Crown Heights

The Brooklyn Children's Museum

This weekend is the Grand Reopening of the Brooklyn Children's Museum after an $80 Million renovation and expansion. I got a sneak peek today and am excited to share lots of pictures and details about this amazing new space, plus grand opening events and special pricing information.

For the past year the Brooklyn Children's Museum has been closed while undergoing an $80 million renovation and expansion. The Museum officially opens to the public on September 20th with twice as much space and three times the programming. It is now also the first museum in NYC to go Green. The building is certified as a green building and the Museum will be offering programs to teach children about the building and it's systems as well.

I was incredibly impressed with the new museum's exhibits. They have turned the old, somewhat rag-tag museum into a new world class cultural institution, but one that stays true to and celebrates it's Brooklyn roots. Particularly the World Brooklyn exhibit, which is like a combination of old school Sesame Street and Disney's Epcot Center.

Free Activity-a-Day for President's Week Break

diy.gifIt's mid-winter break and whether you just have the four day President's Weekend off or the whole 10 day vacation, you need a plan for things to do to filling those days with fun and memory-making activities that won't break the bank. I can't believe some of the great free activities going on in the city this week.

So I put them together to create the Mommy Poppins Do-It-Yourself Mid-Winter Break Camp! It's fun, it's free and it's sure to fill your vacation days with awesome memory-making activities. The only draw-back is you don't get to ship your kids off to do all the fun stuff with someone else. Oh wait, that's a plus too!

Day One: Friday February 15
Free Skating Prospect Park Wollman Rink 8:30 am to 9pm
Get in the mood for your wintry vacation with a special evening of free ice skating followed by hot chocolate at Prospect Park Wollman Rink. Actually the skating is free all day today, but doing something a little out of character like skating in the evening is a great way to break your everyday routine and get into the vacation mood without leaving New York.

Day Two: Saturday, February 16
Fill your kids with a little culture at some unusual performances around the city. Your pick: Sword Dancing, Gospel or Ice Skating Competition.

Two separate, free sword dancing performances in one day??”at the Museum of the City of New York 1:30pm or at Jefferson Market Public Library 1pm??”what are the odds of that? [Thank you to New York Magazine for clarifying to me that these two performances are actually part of a sword dance festival going on throughout the city both Saturday and Sunday. Check the festival homepage for more free locations around Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Tri-State Area]

Meanwhile at the World Financial Center enjoy Gospel Choir Competition with singers from all over the country. Youth groups will sing first, starting at 10am with adults following at 1:30 to 5pm. How sweet it is.

And at Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers the Skating Club of New York will hold it's Showcase Competition in Theatrical Skating at 1:30pm.

Note: The sword dancing at the Museum of the City of New York is free with admission and children under 12 are free, but adults will have to pay the $9 museum admission.

Day Three: Sunday, February 17
Family Arts Workshop: MAKING A MARK 1 - 3 pm
Enjoy a child-friendly docent-led tour of the current funky abstract art In Context exhibit followed with an art making workshop. Space is limited. Please call or email Rose at 212.598.0400 x229 or Rortiz@henrystreet.org to reserve your place.

Day Four: Monday, February 18
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is usually closed on Mondays, but will open for this President's Day. There will be special family programs throughout the day, including story times, films, and gallery sketch talks.

Take advantage of a free complimentary family pass for free admission for up to 6 people. Register and print out the invitation for your free pass plus a $5 off coupon to the museum store.

Day Five: Tuesday, February 19
Play at the Parks??”Actually every day throughout the vacation break the NYC Parks Department is hosting a winter festival with fun activities for kids.

Historic Lefferts House offers Coming in from the Cold where kids can experience and learn what children did for fun over 100 years ago with historic indoor games and projects. February 16-24 12pm -4pm.

The Audubon Center hosts a Children's Film Festival with kid-friendly nature films followed by nature crafts.

See all the offerings at the winter festival website.

Day Six: Wednesday, February 20
Fort Greene Park will offer its own daily educational activities during the break. On the 20th, kids can learn about the urban wildlife that lives all around them and create an animal craft. 11am.

Day Seven: Thursday, February 21
The Brooklyn Children's Museum On-the-Go will be having a Tales for Tots at the Brooklyn museum with international stories illustrated by real artifacts from the Brooklyn Museum's collections.

Day Eight: Friday, February 22
It's been a long week. How about chilling out at a free storytime yoga class at Karma Kids Yoga.

Day Nine: Saturday, February 23
They Might Be Giants promote their new album, Here Come the 123s with a free performance at Borders in the the Time Warner Center! 3-5pm

Day Ten: Sunday, February 24
Princess Katie and Racer Steve perform for free in Chelsea Market at 10:3am in honor of Steve's birthday. Costumes encouraged.

Whew! I hope that keeps you as busy all week having fun as it kept me writing it up. Don't forget about our Winter Fun Guide. If any of these ideas don't tickle your fancy one day, there's plenty of other fun stuff to do with kids in New York in there. Working parents, you can print this post out for the sitter too.

Free Passes to Botanic Garden Lunar New Year Celebration

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Today begins the two week Lunar New Year celebration in New York City with fun family events through out the city. This weekend is the Flower Market in Chinatown and although they publicize that there are children's activities, I have gone the last few years and been disappointed. Save going to Chinatown for the parade and cultural festival next weekend.

This year I'm excited about the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Lunar New Year Celebration and Flower Market. In addition to a beautiful Flower Market selling traditional Asian plants and cut flowers (where better to buy plants and flowers than from the experts at the Botanic Garden), there will be many interesting workshops, activities, food and performances for both kids and parents.

