Read (and eat and splash) your way around the Lower East Side

Just walking around New York City can be a great experience for kids to learn about history, not just of New York, but American history as well; and there's no part of NYC more full of history and color for kids than the Lower East Side. Perhaps that's why it's been the inspiration for so many wonderful children's books. A walk around the Lower East Side brings some favorite children's books to life and, at the same time, brings the story of immigrants in America to life as well. Here's some wonderful children's books that you can read that will send you off on a great outing in the city with the kids to experience the history of immigrants in NYC first-hand while having fun, getting wet, and, most importantly, eating very well.

Read Your Way Around NYC

Summer and books just go together. Whether it's beach reading, summer reading lists, or those extra daylight hours, summer just seems like a good time to catch up on your reading. This week Mommy Poppins is going to help you turn your children's reading list into a week full of activities with a great idea that was suggested to me by our school Parent Coordinator, Laura.

Laura wrote a terrific article in our school newsletter about a book, Storied City: A Children's Book Walking-Tour Guide to New York City. It takes all the children's books that have been written about New York and connects them with the real life city. Talk about experiencing literature first hand. I love this idea.

NYC Parenting Blogger Round-up, Part 2

A bunch of NYC parenting bloggers got together the other night. It was fun to meet the real people behind the funny. MetroDad organized it (he is almost too nice. I don't know where that acerbic wit comes from) and I was honored to get to hang out with him and the other great bloggers present. Mom-101 has a terrific blog and I really admire her style. I also became acquainted with some other really funny NYC parenting blogs, Mr Nice Guy, CroutonBoy and Laid-Off Dad. Make sure to empty your bladder before reading any of these blogs, especially if you're a woman who's had at least one vaginal birth, if you know what I mean.

Here are some other NYC parenting blogs I've discovered since the last time I posted a list:

More Free Outdoor Movies for Kids and Families

BloggyMcBlogBlog has a theory that soon there will be so much scaffolding in Lower Manhattan that they will have to build scaffolding on top of the scaffolding and then there will be a war between the people who live below the scaffolding and those that live above it...

Likewise, I'm beginning to think that soon there will be so many outdoor movie festivals in NYC that people will no longer need televisions, we'll just watch giant projected entertainment from the comfort of our living rooms because every available surface in the city will have programming projected on it.

Not that I'm complaining. I love outdoor movies. And this new one that I discovered thanks to A Brooklyn Life is particularly good, especially for NYC families with kids.

The Red Hook Movies in the Parks series is playing a great batch of films every Thursday through August 16th and they're all kid-friendly, good movies, including Happy feet, Mad Hot Ballroom and Akeelah and the Bee.

The outdoor films are closing in...


For Downtown Art Camp Uptown Museums are the Big Draw

The much-beloved art teacher of Tribeca elementary, PS 150, is doing a special mini-art camp open to all downtown children aged 6-10. Andrea takes intimate groups of just six kids to visit NYC museums - MoMA, Guggenheim, Whitney, Metropolitan Museum - to view art, sketch and then picnic in Central Park.

Dates still available are: Mon.July 16, Tuesday,July 17, Wed,July 18; Tues July 24, Wed July 25, Thur July 26;Tuesday July 31; Wed Aug 1 and Thur Aug. 2. Kids can go to Andrea's Art Camp for one, two, or three days a week for just $50 a day.

Is it a pool or a beach? Either way, it's cool.

Have you heard about the brand new floating pool in Brooklyn Heights? They've docked a barge that's been retrofit with a 25 meter, 7 lane swimming pool right on the water in Brooklyn. There also a sandy beach area with pick-up volleyball and soccer games, a snack shack and umbrella rentals, which is good because when you arrive you are given a one-hour swimming slot (first come first served). After you get your time slot you can just hang on the beach until your time comes up. A little beach, a little pool.

I didn't include the new floating pool in my previous post about free pools because it hadn't opened yet and I wanted to find out more about it before I recommended it. I still haven't been to the floating pool since it opened yesterday, but at least now I can share with you some of the opinions that are circulating around.

Curbed has links to three reviews on mcbrooklyn, Brooklyn Heights Blog, and The New York Times. The overall takeaway? People are loving it and say it's the cleanest pool in NYC...and the water's really cold.

MUG Readers, Welcome!

Mommy Poppins was listed on awesome NYC site, Manhattan Users Guide.

If you are new to Mommy Poppins, here's how to make the most of the site:

Recently we've been doing weekly topics on summer fun activities with kids. We've done a week of free activities ( Best Free (and cheap) NYC Swimming Pools for Toddlers and Kids, Free Movies for Kids, Free Summer Sports Activities, etc), then Free Museum Programs in All 5 Boroughs, and last week was Outdoor Summer Festivals and Concerts.

You'll also find Excursions, Shopping and other random helpful information and silly stuff. There's preschool and elementary school reviews and information if you click on the Education category link in the side bar.

Fire hydrant sprinklers and other street games are back in all 5 boroughs

Kids used to rule the streets of New York, filling the sidewalks with their games of jump rope and skully and the streets with stickball and kick the can. In contrast, these days it seems like letting your kids play outside is practically a crime. But, there seems to be a movement afoot to return to the kinds of activities that drew kids into the streets for active outdoor fun.

Nostalgic, old-fashioned kid games are becoming fashionable again. We recently wrote about The Dangerous Book for Boys and mentioned one organization that is working to put the play back in childhood. Then, yesterday the New York Times wrote an article about how street games are making a comeback.

A website, is run by a group dedicated to getting people back to playing street games like stoop and hopscotch. They will even come to schools or events to teach people the old games. (I might suggest this for our school next year since I know it's one thing parents are particularly concerned about.) They also have a wiki of street game rules.

You just can't think back to those days when the streets were our playgrounds without conjuring up the images of fire hydrants spewing forth water, creating the urban version of a water park. Nowadays that kind of behavior is seriously frowned upon, but just as groups are working to bring back street play of the dry kind, it's still possible to enjoy some good fire hydrant water fun legally.


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