Lower East Side

7 NYC Puppet Theaters Every Kid Should Experience at Least Once

Even if your kids can't sit still for more than five minutes, chances are they'll make it through a puppet show. It's the perfect first-time theater experience: The colorful characters are captivating, the stories are usually adaptations of familiar fairy tales, the tickets are cheap (or FREE), the shows are short, and if your kids make silly faces at the stage, the puppets won't get offended.

While the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in Central Park is the best known children's puppet troupe in New York City, there are many other companies regularly mounting puppet shows for families. We've got the scoop on seven places where you can see puppets in action, including marionettes, shadow puppets, and hand puppets.

Many NYC children's theater venues, such as the New Victory Theater and Symphony Space, also offer puppet shows, so don't forget to check our Event Calendar for new shows, including the magical The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show.

The 15 Most Exciting Things Coming to NYC This Year for Kids

One constant about New York City is that it's always changing. New attractions, shows, exhibitions, and more pop up regularly—it's one reason we love living here, right? As we march into 2018, we are delighted to share some of the new exciting things opening this year in the city for kids and families. Lego Live descends on NYC, new family-friendly Broadway shows are on the horizon, plus fantastic new exhibits come to the American Museum of Natural History and the New-York Historical Society.

Brooklynites have a new kid-friendly play place and a new movie theater to look forward to, not to mention the much-anticipated opening of the New York Aquarium's expanded space and brand-new exhibit.

New or newly renovated parks and playgrounds are also slated to open this year, plus two new routes on the NYC Ferry. We've got details on all this more in our roundup of the best new openings in 2018 for kids and families in New York City.

22 Fantastic Winter Theater Shows for NYC Kids

Winter 2018 in New York City is loaded with cool theater for families, including the debut of three super buzzed-about Broadway productions: Disney's Frozen the Musical, Tina Fey's musicalization of her hit movie Mean Girls, and the two-part Harry Potter and the Cursed Child from London. 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 Broadway for a lot less.

This winter there are wonderful options for toddlers to teens, including interactive shows created specifically for the preschool set (A Book of Hours and Waves, All That Glows Sees ), stage adaptations of popular picture books such as A Sick Day for Morris McGee and Owen & Mzee the Musical, and eye-popping spectacles for the whole family (Bromance and Marvel Universe Live!).

Best of all, most of these nearly two dozen shows cost $25 or under, so you can take the whole family for less than the price of one Broadway ticket.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Day with Kids at These NYC Events

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is peaceful for New York City kids, but it sure isn't boring, with music and storytelling and volunteer activities all focused on celebrating Dr. King's life and teachings with kids. Enjoy interactive peace marches, a historic walking tour of Harlem, a FREE bash at BAM in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and various museum events.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, January 15, 2018) is also a National Day of Service, when citizens are encouraged to help out in their communities. So we've included a list of family volunteering opportunities that are wonderful ways to honor King's work. You can find even more things to do on MLK Day in our Event Calendar.

Lego Live Is Heading To NYC with a Massive Three-Day Festival

If you've recently been thinking, "Man, I wish I had 65,000 square feet of pure Lego joy," then you're in luck: Lego Live is coming to New York City next month for Presidents Day weekend. Legos fans from all around the city (and outside of it, I'm pretty sure) are expected to flock to this three-day event held in downtown Manhattan. OK, maybe your kiddos are the ones pining for limitless bricks, but if they've already conquered pop-ups, the Lego store, and various Brick Fests, then they'll want to hear more about this inaugeral event.

Learn everything you need to know before you buy your tickets and plot your game plan.

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 drinking hot cocoa 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.

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. In Brooklyn? We recently rounded up charities in the borough that accept children's items.

Hanukkah Celebrations and Menorah Lightings for NYC Families

New York City knows how to celebrate the holidays, and Hanukkah is no different. The Festival of Lights arrives early in 2017, with the first night on Tuesday, December 12. But have no fear: we've rounded up nearly two dozen ways to celebrate this wonderful Jewish holiday, and most of them are free.

Some cool new and newish events this year! There's the first-ever Menorah on the High Line, and the Chabad of DUMBO has transformed its yearly Hanukkah celebration into Fire and Ice at Jane's Carousel. We also have the annual mainstays, from the World's Largest Hanukkah Menorah Lighting, to Chanukah on Ice and Hanukkah Family Day at the Jewish Museum

Best NYC Holiday Shows for Kids: Elf, Charlie Brown, and More

'Tis the season to get the gang all dressed up to see some holiday shows. While there are plenty of spectacles to splurge on like the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and all those Nutcrackers, if you've got young children you may not want to blow all of your bucks on theater tickets.

That's why our roundup includes a range of productions, from inexpensive, low-key offerings perfect for fidgety preschoolers, to extravaganzas that are worth the investment. Bonus: We've got the scoop on how to save money on a few of the higher-priced offerings.

From live stage adaptations of holiday classics such as A Charlie Brown Christmas, Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, and the movie Elf, to tot-friendly fairy tales and Hanukkah tales, to amazing magic tricks, here are our top 14 holiday shows for NYC families.

Cry Baby Matinee: 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.

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