Celebrate The Romance of Childhood

In between the fish sticks and temper tantrums we sometimes forget about the romance of childhood. Their joy and fascination with incredibly simple things (like my daughter's recent discovery of scotch tape) or those moments when they are so incredibly empathatic that your can feel your heart breaking. Take some time out this Valentines Day to celebrate the beautiful small moments of being a child by introducing your kids to some classics:

The Red Balloon

At just 34 minutes and with almost no dialogue, this is the perfect first movie for any kid while also being a pure joy for adults and what could be more romantic than watching a red balloon waft down the streets of Paris in 1956? The screening at the Alliance Francaise will be followed by an hour of activities and games inspired by The Red Balloon, led by Le Club Th?©??tre, Saturday Feb. 9, tickets for Non-Members $10 / Children under 12 $5. Visit the site for more information.

Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity
Though always crowded and somewhat overpriced, there was nothing I loved more as a kid than going to Serendipity and getting their frozen hot chocolate. The enormous cup is filled with deliciousness and the whole place is a kid wonderland. The wait can be ridiculously long so I suggest making reservations. And, while you are in the neighborhood, take a ride on the Roosevelt Island tram which is a cheap thrill for any kid. For the price of a subway in each direction you get a surprisingly intense ride that lasts 4 minutes!

Surf the Beach
This one is for the adventurers but if you dare, a great way to spend a winter day is to bundle up and head to the beach. There is something really magical about being on a huge empty beach in the winter and it's an amazing place to take photographs (try taking real photographs too, you remember, the ones that require film). The shells and sand are still there and will entertain most kids for hours. With the future of Coney Island up in the air, you might want to hop on the D, N, Q or F train to catch some last glimpses of the beautiful, seedy and outrageously photogenic amusement park. And if you get chilly, you can always head over to the Aquarium which is right off the boardwalk. Or, take the A train to the Rockaways where you may even be able to catch some crazy surfers. This video is proof that they are out there in the middle of freezing February.

Giveaway: Fun-a-go-go Makes Eating Out Fun-a-gain

homesideimagebw.jpgLast week we posted about Drop and Dine, a fabulous new way to enjoy dinner out at a restaurant together/alone with your toddler or child. Today we've got another great solution for eating out with kids??”Fun-a-Go-Go??”and we're giving away whole party pack of them.

Fun-a-Go-Go is a deceptively simple solution for entertaining children in a restaurant. It's just a small folio with a dry erase board and marker that clips on so it never gets lost. The kit has dozens of game and activity ideas printed on it to keep your little one entertained through even the longest restaurant meal. There's even more ideas posted on their website, or you can make up your own.

Recommended for children ages 3 and up, I think Fun-a-Go-Go is great. I love the simplicity of it, the way it allows you to interact with your children to get them set up in games that they can then continue on their own, allowing you to eat and talk.

Scholastic Store Story Times

indooractivities.jpgThe Scholastic Store holds free story hours every Tuesday and Thursday at 11am in their SoHo store. The store also has play activities areas like a big Colorforms magnet wall where kids can create their own pictures, a Magic School Bus with a screening area, and a giant dinosaur with a cozy beanbag tail to curl up and read so story hour could easily turn into several hours of indoor entertainment and reading.

Make Dumplings with Your Kids for Lunar New Year



Dumplings are one of the symbolic foods of the Chinese New Year, so Amber sent us this fun activity idea for celebrating Lunar New Year with kids. It's a bit of prep work to get the filling made, but kids will love filling and eating their own dumplings. It would be a great activity for a Lunar New Year kids' party, and a healthy snack too!

City Bakery Hot Chocolate Festival

city-bakery.jpgThe weather hasn't been too bad lately, so if you need a different excuse to fill up on hot chocolate, how about City Bakery's Hot Chocolate Festival. Every day in the month of February City Bakery is offering up a unique flavor at their 18th Street store. If you don't know about City Bakery's famous hot chocolate, then all the more reason to head over to what some believe is the best hot chocolate in Manhattan.


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