Prospect Heights

Brooklyn's Best Hot Chocolate Spots

Delicious, steaming hot cocoa topped with pillowy marshmallows is a kids staple during the winter months, warming little hands from the very first sip. You can make it at home, of course, but foodie Brooklyn offers a multitude of independent chocolatiers, coffee shops, and cafes serving up rich, creamy and inventive hot chocolates.

We recently covered the best spots to get hot chocolate in Manhattan, as well as Queens, but Brooklyn, home to the city's artisanal food scene, has plenty to offer, too. Read on for 10 of our favorite spots to pick up a cup of hot chocolate with the kids in this family-oriented borough.

Free and Cheap Summer Camps for NYC Kids

Summer camp can be an especially stressful financial issue, because while we want our children to have a fun, rewarding, and safe experience, we don't want to dig into our retirement fund to pay for it. Even if your family's swimming in money (and if you are, congrats), we all appreciate a good bargain anyway.

Although there seem to be fewer FREE New York City summer camps than in years past, our list of inexpensive or cheaper camps for local kids keeps growing. Some wonderful New York City programs are subsidized by arts and education funding so that all children can experience the amazing resources of this city.

Read on for all the info on our picks for FREE and bargain summer camps for NYC kids. You can find even more summer options in our jam-packed Summer Camp Guide and search for programs by interest, age range, and location in our Camp Directory.

10 Montessori Preschools in New York City

Picking out a preschool is no simple feat. From dual-language and immersion programs to outdoor and nature-themed classes, there are so many options and, as always, so little time. But, if you're considering sending your child to a Montessori school, this roundup of some of the most popular ones in New York City could save you some stress.

For the uninitiated, Montessori is an educational philosophy developed more than a century ago that encourages kids to be independent and learn at their own pace. Typically students are grouped by ability rather than age, classrooms are outfitted with specific learning materials, and specially trained teachers act as observers and facilitators. Read on to see what makes these 10 NYC schools extra special, and you just might find the perfect fit for your preschooler.

Find more options in our Preschool Guide and Directory.

Chinese Lunar New Year Parades and Celebrations in NYC

Lunar New Year is one of our favorite winter celebrations in New York City, and we're particularly excited for 2017's family activities.

Often referred to as Chinese New Year, although many Asian nations celebrate it, the holiday takes place Saturday, January 28, 2017, and ushers in the Year of the Rooster. Mark this cultural holiday with a family-friendly celebration. We've got the scoop on the best Lunar New Year parades, family dance parties, museum events, crafts, and more for NYC kids.

Commemorating Lunar New Year is a great way to learn about Asian culture and enjoy the food. We just profiled nearly a dozen NYC eateries where you can enjoy Lunar New Year banquets, snacks, or desserts. With celebrations and parades in almost every borough, it's also an opportunity to get out and explore a new-to-you neighborhood such as Manhattan's ChinatownFlushing in Queens, Sunset Park in Brooklyn, or Midtown Manhattan's Koreatown.

22 Brooklyn Drop-In Play Spaces and Kiddie Gyms

Brooklyn can't be beat for indoor play spaces. While Manhattan and Queens have about a dozen drop-in indoor playgrounds apiece, Brooklyn boasts nearly twice that number, and 2016 brought a slew of exciting newcomers to the scene, from the Brooklyn Children's Museum's outpost, Spark, to Busy Bodies in Clinton Hill, Curiosity on Court, and more.

While we've included a couple of the more mellow tot spots with crafts or storytelling, this best of Brooklyn list is focused on active play spaces, where toddlers, preschoolers, and even bigger kids can conquer multilevel mazes, swoosh down slides, climb up rock walls or just turn around in circles until they fall down exhausted, ready for a nap.

Read on for nearly two dozen drop-in indoor romper rooms for kids in Brooklyn. Find play spots in our Indoor Family Fun Guide.

Park Slope Summer Day Camps for Brooklyn Kids

As one of the most kid-friendly neighborhoods in New York City, Park Slope has no shortage of summer day camps. Whether your kids are into art or theater, nature or sports, crafts or music—or a little bit of everything—there's sure to be a program to keep them busy and happy all summer long.

But don't wait till spring is here to start looking. Winter is the time to start planning your kids' summer, as programs often fill up quickly. For more summer camp options outside of Park Slope, be sure to consult our Summer Camp Guide for NYC Kids and complete listings. If you're looking for affordable (and even FREE) ways to keep your kids busy, peruse our roundups of Free and Cheap Summer Camps and Free Summer Sports and Outdoor Programs.

10 Summer Music Day Camps for NYC Kids

Whether your child is drawn to Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, or Mozart, is an accomplished musician or just getting started, summer camp is a great way to explore the craft while having loads of fun and making new friends. We've lined up 10 of our favorite music day camps for New York City kids with an eye toward striking a good balance between theory, practice, musical styles, and ability levels. A few of our picks offer multiple programs divided by age, others split things up by experience level and one even takes campers on a daily visit to a popular indoor climbing facility—sometimes even accomplished musicians need to work out the wiggles.

Don't forget to browse our Summer Camp Guide for additional options or use our Camp Directory to search for programs by interest, age, and location. It's also worth noting that many camps offer financial aid, as well as discounts if you sign up early, or for multiple weeks. 

New Year's Eve Fireworks in NYC and More 2017 Family Celebrations

There are plenty of ways to ring in 2017 in New York City. We've rounded up the city's best family-friendly options from Brooklyn fireworks and FREE bike rides to swanky (and admittedly expensive) Times Square parties. 

If you have little kids, check out our article on pre-midnight bashes happening all day long at children's museums and other venues around NYC. However you welcome the New Year, we hope it's a blast. You can find even more seasonal fun in our Holiday Guide.

7 Places to Eat at with Kids Near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Even if you brought a bag full of snacks to your Brooklyn Botanic Garden excursion, kids will be hungry after all that time running through the grass, collecting sticks, and chasing butterflies.

The good news is that there are plenty of family-friendly options for a bite in the nearby Crown Heights and Prospect Heights areas. And all but one (see below) have highchairs available. These restaurants are also close to the Brooklyn Museum, and a short walk from the Brooklyn Children's Museum and Prospect Park.

Tot Town: New Play Space in Crown Heights for Brooklyn Kids

Brooklyn kids have a new place to climb, crawl, and create, but parents will also like Tot Town for the features geared toward them. With touches like cozy couches, free Wi-Fi, and outlets for laptops and phones, parents can relax while toddlers and preschoolers play games, make music, create art, and more. We've got the scoop on Crown Heights' newest play space. 

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