (with sessions the weeks of Aug. 3 and Aug. 10; the cost is $350 per week) for ages 9 to 14 will feature Lego Mindstorms robots and a brand new FIRST Lego League Challenge for the 2020-2021 competition season, the release said. Camp Summer Science, for ages 7 to 13 (the cost is $250 per week), will feature an exploration of different science topics and run sessions the weeks of July 27, Aug. 3 and Aug. 10. The camps will feature small-size camp sessions and procedures to fit with the state guidance for day camps, the release said. Discounts are available for SEE members and families registering multiple children, according to the website.

More Mo
Earlier this spring, New England author Mo Willems of, among others, the Elephant & Piggie books and the Pigeon books, hosted a three-week, 15-episode series called “Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems!” (they’re still available at that featured him in his studio showing his artwork and demonstrating doodles (of his characters and other drawings). Since then, more content has been added to the site. In May, Willems released four episodes of “Mo Willems’ Thank-O-Rama Thank You Thursdays,” which featured more doodling along with some thanks passed along to groups like teachers (a “Thank-O-Rama” wheel helps him decide who to thank). The newest video is called “The Yo-Yo Mo Show: An Evening of Musical Doodling” and features Yo-Yo Ma playing cello while Willems draws as well as Willems showing off some cool paper creations to Ma’s music. The website also features a playlist so you can listen and draw yourself.

More drawing inspiration
Find more drawing inspiration at the website of New England author Jarrett Lerner (of the EngiNerds series), In addition to blank and half-done comics pages, the website’s “Activities” page features a series of “Thank You” prompt sheets (for teachers, sanitation workers and others), writing and drawing prompts and “How To Draw” pages for drawing pizza, robots, cats, fish, trucks and more.

Movie news
If your kids loved (or just gave you a moment of peace thanks to) Trolls World Tour (PG), released by Universal via video on demand in April, get ready to have another movie night/94 minutes to yourself. The animated movie, which features the voices of Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, had its digital for-purchase release on June 23 and will be released on DVD, Blu-Ray and 4K Ultra HD on Tuesday, July 7.

Kiddie Pool 20/06/18

Camp for free

Camp CHaD, a program from Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, is registering campers now for the virtual camp program to begin on Monday, July 6, according to CHaD’s website. Campers will receive weekday emails with virtual classes on subjects such as arts and crafts, movements and STEM, the website said. Go to to register (registration is free though CHaD is accepting donations at

Camp in a box

Looking for at-home, summer-camp-like activities that don’t require keeping to a schedule? The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover ( is offering “Stay and Play Summer Camp Kits” — mini camper kits are available for ages 4 to 5 and discovery camper kits are available for ages 6 to 10, according to the website. The kits have “25 hands-on activities with instructions, a calendar with additional activity ideas and most of the materials needed to complete the project,” the website said. The kits will include opportunities for check-ins with museum educators and don’t require screen time, though some activities will have optional YouTube videos, according to the website. The cost of the kit is $100 ($85 for members, $160 for a “Community Builder” option which pays for an additional kit to go to a family in need), the website said. The kits will be available for curbside pick-up the last week of June, the website said.


And speaking of the Children’s Museum, catch a free “Wow Magic Workshop” on Monday, June 22, at 3 p.m. for kids ages 8 and up, according to the website (, where you can register for the interactive online event. Wayne and Kali Moulton of Sages Entertainment will teach magic effects that can be created with items from around the house, the website said. Register in advance.

Kiddie Pool 6/11/2020

Animal adventure

Sneak in a little learning during your walks through nature. The New Hampshire Fish and Game department have Wildlife of New Hampshire cards available on their website at The two-page color pdfs are on subjects such as “Wildlife of Young Forests,” “Backyard Wildlife of New Hampshire” and “Wildlife of Rivers and Streams” as well as cards for hawks, wild bees, frogs, dragonflies, different kinds of birds and more.

Join a circus

The Flying Gravity Circus based in Wilton will be offering an at-home program called “Circus in a Box” this summer. With two programs (one for ages 6 to 8 and one for 9 to 14) and three weeklong sessions, “Circus in a Box” delivers circus-related materials (such as a puppet stage for the younger group, juggling balls for the older group and clown noses to everybody) in a box and then offers five days of programming for kids to follow at home, according to the website. The cost is $100 and camps run the weeks of June 29, July 6 and July 13. See

Circus Smirkus, the Vermont-based youth circus that has traveled to New Hampshire in past summers, won’t be touring this summer but Smirkus fans can still get in some clowning. Circus Smirkus will present Smirk-O-Vision, an online presentation of six events. A season pass costs $90 or individual events (six are scheduled) cost $15 to $18, according to the website, which lists the shows including “Inside the Circus: Backstage at the HQ” (on Aug. 6 at 7 p.m.), which looks at how they put on the shows each year, and “Inside the Circus: Directors’ Commentary” (July 2 at 7 p.m.). The group is also offering Smirkus@Home programming on subjects including juggling, magic, clowning, contortion and more, with classes for kids as young as 5 and schedules that include one-day classes, weeklong classes or sessions with weekly classes. See

Bee prep

Netflix’s new documentary Spelling the Dream (see page 24 for a review) is all about kids (and their families) competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The movie is rated G and might be a good way to inspire kids who are “meh” about spelling but like competition, trophies and the idea of going on ESPN. And, if they catch the Bee bug (or if you are just looking for ways to get kids spelling practice), you can check out the official Scripps app Word Club. It has a paid component, of course, but it offers some free word lists that users can be quizzed on in a variety of ways. The app presents the phonetic spelling, audio of someone saying the word, definition, part of speech and other information similar to what you’d get in a bee.

