DUMBO

13 Concerts for Kids in New York City: Culture Guide Spring 2011

We recently highlighted 11 great stage shows and 6 cool exhibits for families this spring. Now it's time to tell you about all of the wonderful kids' bands that will be performing this season. Big names include Grammy winner Dan Zanes; legendary folk singer Peter Yarrow; Seattle’s answer to The Beatles, Recess Monkey; David Weinstone and the Music for Aardvarks band and an all-day concert at KindieFest.

So put on your dancing shoes and head to one (or more) of these 13 family-friendly concerts.

Gingerbread House Decorating and Holiday Cooking Classes for NYC Kids

Family holiday traditions often seem to revolve around food: cooking special meals, baking holiday cookies and creating gingerbread houses. These family moments create those warm memories that children will look back on with nostalgia. But if your inner Martha is on vacation, consider taking your kids to a holiday cooking class instead (or joining in on one with them!)

Several kids' cooking “schools” are offering classes in November and December, teaching holiday staples like sweet potato pie, cocoa and gingerbread house construction. Classes for toddlers through tweens could whet your child's appetite for culinary greatness—or just a really good sugar cookie. Instruction doesn't come cheap: the classes range from $30 to $95 per child. Then again, every holiday host knows eager kitchen help is priceless.

9 Brooklyn Bakeries with Delicious Thanksgiving Desserts

Now that it’s November, Brooklyn bakeries are taking orders for Thanksgiving treats. From Joyce Bakery’s upside down pear and cranberry tart to cookies hand-decorated by a Greenpoint artist, these nine places promise the perfect end to your turkey day feast. But don't take too long deciding which pies, tarts, spice cakes, sugar cookies, cheesecakes and other tempting sweets sound best -- most places require orders by November 19.

Photos of the New Pier 1 Playground at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Recently I took the opportunity of a brief (albeit cold) respite from the seemingly endless rain to stroll down the hill from Brooklyn Heights and check out the new Brooklyn Bridge Park. Pier 1 of Brooklyn Bridge Park officially opened in March on the same pier that housed the “pop-up” park last summer.

Read on to hear about the new playground and check out some photos for a peek of what to expect:

12 Great Hot Chocolate Spots in Brooklyn

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which means six more weeks of winter. Luckly, we've lined up 13 of the best places to grab hot chocolate in Brooklyn, just in time for the cold, dark February weather. And if Phil is to be believed, you'll be enjoying a hot cup well into March.

See our posts on where to get a great cup of hot cocoa in Manhattan and Queens also.
 

Shop Local at a New York Flea Market or Craft Fair

Why buy locally? Well, it ensures good independent businesses are here for the long run; it’s beneficial for the environment; and you can get some pretty cool one-of-a-kind items. Finally, these businesses provide excellent learning opportunities: Use shopping trips as a way to educate your child about how local companies operate. If you're already buying locally, take it a step further by increasing the products you purchase. You'll be surprised at how many fine items are made right here in New York City.

One way to shop locally is to visit the flea markets and craft fairs where local artisans and retailers often sell their wares. Brooklyn seems to be the epi-center of these markets now. Below are some of the best markets to buy locally, plus, surprisingly, an online source for local shopping as well.

Urban Glass Open House: Factory Tour NYC Style

In Pennsylvania you can go to the Crayola Factory Tour and see how crayons are made, but in Brooklyn you can tour the UrbanGlass workshop and see how local artists create beautiful objects out of glass. UrbanGlass regularly holds free open house tours that show visitors the process of creating a handblown glass object. This weekend is a Sketch and Sculpt Open House where they will select a submitted drawing and bring that object to life (The date for submissions has passed, sorry).

You can also take glassblowing workshops and classes at UrbanGlass and even bring your own recycling to turn into something new. The great thing about a glassblowing class is you can create a paperweight or a cup to take home in just one workshop.

Shopping Locally: Craft Fairs, Sample Sales and Holiday Shopping Events

200812020310.jpgBuying local is the hip new thing, but beyond just being trendy and "supporting local businesses," buying local is important to us because it builds community and sustains what we love most about NYC: its cool, eclectic mix of unique, small shops and walkable city streets.

There are several Holiday shopping events that make shopping locally into fun, outings. Plus we've got a round-up of sample sales.

Free Fun Friday - Free Cooking Classes, Fall Festivals and Local Pumpkin Picking

IMG_0383.JPGFall has arrived and it's time to get yourself some pumpkins! Check out our posts on the best pumpkin picking and apple picking in the area if you want to head out of town. Or, you can stock up on pumpkins and fall fun right here in NYC with the top picks of this weekend's local pumpkin events. Plus, did you know that there are lots of free kids cooking classes available this weekend? Keep reading for the full scoop...

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