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Blog Archives - September 2013

First Visits: The Metropolitan Museum of Art  
When you are weary of your 372nd visit to the American Museum of Natural History and your 483rd visit to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, you may want to introduce your children to some other collections in New York City. Here is the first in a series of short museum guides for your child and you.  In this guide, we'll cover the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Weekend Family Events - September 28 and September 29  
This weekend has some lovely events that focus on giving back to the community and helping others in need. There is the Little Swappies clothing and toy swap, Frolic! play space has a benefit pajama party and the Smithsonian magazine is graciously hosting their annual museum day live! event allowing everyone to enjoy museums all over the city for free. Giving back and participating in philanthropy is wonderful, but giving back as a family makes it even more special! Here are this weekend's picks.
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Gluten-Free Birthday Cakes and Cupcakes  
Finding a fun, fabulous birthday cake can be a challenge if your child avoids gluten. Luckily, New York is home to a bevy of bakeries that cater to even the littlest gluten-free customers. Our roundup of gluten-free bakeries will help you take the guesswork out of finding the perfect cake for your birthday girl or boy. Bon appetit!
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'Annie' Ushers in Final Weeks with Free Broadway Tickets for Kids  
In just a few months, Broadway will once again wave goodbye to Little Orphan Annie. The Broadway musical will host its final performance at the Palace Theater on January 5, 2014.

So you have just over three months to check out your favorite red-haired orphan one last time with your kids. And for the next few weeks, you can actually take your kids to see the musical for free. As a special Fall promotion, kids can go see Annie for free every evening through October 13. You get one free ticket with a regular priced adult ticket by using the code GPFAM on Ticketmaster.

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This Weekend Only: Take your Family to Visit the New Governors Island Park  
The end of September also marks the close of the public season at Governors Island for 2013. Bustling with carnival rides, treehouse activities, art fairs, mini golf and more, the island has become something of a citywide family attraction this year.

Now, there’s one more reason to visit Governors Island before the end of 2013. For one weekend only, you can preview the new Governors Island Park. This is easily going to become one of the most notable parks in the city. You’ll be able to see the start of a hedge maze in Liggett Terrace, something right out of Alice in Wonderland. Newly laid trees and an asphalt-walking path will take you to the highest point in Hammock Grove for a gorgeous view of the Statue of Liberty.

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Five Reasons to Explore El Barrio (Spanish Harlem)  
If your experience of Spanish Harlem is spending a Saturday at Target and Costco, it’s time to explore all the neighborhood has to offer! (Although, let’s be honest--a Target shopping trip can often be the highlight of my week.) East Harlem, also called Spanish Harlem, SpaHa, or El Barrio, is a vibrant neighborhood with plenty of activities for families. Here are five local favorites to get you started!
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Transit Museum Celebrates 20th Bus-Festival at Atlantic Antic  
The weather may be changing in NYC, but Brooklyn moms and dads (and those in neighboring boroughs) still have many reasons to take their kids outdoors.

September 29th is just one of those reasons. This Sunday, Atlantic Avenue will become more than just the street that has become famous for housing the Barclays Center, as it becomes host to the Atlantic Antic Street Festival. From Hicks Street to Fourth Avenue, parents will be able to take their kids out to enjoy kid-friendly music, dancing and a variety of other activities.

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Staten Island Mommy and Me Classes  
Now that the older kids are back in school and staying busy all week long, parents have an opportunity to focus on the younger children who are not in school yet. Often these young children are Mommy’s or Daddy’s little sidekicks throughout the day, tagging along on errands and supervising housework and cooking from their little Cheerio-covered highchair thrones. A fun way to break up the daily routine is by enrolling in a Mommy and Me class; it will allow you both to enjoy the adorable but all-too-brief period of infant and toddlerhood together.
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Nickelodeon World Wide Day of Play takes over Prospect Park  
With the school year in full swing, it’s not uncommon for kids to get home and decompress with a little TV, video games and iPad action. But sometimes these mediums become a little too much. In response to media overload, Nickelodeon initiated a World Wide Day of Play, encouraging kids to get out and engage in outdoor recreational activities. Plus, the network goes dark for a few hours to make sure kids aren’t glued to the screens.
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Fall Family Movies to Check out with Your Kids  
This Fall, there are several family friendly movies that you can head to the theaters to check out with your kids. Bird tales, monster holidays, rampaging tacos and dinosaurs are all on this season’s kid-friendly roster. Of course, for tween and teen audiences, there’s always The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, coming out on November 22. I’m sure everyone’s excited to see Jennifer Lawrence back as Katniss Everdeen, alongside Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson. However, we’re focusing on films that are geared towards the entire family.
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RIP the ERB?  
Has too much prepping led to the demise of the ERB?  It seems that way. The New York Times (front page, no less!) reported today that the Independent School Admissions Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY) has announced that it would no longer recommend that member schools use the test as a criteria for admissions for kindergarten or 1st grade. 