Photo courtesy of

Kiddie Pool

Family fun for the weekend

Ocean celebration
The Seacoast Science Center ( is celebrating World Oceans Day (Monday, June 8) with programming that started June 1 and will run through Monday. Catch up on previous days’ presentations (including a Q&A scheduled with marine mammal rescue experts and environmental storytelling). Presentations on the schedule for the rest of the week include a discussion about plastic-eating bacteria (Thursday, June 4, at 11 a.m.), a creature feature with a baby octopus (Friday, June 5, at 11 a.m.), a virtual 5K on Saturday (June 6) and a World Ocean Day Family trivia challenge on Monday, June 8, at 6 p.m. (register in advance). Find a full schedule and links to all the programming on their website.

Camps, virtually
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord ( will host week-long virtual camps starting the week of June 22. The camps will feature live Zoom sessions in the mornings and afternoons with activities for kids to do on their own in between, according to the website. The materials needed for each camp will be sent to campers and are included in the price of registration, the website said. The first two camps are geared toward younger kids — “Discover the Dinosaurs” for ages 5 to 8 years old and “Science Explorers” for ages 5 to 7 years old — and adult supervision will be required, the website said. Other camps include “Tech for Ecology” (July 13 to July 17 for ages 10 to 14 years) and “Astronomy 101” (Aug. 3 to Aug. 7, for ages 8 to 12; the final week). The cost is $90 to $110, depending on the camp, with discounts for members and for second campers from the same family. Find the full list of camps and registration forms on the website.

The Currier Art Center in Manchester ( has several camps and online classes scheduled for the summer to include week-long classes (meeting Monday, Wednesday and Friday) for ages 6 to 10 and middle schoolers (with a daily week-long camp, Comics Camp, in mid-July) and weekly classes for kids, middle schoolers, teens and adults. Week-long camps cost $105, weekly classes start at $110 (with discounts for members and people taking multiple classes), according to the website.

At the New Hampshire Audubon, they’re calling their online camp a Backyard Summer Camp (, with eight week-long sessions planned with programs for ages 4 to 5, 6 to 9 and 10 to 12. The programs will feature a virtual circle, live animal presentations, activities campers can do at their own pace and more. The cost is $70 or $100 per week (depending on camper age) with discounts for members, according to the website. Themes include “Feathered Friends,” “It’s a Buggy World,” “Be a Scientist” and more.

Wild Salamander Creative Arts Center in Hollis( has one-off online classes (in addition to its lineup of in-person summer camps). Felting classes, most open to grade 3 through adults, are scheduled starting June 16; they cost $27 and felting kits with materials for one project will be available for pickup the day before the classes, which will be held on Zoom, the website said. Projects include butterflies, ladybugs and cactus.

Home puzzling

Escape rooms go virtual — for free

Escape rooms have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, but some have come up with creative ways to keep players engaged while their doors are closed.
Five New Hampshire escape rooms — NH Granite State Escape in Manchester, Break Free 603 in Amherst, Monkey Mind Escape Rooms in Portsmouth, Mystery NH in North Conway and Time Quest NH in Littleton — are among 25 escape rooms from around New England that have come together to develop a free, at-home virtual escape room experience for players.
“We have to remind people that we’re still here and, ideally, will still be here at the end of [the pandemic],” Beth Scrimger of Mystery NH Escape Rooms said. “Hopefully, it will give people a glimpse into an escape room they weren’t familiar with before so they [think], ‘I can’t wait until it opens again.’”
The escape room concept originated as a subgenre of point-and-click video games in which the player is locked in a room and must find his way out using only the objects within the room. Real-life escape rooms have various types of objectives, based on a theme or backstory, that involve finding clues and solving puzzles around the room.
The theme for the virtual escape room experience is “Everyday Superheroes: Always Saving Our Butts.” As the story goes, an evil villain named Dr. T.P. Rolls has snuck into town in the middle of the night and stolen every last roll of toilet paper.
“He’s cleared out every bathroom, linen closet, and store shelf and brought the stash to his hidden toilet paper warehouse,” reads the story description on the New England Room Escapes website. “Your help is desperately needed! Assemble a team of everyday superheroes — from doctors to police officers to teachers — to find the secret lair and Save Our Butts!”
“There are so many people out there keeping our world turning right now,” Scrimger said. “Teachers, farmers, [mail delivery] drivers, grocery store [workers] — they are our everyday superheroes, so we decided to come up with a story that honors them.”
To play, visit the NERE website, where you’ll find links to each virtual escape room on the participating escape rooms’ respective websites. Each virtual escape room is unique and features different objectives and puzzles.
“The escape rooms have all developed their own concepts with their own flair,” Scrimger said. “Some are really challenging; some are super simple. Some require you to write things down on a piece of paper to solve the puzzle, or you have to complete a certain task to make something else happen.”
Upon completing an escape room, you’ll be given the name of an occupation of an everyday hero. That occupation is your “key.” Return to the NERE website and input the key for that escape room to receive credit. Players who complete all 25 escape rooms by June 30 will receive discount codes to use at those escape rooms once they reopen for business and will be entered for a chance to win the grand prize: two tickets for one free game at each of those escape rooms.

“Everyday Superheroes: Always Saving Our Butts”
Visit to start your virtual escape room adventure, going on now through June 30.

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