Stores & Services

Where to Find Free Classes for Kids at NYC Stores and Public Spaces

We'll just say it: Raising a kid is expensive. Weekend classes, summer camp, after-school care, and dance and music lessons can add up. A 2018 study by Sun Trust Bank found that a majority of parents spend at least $1,000 a year per child on extracurricular activities. And let’s face it New Yorkers, we’re most likely paying much more than that.

That’s why we’ve rounded up more than a dozen FREE classes that run year-round in NYC to lighten the financial load. All the classes listed here are free within free-to-access stores and public places, but there are also plenty of free and low-cost activities inside of NYC museums and gardens that have monthly memberships. Don't forget that your IDNYC card will give you free or discounted access to many cultural institutions.

Check out our Free in NYC Guide for more budget-friendly family fun.

Best Winter Baby Clothes and Gear for Cold Weather Survival

It’s no secret that winter babies require more gear and baby clothing than their summer siblings, especially those born in northern climates, such as Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

New parents should prepare to do battle with snowdrifts, chilling wind gusts that leave faces and fingers raw, and otherwise icy and wet conditions on the way to daycare, playdates, the local library, or wherever. Stock up on some of our favorite stroller blankets, footmuffs, toddler mittens, adorable baby snowsuits, booties, and winter hats before the real storms hit.

Cold weather protection doesn’t stop at the baby phase, of course, especially for those navigating city streets outdoors. “NYC kids stay in their strollers a bit longer than suburban kids, because they have to deal with the elements a lot more,” explains Carol Adams, owner of Torly Kid, a popular kids clothing boutique in Manhattan, by email. “I know I kept my kids wrapped in their 7 A.M. Enfant footmuff and covered the stroller with a wind protector until they were almost 5!”

Read on for our top picks of baby winter clothes and gear for keeping newborns and toddlers toasty—no matter the temperature.

2019 American Girl Doll Hails from the Hudson Valley

The Hudson Valley's newest celebrity resident is a redheaded blogger/farm girl who's 18 inches tall. Meet Blaire Wilson, American Girl's 2019 "Girl of the Year."

Blaire, American Girl's first-ever doll set in the Hudson Valley, lives with her family on a sustainable farm and bed and breakfast in Bluefield, a fictional town set in the real Ulster County, NY. She made her debut on January 1.

22 Hottest New NJ Destinations for Kids That Opened in 2018

As we prepare to count down to the new year, we're looking back at all the wonderful new kid attractions we gained in New Jersey over the last 12 months. We added more than a handful of new indoor play spaces, two playgrounds updated with modernized equipment and cool features, and a museum dedicated to NJ's Revolutionary War history. 

If you didn't get enough shopping during the holiday season, swing by for storytime at Indigo, a gigantic new bookstore at Short Hills Mall. Menlo Park Mall's Disney Junior Play Zone and PopFit Kids at Paramus Park Mall also keep mini shoppers in mind with FREE indoor play.

Looking for a sweet treat? You can't go wrong with ice cream at Brooklyn-import Ample Hills, or a custom confection from Sugarsuckle, known for their amazing kids' birthday cakes

Soar to new heights in 2019 at iFly, which opened its first NJ location this year. Other chains including Dave & Busters and Sky Zone expanded their presence in the Garden State this year with new locations. And what's old is new again, as favorites such as Asbury Lanes, Imagine That!!!, and the Sandy Hook Lighthouse reopened in 2018 after being closed for extensive renovations.

Whether you want to hit the (sensory) trail or jump for joy, you're in the right place. Read on for the coolest, brightest, and best new offerings for NJ kids.

18 Best New NYC Family Destinations That Opened in 2018

City kids are a lucky bunch. The past year saw a huge crop of new kid-friendly destinations popping up throughout the five boroughs. From a major new exhibit at the New York Aquarium to overhauled and brand new playgrounds and even a whole park, plus indoor places to shop, romp, and create, cool new exhibits, exhibitions, and a brand new museum, our kids have got it made. We're just lucky they let us come along for the ride!

Read on on for our top 18 new kid-friendly destinations in New York City that opened in 2018. If you've already conquered these, see what other adventures await on our list of 100 kid-friendly things to do in NYC before your kids grow up.

CAMP Store Opens in Flatiron With Cool New Indoor Play Zone

Summer camp is always hot topic in New York City, but we've never seen a camp experience quite like the one unveiled last week with the opening of CAMP Store in the Flatiron District.

Situated on the corner of 16th and Fifth Avenue, CAMP looks like just another retail shop; albeit one with an onsite Milk Bar and a funky collection of merchandise—from toys and games to books and clothing—but there's something spectacular hiding behind a secret door. Find the entrance (with the help of a super-friendly CAMP counselor) and you're in for hours of fun and a cool new indoor place to play.

Kids Play for Free at These New York City Stores

Looking for a new winter play destination? With a shiny new FAO Schwarz filled with delights and an American Girl mega-store, there's no shortage of stores in New York City where kids can play for free. You'll find options as varied as building Lego friends, exercising on the Wii Fit, or getting their train fix for the day, and the kids will be so exhausted by day's end, they might not even whine about leaving the Nintendo system behind (fingers crossed).

For more indoor play options, check out our guide to Indoor Play Spaces and Fun Zones in NYC.
 

Best Gaming Spots for Kids in NYC

The growing popularity of gaming stores and cafes around NYC should come as no surprise, particularly to kids. With their active minds, kids crave more than video games and social media, especially in wintertime, when parks and playgrounds often take a back seat to indoor activities. For curious, engaged kids, gaming spots are a place to play, imagine, make new friends, and develop new skills.

Most game spots, whether they be stores or cafes, tend to lean toward 8 and 9 year olds (and up), and don’t really include the space even the most game-loving younger kids might need for intermittent dancing around. But they’re all friendly. Read on for a few of our favorite game cafes and stores for kids in NYC.

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