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.

5 Kid-Friendly NYC Nail Salons for Organic Manicures and Pedicures

With Mother's Day upon us, I've been thinking of fun, bonding activities with the kids that also provide some pampering for mom! A relaxing afternoon at the nail salon is a great way to enjoy quality time with your kids, where you can focus on each other and chat—maybe they'll even answer a few of your questions, if you're lucky. And let's be honest, it's a treat for you as well.

However, as much as I love mani-pedi dates with my daughter, I worry about the chemicals in the polish and the odor of the salon bothering her. (I don't love it either.) Despite having the technicians use a kid-friendly polish that I bring, I always leave feeling more worried than relaxed. So you can imagine my excitement upon discovering an organic salon in my neighborhood, with a wide variety of non-toxic polishes, plus a quiet and calm atmosphere. My daughter is also a fan, especially because of the wide variety of nail polish options. She was happy to see that there was not just one pink, but "tons!" She loved the experience, our nails looked great and I felt good about being there. Bonus: she even told me how her day was!

As you might imagine, organic salons tend to charge more and take longer to do your nails than a traditional salon. If you're not up for spending the extra time or money, you can buy a few organic polishes and create your own spa day at home with the kids. But, for those special events or days when you want to treat both yourself and the children, here are five NYC salons that offer organic mani-pedis with special services and prices for kids.

Pierogies, Meatballs and Ice Cream Sandwiches: 14 Fun Specialty Savory and Sweet Spots

One-item specialty restaurants aren't anything new in NYC. This city practically invented bagel, doughnut and pizza spots. Since we first told you about the emerging culinary phenomenon back in 2010, the dining landscape has greatly changed. Some of those eateries, like The Meatball Shop, have opened additional outposts; others have sadly closed. (We do have high hopes that East Village mainstay, Pommes Frites, will eventually reopen after being shuttered by the recent gas explosion.)

That said, this super-specialty restaurant trend is here to stay, which is great news for families since most of these dining destinations offer quick service, and kid-friendly ambiance and menus. Dig in to delicious chicken fingers with a variety of unique sauces, plates of gourmet mac and cheese, sandwiches on homemade biscuits or plump pierogies. Finish off your meal with a sweet treat like an artisanal doughnut, ice cream sandwich or bowl of rice pudding.

Here is our list of 14 single-item specialty restaurants that kids will love in NYC.

Drop-Off Child Care in NYC: Go Enjoy That Date Night

Date night (or whatever you call it in your house) helps keep couples happy and reminds kids that their parents really do have lives of their own. Unfortunately, it's a pretty pricey proposition once you tally up drinks, dinner, an activity and, of course, a reliable sitter—who sometimes costs more than the meal!

Sure, every once in a while you can swap kid-watching duties with another family, and as children get older, there are sleepovers and sleepaway camps. But in the meantime, the cost of a night out scares many couples into settling for the couch, Netflix and a bottle of Chardonnay.

But date night doesn't have to be that way. Several play spots in the city offer safe, supervised drop-off evening care for kids, often for less than your average sitter. Better still: Not only do you get some adult time, your kids enjoy a night out with their peers, too.

Tribeca Film Festival for NYC Kids: Family Street Fair and Other Free Fun

One of NYC's best known spring events, the Tribeca Film Festival, is set to take over downtown from Wednesday, April 15 through Sunday, April 26, and as always there are lots of awesome FREE activities for families. The main kids' event, the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair, takes place on Saturday, April 25. While the crowds are huge, there are tons of surprises, cool experiences and great entertainment that make it a must-do.

In addition to the Family Festival Street Fair, there's Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day, plus a series of outdoor "drive-in" movies, an indoor screening of Back to the Future and other family fun—all 100% FREE.

Mother's Day Brunch in NYC 2015: Mama's Choice

Figuring out where to eat on Mother's Day always gives me heartburn. Trying to find a place that will please me, my husband, my 9-year-old and my own mother (since she lives in NYC, too) is quite a challenge.

So this year, instead of stressing out about where I'll end up on Sunday, May 10, I decided to turn to the experts: my fellow NYC moms. In addition to updating our list of fancy Mother's Day brunch spots in New York City, we asked our always knowledgeable Mommy Poppins readers to recommend their favorite restaurants for the holiday—or any day.

For even more family-friendly brunch suggestions, check out our NYC Kid-Friendly Restaurant Guide.

February School Break Camps in New York City

New York City public schools are closed Presidents Day week for midwinter break, and a lot of kids (like ours) are already counting down the days. You could take a mini-vacation, or do a day trip to a nearby ski resort, snow tubing spot or indoor water park. There's just one problem: While the kids get a break, many grown-ups still have to work.

Luckily, lots of NYC spots offer February break camps where kids can pursue all kinds of interests, from athletics to arts to academics. Some programs offer full coverage throughout the week; others are only a few hours a day in case you just want to get the kids out of the house for a bit. And while some of these camps are expensive, we've included lower-priced programs that sound like great deals. One is even free!

Green Toy Stores: Shopping for Eco Friendly and Natural Wood Toys in New York City

We recently wrote about some wonderful places to Shop for Handmade Toys and Children's Items in New York City. We wanted to complement that list with some other great suggestions for buying natural and green toys. What's the difference? While some natural toys are indeed handmade, others come from eco-certified production facilities. Most important, all differ from commercially mass-produced, run-of-the-mill wooden toys in terms of quality, origin and construction from sustainable, safe, natural, non-synthetic materials.

Best New Classes for NYC Kids Fall 2014: 13 Enriching After-school Programs

When it comes to enriching after-school programs, NYC kids are totally spoiled—and their choices seem to get more plentiful and diverse every year. Our Classes Guide is already packed with a wide variety of posts, from coding classes to cheerleading, robotics to circus arts, as well as more traditional sports and arts lessons.

This fall's crop of brand-new classes brings a bunch of fresh options for all ages to the mix, including preschool music lessons developed by kindie rock queen Laurie Berkner, a program for tween entrepreneurs, hardcore computer coding for teens and an in-depth intro to the likes of Shakespeare and Socrates. In all, we rounded up 13 notable new kids' classes that either launch this fall or recently debuted. See which ones pique the interest of your young learner.

You can find out about even more excellent programs in our Classes Guide and our Class Directory, which allows you to sort listings by age, interest and neighborhood.


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