Parks & Playgrounds

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Register for Free Swimming Lessons for NYC Kids

The New York City Parks Department offers FREE aquatic programs for children under 18 all year round, as well as adults, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. Winter swimming lessons are on the horizon and the lottery opens on Monday, December 26. A lottery for a school holiday break learn-to-swim session also opened earlier this month.

Read on for the details on where to swim for free, or check our directory of paid kid swim classesmommy-and-me swim lessons for babies and toddlers, including those specifically in Brooklyn and in Queens.

Beyond Splash Pads: 6 Places for Year-round Water Play in Los Angeles

Labor Day has passed, but around here the weather doesn’t follow the calendar. It can be hot anytime in Los Angeles, so there’s good enough reason to look for splash pads, pools, and beaches anytime the mercury rises. In summer, you can always rely on our list of splash pads in Los Angeles as well as the water play parks in Orange County, but what about the rest of the year? There is always somewhere to beat the heat in LA. The following six places offer water activities at any time of year, whether you have older children who can visit on the weekends or little ones that are able to splash around mid-week.

Things to Do with Thanksgiving Visitors in Fairfield County

Recently, my daughter invited a friend home from school, and, as this new friend stepped inside our house and looked around appraisingly, she asked, "Is this the whole house?" 

So yes, our house might best be described as cozy. Though I think it suits our family perfectly, once you throw in some out of town guests and a stuffed bird or two, it starts to feel very crowded very quickly. Happily, there are many places close by in Fairfield County where the kids can get their sillies out while grown ups can chat or snap pictures or generally be thankful for one another's company whether at a road race, a turkey waddle, or a free family movie.

These are some of the ideas we've collected for Thanksgiving weekend. For more inspiration, check out the event calendar and Holiday Fun Guide, which we continue to update each day.

Gertrude Ederle Playground Opens in NYC on Upper West Side

I've paid my dues at New York City's playgrounds after a decade of parenting in this city. My family has visited our share of parks and even ranked our favorites, but we're always looking for our next big adventure. With kids ages 3, 7, and 10, it's no easy task to find a playground where all three are entertained, but our recent visit to the newly opened Gertrude Ederle Playground on West 59th Street was an all-around hit.

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