The Times quotes Patricia Hayot, head of Chapin School as saying that she expects most schools to cease using it starting next spring (though Horace Mann may be a holdout, according to the Times). 

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Weekend Family Events September 21 and September 22  
Feasts, Fairs, Festivals, Floats and Fishing. This weekend has plenty of events that start with the big "F" and the "F" is for FUN!  The Fall Fun is starting out fantastically, there are events that celebrate the fall harvest time and events that encourage you to party outdoors and enjoy the beautiful seasonal weather we've been having the past few days. Celebrate the best "F" word out there, Family! (what 'F' word were you thinking?) Here are this weekend's picks.

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Kids’ Lego Artwork on Display at Discovery Times Square  
Who doesn’t love Legos? I’ve had dreams of becoming a Master Lego Builder ever since I watched the commercials for “Zack the Lego Maniac” in the 80s.

This summer, Discovery Times Square launched a brick-building contest for kids, which coincided with its Nathan Sawaya exhibit, “The Art of the Brick.” Discovery asked kids of all ages to enter. There were four categories: ages 5-9; 10-14; 15-18; and 19 and above. It was a pretty cool way to encourage kids to see their toys as art and set a goal to strive for artistically.

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A Visit to Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA)  
While many of the Art museums in New York City welcome children and often have programs and exhibits tailored towards young, budding artists, few give children the hands-on experience of learning about different art methods and the opportunity of making their own masterpieces like the Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA). If you’ve yet to introduce your child to the world of art in a museum such as MoMA or The Met, CMA is definitely the place to officially do it!
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10 Places to go Apple Picking with your Family Around New York City  
The school year is officially under way. But schoolbooks and supplies shouldn’t be the only highlight of the Fall season. It’s also a great time to go outdoors for some apple-picking fun. This is a great family activity that’s both entertaining and healthy. Not only will you get a little exercise during your apple-picking adventures, apples also offer great health benefits. They have Vitamins A, C and E. And as parents, you know that a healthy dose of vitamins and nutrients help to stem those unwanted colds that spring forth each school year.

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Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ iPad Re-Release is a Lesson in Media Overload  
The Little Mermaid will get a techie upgrade this Friday, when it reopens in theaters. You’re probably thinking… more 3D, like when The Lion King returned to theaters for its limited engagement.

Nope. This re-release is totally different and may involve a few earplugs if you decide to head out. Disney is encouraging parents to let their kids bring an iPad to the movies so that they can engage in interactive activities with the movie.

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'The Little Engine that Could' Gets a Song-Filled Brooklyn Performance  
We’ve all read or heard of the famous children’s tale “The Little Engine that Could” by Watty Piper. It’s one of those timeless stories that helps to encourage kids and teach the lesson we as adults have to relearn everyday. Hard work and determination pay off in the end.

In November, the ArtsPower National Touring Theatre will bring its musical-stage rendition of the story to the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College.

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Celebrating Fall: New York Style  
The cool, crisp days of fall really make New York City shine. As your kids settle into the rhythms of fall, the months ahead are full of family-friendly activities to help you celebrate the season in our city’s own unique way. Here are a few of our favorites:
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Sesame Street Celebrates Season 44 with Charlize Theron  
As a kid, one of the best things about the school year was coming home to catch the latest episode of Sesame Street. Whether it was a lesson on numbers or the word of the day, I was always excited to see what my favorite Muppets, especially Count von Count and Oscar the Grouch, had in store for me.

To jump start the 44th season, Academy Award winning actress Charlize Theron (Prometheus, Monster, upcoming Mad Max: Fury Road) stopped by today to teach kids about the word “jealousy.” Our favorite pink-haired fairy Abby Cadabby joined her.

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Yoga with Your Baby in Brooklyn  
Fans of yoga happily list the benefits they feel from their practice, such as improved strength, more restful sleep, and reduced stress. But attending a yoga class with her baby not only helps a new mom’s physical well-being, it also helps get her out of the house to a place where she can meet other new mothers. Together, moms can compare notes, spend fun time with their babies, and rejoice in the thrill of actually getting to speak to another grown-ups in the middle of the day. Here are some mom and baby yoga classes around Brooklyn. (Make sure your health care professional clears you for physical activity before you attend.)
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Weekend Family Events September 14 and September 15  
This weekend marks a lot of celebrating for Fall.  Besides the parents celebrating full time back to school schedules (hooray!), many cultural festivities are happening all over NYC. The one and only classic San Gennaro Feast in Little Italy is back. Events marking the celebration of the Autumn Moon Festival are happening in Staten Island and Brooklyn. Street festivals, baby dance parties, a swap and shop and motorcycle fun round out this weekend's jumble of activities.  Jump into the melting pot of fun!  Here are this weekend's picks.

