City Hacks

Where to Swap Baby and Kid Clothes and Toys in NYC

Clothing and toy swaps are such a New York City necessity. Buying brand-new clothes and toys every time your tot outgrows something (that often still has the tags on!) just doesn't make sense. It's environmentally unsound, and wastes money and space, something we NYC families already have too little of. Luckily, a number of neighborhood and city groups offer family-friendly swap events where you can trade in gently used children's items for new-to-you finds. It's easy—and painless on your wallet.

We've got the scoop on the top swaps in the city so you can find the right one for your family.

Birthday Parties for a Crowd: 10 Budget Party Ideas for the Whole Class

When it comes to birthday parties, I am all for the spirit of inviting the whole class. There is no worse feeling than being excluded or not making the A list, and encouraging our kids to be inclusive is surely the right thing to do. However, public school class sizes being what they are, this can sometimes be an unmanageable proposition. And most of our kids have lots of other friends from other places, too, like pre-school or extracurricular activities. If you approach your child’s party with the good intention of inviting everybody, the guest list is likely to have at least 20-30 kids on it. So, if you don't have an acre of rolling lawn behind your family estate, how is this remotely feasible on a budget? We've got 10 great ideas that don't cost a bundle.

10 Kids Furniture Stores in and Around Los Angeles

Furniture shopping for little ones changes as quickly as they do: one day it concerns cribs and changing tables, and the next moment it’s bunk beds and desks for homework. And while some kids' items are so fleeting that we don't want to spend much on them (thank goodness for the Toy District!), there are always a couple of furniture pieces that we really want to get right. Looking for the perfect crib, a bed to make the room, or a desk to inspire ultimate focus? Below we offer a list of creative suggestions to shop for kids' furniture in Los Angeles. From stylish to efficient, there’s a furniture store in the vast city of Los Angeles to meet everyone's needs.

Where to Donate Kids' Clothes, Toys and More in NYC During the Holidays and Beyond

With two adults and three kids in my family's typically small NYC apartment, the holiday season stresses me out. Not because of all the things I need to do, but because of all the gifts I know are inevitably coming our way. That's why this is my favorite time of year to donate my kids' gently (or sometimes never!) used clothes, toys, books and other items so we can free up some space and support worthy charities.

Here is a list of organizations where you can donate quality used items during the holidays and beyond. Be sure to contact the charities directly to confirm what they accept and how best to drop off.

12 Great Parks for Kids' Birthday Parties around LA

Lucky for us, hosting free (or mostly free) kids’ birthday parties at Los Angeles’ glorious parks - or San Fernando Valley's parks - is available year round, and with the almost always perfect weather, it’s a great perk to take advantage of. From rustic to scenic to built-in activities, the city’s bounty is near limitless. And the best part: no sticky floor and dirty fingerprints to scour afterward. Read on for our dozen favorites (plus check out these parks that allow bounce houses, parks with barbecue grills, and parks with gated playgrounds, too).

12 Parks for Bounce House Birthday Parties in LA

Sometimes we want our kids to have birthday parties teeming with enriching activities and professional party entertainment from start to finish. Other times, we just want them to go outside and jump somewhere far away from the sofa. Families with sprawling back yards might be fortunate enough not to need the information below, but for the many, many LA families raising kids in smaller homes than they ever imagined they would, our wonderful city parks are our life support system; the parks that allow bounce houses can be even more so. Check out 12 great parks we love that let kids enjoy bouncers at their birthday parties.

Living Christmas Trees - LA's Green Christmas Choice

We do it every year, and happily so. A Christmas tree is a must, and so we head to the local lot and walk through the makeshift aisles of pre-cut trees in search of the perfect one. Or maybe we head a little farther out to cut our own. Once found, the tree is tied to our car and off we go, to wrestle it into a stand, shimmy it through the front door, and hope we remember to water it. After the holidays, we drag the once-vibrant-now-browning tree to the curb and vacuum up the trail of fallen needles.

It is hard to imagine Christmas without a rich smelling conifer, but it is also hard to ignore how unsustainable the system is: the tree is grown a thousand miles away, shipped here, driven to its destination, briefly enjoyed, and then discarded. Thankfully, here in Los Angeles and elsewhere, there is another option - a living Christmas tree.

LA's Best Indoor Birthday Party Ideas for Kids

There is a special kind of stress - both emotional and financial - that planning a birthday party can cause if you have kids born between the months of November and February. Oh sure, everyone struggles with the great birthday party question, but those moms who gave birth in LA in August are pretty safe claiming a corner of a public park or throwing down some blankets on the beach. If you have a December baby, you probably tried that at least once, but at some point cried "Never again!" LA might not have a proper winter, but it has a proper Indoor Birthday Party season - if only for the sanity of the parents. Allow us to share some of our favorite options for entertaining the masses without stressing about the weather.

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