Crown Heights

9 New Summer Exhibits for NYC Kids, Including The Hunger Games & Live Spiders!

While summer is the season of outdoor fun in NYC, sometimes you need a break from the parks, beaches, sun and sweltering heat. Going to a kid-friendly museum exhibit is an engaging and enriching way to spend a humid afternoon soaking up some culture along with cool air-conditioning.

Not only are most of the spring exhibits we highlighted still on view, there's also a fresh batch of kid-pleasing installations opening as well as a few new permanent attractions. We've got the scoop on where kids can get up close and personal with live spiders, learn American history, party like a rock star and make like Katniss from The Hunger Games. Plus, One World Observatory is finally open and a must-see.

Jewish Museums in NYC: 5 Cultural Spots for Kids

In our multi-cultural society, NYC kids are exposed to lots of different cultures. In fact, it's not uncommon for children of all backgrounds to want to celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, Purim and Lunar New Year, and, perhaps, even teach their parents how it's done.

Exploring various ethnic traditions at school and with friends is fun, but there are also many New York City institutions where you can learn about different cultures in more depth. We've written about museums that focus on Himalayan and Chinese cultures, and now with Passover coming up, we thought it was a great time to highlight local institutions where children can learn about Jewish culture.

One thing to keep in mind when visiting a Jewish museum is that an exhibition of hand-crafted menorahs may be right around the corner from a huge sculpture commemorating the Holocaust, prompting kids to ask a bunch of difficult questions. For children who are ready, some of these institutions explore the the Holocaust in an appropriate way. Visiting spots like the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Anne Frank Center are a lot more engaging than reading a dry textbook but also less scary than watching graphic newsreel footage or looking at archival photos.

Here are five great NYC spots where kids can learn about Jewish culture, traditions and history.

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.

Top 10 Cool Kids' Concerts: Laurie Berkner, Suzi Shelton, Pixar in Concert & More Live Family Music for Spring 2014

We finish up our spring culture coverage with a roundup of the ten best kids' concerts taking place this season. They're not all your usual kindie rock suspects, either. There are some seriously awesome-sounding family music shows coming up including a one-day-only concert by the queen of preschool rock, Laurie Berkner; a kid-friendly performance by former 10,000 Maniacs singer Natalie Merchant; an album release party for Brooklyn songstress and mom Suzi Shelton; and the New York Philharmonic's fun classical spin on Pixar movie themes.

As usual, we've kept an eye on the prices. Yes, a few of the special concerts command high ticket fees, but some picks are under $20 and three are 100% FREE. Here are 10 concerts where you can clap, dance and sing along this spring.

Hanukkah for NYC Kids: Top 8 Ways to Celebrate the Festival of Lights

Thanksgiving isn't the only holiday we'll be celebrating this November. For the first time in more than a century, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are set to coincide. This is literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience—unless you plan to live another 70,000 or so years. That's the next time Thanksgivukkah is supposed to occur!

Hanukkah starts at sundown on Wednesday, November 27 (Thanksgiving Eve) and continues for eight nights and days, and there are lots of ways to mark the holiday beyond lighting your Menurkey at sundown every evening. In fact, a lot of the best Hanukkah fetes take place this coming Sunday before the holiday even officially begins. From fun-filled Jewish museum family days to giant menorah illuminations to Thanksgivukkah parties honoring both holidays, here are the top eight ways to celebrate Hanukkah with NYC kids.

Special Needs Art Classes for NYC Kids

During my previous monthly special needs posts, I've rounded up music classes and dance lessons for New York City children with special needs. Today, I'm highlighting adaptive art programs for children with different abilities, like my tween son.

Although my boy has participated in all kinds of special needs sports, and social groups, art has never been very high on his wish list. With his limited fine-motor skills, short attention span and tendency to get easily frustrated, it's understandable that it's not a favorite. But I really wanted to find a creative outlet for him that he would enjoy.

So I started to investigate the kinds of special needs art programs available around the city, and as usual I wasn't disappointed—but I was surprised. While there are only a handful of studios offering adaptive experiences, some of NYC's major museums have incredible special needs hands-on sessions, most of which are FREE. Here are five special needs art programs for families, as well as two others that sound interesting but are open only to schools.

Breaking: Spots Available at NYC Parks Experience Summer Camps, Possibly New York's Most Affordable Day Camp

With so many great summer day camps in NYC, finding a good one isn't an issue, but it's hard to find a camp that's as great a deal as NYC Parks Experience Summer Day Camp at just $500 for the entire summer. Usually parents have to enter a lottery to get a place at these coveted camps, but the Parks Department has given Mommy Poppins the inside scoop that there are some select spots still available.

Run by the New York City Parks Department, this seven-week program has multiple locations throughout the five boroughs. Campers enjoy outdoor adventures like hiking in local parks, a variety of sports including swimming, as well as educational activities like field trips to museums and other cultural destinations.

You can no longer apply through the Parks' Department website. The only way to snag one of these spots is with the information in this post. So read on to find out about NYC Parks Experience Summer Day Camp locations with availability, and how you can register your child.

Or check out other hot deals on cool summer camps where kids can engage in a wide range of activities, from chess to pottery to language immersion to circus.

Family-Friendly Crown Heights Restaurants: Where to Eat with Kids in Brooklyn

We finish up our month-long focus on Crown Heights, Brooklyn with a roundup of our favorite family-friendly restaurants in the area. These eateries really reflect the diversity of the neighborhood. You'll find delicious kosher spots serving up New York-style pastrami on rye alongside authentic Mexican joints, Indian delicacies like samosas dished out next to Caribbean staples such as roti and jerk chicken.

Although most of these small, family-run restaurants don't have kids' menus, they all offer lots of options for picky little eaters and price-conscious parents. So after a trip to one of the neighborhood's great cultural attractions like the Brooklyn Children's Museum, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden or the Jewish Children's Museum, grab a family meal at once of these kid-friendly Crown Heights restaurants.

Crown Heights for Kids: Drop-in Culture Spots Where Families Can Play and Learn

What's the one neighborhood in NYC that has not one but two children's museums? If you guessed the Upper West Side or Park Slope, try again. Crown Heights, Brooklyn is home to the super-popular and interactive Brooklyn Children's Museum as well as the lesser-known Jewish Children's Museum, which features an entire floor of games including an indoor mini-golf course. So while there may not be any traditional kiddie gyms in Crown Heights (yet—it's only a matter of time), there's certainly no shortage of places for kids to play and learn.

In addition to the aforementioned tot spots, there's the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Museum, which are both very kid-friendly and offer wonderful family programming year-round. Plus the historic Weeksville Heritage Center is about to debut its brand-new Education and Cultural Arts Building. We continue our month-long spotlight on Crown Heights with a look at everything these institutions have to offer families, including lots of opportunities for enriching drop-in fun.

5 Unique Mother's Day Brunch Ideas in NYC: More Than Just a Meal

Mother's Day always feels like so much pressure. Where will you brunch? Will the kids like it? Will you ever be able to pay off the credit card bill? With Mother's Day fast approaching on Sunday, May 12, it's time for you (or your partner) to start planning (although what's the old adage? If you want something done right...).

Our NYC Kid-Friendly Restaurant Guide is filled with fantastic family restaurant recommendations in all five boroughs, including eateries with family entertainment. We even have two posts dedicated to traditional Mother's Day brunch options, both swanky spots and reader favorites. But if you're looking for a unique Mother's Day brunch experience, one that comes with more than just a meal, we have five offbeat ideas that include arts and culture, a cool waterfront foodie tour and fun at an iconic racetrack.

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