Gramercy

Summer Streets Returns This August: Explore Car-Free NYC with Kids

Summer Streets, easily one of our favorite NYC seasonal festivals, returns for its 12th season of car-free Saturdays on August 3, 10, and 17.

The annual Summer Streets event gives New Yorkers three consecutive Saturdays of car-free summer fun, with a seven-mile stretch of city streets from the Upper East Side to the Brooklyn Bridge closed to cars and open exclusively to pedestrians, skaters, and bicyclists. Five fun-filled rest stops overflow with fun activities, giveaways, and entertainment.

Most of the interactive stations are 100% FREE but some require advance registration. Read on for all the details on this ultimate summer street fest.

Cool Party Places to Celebrate Your Tween's Birthday

By the time you've hit the tween years, you've been to enough birthday parties to feel like you've seen it all. Looking for a new celebratory experience worthy of increasingly grown-up interests for your 10 to 13 year-old? We've rounded up 13 too-cool party spots to celebrate your tween's next big birthday. With party packages this out of the ordinary, you'll be able to please even the pickiest tween with unique fetes like zombie laser tag, DIY chocolate or ice cream, and jewelry making with semi-precious stones.

Where to Donate Kids' Clothes, Toys, and Gear Across NYC

With two adults and three kids in my family's typically small NYC apartment, the holiday season stresses me out. Not because of all the things I need to do, but because of all the extra "stuff" that I know is about to flood our home. That's why this is my favorite time of year to donate my kids' gently (or sometimes never!) used clothes, toys, books, and other items so we can free up some space, support worthy charities, and get the whole family in a giving mindset.

We've gathered details on several organizations where you can donate quality used items during the holidays and beyond. Be sure to contact the charities directly to confirm what they accept and how best to drop off. 

Best Hot Chocolate Spots Around Manhattan

A cup of molten chocolaty goodness is one of the best ways to thaw out and warm up—in fact, it's one of the best things about winter and the holiday season.

We took on the heinous job of running around Manhattan taste-testing hot chocolate (don't say we've never done anything for you) and narrowed it down to nearly two dozen of our favorites. These spots are definitely worth the brief trip out into the cold, so read on for our recommendations for cafes and restaurants that have turned hot cocoa sipping into an experience not to be missed.

By the way, we've also rounded up our favorite Brooklyn hot cocoa cafes and those in Queens. Find more great eats in our NYC Restaurant Guide for Families.

Best High Tea Spots in NYC to Enjoy a Cup with Kids

Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a memorable experience, afternoon tea—sometimes called high tea in New York City—can be a fun outing with kids. It's an especially great winter outing and particularly fitting during the holidays.

Several places serve high tea in New York City, with varying degrees of appropriateness for children. From the fancy Eloise Tea at the Plaza Hotel to the less frilly Russian Tea Room, there are teas—and goodies—for children of all ages and parents of all budgets. Here's our take on some of the best spots for afternoon tea with kids in NYC.

Best Summer Festivals for NYC Kids This August

Many families flee the city in August for end-of-summer vacations, but it's actually one of my favorite months to be in NYC. With summer staples like swimming, play fountains, and Governors Island, plus hundreds of free summer activities and only-in-August favorites like Summer Streets and Arthur Ashe Kids' Day, there's plenty to do if you stick around.

So we've rounded up a dozen FREE family-friendly festivals happening throughout the Big Apple in August to help you get the most out of NYC with kids during the last month of summer.

MoMath: The NYC Museum That'll Make Kids Fall in Love with Math

Housed in a 19,000-square-foot space across from Madison Square Park in the Flatiron neighborhood of Manhattan, the Museum of Mathematics is the only cultural institution devoted to math in all of North America. At the museum's creative hands-on attractions, kids (and parents!) can see how math factors into our daily lives.

While Jersey City has the Liberty Science Center and Queens has the New York Hall of Science, there really is nothing else like MoMath in Manhattan. It gets kids genuinely excited about math—not always an easy thing to do—through hands-on, nerdy fun.

Read on for what you need to know about checking out this interactive museum, including what age is the sweet spot for a visit. Looking for more STEM fun? Check out our STEM Guide for NYC Kids, with maker spaces and coding classes.

Coding Classes and Camps for NYC Kids

In our increasingly tech-driven world, knowing how to code is an invaluable skill. But kids who code don't really look at it that way—they just think it's lots of fun to design video games, create websites, and make robots move. Take my 10-year-old: He first caught the coding bug in second grade after attending a demo led by RoboFun where he learned about the wonders of Scratch, an easy-to-use programming language specifically aimed at children ages 8 to 16. Ever since, he's continued to learn how to code at home thanks to FREE educational websites like Scratch's official site at MIT and CodeAcademy.

Even though he can work on his own, I'm a big believer in kids learning from other kids (not to mention the benefits of socializing with peers and getting him out of my hair for a few hours). So I recently researched coding classes for children in New York City to locate a program or two that would work for him. What I found were 11 high-quality classes and camps for kids who have an itch to try Scratch or another computer programming language. You can find even more tech fun for kids in our Geek Guide and more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.

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. 

NYC's Summer Streets Kick Off Saturday with a Mega Water Slide

Great news for all the intrepid New Yorkers staying put this August: Summer Streets kicks off this weekend! This beloved annual event is set to take over nearly seven miles of Manhattan streets over the next three Saturdays. As in years past, Summer Streets will be jam-packed with fun and FREE events and activities, including a brand-new attraction, Slide the City, that kids (and parents) are sure to love. We've got the scoop on this new attraction, including what to expect and how to claim a spot.

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