Kids’ Almanac (July 3-10)

Making summer box guitars at Poughkidskie

“We the People…”
The Declaration of Independence


Poughkidsie offers all-day imaginative fun for kids, coffee & wi-fi for parents

I went to Poughkidsie yesterday with my daughter, and we both loved it. She happily crafted away while I checked out the rest of the amazing space. The art area, called the Studio, is a staffed open and airy space with shelves of porcelain and papier-mâché craft blanks, along with paints, baubles and doodads to adorn them. The play area, called the Village, consists of several different themed rooms for pretend play, including a school play area with chalkboard et cetera; theater area with costumes and puppets; doctor’s office with tools for “examining” animals or people; architect room for building, including cool magnetic wooden Tegu blocks; farmers’ market with carrots to pull from the “dirt,” eggs to count and sort; and more.

There’s also a specific room for kidlets who are 18 months and younger, for those who prefer an area for smaller tots, including lots of books, soft blocks, costumes and other stuff for play. Kids can go in any room, but the other rooms have toys and gear rated for ages 3+. There’s a “parking lot” with those cars that you move Flintstones-style with your feet and a “gas pump” for fill-ups; beanbag toss; and staff who float and are involved to help support or engage kids.

The overall theme is imagination – no electronics or toys that “do” things – and the kids I saw playing were having such a good time! A local professional photographer and Mama to three boys sounds as excited as I do: “I love this place. I spent four hours there the first day it opened. I love that they have a staff to play with kids, so if you’re a working parent, you can hook up to the wi-fi and get some stuff done while your kids play.”

Poughkidsie owners and parents Stacey and Ron Isaacson have thought of so many brilliant details that you just never see anywhere else, including windows! Windows everywhere; no lost kids in compromised spaces. There are shorter doorways into the different playrooms to reinforce the kid-centered feel of the space; free wi-fi; integrated potty seats on every single toilet; stepstools at the sinks; excellent kindie music playing (but not too loud); and a quiet room for anyone who needs a break.

Additional offerings include weekly Zumba classes that you can take while your kids play, birthday parties and Mid-Hudson Music Together classes. Half- and full-day summer camp is the only drop-off option, which is for ages 3 to 8 and features different themes each week. And can we talk about the concession area? The entire enterprise supports local business: homemade Tea Talk bubble tea; gluten-free treats from Ella’s Bellas; and salads by Adams. Get this: Coffee is ground and brewed to order with the Aeropress, using local J. B. Peel coffee.

Admission fees are valid for the entire day, even if your family leaves and comes back. The rate for daylong use of the Studio is $11.95 per artist, plus the cost of your crafts. Daylong play in the Village costs $11.95 per child. Or you could opt for the combo price of $21.95 plus the cost of the crafts. There’s no charge for adults or siblings under six months with paid admission. Socks are required in the play area, so remember to pack a pair for your crew; but if you forget, they sell them at the front desk for $1.

Poughkidsie is designed to appeal to a wide age range, from baby to any age who likes to use imagination or to create art, and it’s such a pleasant space for parents. My daughter can’t wait to go back, and neither can I!

Poughkidsie’s official address is 25 Van Wagner Road in Poughkeepsie, near the intersection of Raymond Avenue and Route 44/55, but the actual entrance and parking lot are behind the building, accessed along Springside Avenue. For more information, call (845) 243-3750 or visit See you there!


Check out Just Good Eats for ice cream treats in Kingston

Wishing more announcements like this filled your daily newsfeed? “New batches of Oreo, mint chocolate chip, four-berry sorbet made, as well as more birch beer and vanilla cream. The lavender soda is yummy…refreshing and smells so good! It’s great mixed with mint too…a real summer cooler.” Then click Like on the Just Good Eats Facebook page at Even better, just go into Just Good Eats and treat yourself!

This place is amazing, and owners Greg Young and Susan Perea make it all themselves: decadent chocolates, rich ice creams, tantalizing sorbets and incredible old-school phosphate sodas. While you’re there, read the menu about the history behind the term “soda jerk.”

