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Where to See a Movie with a Baby in NYC

I hadn't been to the movies in 10 months since having a baby and I missed it. I missed debating over the listings with my husband. I missed smuggling in Duane Reade candy and rating the preview trailers. I missed the dark that settles over the theater like few other places in this city, allowing you to escape for two hours, even though you're rubbing elbows with a stranger in the next seat.

Still, while I miss Fandangoing, I have a hard time justifying a babysitter when there is Netflix, so I was intrigued when a friend told me about a local movie theater that not only allows, but encourages, parents to come with their babies, and there are actually several spots around New York City where new moms can arrive with infants and all the gear for a matinee showing—judgement free.

Best Brooklyn Baby and Me Classes to Try Together

It's not breaking news that Brooklyn is filled to the brim with babies, so it should come as no surprise that the borough is also home to dozens of destinations to hit up with a baby in tow—from play cafes to drop-in play spaces—where you can play and engage with your baby while meeting other local parents.

Although just hanging out with other caregivers and their babies is awesome, you may be looking to try something a bit more structured and enriching, and Brooklyn certainly delivers on that front too. We've rounded up what we think are the best baby classes, where you can introduce your little one to DJing, swimming, and working out—all before she's even spoken her first word.

Find more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.

30 Top Things to Do in Brooklyn with Preschool Age Kids

Brooklyn is full of fun experiences for little kids, whether you live here or are just looking for new adventures. From pedal boating in Prospect Park to sharing Key lime pie along the water in Red Hook, we guarantee you’ll want to take your preschooler or toddler on these 30 must-do activities.

And one of the great things about these early years is that your kids may not be in school every day, so you often can avoid the weekends and enjoy some of these Brooklyn places without crowds.

10 Best Brooklyn Craft Studios for Kids

In need of a little creative inspiration? Drop-in craft studios offer a great alternative indoor activity for wintertime when you've worn out the mat at your local indoor playspace and your home collection of broken crayons no longer thrills. 

Luckily my family lives in Brooklyn, which just may be the crafting mecca of the world (or at least New York City). There are a slew of craft studios where kids can paint pottery, work with wood, try fiber arts like knitting and sewing, or make something more offbeat (robot trash can anyone?)—and best of all, someone else cleans up after them. Although some spots require that you sign up for an entire semester of classes, many offer drop-in options for occasional crafters, summer camps, school break programs and even birthday party packages. Here are our top Brooklyn craft studios where kids can get creative.

NYC Bowling Alleys That Welcome Kids and Families

Bowling is a perfect indoor family activity when you find yourself with some spare time (sorry—couldn't resist). At about age 5, children really start enjoying it, making it an ideal family outing. Bowling birthday parties are a hit for the school-age set and most venues offer special packages and pricing.

There are traditional bowling alleys—think leagues, snack bars, pro shops—in the outer boroughs, but Manhattan's spots tend to cater to grown-ups. Don’t worry though: Kids can still find lanes—you just have to know when to go. Here are 16 places to bowl with kids all across New York City.

21 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, from the Brooklyn Children's Museum's Spark, to Busy Bodies in Clinton Hill and Fairytale Island in Bay Ridge.

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 the best drop-in indoor romper rooms for kids in Brooklyn. Find more play spots in our Indoor Family Fun Guide to Play Spaces.

Kid Film Festivals and Indie Movie Theaters in NYC

A visit to the movies is tempting in the cold of winter, but big-budget family film options can be lackluster. Why not rediscover the magic of the movies at a children's film festival?

City kids can sit back and enjoy the carefully curated lineup at the 2019 BAMkids Film Festival and New York International Children's Film Festival. These showcase international and offbeat shorts and features. You'll also find cool classics every Sunday at Film Forum Jr., as well as a mix of indie and classics at BAM with its BAMkids movie matinee series. Each offers dozens of picks for preschoolers up to tweens. Plus, ticket prices can be less costly—most are less than $15 per person.

Read on for details on these festivals, plus a special discount just for Mommy Poppins readers on this year's New York International Children's Film Festival. 

10 Must-See Offbeat Museums NYC Kids Will Love

New York City doesn't lack for world-class cultural institutions, amazing children's museums, or cool immersive art experiences, but sometimes you just. can't. deal. with the crowds. And sometimes, let's face it, you and your hard-to-impress NYC kids might just be in the mood for something a little different or off the beaten path...a little weird, even. After all, what do we live in New York City for?

For those days, we present our list of weird, wacky, and wonderful under-the-radar museums city kids will love. Read on for 10 picks you're unlikely to find in the tourist guidebooks.

Indoor Play Spots for NYC Toddlers with Weekend Hours

Indoor play spots are an essential resource for NYC families with young children (and limited square feet) as temperatures begin a steady decline into winter. Unfortunately, so many of the city's indoor play spots are limited to weekday hours. That's great for caregivers Monday through Friday, but mom and dad are left out in the cold, scrambling to fill up those chilly fall, rainy spring or snowy winter weekends with their preschoolers in other ways.

Luckily, we've uncovered over two dozen fantastic play spaces that get it, and are keeping weekend, drop-in play hours for kids, no membership required. All include playthings sized just right for the little ones, including for babies in many instances. They are stroller-friendly and equipped with changing stations, making them no-fuss options for the toddler squad.

Worth It? Family Memberships in NYC to Consider for Winter

After visiting NYC's top play spaces, museums, and other fun zones, we've rounded up the various membership deals at popular kid-centric destinations. These places keep your kids entertained, active, and out of the cold. Some even offer short-term memberships, so you only have to pay until spring arrives.

In the dead of winter, it can be daunting to schlep somewhere new every weekend, so a membership to one (or two) of your favorite kid play spots makes sense. We've already done the math so you'll know exactly how many visits it takes until these investments pay off—and whether or not the "deal" works for your family. If the math doesn't work out for you, consider buying one of the play spaces' bulk passes instead, which usually knocks a few bucks off the daily drop-in price.

Need more ideas? Check out our Indoor Play Spaces Guide for more romper rooms by borough, bounce houses, and year-round family entertainment.

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