Bay Ridge

Foreign Language Camps for NYC Kids

New York City is home to an estimated 800 languages, and by virtue of living here, our kids are exposed many of them. It's no surprise, then, that NYC has a number of language-immersion summer camps for kids interested in going beyond hola! and bonjour. Whether your child yearns to master Chinese, French, German, Italian, Hebrew, or Spanish, summer is a great time to give language learning a try in a relaxed camp environment. Many of these programs include swimming, yoga, cooking, arts and crafts, music and dance, games, and other typical summer camp activities to supplement and enhance the instruction. Instructors and counselors are fluent or native speakers and not only teach kids the language but also expose them to the culture through activities and field trips.

For more ideas on summer camps, check out our Summer Camp Guide for NYC Kids. Got a preschooler? We've also rounded up immersion preschools for dual-language learning in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Sensory Gyms in Brooklyn: 8 Spots for Children's Physical Therapy

We've written about sensory activities before, and while there are plenty of things your kids can do at home, sometimes you want an expert to address certain issues. That's when you might need a sensory gym, one of those highly specialized (and fun) spaces where occupational and physical therapists help kids. Children work on gross and fine motor skills, core strength, neurodevelopmental delays, balance, coordination, and sensory integration, but the activities are usually so engaging they just think they're having a great time.

Finding a sensory gym that's a good fit for your child can be a challenge. Once you do, snagging a great therapist and a decent time slot usually involves multiple wait lists (and relentlessly checking in on those wait lists) and a willingness to remain flexible about scheduling. Fortunately for Brooklyn families, the borough has a number of well-equipped sensory gyms staffed by accomplished therapists.

Trying to navigate NYC's special education services and programs? Check out our Special Needs Guide for NYC families.

The Coop: Toddler-Friendly Cafe Opens in Bay Ridge

The Coop in Bay Ridge goes beyond high chairs and French fries to deliver a truly kid-friendly cafe that families adore. This cozy cafe has a bar-like vibe and friendly staff, delectable food and drinks, and plenty of space to sit back and relax. What really sets it apart from other cafes, though, is the kid-friendly play area in the back. The Coop welcomes parents to relax and dine while their children play in a safe and fun space—all within arm's reach. Peace for the parents, fun and games for the kids.

NYC Maternity Stores: Where to Find Pregnancy and Nursing Gear

For pregnant mamas, dressing that bump often means loading up on cheap Target and Old Navy gear. After all, you're only going to wear it for nine months, right? But great maternity wear can make you feel like yourself again—or at least the NYC mama you want to be. We've found nearly a dozen New York City retailers who sell maternity clothes, plus great postpartum gear like nursing bras, breast pumps, pre- and postnatal classes and even adorable bespoke onesies for your tiny human that will soon be covered in spit-up but that you should totally splurge on now! 

So hit the many big box maternity retailers for your everyday T-shirts (you'll find several Motherhood locations in the city and a Pea in the Pod boutique in Macy's), but head to a local New York City retailer for something special or to find something that truly fits. Besides, you'll likely be visiting this store again to try on nursing bras and nothing beats a dedicated, knowledgeable staff and a carefully curated selection of excellent clothing and gear. Several even offer perks like lounge areas and nursing pillows for on-the-go breastfeeding.

Check our NYC Baby and Pregnancy Guide for more tips for expecting and new parents like some of Manhattan's more offbeat baby and me classes.

6 Favorite Brooklyn Prenatal Massage Spots

Pregnancy, for all its blissful reward, takes an undeniable physical toll on a woman’s body. Along with regular prenatal care, a top-notch therapeutic massage can work wonders to relieve muscle aches, reduce swelling and lower stress and anxiety for the mama-to-be. Not to mention growing humans is hard work and opportunities to indulge should never be passed up.

With the aches and pains of pregnancy still vivid in our minds, we rounded up six of our favorite Brooklyn prenatal massage spots. Among our picks, Swedish massage, with its focus on gentle muscle relaxation and boosting blood and lymphatic circulation, is often the prenatal massage therapy of choice, with add-on services available. Check out our NYC Baby Guide for more pre- and postnatal tips and services.

9 Yoga Studios in NYC with Parent-Child Classes

Mommy & Me yoga classes are a weekly date for my son and me. We have been going since he was about two years old and now, more than a year later, we are having as much fun as ever.

I have found that yoga is a great way to bond with your child while also getting a workout. When my son first started taking these classes, he loved being able to show off his downward dog or butterfly pose. Since then, he has gained great strength and flexibility, and even knows how take a deep breath as a means to calm himself—a technique we have used to stave off many a temper tantrum.

If you and your tot are looking to get your om on, here are our picks for Mommy & Me yoga programs in NYC.

Party Balloons in NYC: Where to Buy Balloon Arrangements, Bouquets & Accessories

It wasn't until I recently overheard a group of moms passionately discussing party balloon decorations that I realized what a hot topic it is. A really fabulous themed balloon installation can make a young kids' birthday party seem extra special, and at the end you can give them away as fun favors. Even teens and grown-ups aren't immune to the charms of over-the-top balloon art. Bonus: Unlike flowers, balloon centerpieces won't trigger seasonal allergies (though a sudden pop might scare a tot or two).

While pretty much any old party store carries balloons, if you're looking for something unique or customized (and are willing to pay the price... beautiful balloons don't come cheap), you're going to want to go to the experts. We found eight stores and services in NYC that specialize in balloons for all occasions, from kids' birthday parties to sweet sixteens to bar mitzvahs to weddings.

Free Doughnuts Friday, June 6 and Our Favorite NYC Doughnut Shops

Ever since I learned that a doughnut has less fat and fewer calories than a muffin (as long as they stick to one), my kids have had an easier time convincing me to buy them these treats. And since Dunkin' Donuts, Krispy Kreme and a few other treat spots will be handing out FREE doughnuts this Friday, June 6 in honor of National Doughnut Day (no, I am not making that up), I'm sure we'll be indulging in a few.

But while the rest of America may run on Dunkin', in NYC we don't have to settle for mass-produced doughnuts. There are many local spots that serve delicious homemade doughnuts in a variety of exotic flavors. While we'll let the foodies argue about which NYC doughnut shops are truly the best, we've highlighted seven of our favorites. Read on for our picks and the scoop on how to snag your FREE doughnuts on Friday, June 6.

Bay Ridge Places to Play: Owl's Head Park, Shore Road Park & Indoor Play Spaces

We finish up our month-long focus on Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with a roundup my family's favorite places to play in the area, both outdoors and inside. The neighborhood's biggest and best known green spaces, Owl's Head Park and Shore Road Park, both boast incredible views of New York Harbor, old-school playgrounds and thrilling sledding hills. But there are a handful of other cute playgrounds worth checking out, plus some cozy indoor spots to play, including locally owned play space Play Days & Parties. Here are our top places for kids to romp around in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Bay Ridge Family-Friendly Restaurants: Soda Fountains and Eats from Around the World

You're always close to great restaurants when you're in Bay Ridge. It's one of the many reasons we love living here. In fact, there are so many diverse culinary choices, my husband and I have been known to spend the first hour of our date nights strolling up and down Third Avenue before finally settling on a spot, always delicious.

But when we have our four kids in tow, indecisiveness is not an option. They don't want to walk and they want to eat now! Here are my family's top 11 kid-friendly restaurants in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

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