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Best Spring Events for NYC Preschoolers and Toddlers

Spring may be the most exciting season of the year for parents and caregivers of preschoolers and toddlers who have been stuck inside for the 5,000 weeks that make up winter. With the arrival of warm weather, it's like New York City itself wakes up from hibernating, and families stream out of their houses to take advantage of all the city has to offer in springtime.

There are so many wonderful things to see and do during April and May, and we've rounded up the best ones specifically for kids ages 5 and under. What's not included? The piles of Easter celebrations, Mother's Day extravaganzas, and Passover observances. Too.Much.Information. (But don't worry, we're covering all the spring holidays in depth in coming weeks.). Without further ado, here's the best of the rest!

19 Best Family Hotels in New York City With Perks for Kids

As a born and bred New Yorker who is raising children here myself, my out-of-town friends always ask my advice when planning their NYC family vacation. They want to know everything: the best things to do, places to eat, museums to explore and, perhaps most important, where to stay.

New York City is, of course, loaded with hotels, many of which are kid-friendly. And while it's nice to have options, there are so many it can feel overwhelming. That's why we've compiled this list of 19 NYC hotels for families based on a combination of personal experience, trusted recommendations from friends, and great reputations. These hotels offer kid-friendly amenities such as pools, free strollers, and even bunk beds. A number of our choices are located right next to top kid attractions; some are more budget-friendly and others a splurge.

Our picks aren't all in Midtown Manhattan. We included places to stay with kids in Lower Manhattan, the Upper West Side, and Upper East Side, and even hotels that are in hot neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens.

Up with the Sun? 21 Early Morning Spots to Entertain NYC Toddlers

New York is "the city that never sleeps," especially for parents of young children. Kids can spend countless hours at parks and playgrounds, museums, play spaces, and more. But if you have an early riser, it's not always easy to find an age-appropriate play spot.

Toddlers and babies are often ready to start their day before sunrise, so we've put together a list of awesome places to go and things to see around NYC in the wee hours with your youngest New Yorkers.  

9 Top Sports Camps for NYC Kids

Got a tot who loves to tumble? A teen who dreams of being a basketball hall-of-famer? Or maybe your high-energy kid just never stops moving?

Not only can New York City kids choose from a number of day camps that have their athleticism in mind—offering karate, tennis, soccer, beach volleyball, parkour, gymnastics, horseback riding, and so much more—but the facilities are mind-blowing. You'll find rock climbing walls and driving ranges, indoor ice rinks and outdoor ball fields, 50-meter Olympic size pools and state-of-the-art sports complexes. Oh, and it doesn't stop with athletics at these summer programs. When campers aren't flexing their muscles, they can participate in activities like cooking classes, science experiments, drum circles, magic shows, and regular field trips.

17 Popular Preschool Summer Camps in NYC

Finding a cool and enriching summer camp that's right for your kid always takes a bit of work. Finding one that's a good fit for your first-time, preschool-age camper can be downright nerve-racking. You want their initial camp experience to be fun, safe, and memorable, but not over-stimulating or overwhelming. With so many high-quality camps for NYC preschoolers, it's hard to figure out which one to choose.

That's why we turned to the experts: our friends at the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey. They've selected a handful of awesome New York City programs that offer preschoolers a well-rounded summer experience filled with games, arts, sports, socializing, and plenty of outdoor time, and we've added more options to it. Best of all, many of these camps grow with your child, taking kids in elementary school and beyond.

Keep in mind, every camp has its own philosophy and program so check out the website, call the director, and, if possible, attend an open house to get all the information you need. Check out our Summer Camp Guide Directory for more ideas, or these Brooklyn and Queens preschooler camps for more outer borough options.

St. Patrick's Day Events and Free Parades for NYC Kids

If your days of celebrating until you're green around the gills on St. Patrick's Day are a distant memory, don’t worry: There are plenty of kid-friendly ways to mark the holiday in New York City this March. After all, everyone in the city feels a wee bit Irish around St. Patrick’s Day. Best of all? Most of these festivities are FREE.

This year, St. Patrick's Day—Sunday, March 17, 2019—is a Sunday, but you can get started a day early with the Midtown Manhattan parade. The festivities continue with additional popular parades in Rockaway and Sunnyside, Queens, as well as Staten Island. In addition to St. Patrick's Day processions in all five boroughs, there are family fests, stepdancing performances (and places to learn), Gaelic workshops, and kids flicks.

Here are our favorite ways to celebrate Irish culture and St. Patrick’s Day with kids in New York City. Sláinte!

Harry Potter-Themed Cafe Opens in East Village

Potterheads take note: A new coffee shop has opened in the East Village serving steamy brews and magical potions, along with a side of Harry Potter-themed fun. At Steamy Hallows, you can fill the void of the recently departed History of Magic exhibition with a Butterbeer, or even treat your sweetheart to a "Love Potion No. 9 3/4." Read on for a peek inside the new spot and details about the magic-inspired menu. Accio, hot cocoa!

Great Art Camps for NYC Kids: Paint, Sculpt, Sing, Perform

There's really no place like New York City for kids to learn about art. There are many professional artists who moonlight as a talented pool of teachers. The demand for art programs has created an amazing wealth of exceptional art classes and camps. After evaluating a myriad of creative arts camps, we have selected 11 exceptional camps which excel for different reasons.

We found visual arts camps, dance and theater camps, music camps, and even creative writing camps. There are also camps that have programs in cool stuff like circus arts and art camps that allow kids to sample a little of everything. We found programs that run all summer as well as week-long intensives. No matter their age, if your child is ready to dive into a summer of artistic expression, read on to find the perfect camp.

If you need more ideas, check out our Camp Guide and full Directory of Listings for dozens more great camp.

8 Museums With Special Needs Programs for NYC Kids

Parents of special needs kids take note: Many cultural institutions are raising the bar when it comes to accessibility. While a crowded museum can be overwhelming or inaccessible for special needs kids, some of our favorite kid-centric museums go the extra mile, modifying their educational offerings to accommodate kids of all abilities.

Take, for instance, the Children's Museum of the Arts, where weekends go way beyond the fantastic dot paintings and clay bar sculptures. Here, a trio of programs caters to special-needs visitors with inventive programming meant to meet kids where they are, and encourage artistic exploration for all.

Read on to learn more about the programs at CMA and seven other city museums. While the increased access is priceless, most of the programs are FREE for kids and their families, though some programs may require advance registration. Be sure to click through to the websites for more details.

Play Retro Video Games at These Family Arcades

Does it bother you that your kids don't know all four of the ghosts in Pac-Man (say it with me: Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde), or all the characters in Mortal Combat, or what the game Asteroids even is? We're here for you. We've found a handful of old-fashioned family-friendly arcades around NYC, some straddling the line between retro and cutting-edge video games.

Of course, you can also find arcade games at Chuck E. Cheese's and Dave & Buster's. Check out our roundup of more birthday-oriented video game spots with laser tag and cheesy pizza for more of these game fun zones. You can also find small arcades at many of the city's bowling alleys.

But consider one of the retro spots below if you're in the market for some parental nostalgia and old-school family fun.

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