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Be a tourist in the South Bronx

In my last post, I said that my current favorite outing with kids in NYC is to take the trolley to explore the South Bronx. I thought I'd write up some more details so more of you can enjoy this great excursion. And thanks to everyone who has contributed their favorite outings.

How to read your way to a classic NYC kid

There's an undeniable charm to the idea of the classic NYC kid. Precocious, worldly, outspoken and feisty; whether you're just visiting NYC with a child or raising your own specimen, you can enjoy imagining your child as one of these feisty tots.

There are a host of books that will set the stage and act as a primer for aspiring Eloises and children will enjoy reading about the familiar places and connecting their lives with the ones in the book.

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.

Best Biking for Kids on Bucolic Governor's Island

Imagine what Central Park would be like if you had it practically to yourself. And, instead of being surrounded by tall buildings, imagine it's surrounded by the NYC harbor, so every time you catch a glimpse through the trees, you see sailboats and ferries gliding by. While we're dreaming, imagine that every weekend a free concert or event takes place, but unlike every other event in NYC, there aren't huge crowds. Wouldn't that be nice?

Well, pinch yourself, you're not dreaming. This is the perfect description of Governor's Island and we highly recommend it as a family outing destination, and possibly the best place to bike with kids in NYC.

Visit Kid-Friendly Dumbo

One of my absolute favorite things to do with the kids on a nice day is to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge into Dumbo. This excursion has all the makings of a perfect day out with the kids; a little relaxing exercise, great ice cream and pizza, a great park and a boat ride. I can't think of a better way to spent a day.

This weekend is an especially good time because Saturday, June 2nd is the Dumbo Block Party. So pack up some sunscreen and water (in your new aluminum water bottles and head to the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge. (You can start from Brooklyn and follow this backwards if you prefer.)

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is stroller friendly, just stay right, out of the bicycle lane.. You can stop under the arches to take in the view, snap some photos and read the plaques which describe some of the amazing history of the Bridge. When you get toward the other side, your first opportunity to exit will be a set of stairs. Take the stairs down from the walk way and walk around the corner and back toward the waterfront.

If you're hungry from your walk, stop by Grimaldi's Pizza, considered by many to be NYC's best pizza. Then walk over to Brooklyn Bridge Park which has a great playground, a pebble beach with lapping waves and all, a large lawn surrounded by a sculpture garden and incredible views.

If you're in the mood for shopping head over to ultra-hip children stores Half Pint and Pomme (this store is now closed. If you can resist buying anything, then you definitely deserve a chocolate reward from artisan chocolatier Jacques Torres Chocolates.

At 56 Water Street, gaze at the beautiful and fully restored original Coney Island Carousel. Rides are not allowed until they find permanent home for it, however, so you might want to avoid this just as much if you've got a little one ready for a melt-down.

But, tears will come to a screeching halt if you head back toward Fulton Ferry Landing for ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. The ice cream here is unbelievable. If you ever splurge on a sundae, this is the place to do it. The caramel tastes like crГѓВЁme brulee topping and the fudge is out of this world.

When you've had enough, the easiest, fastest and most fun way to get back to Manhattan is to just hop on the Water Taxi to the South Street Seaport or around the harbor to another destination in Manhattan. Kids especially like to ride upstairs in the open air.

MOMMY POPPINS TIP: The story of the Brooklyn Bridge is really quite amazing and has lots of elements that kids will love. Here are a couple of book ideas for children of different ages that will add an additional layer of interest and excitement for kids when visiting the Brooklyn Bridge.

Twenty-One Elephants is a picture book that tells the story of a little girl who helps convince grown ups to trust that the bridge will hold. It is well researched and based on the real story of PT Barnum's participation in the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Brooklyn Bridge:The Story of the World's Most Famous Bridge and the Remarkable Family That Built It tells the amazing story of the construction of the bridge for older kids. It is part of a series of Wonders of the World Books.

Day Tripping: Explore Northern Central Park

Just in time for the weather to warm up a little this weekend, we're taking a recess from posting about schools just long enough to send you out on an exciting field trip to Central Park.

You and the kids have trammeled every inch of Manhattan's Central Park, or so you think. Bored of the zoo, outgrown the carousel. If you've never ventured to the northern extremes of Central Park, you are in for a surprise. Four trains (the B,D and 2/3) stop right on the border of the park making access easy, just exit the train and walk right in to the park. Inside you'll find rustic woods, rock formations, streams and ponds, formal gardens, historic military ruins, seasonal swimming, fishing or ice skating, plus ball fields and playgrounds - more than enough activities to keep you busy for a full day. It's like a cross between the Catskills and Chelsea Piers.

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