My kids and I give this place a big thumbs-up, based on my son’s excellent malted hazelnut milkshake, my daughter’s fantastic hot fudge sundae and my insanely delicious Aztec chocolate cherry soda float. I also couldn’t resist trying the lime cilantro sorbet.

The price range at Just Good Eats compares to other area ice cream shops like the difference between premium pints and the grocery-store brand. Need to impress any visiting friends or family? A boss or employees? Date? If you’re going to indulge, go for something homemade and completely unique that you won’t find anywhere else.

Just Good Eats is located 604 Ulster Avenue in Kingston, where KoKoKoBi used to be. For more information, call (845) 532-7511 or visit


Friendly fireworks and more

The other day, I came across a pair of sound-reduction earmuffs that Mike bought for the kids when they were younger, and it made a real difference to their comfort level at movies, concerts and fireworks. Earplugs would work, too.

With colorful nighttime Independence Day explosions happening all weekend, I want to share some ideas about helping children manage the celebrations. Showing your children a video of fireworks can help prepare them for what to expect. Since some kids are challenged by being outside at night, whether due to the heat or the bugs or the crowds or just the bigness of it, consider viewing the fireworks from the air-conditioned car instead.

My kids appreciated fireworks more when we reviewed the history behind them, including reading a children’s Golden Book about the history of the US flag and singing a few rounds of “The Star Spangled Banner.” How about reading the Declaration of Independence together, or attending one of the local readings taking place on July 4? Offer red, white and blue clothes to wear. Sing Happy Birthday to the United States and eat birthday cake. Make crafts in patriotic colors. Take pictures of your experiences this time around, and you can refer to it together next year. Happy Fourth!



Live readings of the Declaration in Rosendale and Fishkill

Everyone knows that July 4 is Independence Day, but what’s really in the Declaration of Independence beyond Schoolhouse Rock’s tuneful Preamble? A reading of the Declaration is one way to make history feel a little more alive. And look what I just learned from the Saugerties Public Library: “In 1777, Congress commissioned Mary Katherine Goddard, postmistress of Baltimore and publisher of a weekly newspaper, to print 13 copies of the Declaration of Independence, one for each of the colonies forming the new United States of America. It was the first time the Declaration revealed the identity of the signers. Goddard put herself at risk for treason by printing the document and adding her name at the bottom.”

Here are two local free readings of the Declaration of Independence. On Friday, July 4 at 9:30 a.m. at Rosendale Theatre, listen to 20 individuals reading portions of this foundational document, then join together for coffee and refreshments afterwards. The Rosendale Theatre is located at 408 Main Street in Rosendale. For more information, call (845) 658-8989 or visit

On Friday, July 4 at 11 a.m. at Van Wyck Hall, hear the 113th reading of the Declaration of Independence. Van Wyck Hall is located at 1095 Main Street in Fishkill. For more information, call (845) 897-4430 or visit


Independence Day activities at New Windsor Cantonment & Knox’s Headquarters

School’s out, but Independence Day can be a terrific chance to learn about these pivotal moments in US history at historic sites right here in the Hudson Valley. On Friday, July 4, both the New Windsor Cantonment and Knox’s Headquarters celebrate Independence Day. The New Windsor Cantonment is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the special festivities taking place from 2 to 4 p.m.

At 2 p.m., visitors can see a military drill and a cannon fired, followed by a children’s wooden musket drill. At 3 p.m., visitors are invited to join in reading of the Declaration of Independence, followed by a military drill performed by the Seventh Massachusetts Regiment. People dressed in period clothing will be available throughout the day to share stories and information about life during that time.

The New Windsor Cantonment is located at 374 Temple Hill Drive in New Windsor. For pricing or more information, call (845) 561-1765, extension 22, or visit

The command post for three generals during the Revolutionary War, Knox’s Headquarters celebrates Independence Day with tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. of the 1754 house where they stayed, as well as a cannon-firing at 1 and 4 p.m.

Knox’s Headquarters is located at 289 Forge Hill Road in Vails Gate. For more information, call (845) 561-5498 or visit


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