Astoria

Let's Play Playhouse Reopens in Astoria After Full Makeover

One of Astoria’s favorite kids' drop-in play spots just got a serious makeover—and we're smitten. Once known as Kids Playhouse, the new romping spot is now Let's Play Playhouse. While you'll still find that iconic double slide and two-story jungle gym, there are several welcome changes, including the addition of classes for babies and toddlers, new flooring, and rotating educational themes that hew to the motto: Learning through play.

After several visits, my 4-year-old and I quickly declared it our new rainy day hangout

Queens has always boasted a number of great indoor play spaces for kids, but it seems it's trying to give Brooklyn kiddie gyms some competition lately as there's been a flurry of new openings, including Good Day Play Cafe in Bayside, Sunnyside Plays, Shastye Art and Play Space in Astoria, and a new sensory gym for children with disabilities. Read on for our review of Let's Play.

7 Free Outdoor Art Exhibits to See with NYC Kids Now

Want to see some art with your kids, but can’t handle the hordes of summer tourists? (Guilty!) Believe that museums make more sense during the frigid winter months? (Also guilty.) Just not able to make your work hours or the kids' naps coordinate with FREE hours at NYC museums? (Hand raised.)

Here’s the solution: check out these seven outdoor art exhibits on display in NYC now. Since they’re located in city parks and other public spaces, they’re FREE! All have art that is interactive (to some degree), educational, and fun for kids. At one exhibit—Swale, a traveling barge with a “floating food forest”—you can even feed your kids healthy food they pick themselves. What could be better? Maybe the fact that you're outside and your children can run around afterward and get tuckered out? (Guilty again.)

5 Things to Do on Mother's Day in NYC that Mom Will Love

Sure, a tasty Mother's Day brunch is nice, but just that word, nice. C'mon mom, you know you're more fabulous than that.

This year, Sunday, May 8 is all about you, so no simple meal, not even breakfast in bed will do. Mother's Day should be a whole-day affair that's fun for everyone in the family, especially in NYC, where options are as amazing as mom herself. You could book tickets to a kid-friendly Broadway musical—in addition to stalwarts Wicked and The Lion King, there are new tuners like School of Rock and Tuck Everlasting for which tickets are more available. If the tots are too young for Broadway, there are plenty of shows for preschoolers that are shorter and less expensive. Into museums? There are engaging new exhibits about dinosaurs, kid-lit icon Mo Willems and Star Wars sure to please all ages. Or you could splurge on a special experience such as a helicopter ride or a family spa day.

But if your ideal Mother's Day features an outdoor activity that makes the most of the spring season, we've come up with five memorable itineraries that include food and alfresco family fun that won't blow your budget.

10 Postnatal Workout Classes for NYC Moms

Getting back into shape after having a baby can be daunting. But we know exercise gives us more energy, encourages a positive body image, and just seems to make us feel better. Don't know where to start? A postnatal exercise class geared toward new moms is a great way to get motivated, meet other new moms, and learn what exercises will help you look like your old self (or better).

We've rounded up 10 postnatal exercise classes in New York City that address the needs of your new body. Many are baby friendly and some offer free or discounted trial classes. As with any new exercise program, check with your doctor for the go-ahead.

Check our NYC Baby Guide from Pregnancy to Preschool for more new mom city info, or find more classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.

10 Cool New Party Places for NYC Kids

If you're looking for a new celebratory experience, we've found 10 fresh party packages at venues new and old, all of which are sure to be a hit at your child's next birthday (or heck, even their un-birthday.) With party packages this cool, its a shame to celebrate but once a year. You'll be able to please even the pickiest tween with unique fetes like zombie laser tag and jewelry making with semi-precious stones. Find more awesome kids' birthday ideas in our jam-packed Party Guide.

Meet Snoopy and Celebrate the Peanuts Movie All Over NYC

Good grief! The Peanuts Movie, the first-ever 3D feature film based on Charles M. Schulz's beloved cartoon characters, hits theaters next month and to celebrate, the studio is sponsoring Snoopy-themed kid activities throughout NYC starting this Saturday, October 24. Whether your children are already fans from watching those classic holiday TV specials like It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas or are just now learning how awesome Charlie, Linus, Lucy and the rest of the gang are, they're sure to have a blast at these FREE Snoopy sightings, cartooning lessons and other Peanuts-centric events in Manhattan and the outer boroughs.

News: BAM Expands, Prospect Park Renovates and Playground Upgrades in Queens

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is set to embark on a $25 million expansion that will add another building with gallery spaces and a cafe, as well as upgrades like new balcony seating in the Harvey Theater. The former president of the Fort Greene cultural institution and performing arts center told The New York Times the plan is "the last piece of the BAM campus." Construction could begin as soon as this summer, with financing coming from a combination of public and private sources, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In other Brooklyn news, renovations at Prospect Park continue in anticipation of its 150th anniversary in 2016. Six projects are underway by the Prospect Park Alliance, which manages the park, including a restoration of the rose garden and several footpaths such as the one that leads from the zoo to the Zucker Natural Exploration Area (aka, kid play zone), according to DNAinfo.  

10 New NYC Destinations to Check Out with Kids This Summer

New York City is brimming with things to see and explore with kids, from world-class museums to the great outdoors. No wonder our town is called the city that never sleeps! And yet sometimes you fall into a rut, visiting the same old favorites over and over, never leaving your comfort zone.

Well, it's time to break that habit. We've rounded up 10 new-to-NYC destinations that are worth putting on your family's summer fun bucket list. Get ready to trade the familiar for the fresh!

Queens Dance Classes for Kids: Ballet, Tap, Hip-Hop

Hey Queens parents: Do you have a kid who's pleading for dance lessons but you dread the thought of schlepping to Manhattan or Brooklyn? That was my worry when my preschooler started begging for ballet. But after doing a little research and talking to many of my fellow Queens moms, I was happy to discover that I don't need to leave the borough to find quality dance studios for children. Bonus: Dance classes in Queens tend to be significantly less expensive than their Manhattan and even Brooklyn counterparts, and many offer scholarships or sliding-scale tuition for those who qualify.

Some Queens dance studios are local favorites that have been serving their communities for years, like Landrum in Whitestone and Heavenly Bodies Dance Studio in Ozone Park. Others, like Astoria's Sol Dance Center, are part of the wave of new kid-friendly businesses opening up throughout the borough. And if you have a dance-loving boy, don't worry: Most of these programs offer classes for boys, including ballet and hip-hop.

Here are 12 Queens dance studios offering classes for kids and teens who are serious about ballet, tap, modern and other dance styles. You can find other enriching programs in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.

9 Yoga Studios in NYC with Parent-Child Classes

Mommy & Me yoga classes are a weekly date for my son and me. We have been going since he was about two years old and now, more than a year later, we are having as much fun as ever.

I have found that yoga is a great way to bond with your child while also getting a workout. When my son first started taking these classes, he loved being able to show off his downward dog or butterfly pose. Since then, he has gained great strength and flexibility, and even knows how take a deep breath as a means to calm himself—a technique we have used to stave off many a temper tantrum.

If you and your tot are looking to get your om on, here are our picks for Mommy & Me yoga programs in NYC.

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