Best Fashion Classes for NJ Kids and Teens

Kids can be little trendsetters and fashionistas, and when it comes to their wardrobe, they definitely what they like and don't like. If your child has a keen interest in fashion and sewing, and vows to attend a fashion-oriented college someday, perhaps they'd be interested in one of New Jersey's kid-friendly fashion design classes. Here's a list of the top programs that your budding Rachel Roy or Zac Posen (Hey, you never know, right?!) may find engaging and informative. It's fun for kids to tap into their creativity-- and they can get their paint on, too!

NYC Toy Stores for Special Needs Children

As anyone who's gone toy shopping in NYC knows, the choices are endless. For parents of children with special needs, shopping for toys brings on a whole different bunch of considerations. I've learned this whether buying or receiving toys as gifts for my two children who each received Early Intervention services.

Whether you're shopping for your own special-needs child or the child of a friend or relative, here are some New York City toy stores that carry outstanding products for children of all abilities. There are no chain stores here, just excellent independent shops where you'll get personalized attention (if you want it) from a knowledgeable staff who has seen and heard it all.

Pick-Your-Own Berry Farms in Connecticut

The abundance and availability of fresh food at this time of the year is a real treat. Being able to pick our own fruits and vegetables at local farms makes the bounty taste even sweeter. Not only is it a fun family activity, it's also a great way to teach children about where their food comes from and to engage them in its preparation process.

Right now, strawberry picking is just getting under way, but don't hesitate: on some farms the picking season lasts just a few weeks.  For more pick-your-own options in Connecticut, check out our posts about strawberry picking in Hartford County and blueberry picking farms. Happy picking - and baking - and eating!

NYC Kids and Family Pool Guide: What to Know Before You Swim at NYC Pools

In New York City we have plenty of pools to choose from: outdoor public pools, indoor pools, private pools and even pop-up pools. During the summer, NYC's FREE outdoor public pools are very popular, but they have their drawbacks, too. First and foremost, they all adhere to very strict rules so your visit won't be a day at the beach if you're not prepared.

Read on to find out everything you need to know before you go to a free NYC public pool.

Step Back in Time at NJ's Living History Farms

New Jersey is home to many wonderful farms, perfect spots for a family-friendly outing anytime of year. But a few special locations offer visitors the unique opportunity to step back in time and experience farm life just as it existed many years ago. These Living History farms give kids the chance to try their hand at everything from bottle-feeding lambs and gathering honey to collecting sap and harvesting ice. If you're looking for a fun, educational experience for the entire family, historic farms are a great choice. Read on for the details on four terrific NJ spots that bring history to life.

Spend a Day at the Turtle Back Zoo

There is a gem nestled inside Essex County: Turtle Back Zoo. Part of the South Mountain Recreation Complex, TBZ is a lovely little zoo with a big commitment to wildlife education and conservation. With the added perk of being smack in the middle of a treetop obstacle course, an indoor skating rink and a mini golf course, the TBZ is an amazing day trip for anyone in Northern New Jersey and worth the trip for any family in the whole state. Read on for all the highlights!

Sprinkler Season at NYC Playgrounds: When it Starts and More

When does the city turn on the sprinklers in NYC parks? That's a question we get asked every year as the weather starts to heat up. It's getting to be that time when going to the playground can pretty much guarantee getting wet. All of those sprinklers, fountains, rivers and other cool water features will be spouting soon. In fact, we were surprised to find the water already on one hot day recently at our favorite play spot. I had no towel or change of clothes for my son, but try explaining that to a 1-and-a-half-year-old.

Now it's no big deal for kids to play in their diapers, really. But to spare you having to strap a soaking wet toddler into a stroller as I did, here is some information that can help prepare you for sprinkler season.

Enjoy Free Boat Rides on New York Harbor at City of Water Day

We live in a city surrounded by water, but when's the last time you and your kids enjoyed a day out on New York Harbor? Taking a boat ride in NYC is fun and exciting, and gives you a fresh perspective on our city and its majestic waterfront. While there are lots of different kinds of NYC sightseeing cruises in summer, some may feel a bit touristy for us natives, and others cost a pirate's booty! That's why I always mark the annual City of Water Day on my calendar. It's one of the few times you can go on a New York Harbor boat tour for FREE.

This day-long celebration of our waterfront lands on Saturday, July 16, and features a slew of water-themed activities in and around Governors Island and other locations. As you can imagine, the FREE boat rides are extremely popular, so it can be tricky to snag tickets for them. We've got the scoop on what your family needs to do to enjoy a no-cost cruise and everything else you need to know about City of Water Day.


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