Ft Greene

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.

The Best Family-Friendly Bars in New York City

Just because you have kids, doesn't mean you can't enjoy going out for a beer once in a while. And taking the kids along is fine as long as you choose your watering holes wisely. Bringing your kids to bars is a great way to hang out as a family, while you get to go out and have some fun, too. In order to keep the other patrons happy as well, these are some good general guidlines: arrive early, stick to bars with ample space (outdoor if possible) and bars that welcome kids with kid-friendly food.

If you're game for taking the kids to a family-friendly bar, here are the best ones to try:

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5 Free Fun Indoor Activities for Kids in New York City

Last month I wrote about play spaces where you can drop in and pay for play, but how about places where you can drop in and not pay? There are still some great places that welcome you to play for free and we've rounded up 5 good ones below. Of course, you should also check out our list of free times at NYC museums so you don't miss out on things like pay what you wish Thursdays at the Children's Museum of the Arts.

Where to play for free indoors with NYC kids:

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.

Best Family Friendly Outdoor Bars in New York

It's officially the last weekend of summer and Labor Day Weekend traditionally means barbecuing with friends. While I don't have a place to barbecue, I'm still in the mood to hang out outdoors and drink some beers with friends, while my kids play nearby. So I gathered up some of the best places to get that same backyard barbecue feeling at one of NYC's outdoor family friendly bars, where you can hang out outdoors with some friends, some beer and chow while our kids hopefully play contentedly in the child-friendly space available.

Here are the best family-friendly outdoor bars in NYC to share a beer with kids (well, don't share the beer with your kids, but you know what I mean):

More Free Demo Classes

This is the second in a series of posts listing free demo classes for this Fall. Find more free demo classes and exclusive discounts in our first free demo class post.

New Manhattan Movement and Arts Center Children’s Program – Meet the teachers, try out classes, and enjoy additional fun and surprises at an Open House from 9:30 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 14, at Manhattan’s newest arts center. The MMAC Children’s Program, launching September 15, offers classes ranging from Mommy & Me to art, music, dance, theater, yoga and martial arts, for ages toddler to teen. Information: (212)787-1178. 

SPECIAL DISCOUNT FOR Mommy Poppins Readers - $25 off when you enroll at the Open House; use discount code “MOMMY POPPINS".

Apple Seeds- Demo reservations are taken on a first come first serve basis, check out their website to see which class fits your little one. To reserve a spot, call 212.792.7590 - note that there is a limit of 2 demos per family, per semester.

Free Outdoor Movies For Kids

New York City has gone nuts for outdoor movies in recent years and with good reason, there's something magical about lying back on a picnic blanket and watching your favorite movie with hundreds of other New Yorkers.

Outdoor films are also the best way for grown ups to go see kid movies because you can just enjoy being out on a nice summer evening even if you aren't that into the movie. And, depending on your kids, it can be a great way to get out to see a grown up movie without spending the college savings on a sitter, as many kids will enjoy the classic films frequently shown or will just enjoy being out at night enough to sit (or sleep) through it.  Films begin at dusk which is generally at around 8:30 and many of these series include other entertainment.

Here's a rundown of the best free outdoor movies for kids in NYC this summer:

A Week of New York City Earth Day Activities 2008

eco-camp.jpgEarth Day and NYC Public School Spring Break are in alignment this year. Coincidence? ...Yeah, probably. (shrug). So, school's out but the fun, hands-on learning is just beginning. You don't have to go to a fancy resort to have an eco-vacation. With the Mommy Poppins Do-It-Yourself Spring Break Eco Camp kids can learn, do, make and play their way to a greener, smarter world right here in New York City.

We've organized a week jam -packed with the best of Earth Week's eco-friendly fun for NYC kids of all ages. It's almost completely free, will keep you busy all week, and registration is super-easy (just ask yourself if you still have spots available!)

Saturday, April 19
South Bronx EarthFest Celebration in St. Mary??™s Park.
A recycled materials fashion show, free boat rides in the Bronx River and electronics recycling are some of the highlights among the more than 30 activities booths at the South Bronx EarthFest Celebration in St. Mary??™s Park.
Saturday, Apr 19, 2008 from 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
St. Mary??™s Park , St. Ann??™s between 146th and 148th Streets
FREE
South Bronx Earth Fest is a family celebration of the environment and of the South Bronx community. Enjoy food and entertainment, including: a "Music Gets Me Green" song contest, a recycled-materials fashion show, a musical performance by the Oscar-nominated Impact Repertory Theater, free boat rides on the Bronx River, a student dance performance, and a keynote presentation by Majora Carter of Sustainable South Bronx. Bring your old cell phones, computers, printers, fax machines, TVs, VCRs and stereos to be recycled. Donate gently used clothing for reuse. Bronx Green-Up will be among the more than 30 activities booths, which also include Bronx Community Solutions, CENYC, Butterfly Project, Solar Oven, and South Bronx Job Corps Academy.
Free admission

Habana Outpost, Fort Greene's new eco-eatery, is hosting a very cool Earth Day Expo 2008. Two Days of free workshops and events including beekeeping, recycling within your environment, composting, recycled art show and umbrella recycling. I like this event because the activities make you think differently about greening your life rather than the same old topics we hear over and over again.
Saturday, April 19th & Sunday April 20th 2008.
757 Fulton Street (corner of South Portland) Brooklyn
Kid??™s Corner-Saturday& Sunday 12-6
Check the website for the full schedule.
FREE

Go Green Go Greenpoint
Saturday, Apr 19, 2008
11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
McCarren Park, behind the Field House, Lorimer Street between Bedford and Driggs Avenues
FREE
Educational programs, recycling stations, a scavenger hunt, tree planting, live music and more.

