Say Hello to Zaniac, Manhattan's New After-School STEM Center

As TV's Grease Live might croon, “STEM is the word!” From the president to the mayor right down to the schools, everyone wants to get kids, especially girls and children of color, excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

And now New York City has one more STEM play and classes spot for kids. Zaniac, which has outlets around the country, including in Greenwich and Westport, Connecticut, recently opened its first STEM-focused, after-school and camp center on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Weekday Fun: Sesame Street Live, Moonbeams Rock, Lunar New Year

It's a short week for NYC public school kids as we kick off the Year of the Monkey. Monday, the official start of the holiday, brings the firecracker ceremony and cultural festival in Chinatown and the FREE Students Day with monkey dances at the Fantastic Art of China exhibit. The big Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown takes place next Sunday. Other highlights this week include creative card-making workshops at the Children's Museum of the Arts and a free concert by soulful kindie rockers Shine and the Moonbeams. Plus, the gang from Sesame Street are in town with an interactive dance party!

If you haven't visited MOFAD, NYC's new museum dedicated to food and drink, or the two family-friendly exhibits at the New-York Historical Society, Silicon City and Superheroes in Gotham, this is a great week to give one of them a whirl. Another to-do: Get your tickets to the New York International Children's Film Festival (and check out our exclusive money saving offer).

We've been busy here at Mommy Poppins! By now you've probably clicked around on our newly redesigned site. We love it and hope you do, too! Read on for this week's top picks. As always, more family activities can be found in our Event Calendar and Winter Fun Guide.

Allergy Aware Bakeries in Connecticut

There are so many great bakeries in every corner of Connecticut. But, like many of you, my daughter’s school is a nut free facility. For everyone’s safety, if we want to send in treats for celebrations and birthdays, they have to be store bought and in their original sealed containers. For really special celebrations, like birthdays and holidays, I like to bring in something a little more festive than a box of Oreo Cookies. Thankfully, Connecticut has a growing list of bakeries that can provide a fresh-baked treat that everyone can enjoy.

10 Valentine's Day Activities: Cards, Crafts, and Things To Do

Valentine's Day is always on February 14, and yet somehow it seems to sneak up on our family each year in plain view, taking us by slow motion surprise. For weeks we've known that we need to come up with Valentine's Day cards for every kid in the class (and we all know what's happened to class sizes). Putting two and two together to make 27 construction paper hearts, though, always proves harder than we think. To avoid a late-night glue stick session on February 13, or a last minute defeated run to Target for a package of Dora and Diego cards, we have assembled a list of events to get help and inspiration for Valentine's Day card craft projects—before February 14. And the photo above? It speaks for itself.

Hang with Animals at These Cozy Indoor Spots

Kids are innate animal lovers—we bet all parents go through that phase when they're convinced their child is going to grow up to be a veterinarian. But in wintertime when all living things in New York City seem to be hibernating, it's tough to indulge kids' craving for creatures beyond the ever-present subway rats. And who wants to pet one of those?! That's why we rounded up the best places to get up close and personal with animals in cozy, indoor environments. Here's where you can hang with cool cats, beautiful birds and butterflies, and even "adopt" a critter without ever having to take it home.

February Winter Break: Art Mini-Camps for Westchester Kids

My kids have been counting down to their February break from school since the end of their holiday break. If your kids have been doing the same, and if you're planning on staying close to home, a mini-camp might be the way to go.

Westchester is full of choices including several great options for your budding Picasso. We've rounded up some art-themed mini-camps that still have openings to keep you're little ones engaged and having fun all week long. And be sure to sign up for our FREE newsletters to stay up to date on the latest events, classes, news and more happening in Westchester, and follow us on Facebook

Play Fair: Where Kids Can Discover Toys of the Future

This post is sponsored by Play Fair.

Imagine a place where all the world's toy makers get together to show off the brand new, not-on-the-shelves-yet toys they've invented to wow children of all ages. Sounds like heaven for kids, doesn't it? That's what Toy Fair is, but until now it's always been a strictly business, adults-only event. Well, all that's about to change with Play Fair, an awesome, two day toy fair especially for kids and families. On February 13 and 14, at the Javits Center, families can check out all the latest games and toys, plus tons of live entertainment and some special appearances. Toy Fair may just be the closest thing to a Willie Wonka world for toy-loving kids.

February Break Activities for NJ Kids

Did the recent snow days bring on cabin fever in your home? Get ready for more time off in February. Most New Jersey schools are closed for President’s Day, some longer- even the whole week! We’ve already brought you drop-off options for February break. Now we’ve gathered even more activities to keep the little ones busy, and your own sanity in check, on these wintery days off from school.

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