Chelsea

The Best Children's Theater in NYC This Summer

New York City's family theater scene is hotter than a heat wave. Some people might think the dog days of summer are a cultural wasteland and that all the cool openings won't start again until fall, but that's just not the case when it comes to kids' shows.

There are options for all ages, interests, and budgets, including a page-to-stage adaptation of a Junie B. Jones picture book, family-friendly outdoor Shakespeare, the return of a glow-in-the-dark extravaganza, and a brand-new Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes. Best of all, some picks are less than $25 per ticket, and three are 100 percent FREE! Plus, we found discount codes for the pricier ones.

NYC's Best Indoor Water Play Spots for Preschoolers

Few preschoolers can resist the lure of a water table where they can dunk their toys and hands in, fill containers just to spill them out again and of course, splash around. Not many of us have space for such messy playthings in our tiny New York apartments (nor do we want one, right?!) So we rounded up the handful of NYC indoor play spaces that offer water-based sensory stations. No bathing suits or parental cleanup required.

Best of all, these soggy attractions are open year-round, even in summer just in case you can't face another sweltering day in the playground. So for those who beg to play in water (or the sandbox) long after the lifeguards go home, there are options beyond the bathtub.

13 Dual-Language and Immersion Preschools in Manhattan

Whether your toddler already speaks a second (or third) language at home, or if you’re simply hoping to give your monolingual child the gift of another language, there are plenty of great preschools where NYC kids may begin, or continue, learning another language. 

As with mastering any new skill, regular (and fun) practice makes a big difference in how quickly a child becomes comfortable speaking another language. We previously rounded up great Spanish language learning centers for school-aged kids, as well as Spanish sing-alongs for toddlers. Now, we're turning our attention to the preschool set, pulling together a sampling of immersion and dual-language preschool programs available in Manhattan. All our picks accept a mix of children at different levels of language proficiency, including absolute beginners.

Read on to find out where your tot can learn German, French, Mandarin and Spanish, and be sure to look through our NYC Preschool Listings and Directory for even more options, including dual-language playgroups and preschool alternatives. 

The Best Children's Theater in NYC This Spring

Beloved children's characters spring to life on stage this season. Our top theater picks for the coming months include musicals starring popular little-kid icons such as Curious George, Peppa Pig, Clifford the Big Red Dog and the Runaway Bunny. But there are plenty of cool shows for tweens, too, including an interactive adventure staged throughout Lincoln Center's grounds, a trio of offbeat circus performances and a revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown starring theater pros who are still in middle school.

While there are some big Broadway shows debuting this spring, including a musicalization of Tuck Everlasting and Cirque du Soleil's first-ever Main Stem spectacle Paramour, there's no need to shell out big bucks to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC. A dozen of the 14 shows we're highlighting are just $25—or less—per ticket.

Fly Kids Aerial Class Offers Gymnastics with a Twist

A pole and aerial dance studio does not sound like the most G-rated spot for a Sunday morning kids class. As a parent, a visit to Body & Pole’s website certainly didn’t instill optimism: the color scheme, the photos, the skimpy outfits all seemed to translate into a not-so-kid-friendly vibe—but boy was I wrong.

 We’ve written about circus artstrapeze classes for children and even rhythmic gymnastics, but we’ve yet to review a kids aerial class, where the session next-door might be adults-only Hammock Fluidity or Aerial Contortion. With my brave 9-year-old in tow, we decided to give it a whirl.

The Best Children's Theater in NYC This Winter

Little ones will go gaga this winter for page-to-stage adaptations of some of their favorite picture books, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Velveteen Rabbit. Meanwhile, NYC tweens can catch one-of-a-kind spectacles such as the live-action graphic novel Intergalactic Nemesis: Book One Target Earth, the interactive adventure Legend Has It and a musicalization of The Lightning Thief.

Recently, we shined a spotlight on the best Broadway shows for families in New York. But you don't need to shell out big bucks to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC—plenty of engaging family productions are playing Off-Off-Broadway. Eight of the following 15 best winter theater picks are $25 or less per ticket.

City Bakery Hot Chocolate Festival 2016

It's February and that means it's time for City Bakery's annual Hot Chocolate Festival. For every day in February, the popular Flatiron eatery City Bakery will be spicing up its delicious cocoa with a different flavor. And since it's a Leap Year, that's 29 days of hot chocolates that need to be sampled.

City Bakery is already a kid-friendly spot, but it's also nearby the wonderful Books of Wonder and lots of other family attractions in Flatiron like the Lego Store, the recently opened Dylan's Candy Bar and of course the Union Square Playground that it makes for a great winter outing. Maybe hit of the new MoMath Beaver Run exhibit pre- or post-hot cocoa? 

Looking for more to do this month? Read our February GoList for great NYC family events all month.

The Best NYC Kid Destinations that Opened in 2015

If NYC had a Facebook page, its Year in Review would go something like this: debuted three new museums, two cat cafes and one seriously jaw-dropping carousel. And that's not all! Dozens of cool kid attractions opened in New York City in 2015 and we've rounded up the 15 best new destinations to add to your family bucket list.

Read on to see how many you've already visited (they're all over the five boroughs, yes, even the Bronx and Staten Island), and then make an early New Year's resolution to check out the rest of these must-dos over holiday break (or, for seasonal spots, in 2016). Don't forget to post pics on Facebook to make your out-of-town friends Grinch-green with envy.

7 Ball Pits in NYC for Jumping Fun

Ball pits. Kids love 'em but many parents worry that they're a cesspool of germs. (Most McDonald's and Chuck E. Cheese's have removed them because they just couldn't clean them properly.) But there are a handful of ball pits in New York City at places that seem to have a much better handle on the whole sanitizing thing.

Even if you're still a little skeptical, think about all the fun you had in ball pits as a child (because you know you did). Plus with winter upon us, ball pits are a great place for kids to have fun indoors when it's cold or rainy. Your kids will have a blast diving, tossing and romping around. Some of these places also make great birthday party spots.

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