Earth Day Weekend at the Queens Zoo
Sat 19, Sun 20 11am??“4pm.
Queens Zoo, Flushing Meadows??“Corona Park, Queens.
Free with zoo admission.
Kids learn how to sort recyclables, plant seeds, design their own reusable tote, and learn about environmental projects or activities going on in your Queens neighborhood and discover ways to participate.

Sunday April 20
Ninth Annual Gowanus Canal Flotilla
Sunday April 20 11am??“3pm.
Gowanus Canal, between Second Ave and Bond St, Brooklyn
FREE
Go on an eco-cruise. Take a ride in a 21 person indian shipping canoe and pick floating trash out of the Gowanus Canal.

Join us for a fun-filled of environmental education through recreation. Paddle along this annual flotilla on the historic and notorious little estuarine waterway that flows in the heart of Brooklyn. Armed with landing nets, garbage bags, our fleet of skiffs, including our unique 32ft canoe (accommodates 21 paddlers at at a time). The Urban Divers Environmental Educators guide eco-volunteers on an eco-cruise and help pick-up floatable debris along the water and on shore...Everyone is also welcomed to bring their own kayaks or canoes or GET ON BOARD OUR FLEET OF VESSELS, including our unique GIANT 32ft INDIAN SHIPPING CANOE- vessel accommodates 21 paddlers at time. To register to volunteer call The Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy at 718-802-9874, or 347-224-5828.

Earth Day Celebration in Central Park
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Rumsey Playfield, Central Park
FREE
Activities for all ages begin at 12:00 pm, including recycled musical instrument-making, tree tours, make and take home your own mini vegetable garden and more. Get the full schedule online.

Monday, Apr 21, 2008
NATUREMANIA
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Sherman Creek Campus (3725 10th Avenue)
SHERMAN CREEK PARK, Manhattan
FREE
Spring Break is marked by being outdoors and having fun. This year for Spring Break, come learn how to build a boat, grow plants and vegetables, plant and identify trees, explore habits and fish, and more. Also join in arts and crafts projects, story time, group games, and service projects during the spring break camp at Sherman Creek Park.

Tuesday, April 22

Earth Week at Still Hip
283 Grand Avenue Brooklyn
Cool Brooklyn resale shop, Still Hip makes it easy to be green during Earth Week. Drop your old clothes off for recycling and let the kids practice tree poses.
10-5 pm: Clothing Recycling | FREE
12 pm: Baby Wearing & Cloth Diapering Workshop | FREE*
2:30 pm: Yogi Babies Save the Trees | FREE*
3:30 pm: Tree Pose Kids Yoga FUNdraiser | FREE*

Wednesday, April 23
Earth Week at the Bronx Zoo
April 21-27
Bronx Zoo
Free with Admission
Party for the Planet at the Bronx Zoo. Visit the Human Footprint exhibit to learn the impact people are making on the Earth, see recycled animal sculptures, hear stories, make crafts and more all week. See the full schedule.

Thursday, April 24
Earth Week at the Audubon Center
April 21 ??“ 27, 12 ??“ 5 p.m. every day
Prospect Park Audubon Center
FREE
Celebrate Earth Week at the Prospect Park Audubon Center! This year??™s Earth Week will have a different theme each day, with programming for environmentalists of all ages. Learn how to do your part through lectures, tours, activities, film screenings, workshops, recyclable crafts, and a daily exhibit. Check www.prospectpark.org for a full list of what??™s going on.
Friday April 25
Still Hip
283 Grand Avenue Brooklyn
Private Picassos is offering FREE Recycled Art Workshops for kids age 2-7 at Still Hip on Friday, April 25th.
Pre-registration is requested. Email info@privatepicassos.com to reserve your spot today.
Workshops include:
Junk Printmaking Workshop
Young artists age 2-4 will use recycled materials for a relief printmaking activity. Feel free to bring any toilet paper or paper towel rolls,old dry sponges, wine corks, slightly used cardboard cup protectors and corrugated cardboard scraps. 10:00-10:45am

Recycled Robots Workshop
Young artists age 5-7 will use recycled materials to create their own robots. Feel free to bring old cereal boxes, small cardboard boxes, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, corrugated cardboard, etc. 11:00-11:45am

Saturday, April 26
Go Green Expo
Saturday, April 26th from 10 a.m. ??“ 6 p.m. and Sunday, April 27th from 10 a.m. ??“ 3 p.m.
Learn about eco-friendly alternatives available today. More than 200 booths showcasing organic food and wine, home and office products, health and beauty supplies, energy alternatives, and the latest cars and transportation. Find out more at GoGreenExpo.com
Sunday April 27
Gardening Day at the Queens Botanic Garden
Sun 27 noon??“5pm.
$5 Donation
Queens Botanical Garden, Flushing, Queens.
Learn about and celebrate the honey bee with puppet shows, storytelling, and clowns!

Stay tuned for next week when our Earth Week posts really HEAT up. An don't miss our GREAT GREEN GIVEAWAY.

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.

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