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Best Holiday Shows for NYC Kids

'Tis the season to get the gang all dressed up to see some holiday shows. While there are certainly lots of spectacles to splurge on beyond 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 money. Bonus: We've got the scoop on how to save money to a few of the higher-priced offerings.

From live stage adaptations of holiday classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas and Elf to tot-friendly puppet shows to offbeat, eye-popping circus and dance, here are our top 16 holiday shows for NYC families.

School Closed? These NYC Camps Host Kids on Veterans Day and Other Holidays

Kids love days off from school like Election Day and Veterans Day (Tuesday, November 3 and Wednesday, November 11, respectively). Working parents? Not so much. While there are many wonderful mini-camps to choose from during extended school breaks, it's harder to find coverage for one-off holidays that pop up throughout the academic year.

But we did the research and found a slew of engaging, full-day, drop-off programs on these holidays where kids can enjoy activities like swimming, theater, robotics and chess. So there's no need to take the day off from work or schlep the kids to the office! Send your children to one of these cool holiday camps instead.

Best Fall Theater Shows for NYC Kids

Autumn marks the start of a new theater season, but you don't need to shell out big bucks on Broadway shows to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC. This fall, preschoolers will go gaga for engaging, page-to-stage adaptations of some of their favorite picture books like Goodnight Moon, The Velveteen Rabbit and Click, Clack, Moo, while school-age children can catch a show about the American Revolution, an avant-garde lineup of shorts and kid-friendly Shakespeare. There are even a pair of productions specifically created for children on the autism spectrum. Best of all, 10 of our picks are $20 or less per ticket.

Two Free NYC Preschool Fairs Help Parents Learn About Their Options

It seems like it's never too early to start thinking about school in NYC, but for parents of toddlers, September means the start of the anxiety-provoking preschool admissions process. To help humanize and demystify the experience, Mommy Poppins is sponsoring two Preschool and Early Education Fairs for NYC families this month.

These FREE events offer one-stop shopping where parents can get the scoop on dozens of preschools, alternative programs and other enrichment options in a casual, stress-free environment. All you need to do is register for the Uptown or Downtown Fair and show up!

Must-See Outdoor Art: 9 Exhibits Kids Will Love

Those seeking alfresco art have plenty of options to choose from this summer as a slew of brand-new, kid-friendly displays just debuted in New York City.

So skip the indoors, and make the city's parks and streets your summer museum while you check out these nine public works of art, including a giant Hello Kitty and a cheerful canopy of colorful umbrellas. Our list includes uptown and downtown spots, Times Square, Brooklyn, Governors Island and the Bronx.

Find even more outdoor public art in New York in our earlier list of spring debuts.

News: MoMath's New Competition, Free Coding for Teens, Parks Update

As summer kicks into high gear, parks all over NYC are undergoing (or finishing up) major rehab projects—and we've got the details for you here. Other news this week includes an upcoming FREE coding event for tweens and teens, MoMath's songwriting competition and news about test-making company, Pearson, that will affect next year's state standardized tests. Read on for this week's news highlights and be sure to sign up for our free newsletters, if you haven't already, to stay up to date on the latest NYC news, reviews and more. 

Art Portfolio Prep for NYC Kids: Preparing to Apply to Specialized Art High Schools

When my oldest son was 8, he said his ambition in life was to sell his art on the street. So it's no surprise that at age 13 he's set his sights on getting into Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.

Like other specialized art high schools, including the High School of Fashion Industries, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, and the High School of Art & Design, LaGuardia requires applicants to submit portfolios of their work. While talent is key, taking a professional portfolio preparation class can really give applicants a leg up on the competition. We've rounded up New York City programs that help tweens and young teens prepare their artwork to apply to these popular high schools.

Film Classes for NYC Kids

These days, kids can make movies using their cell phones. One look at YouTube is proof enough, but my older son's really into cinema and has sent me searching for film classes.

I'm well aware he may not turn out to be the next Scorsese, but he can learn lots of interesting skills in these programs. Many of them go way beyond the camera; he'll also get to try his hand at auditioning, storyboarding, editing and maybe even animation depending on which class he takes.

If nothing else, once he finishes, he can help me go through that hard drive of family footage I've amassed. Here are seven places that offer kids' film classes. Ready ... Set ... Action!

5 NYC Mixed-Age Music and Art Classes for Toddlers, Babies

As mom to an infant and a toddler, I know that handling two young children is a serious juggling act—whether I'm simultaneously changing two diapers (not impossible!), nursing the baby while helping my 2-year-old eat her lunch, or chasing after my toddler on the playground while pushing the sleeping baby in the stroller.

Of all the mom-of-two-tots struggles, one of the hardest for me was keeping my toddler active when the new baby came. I began searching for classes that would excite and stimulate my toddler without overwhelming my infant. I also wanted an activity in which my baby could look around and see other little ones like herself, and maybe even make a friend or two. Thankfully, I was able to find a selection of mixed-age classes where I could comfortably and happily bring both kids. Check out these five great picks around NYC.

Design, STEM and Theater: 6 More New Summer Day Camps for NYC Kids

Although we published a post about the best new camps set to debut in NYC this summer a few months back, we have since found a half-dozen additional camps worthy of highlighting. There are two new high-tech STEM options, camps for budding artists and actors, a program for young entrepreneurs, plus a popular writing program has expanded its offerings.

If you are still in summer camp planning mode like I am, be sure to check out our jam-packed Camp Guide for info on lots of other summer programs in NYC, as well as sleepaway options. We even have a Camp Directory, which allows you to search for programs by interest, age and area. Keep in mind: Many camps offer discounts if you sign up for multiple weeks, so check the official websites for more info.

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