29 Best Spring Events for Preschoolers and Toddlers

Spring may be the most exciting season of the year for parents and caregivers of preschoolers and toddlers, who have been stuck inside for the 5,000 weeks that make up winter. With the arrival of warm weather, it's like New York City itself wakes up from hibernating, and families stream out of their houses to take advantage of all it offers.

There are so many wonderful things to see and do during April and May, and we have rounded up the best ones for kids ages 5 and under, so that you can make the most of this time of year.

Up with the Sun? 21 Early Morning Spots to Entertain NYC Toddlers

New York is "the city that never sleeps," especially for parents of young children. Kids can spend countless hours at parks and playgrounds, museums, play spaces, and more. But if you have an early riser, it's not always easy to find an age-appropriate play spot.

Toddlers and babies are often ready to start their day before sunrise, so we've put together a list of awesome places to go and things to see around NYC in the wee hours with your youngest New Yorkers.  

Top Traditional Summer Camps (With Very Modern Offerings) for New York City Kids

New York City has always been the best place on Earth to find uh-mazing summer camps, but the options for families looking for that traditional, all around camp experience have only gotten better over the years. Between city camps with tricked-out facilities, and lots of outdoor time, and accessible-by-bus destinations just outside the city, there are plenty of places that deliver those tried-and-true camp activities and then some, combining canoeing, arts and crafts, sports, and swimming with more modern camp curriculums and amenities.

If you'd like to stay within city limits, there are day camps across the five boroughs complete with 75-foot pools and outdoor ball fields, trips to amusement parks and adventure courses, fully-equipped air-conditioned gyms, and fun-filled days at the beach or the park. Meanwhile, if your kiddo is ready to travel, you'll find completely un-plugged media-free nature day camps, lush 27-acre campuses right nearby, lakes with boating and fishing, multiple-day overnight trips to state parks, and of course, that classic sleepaway camp experience.

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. Spring swimming lessons are on the horizon, and the lottery for registration opens Monday, March 12, 2018 at noon through Monday, March 19, 2018 at 11:59pm.

The spring swim lessons will take place Monday, March 26, 2018 through Thursday, June 7, 2018.

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

Spring Break Camps for NYC Kids This April Vacation

School holidays seem to pile up this time of the year. You've just gotten back into your routine following February break and it's already time to plan for spring break, which runs from Friday, March 30 through Friday, April 6 for public school kids in 2018.

Whether your kid wants to spend his or her break in the arts or honing sports skills, is obsessed with all things STEM, or all of the the above, New York City seemingly has a camp for every interest. In fact, we've rounded up more than two dozen NYC camps across the five boroughs that are open for spring break and many other school holidays.

Check out our Summer Camp Guide if you're planning for summer's much longer school break!

Easter Egg Hunts for Kids in New York City 2018

Easter Sunday is April 1 this year—no joke! It's just a hop, skip, and a jump away. One of the best ways to celebrate with kids is to attend one of NYC's treat-filled egg hunts. Most are outdoors in playgrounds and parks, zoos, and gardens, but a few are indoors at museums and other cultural spots. Many offer additional spring fun, including seasonal crafts, face painting, and live entertainment.

Remember, Easter egg hunts in NYC are extremely popular so arrive early and expect hordes. If you dislike crowds, avoid the free hunts and opt for those that carry a small fee as they usually cap the number of participants. Or get your photo op with the Easter Bunny in ahead of time at these brunches.

Meet the Easter Bunny in NYC for a Photo Op with the Kids

The Easter Bunny is making appearances all over New York City this spring, including on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to snap a picture with your child cozied up to the festive rabbit.

We've rounded up some of the top places in all five boroughs to take a picture with the Easter Bunny, beginning in March. These range from professional shots you can have taken ahead of time to DIY opportunities at your local egg hunt. Get those reservations booked!

Find bunny brunches or egg hunts in NYC, too! Or lean on our March GoList for more must-do events and activities.

St. Patrick's Day Events and Free Parades for NYC Kids

If your days of celebrating until you're green around the gills on St. Patrick's Day are a distant memory, don’t worry: There are plenty of kid-friendly ways to mark the holiday in New York City this March. After all, everyone in the city feels a wee bit Irish around St. Patrick’s Day. Best of all? Most of these festivities are FREE.

This year, St. Patrick's Day—March 17, 2018—is a Saturday, which is when the big Midtown Manhattan parade takes place. However, the festivities begin with a trio of popular parades stepping off on the first weekend of this month in Rockaway and Sunnyside, Queens, as well as Staten Island. In addition to St. Patrick's Day processions in all five boroughs, there are family fests, stepdancing performances (and places to learn), Gaelic workshops, and kids flicks.

Here are our favorite ways to celebrate Irish culture and St. Patrick’s Day with kids in New York City. Sláinte!

Where Nursing Moms Can Find Private Lactation Rooms in NYC

Raising kids in New York City isn't for the faint of heart. City parents have plenty of worries to contend with that our suburban counterparts don't, from car seats in cabs to finding the right stroller for your lifestyle, and how, exactly, to navigate the subway with a baby in tow.

But one thing city mamas shouldn't have to worry about is where to feed their babies, specifically where to breastfeed or pump when you're on the go. While state law protects a mother's right to breastfeed in public, saying "a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be," not all mothers are particularly comfortable baring it all, and certainly pumping isn't easy on a city bench. When mama's not comfortable, neither is baby.

To help ease the stress of breastfeeding or pumping on-the-go, we've rounded up some private or semi-private spots for you to feed your wee one while you're out-and-about checking things off our NYC baby bucket list.

Night at the Museum: 7 NYC Museum and Zoo Sleepovers for Kids

Sleepovers are all the rage—even Governors Island is getting into the overnight game—but while a night of glamping might be on your to-do list, kids will get a big kick out of sleeping over at one of their favorite cultural institutions. From the Bronx Zoo, to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, there's a sleepover to fit any interest and you'll earn some serious cool parent cred with one of these overnight adventures so extravagant, they landed on our splurge GoList.

As you might have guessed, these NYC-style pajama parties aren't just cool, they can also be expensive, and sometimes tough to get into. So if you want to splurge on an amazing overnight experience for your child this year, book early as spaces fill up fast. Each of our picks includes meals or snacks and requires adult chaperones to take part. Note that some are exclusively for scout groups.


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