Hanami Photo Contest Slideshow and Winner

The cherry blossoms have faded, but we're still enjoying their beauty thanks to the all the wonderful entries we got to the Kids of Hanami Photo Contest we ran with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It took us a little longer than expected to get all the entries together and pick a winner, but we finally have it done and are happy to share them with you.

Even if you didn't enter, you're going to want to watch the slideshow. The photos are beautiful (both the flowers and the adorable kids). Click through to see the slideshow and our winning picture.

Free NYC Weekend Events for Kids May 29-31: Biking, Family Festivals, Sushi Samplings, Concerts and More!

It seems as if we have been in a rain spell for weeks. But this weekend it's going to be sunny and over 70, perfect weather to hop on a free, rented bike (or the one you own) and hit the ground spinning or, if you prefer two feet to two wheels, try some street fairs, family festivals, sushi and other Japanese cuisine samples (as well as concerts), burlesque shows for moms (what?, that's right) and the opening of Governor's Island. Memorial Day was last weekend--it's time to start celebrating summer! And NYC is full of activities to get you started.

Summer Reading List: 5 Great Books for Kids

We have a guest post today from Jay Bushara who has started a new website dedicated to discovering and celebrating the very best children's books, ones that ar hard to find at big box bookstores. Find out about his site and some of his picks for the best children's books this summer. Thanks, Jay!

Children’s picture books are often useful, sometimes glorious, and they are everywhere, the stuff left over from growing up and moving on, proverbial needles in the hay.

Too often we settle for the hay. This is understandable. Still, new parents in particular are likely to be become disenchanted if they go looking for the magic of children’s literature amid the piles and glittery profiles of Hannah Montana biographies and Dora & Diego tie-ins and those books by Madonna where none of the characters have noses - what the heck happened to their noses? Consider, also, books deriving from major motion pictures. What is it these books are meant to accomplish, except, of course, Encourage Reading? Why would anyone choose to look at a photograph of Darth Vader if they can listen to James Earl Jones and that creepy respirator whenever they want with a monthly subscription to Netflix?

Bike Riding in New York City: Rides, Rentals and Resources

Bicycling is having a real renaissance in New York City. We're seeing more bike paths and more nice places to bike, plus more resources and programs to make biking easier, more affordable and fun. Find out below some of the best resources for New York City Bikers from the best places to bike with kids, where to get New York City bike maps, bike rentals, free bikes to borrow and more.

New on Mommy Poppins: Summer Activity Guide

While the calendar may say Summer starts in late June, in New York the first step toward Summer is Memorial Day. Public swimming pools may not open until June 27th, but there are plenty of other ways to get wet, like boat rides, water parks, beaches and playground sprinklers. Our Summer Fun Guide also has great ideas for outings, itineraries, and places to explore nature, plus sports programs and even day trips from New York City.

Check out our Summer Activity Guide for all this and more.

Memorial Day Weekend Getaways: Be a Non-Touristy Tourist in New York City

Not going away is the new black. But just because you're staying home doesn't mean you can't have a mini vacation. After all, you're already in the greatest destination on Earth. And just cause you're vacationing in New York doesn't mean you have to act like a tourist. Here are 5 off-the-beaten path ideas of things to do this Memorial Day Weekend that give you the getaway feeling, right here in the city. You can explore different cultures, go back in time, and feel like you're far out of the city, without leaving, and it's mostly all free.

85 Things to Do with Kids in New York During Swine Flu School Closings

With 16 schools now officially closed due to the swine flu epidemic and some more parents starting to keep their kids home in a preventative measure, over 10,000 children are at home this week, and probably more to come.We always wonder what we can do to help when New York CIty families are in crisis. So, we decided to try to help by doing what we do best: providing interesting and educational activity ideas for kids to do while out of school.

One of the themes of this site is that New York CIty is a classroom in and of itself, with wonderful enriching opportunities all around us that can teach children even more than they might learn in a school. If you have the ability, take advantage of these days off to get the most out of this amazing city.

Of course, the point of closing the schools is to stop the spread of the flu, so stay home and make sure your child isn't sick or incubating the flu before venturing out. If your child has signs of flu, is sneezing or coughing, they should stay home (we have lots of activities to do at home too). And everyone should be covering their coughs and sneezes and washing hands frequently.


Highlights of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for Kids

There are no gimmicks and the only attractions are the plants, but that doesn't mean a day at a garden is a snore for kids. We took the kids to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and had a day packed with excitement, discovery, beauty and fun. So if you are sick of the same old kid-centric attractions, skip the toddler crowds and try something a little different.

Yes, a garden can be a great destination for a visit with kids. The trick is knowing how to approach it. Here are highlights of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden that will make visiting the gardens with kids more fun:


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