Kids will be able to create paper versions of New Year flowers, make citrus sachets using material from culturally significant plants, and pot up a lucky bamboo stalk to take home, while learning about its historical meaning in parts of Asia. Adults can even have a turn learning the ancient Chinese art of brush painting in a hands-on workshop.

The Year of the Rat will be welcomed with a full lineup of exciting entertainers, including spectacular music and dance performances for the whole family by some of the most renowned Asian performance groups in the world. I think kids will enjoy the Qi Shu Fang Peking Opera. - opera with martial arts, acrobatics, and music! The Red Silk Dancers use silk fans, fiery ribbons, and shiny metal clashes in “Silk and Sword�. And kids will be awed by the Korean Traditional Music and Dance Institute of New York's dance and powerful drumming.

An extraordinary exhibition on loan from the Beijing Museum of Fine Arts, featuring contemporary paintings, papercuts, and textile art made by peasant women living in China, will be on display in the Steinhardt Conservatory Gallery for families to enjoy.

When the kids get munchy visit the Terrace CafГѓВ© which will feature a special menu of culinary delights from China, Korea, and Vietnam, including Korean kimchi, a special soup, and celebratory sweets!

The whole thing takes place indoors on Sunday, February 3 from 10am-4pm. All the workshops and performances are free with admission and we're giving away two free adult admission passes (kids under 12 are free). You can check the BBG website for a full schedule of performances, events and more information.

Just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a pair of adult passes to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Lunar New Year Celebrations. A winner will be selected at 6pm tonight and notified by email.

And check back at the site later in the day for some more weekend activities.

Mommy Poppins Readers' Top 25 Places for NYC Kids

Our Custom Made for Kids personalized children's book giveaway is over, and what a great response we got. Not only did we have lots of responses, but each commenter told us their favorite thing to do in NYC with kids. The list is filled with some wonderful gems. After the jump, our contest winner and Mommy Poppins Readers' Top 25 Things to Do with Kids in NYC.

Be on TV and/or enter The Great Green Giveaway

Hot off the press! I just got this email from Kate over at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. They are looking for lots of parents and kids to come out tomorrow, Thursday October 25th to be on Good Morning New York to promote their Ghouls and Ghords Halloween event. It sounds like a lot of fun. Giant puppets, Audra Rox and everyone who shows up gets free tickets to return to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden another time. It's never too early to start your child''s television career! Here's the info and then check out our Great Green Giveaway below. Just leave a comment on this post and you'll be automatically entered.

5 Magical Halloween Events for NYC Families

I can't believe how many Halloween events there are in this city. There is cool-sounding stuff to do for Halloween with kids in every corner of the city from now until the 31st. Little neighborhood events can be the best ones, so definitely keep an eye out for what's going on in your hood (and let us know).

I've picked out just five events that each take a different spin on celebrating the holiday, aren't too commercialized, and hopefully bring that Halloween magic that will give you and your family great Halloween memories.

Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail
Just as the sun is setting, children launch their lit Jack o' Lanterns out into the Harlem Meer and watch as the flotilla of jack o' Lanterns float across the water. Starting at 4PM there will also be mask-making workshop, lawn games, a costume parade, and costume contest. FREE. When: Saturday, October 28th, 4-7PM

Brooklyn Botanical Garden Ghouls and Ghords
At Ghouls and Gourds kids learn about plants as they engage in freakishly fun activities. In addition to the great big costume parade, carnivorous plant feedings with BBG's very own "Morticia Adams," giant ten-foot-tall puppets, a flying flea circus, mysterious music, and other eerie oddities. Music from Maracatu NY and the rockin' tunes of Audra Rox. Sounds cool.
When: Sunday, October 28 from noon to 6.

Scared Silly: Halloween in Prospect Park
A weekend of Halloween family fun in Prospect Park. There'll be the Haunted Carousel, Scary Stories from the past and period Halloween crafts at Lefferts Historic House, Creepy Crawly Critter Fest at the Audubon Center, Boo at the Zoo, and the Halloween Haunted Walk (Saturday only) and carnival. All free except for carousel and Zoo admission. When: October 27 – 28

Halloweekend
Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall will be the site of a weekend full of family fun and events, but the highlight is sure to be the award-winning giant puppets of Ralph Lee. These puppets are just amazing and there's nothing like seeing them up close. It's sure to be some Halloween magic you and your children will remember for years to come. When: October 27-28

Di­a de los Muertos
Not eactly Halloween, but I thought it would be interesting to add a slightly different cultural perspective on this Holiday. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is the Mexican version of our All Saints Day or Halloween. At this Family festival, families are invited to explore the ancient roots and contemporary DГѓВ­a de los Muertos customs through bilingual educator-led altar discussions, artist-led workshops, storytelling, live music and dance performances, and food workshops that teach about ofrendas (offerings) and the traditional foods involved in the celebration. Free, but registration required. When: Saturday, November 3, 12:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Brooklyn Cultural Adventures Camp Still Has Spots

This is our first entry in a series of posts about last minute camp openings for kids in NYC. Every day for the next week, we will be posting more exceptional camps for children of all ages that still have openings. If you are interested make sure to register soon because these spots will go fast.

Brooklyn Cultural Adventures Programs (BCAP) is the only camp in the world on a campus composed of an art museum, botanic garden, children's museum, historic house, nature center, landmarked park, state-of-the-art public library, and zoo! Campers enjoy carefully crafted curriculum led by instructors at each site, often combined with behind-the-scenes access.

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