Brooklyn

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...

Crazy Arty Fun For Kids at the 2008 Art Under the Bridge Festival

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Jodi Call wrote a great piece for us this summer with four excellent outings and I thought it was so great I invited Jodi to write for us more often. Jodi thought it was so great, she started her own blog; Pistols and Popcorn follows her amazing adventures around New York with her son, Roan. Here's, hopefully, one of many awesome posts from Jodi:

“What kind of thing do you want to do this week-end?” It’s the question I pose to my son, Roan. But we both know I’ve always got something in mind. This week he tried to trip me up with this: “I want to do nothing, but we can do it outside.” Oh brother, mister. You’ve no idea who you’re messing with.

This weekend is the 2008 Art Under the Bridge Festival. This is the 12th year of the festival, and my 3rd year as a devotee. After a summer full of orchestrated outings and a few weeks of structured school days, the timing couldn’t be better for an entire weekend of chaotic fun with your kids.

New York Apple Picking and Fall Festivals

[UPDATED: 9/21/08]

Growing up in New York City, one of our family traditions was going apple picking in the Hudson Valley every Fall. It's a tradition I've enjoying continuing with my own kids because it's a great day out in the country, it's economical (considering the price of apples from FreshDirect), and it's even trendy (if you're into the locavore thing). It's a great activity for Columbus Day Weekend, but there are also a bunch of free Apple Festivals right here in NYC if you don't feel like taking the kids traveling.

The Brooklyn Children's Museum

This weekend is the Grand Reopening of the Brooklyn Children's Museum after an $80 Million renovation and expansion. I got a sneak peek today and am excited to share lots of pictures and details about this amazing new space, plus grand opening events and special pricing information.

For the past year the Brooklyn Children's Museum has been closed while undergoing an $80 million renovation and expansion. The Museum officially opens to the public on September 20th with twice as much space and three times the programming. It is now also the first museum in NYC to go Green. The building is certified as a green building and the Museum will be offering programs to teach children about the building and it's systems as well.

I was incredibly impressed with the new museum's exhibits. They have turned the old, somewhat rag-tag museum into a new world class cultural institution, but one that stays true to and celebrates it's Brooklyn roots. Particularly the World Brooklyn exhibit, which is like a combination of old school Sesame Street and Disney's Epcot Center.

Don't Miss: Bhutanese Dancing Monks on NYC Streets

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Sometimes the streets of NYC can be the most magical place in the world. This will become true for the next nine days when Bhutanese ritual dancers will be appearing throughout the city every day to perform their mesmerizing ancient Tantric Buddhist demon subjugation dance, called Cham. The elaborate costumes of the 13 monks who will be performing are enough to make this event spectacular, but the performance, a kind of danced yoga, makes this a once in a lifetime occurrence.

Bhutan is a tiny, secretive and isolated kingdom in the Himalayas, with very little outside influence and extremely limited tourism is allowed, making the opportunity to see the Bhutanese monks dancing on the streets of our city, for free, an absolutely not to be missed opportunity.

Foreign Language Playgroups for NYC Kids

[UPDATED: August 17, 2012]

Whether you want to preserve your heritage, develop your child's brain, or prepare them for the eventual Chinese world dominance, there are many foreign language playgroups in New York City, ready to help you out. Studies show that even brief, regular exposure to a foreign language at a young age can help your child's ability to pick up languages later in life as well as developing their ability to think abstractly and to focus.

Here are some foreign language playgroups to try out:

Think Outside the Preschool Box with these Creativity-Based Preschool Alternatives

Picture 12.pngThis is traditionally the week that competitive preschools open their application process, but more and more parents, tired of vying for the same few spots, are opting out of the preschool rat race and looking to preschool alternatives. At the same time, some dedicated parents are creating their own alternatives by starting co-operative neighborhood preschools.

Preschool is a magical time and a lot of that magic comes from the warm, nurturing, creative environment of the school. Little neighborhood preschools and preschool alternatives, whether started by parents or well established can make the preschool years the most magical ones of all.

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):

Five Cool NYC Mommy and Me Classes

Mommy and Me classes can be salvation for new parents. At the least, they get you out of the house, build structure into your day, and help you meet other moms and dads. But even if you can't picture yourself singing nursery rhymes and skipping around at a typical Mommy and Me class, here are some of the best, cool and unique mommy (or daddy) and me classes that you might even enjoy just as much as your baby or toddler will.

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