Sarah G's blog

Dumbo Boulders: Climbing Brooklyn's Giant New Wall with Kids

When we heard a 12-foot high outdoor climbing wall had landed on the waterfront in Brooklyn Bridge Park, my tree-climbing, monkey-bar-swinging son had to give it a try. As longtime Brooklynites, we’ve been taking advantage of the ever-expanding Brooklyn Bridge Park and great Dumbo eats for years. The addition of Dumbo Boulders offers yet another great reason to visit the neighborhood.

Foreign Language Camps for NYC Kids

New York City is home to an estimated 800 languages, and by virtue of living here, our kids are exposed many of them. It's no surprise, then, that NYC has a number of language-immersion summer camps for kids interested in going beyond hola! and bonjour. Whether your child yearns to master Chinese, French, German, Italian, Hebrew, or Spanish, summer is a great time to give language learning a try in a relaxed camp environment. Many of these programs include swimming, yoga, cooking, arts and crafts, music and dance, games, and other typical summer camp activities to supplement and enhance the instruction. Instructors and counselors are fluent or native speakers and not only teach kids the language but also expose them to the culture through activities and field trips.

For more ideas on summer camps, check out our Summer Camp Guide for NYC Kids. Got a preschooler? We've also rounded up immersion preschools for dual-language learning in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

10 Summer Music Day Camps for NYC Kids

Whether your child is drawn to Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, or Mozart, is an accomplished musician or just getting started, summer camp is a great way to explore the craft while having loads of fun and making new friends. We've lined up 10 of our favorite music day camps for New York City kids with an eye toward striking a good balance between theory, practice, musical styles, and ability levels. A few of our picks offer multiple programs divided by age, others split things up by experience level and one even takes campers on a daily visit to a popular indoor climbing facility—sometimes even accomplished musicians need to work out the wiggles.

Don't forget to browse our Summer Camp Guide for additional options or use our Camp Directory to search for programs by interest, age, and location. It's also worth noting that many camps offer financial aid, as well as discounts if you sign up early, or for multiple weeks. 

Sensory Gyms in Brooklyn: 8 Spots for Children's Physical Therapy

We've written about sensory activities before, and while there are plenty of things your kids can do at home, sometimes you want an expert to address certain issues. That's when you might need a sensory gym, one of those highly specialized (and fun) spaces where occupational and physical therapists help kids. Children work on gross and fine motor skills, core strength, neurodevelopmental delays, balance, coordination, and sensory integration, but the activities are usually so engaging they just think they're having a great time.

Finding a sensory gym that's a good fit for your child can be a challenge. Once you do, snagging a great therapist and a decent time slot usually involves multiple wait lists (and relentlessly checking in on those wait lists) and a willingness to remain flexible about scheduling. Fortunately for Brooklyn families, the borough has a number of well-equipped sensory gyms staffed by accomplished therapists.

Trying to navigate NYC's special education services and programs? Check out our Special Needs Guide for NYC families.

50 Free Things To Do with Toddlers This Summer in NYC

New York City is chock-full of exciting summer to-dos for its youngest citizens. Sure, visiting the sprinklers at your local playground is sometimes enough to make your toddlers’s day. But for those occasions when you feel a yearning to venture farther afield, we’ve rounded up 50 FREE things to do with toddlers this July and August.

We've already put together a list of 100 Free Things To Do in NYC This Summer for kids of all ages, but the suggestions that follow are tailored just for little kids.

Looking for additional inspiration? Check out our Summer Fun GuideEvent Calendar, and Free in NYC Guide

Water Safety Musts for Kids at the Beach, Pool and Lake

It’s a basic law of summer that a dip in a cool pool, or a splash in the ocean, makes everything right in the world. With many families gearing up for ocean and pool trips, or lake vacations, we talked to swim instructors and water safety experts around the country to gather the most important tips for keeping water-loving kids safe this summer. 

New Children's Bookstore and Story Lab Arrives in Park Slope

Are you tired of browsing impersonal children's book sections online? Do you wish you could have a more engaging experience looking for books for your child? Enter Stories Bookshop and Storytelling Lab, a new children’s bookstore scheduled to open in late May in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It will also offer kid events, workshops and classes, including storytimes, sing-alongs and illustration and writing classes.

We got a sneak peek and were totally charmed by this indie newcomer to NYC's kid lit scene opened by Brooklyn parents.

13 Dual-Language and Immersion Preschools in Manhattan

Whether your toddler already speaks a second (or third) language at home, or if you’re simply hoping to give your monolingual child the gift of another language, there are plenty of great preschools where NYC kids may begin, or continue, learning another language. 

As with mastering any new skill, regular (and fun) practice makes a big difference in how quickly a child becomes comfortable speaking another language. We previously rounded up great Spanish language learning centers for school-aged kids, as well as Spanish sing-alongs for toddlers. Now, we're turning our attention to the preschool set, pulling together a sampling of immersion and dual-language preschool programs available in Manhattan. All our picks accept a mix of children at different levels of language proficiency, including absolute beginners.

Read on to find out where your tot can learn German, French, Mandarin and Spanish, and be sure to look through our NYC Preschool Listings and Directory for even more options, including dual-language playgroups and preschool alternatives. 

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