Cobble Hill

School Closed? These NYC Camps Host Kids on Veterans Day and Other Holidays

Kids love days off from school like Election Day and Veterans Day (Tuesday, November 3 and Wednesday, November 11, respectively). Working parents? Not so much. While there are many wonderful mini-camps to choose from during extended school breaks, it's harder to find coverage for one-off holidays that pop up throughout the academic year.

But we did the research and found a slew of engaging, full-day, drop-off programs on these holidays where kids can enjoy activities like swimming, theater, robotics and chess. So there's no need to take the day off from work or schlep the kids to the office! Send your children to one of these cool holiday camps instead.

Art Portfolio Prep for NYC Kids: Preparing to Apply to Specialized Art High Schools

When my oldest son was 8, he said his ambition in life was to sell his art on the street. So it's no surprise that at age 13 he's set his sights on getting into Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.

Like other specialized art high schools, including the High School of Fashion Industries, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, and the High School of Art & Design, LaGuardia requires applicants to submit portfolios of their work. While talent is key, taking a professional portfolio preparation class can really give applicants a leg up on the competition. We've rounded up New York City programs that help tweens and young teens prepare their artwork to apply to these popular high schools.

5 Secondhand Clothing Stores to Outfit NYC Kids

As parents, we do a fair amount of shopping for our kids, always in search of a good bargain for ever-growing bodies. Personally, I love hitting children's consignment shops and thrift stores. Besides being a great way to find inexpensive clothes and baby gear, it's fun to stumble across unique items you would never see at a big chain store. Consignment shops are also excellent spots for buying staples like bed rails that you use for a little while and then need to pass on.

Unfortunately, due to listservs like FreeCycle and Craigslist, there aren't as many children's resale shops in New York City as there used to be. But we found five secondhand stores where you can buy (or sell!) kids' clothing, gear and even toys.

Kids Cuts: Haircutting Salons for Boys & Girls in Brooklyn

You can't hold on to that soft and glorious baby hair forever. Eventually, you have to get the kid a proper haircut. While you can hit the local barbershop, Brooklyn's dedicated kiddie hair salons offer a more memorable and (hopefully) tear-free experience. The stylists are accustomed to snipping squirmy tots, and DVDs, toys and balloons keep nervous kids distracted and happy. A few spots even offer activities like storytime and classes. So pack up your little one and head to one of these cutters.

Live in another borough? Check out our roundups of children's salons in Manhattan and Queens.

Green Toy Stores: Shopping for Eco Friendly and Natural Wood Toys in New York City

We recently wrote about some wonderful places to Shop for Handmade Toys and Children's Items in New York City. We wanted to complement that list with some other great suggestions for buying natural and green toys. What's the difference? While some natural toys are indeed handmade, others come from eco-certified production facilities. Most important, all differ from commercially mass-produced, run-of-the-mill wooden toys in terms of quality, origin and construction from sustainable, safe, natural, non-synthetic materials.

Professional Holiday Portraits in NYC: Photo Studios and Photographers for Families

If you're anything like me, you don't know your aperture from your autofocus. So the holiday season is the perfect time to commission a professional family portrait. Whether your picture ends up on your wall or on your holiday card (or both), sitting for a family photo should be fun and reasonably affordable—let's face it, it's going to be a bit of a splurge unless you go to a department store.

The most stressful part about booking a family photo shoot? Figuring out where to start. There are so many photographers and portrait studios out there, especially in New York City. We've tried to help simplify your research by rounding up some of the best NYC spots specializing in child and family photography. We also included some department store options which, while less personalized, are also less expensive.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Sloboda Photography

Carroll Park & Other Places to Play in Cobble Hill & Carroll Gardens

We finish up our series of posts about Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill with a roundup of the best places for kids to play in the area, both inside and outdoors. While there are lots of small playgrounds and green spaces peppered throughout the neighborhood, Carroll Park is definitely the community hub and hosts FREE family activities throughout the year like its popular kids' summer concert series.

But there are many great places to play indoors, too, including drop-in tot spots like ArtsCetera and Gumbo, an awesome local library, and cool programs for school-age kids like makerspace Pixel Academy and board game mecca The Brooklyn Strategist. Here are the best places for kids to play in BoCoCa.

Family-Friendly Restaurants in Cobble Hill & Carroll Gardens: 15 Delicious Places to Eat with Kids in BoCoCa

Our series of posts about Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill continues with a roundup of family-friendly restaurants in the neighborhood. From a preliminary list of about 30 delicious eateries, we whittled our favorites down to 15, including old-fashioned soda fountain Brooklyn Farmacy, retro Italian eateries and some of the best burger joints in all of Brooklyn. Did your top spots make the cut? Read on to see our 15 picks and then share your family's regular haunts in the comments.

6 Family-Friendly Irish Pubs in NYC

While it's true that St. Patrick's Day (make that season) is upon us, my family and I are always on the lookout for great kid-friendly Irish pubs year-round. We love the yummy Irish dishes (soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, shepherd's pie, just like my mom used to make), the drinks, the vibe and the live Irish music.

Many Irish pubs in New York City have kid-friendly hours in the afternoons or early evenings when families are welcome to drop in and enjoy some authentic cuisine and culture. From my personal experience, we're usually able to avoid the more adult crowds by going to off-the-beaten-path places. That's why my list of favorite NYC Irish pubs for families includes some out-of-the-way ones, like Rocky Sullivan's in Red Hook or the Dog and Duck in Sunnyside. Be sure to check the official websites to see if there are any special events going on around St. Patrick's Day—or anytime.

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