Sports

Free Skiing for Fourth and Fifth Graders near New York City

Picture 6.pngAfter some pretty bad years for skiing, they say it's going to snow a lot this year. If it's true I'll feel pretty lucky to get a good ski year when my daughter is in fourth grade. Why? Because fourth graders get to ski for free. New York, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Vermont all have free ski programs for fourth, and sometimes fifth, graders and you can apply to all of them.

Click on the links below for applications and more information, but the basic deal is that you apply for a ski free passport and you will receive a booklet of 3 passes per participating ski resort that allow your child to ski free when accompanied by a paying adult. The applications cost between $10 and $19, or in the case of New Hampshire, they require a little school project about NH skiing history. The passbooks also usually include one free lesson also.

Reader Tips: Water Taxi Bird Watching, Jump and Last Licks

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We have been getting lots of great tips from readers in our in box and in the comment section of the site. It's been hard for me to keep up with it all on top of our regular posting. Some of them I've been able to slip into regular posts, but the tips are all too good to let go, so this week and next week I set aside some days that I am going to be posting the great ideas for things to do with kids in New York that you have been sharing.

If you have some tips you'd like to share with us please send them to me.

Thanks to Sharon Kleinhandler, Tricia Gillespie and Neeta Vallab for these tips:

Free Bicycle Rental in Lower Manhattan

You can now rent bicycles in Lower Manhattan for FREE! Perfect for families, you can even get bikes with baby seats or Tag-a-longs (those kid bike add-ons that turn a bike into a tandem perfect for young bikers to safely ride with a parent). They have wagons too!?

Bike Around Downtown is a new program that lets you borrow a bike for a two to three-hour window. You can register online and pick up your free bike at the South Street Seaport Bike and Roll booth. From there you can bike up the Greenway up the East or West sides, or even head over to Governor's Island. (By the way, I noticed that they are also renting-not for free- bikes on Governor's Island now, with tag-a-longs available there too.)

Get Ready for Summer with Free Swimming Events


Summer is just around the corner and summer means swimming. In preparation of summer and swimming season get your feet wet at these free swimming events.

The Big Swim
April 12, 2008
The Big Swim is a one-of-a-kind open swim meet where 1,000 New York City children ages 6-16 participate in a free day of competitive swim races. Each child experiences the excitement of a real race with starting blocks, officials, and a timed finish. Races are all supervised by lifeguards and swimming Asphalt Green aquatics staff. This event has been recommended to me by other parents who said that your child does not need to be an very strong swimmer to have a great time. The environment is not competitive and each child goes home a winner with a medal, a photo with Olympians, a t-shirt, and a goody bag.

The Big Swim takes place on April 12, 2008, but registration forms must be received by March 30th. For more information on the meet, call 800.NYC.SWIM (800.692.7946) or go to the website to register online.

Asphalt Green's The Big Swim
555 East 90th Street
New York, NY 10128

YMCA Splash Week
April 21-25, 2008
The YMCA of Greater New York is hosting a week of free swimming lesson during their Splash Week to promote water safety for kids and families. During Splash Week local YMCA branches will be offering free half-hour swimming lessons to anyone aged 3 and up. Yes, there will even be free adult swimming classes as well as lifeguarding classes for anyone who's dreaming of getting a job as a lifeguard this summer. You won't find any information about Splash Week online. You must visit or call your local YMCA branch to find out the schedule of classes, but if you don't know where the nearest YMCA branch is you can find it at the YMCA website. Participating branches can be found in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island.

If you're looking for swimming classes for read our swimming classes post. It includes mommy and me swimming classes and classes for older children as well.

Giveaway: Elf Tennis. Easy for Even the Littlest Rackets

photo by steve9567Tennis is a great sport for NYC kids. There are free tennis courts all over the city and you can play inside during the colder months. Now tennis is even more accessible to it's littlest players thanks to Elf Tennis and it's creator Esther Forrester. Esther, a former Division I college tennis player with over 10 years of experience teaching tennis to adults and children, has developed a new method of teaching tennis perfect for children as young as 3 years old.

What is the Elf Tennis secret? First they start with oversized foam balls and smaller nets to help smaller children get into the game and love it. But classes also focus on the 4 Fs: Fun, Fitness, Friendship and Fundamentals of tennis. Sounds like a winning combination to me.

Ice Hockey for NYC Kids: Fun and Affordable

I should never admit this, but when I was younger I kind of liked the idea of being a soccer mom. The image of popping my athletic kids into a station wagon and driving them around our little town to their various activities seem kind of nice. It does make the suburbs sound kind of appealing to think about little leagues and soccer games and all of that. But I don't think I could have really done it. It's just not in my DNA code. Luckily you can have all that team sport goodness right here in NYC - no car or mommy jeans necessary.

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