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7 Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators to Check Out in September  
If you haven’t had a chance to get out to one of the children’s book readings in NYC during National Literacy Month, there is still plenty of time to do so. This September is filled with new kids book releases from several authors and illustrators, who live in and around the city. Typically, events feature signings, readings, sing-a-longs or a combination of all three. For instance, illustrators will often create custom pictures for the kids or hold interactive demonstrations. Here are seven author/illustrators you can check out before the end of the month.

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Marine Park: Brooklyn’s Largest Park?  
You probably read the title to this blog post and thought perhaps there was some kind of error. Certainly Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s largest park, right? Nope! Sure, everyone loves Prospect Park but many New Yorkers probably don’t realize there is another huge park in Brooklyn that is arguably just as wonderful. Nestled in the heart of south Brooklyn lays Marine Park, a 530-acre park, recreational facility, and wild nature preserve that is very rich in history and treasured by many longtime residents of the nearby communities.
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Afterschool Cartooning and Animation Classes for the Back-to-School Season  
Who doesn’t remember watching cartoons as a kid? But how are cartoons like the Transformers or My Little Pony and animated Pixar films like Toy Story made? From the moment children watch their first cartoon, they become engrossed in the magical world of animation. As we enter the back-to-school season, consider giving your children the opportunity to be a part of the magic. There are several afterschool programs in New York City that offer children a chance to be creative outside of school. The classes listed below help children to develop a foundation in 2D and 3D animation as well as claymation (or stop motion). Some programs also teach acting skills (such as voice over) as well as the value of collaboration in making an animated project.
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Upper West Side Music Classes: Finding the Right Fit  
The search for the "right" music class for your budding Beethoven can be daunting given the sheer number of options available in our great city. Classes run the gamut of drop in to year-long and offer a wide variety of prices and philosophies.

As is the case with most things kid-related, the Upper West Side offers many great options that, in addition to exposing little ones to music, provide opportunities for parents to get out of the house while adding structure to days that sometimes blur together.

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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Cooks up a Kids Reading in NYC  
If your kids have been anxiously waiting for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 to hit theaters, then you can give them an early treat this weekend.

Ron and Judi Barrett, the creators of the “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” book series, will be appearing at Books of Wonder in Manhattan on Sunday, September 8th. This is a great way to start off National Literacy Month. Movies are great. However, it’s also great for kids to see the awesome books from which their favorite movies are based.

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Scott Campbell Gives Kids a Bob Dylan Lesson at Brooklyn Book Reading  
What do you get when you mix the poetic words of Bob Dylan with the vibrant illustrations of New York-based artist, Scott Campbell?

On Saturday, Sept 7, award-winning cartoonist Campbell will appear at the Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Campbell will be reading from his new children’s book, “If Dogs Run Free.” It’s a clever picture book that mixes watercolor illustrations with the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s song of the same name.

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Weekend Family Events September 7 and 8  
There is much to celebrate this weekend.  There are activities and festivals honoring the land and harvest season, the Jewish New Year, and of course kids going back to school.  Which of course is a celebration for the kids and parents alike. But don't give up on summer just yet. There are plenty of outdoor festivals too, such as the Honey Festival, Adoptapalooza and the West Side County Fair.  So whatever your seasonal mood, you and your family have lots to do.  Here are this weekend's picks.

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A Week of Fun and Easy Lunchbox Ideas for Back-to-School  
Now that summer is over, the first day of school is on everyone’s mind. School supplies, fall clothes, earlier bedtimes—there’s a lot to do. Although I’m still trying to figure out how it’s possible that my little seven-pound bundle of joy who just entered the world practically yesterday is starting his first day of kindergarten, I’m keeping my emotions in check and focusing on being prepared.
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7 After-School Fencing Programs in NYC  
Whether your child wants to swashbuckle like d'Artagnan and The Three Musketeers or like one of Captain Hook’s pirates in Peter Pan, fencing offers a great after-school activity that can be both fun and motivational. Fencing programs around NYC offer Musketeer classes, designed to introduce kids to the Olympic sport, while keeping them engaged through playful activities. Many of the NYC schools grow with your children. So as your child moves on through middle school and high school, they will also meet new friends and receive positive encouragement to continue on through college. Here are seven programs you can check out to get your child excited to join this age-old sport.
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Allergy-Friendly Restaurants for Kids in Manhattan  
One of the great things about parenting in New York is that the city offers a wealth of accessible dining options for even the pickiest kids. But if you have a child with food allergies, you know how challenging it can be to find safe, family-friendly fare. Here are some kid-tested choices for gluten-free pizza, dairy-free soft serve, peanut-free desserts, and more. Because menu offerings frequently change and some children may be more sensitive to allergens than others, I suggest calling ahead to make sure each restaurant can safely accommodate your family.
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