Brooklyn

Roller Skating Rinks for Kids in NYC and the 'Burbs

All city dwellers seem to go crazy for ice skating season, but once the ice thaws and spring is upon us, where's a skater to go? It's time to introduce the kids to the old-school art of roller skating at one of these rinks within city limits and just beyond.

In addition to retro skating fun, many of these spots offer extras, including arcade games, bounce houses, and party packages. So lace up your skates and get moving at these rinks!

Register for Free Spring Swim Lessons for NYC Kids

The New York City Parks Department offers FREE swim lessons for children and adults all year round, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. The FREE spring swimming lessons are on the horizon, and the lottery for registration opens Monday, March 11, 2019, at noon.

Read on for the details on where to swim for free, or check our directory of paid kids' swim classes, and mommy-and-me swim lessons for babies and toddlers, including those in Brooklyn and in Queens.

St. Patrick's Day Events and Free Parades for NYC Kids

If your days of celebrating until you're green around the gills on St. Patrick's Day are a distant memory, don’t worry: There are plenty of kid-friendly ways to mark the holiday in New York City this March. After all, everyone in the city feels a wee bit Irish around St. Patrick’s Day. Best of all? Most of these festivities are FREE.

This year, St. Patrick's Day—Sunday, March 17, 2019—is a Sunday, but you can get started a day early with the Midtown Manhattan parade. The festivities continue with additional popular parades in Rockaway and Sunnyside, Queens, as well as Staten Island. In addition to St. Patrick's Day processions in all five boroughs, there are family fests, stepdancing performances (and places to learn), Gaelic workshops, and kids flicks.

Here are our favorite ways to celebrate Irish culture and St. Patrick’s Day with kids in New York City. Sláinte!

Spring Break Camps for Private and Independent School Kids in NYC

Most private and independent schools in NYC have a two-week spring break (as opposed to the one-week-long winter and spring breaks public school kids get), during which parents need to keep the little ones busy. Fortunately, NYC has no shortage of camp options for the private and independent school spring break, which runs from March 15 to April 1 for the 2019 school year. 

We've rounded up over a dozen programs with camp offerings during the two-week break for private and independent schools. It's always worth checking with your local play space or other neighborhood kid spot to see what's on offer. Be sure to click through to the camps' official sites for more details, including hours and pricing.

Oh, and get ahead of the game by checking out our Summer Camp Guide!

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.

Great Art Camps for NYC Kids: Paint, Sculpt, Sing, Perform

There's really no place like New York City for kids to learn about art. There are many professional artists who moonlight as a talented pool of teachers. The demand for art programs has created an amazing wealth of exceptional art classes and camps. After evaluating a myriad of creative arts camps, we have selected 11 exceptional camps which excel for different reasons.

We found visual arts camps, dance and theater camps, music camps, and even creative writing camps. There are also camps that have programs in cool stuff like circus arts and art camps that allow kids to sample a little of everything. We found programs that run all summer as well as week-long intensives. No matter their age, if your child is ready to dive into a summer of artistic expression, read on to find the perfect camp.

If you need more ideas, check out our Camp Guide and full Directory of Listings for dozens more great camp.

20 Birthday Party Spots for Brooklyn Toddlers and Preschoolers

Your toddler is another year older, which means it's time to throw a birthday party! Entertaining the under-age-5 crowd, plus a small army of their closest friends (and parents), can be tricky. Lucky for us, the borough of Brooklyn is filled with party places to please even the most diverse pack of enthusiastic toddlers and preschoolers.

Animals, arts and crafts—even just tumbling around for a few hours—are all options at these creative venues across Brooklyn. Read on for our list of favorites, and find even more birthday party inspiration in our NYC Party Guide.

8 Museums With Special Needs Programs for NYC Kids

Parents of special needs kids take note: Many cultural institutions are raising the bar when it comes to accessibility. While a crowded museum can be overwhelming or inaccessible for special needs kids, some of our favorite kid-centric museums go the extra mile, modifying their educational offerings to accommodate kids of all abilities.

Take, for instance, the Children's Museum of the Arts, where weekends go way beyond the fantastic dot paintings and clay bar sculptures. Here, a trio of programs caters to special-needs visitors with inventive programming meant to meet kids where they are, and encourage artistic exploration for all.

Read on to learn more about the programs at CMA and seven other city museums. While the increased access is priceless, most of the programs are FREE for kids and their families, though some programs may require advance registration. Be sure to click through to the websites for more details.

8 Things to Love About the Brooklyn Children's Museum

As the world’s first children’s museum, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum has been a beloved NYC destination since 1899. This Crown Heights institution offers three floors of rotating and permanent interactive exhibits and hands-on cultural and science programs for little ones, ages 6 months to 10 years. BCM aims to inspire children to ask questions and discover answers through exploration and play.

My daughter and I have passed countless hours in the Totally Tots exhibit, designed for children under six. This pint-sized paradise features water, sand, and is usually filled with thrilled toddlers and bleary-eyed parents. Read on to see our top reasons why BCM is one of our top NYC must-see museums.

Play Retro Video Games at These Family Arcades

Does it bother you that your kids don't know all four of the ghosts in Pac-Man (say it with me: Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde), or all the characters in Mortal Combat, or what the game Asteroids even is? We're here for you. We've found a handful of old-fashioned family-friendly arcades around NYC, some straddling the line between retro and cutting-edge video games.

Of course, you can also find arcade games at Chuck E. Cheese's and Dave & Buster's. Check out our roundup of more birthday-oriented video game spots with laser tag and cheesy pizza for more of these game fun zones. You can also find small arcades at many of the city's bowling alleys.

But consider one of the retro spots below if you're in the market for some parental nostalgia and old-school family fun.

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