25 Top Things to Do with NYC Preschoolers Before They Turn 5

New York City doesn't lack for awesome family events and institutions, from the many children's museums and zoos and gardens to only-here street and art fests. But as a mom of two children younger than 5, I'm always looking for fun activities that appeal to the city's youngest children. It's such a special window of time, and I want to create lasting memories—within budgetary reason, and manageable enough for kids who sometimes still need a nap and a sippy cup of milk.

So, inspired by our roundup of 100 things to do with kids in NYC before they grow up, we came up with a list of 25 things to do with toddlers and preschoolers around the city before they turn 5 and head to kindergarten. A few of our selections are well-known favorites with specific under-the-radar attractions for preschoolers, while others are more off the beaten path, but all are things we've enjoyed doing or aspire to try soon!

Hudson Valley Indoor Play Places Worth the Trip

When it’s raining or freezing or simply a day that ends in Y, a good indoor play place can be a godsend for entertaining kids. We’ve already taken a look at some of the top indoor play places in Westchester, and now we’re going to turn our attention to the rest of the Lower Hudson Valley. These play spaces are all worth a trip across the bridge. 

Looking for more places to have fun when the weather's not cooperating? Check out our Guide to Indoor Fun & Play Spaces for Westchester Kids, and be sure to sign up for our newsletters!  

Kids Eat Free Restaurants in the Philadelphia Area

Not only does the Philly area have a plethora of fun adventures for families, it's also a haven for food freebies and discounts for kids. Whether you're visiting the city or the suburbs, you will find chain restaurants and local spots that offer a break on the bill for kiddos. Want to plan an itinerary for the day or weekend? Check out our events calendar, choose a restaurant near your activity, and you're on your way! Don't forget to confirm these deals with the restaurants before you head out.

Indoor Play Spots for NYC Toddlers with Weekend Hours

Indoor play spots are an essential resource for NYC families with young children (and limited square feet) as temperatures begin a steady decline into winter. Unfortunately, so many of the city's indoor play spots are limited to weekday hours. That's great for caregivers Monday through Friday, but mom and dad are left out in the cold, scrambling to fill up those chilly fall, rainy spring or snowy winter weekends with their preschoolers in other ways.

Luckily, we've uncovered over two dozen fantastic play spaces that get it, and are keeping weekend, drop-in play hours for kids, no membership required. All include playthings sized just right for the little ones, including for babies in many instances. They are stroller-friendly and equipped with changing stations, making them no-fuss options for the toddler squad.

New Schools Opening in NYC This Year

New York City is always changing, and so are our schools. Despite longstanding, ongoing debates over standardized tests, overcrowding, and tuition costs, there are also some exciting new developments in early education here in NYC. In classrooms across the city (and across the country), project-based learning, a focus on global citizenship, and child-centered education are all trending, as we look toward a future in which the jobs our children will need to be prepared for most likely haven't even been invented yet.

Staying on top of educational trends may seem difficult, especially in the ever-evolving world of NYC schools, but the Mommy Poppins NYC Public and Private School Listings Guide can help. For an up to date listing of schools in your area visit our School Directory Listings, and in the meantime, read on for the latest about new schools opening in NYC.

New Jersey Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free

Who says there’s no such thing as a free meal? Restaurants throughout New Jersey offer free kid meal promotions nearly every night of the week. (Basically, you never have to cook again.) Visit your favorite family-friendly restaurant on a kids-eat-free night, and you won’t have to worry about overspending on kids’ entrees, especially the ones that are barely touched. Check out some of these New Jersey dining spots that feature free kid meals on certain nights of the week. 

The Best and Worst States for Raising a Family

Everyone wants to raise their family in a healthy, safe, and yes, fun community. But, how do you go about finding the right corner of this country for your family? Trial and error perhaps, but WalletHub is also throwing a little data our way on just this subject. The credit report and personal finance site just released its ranking of the best and worst 50 states in which to raise kids.

It weighed a number of factors to determine the top family-friendly states, looking at schools, housing, crime, childcare costs and quality, parental leave options, salaries, and of course, the amount of family fun per capita, including access to parks and playgrounds.

Read on to find out how your state stacks up—and where you might want to consider relocating to with the kids!

Get Creative: Best Art Camps for Houston Kids

If you're scratching your head and wondering how it's possible that we are already talking summer activities, you're not alone. Luckily, Houston has plenty of options for every child. If you have an artsy kid, keep their creative juices flowing by enrolling in summer art camp.

And for more summer and vacation camp ideas, check out our comprehensive camp guide and full directory of camp listings.

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