Woodside/Sunnyside

Drop-In Storytimes for Kids in Queens

Kids in Queens have no shortage of storytime opportunities, with popular library branches, bookstores, and playspaces all offering great choices. We've rounded up the best spots where babies, toddlers and preschoolers can enjoy listening to their favorite books in Jackson Heights, Astoria, Sunnyside, and other family-friendly Queens neighborhoods.

A number of these read-along sessions include crafts, music, puppetry, or even yoga, so it's a great way to pass the morning for parent and babe or caregiver and tot. After the stories are put away, peruse the bookshelves or nearby toys. Most are drop-in events, but we've noted if registration is required. Expect all sessions to be FREE or inexpensive. Read on for our insider's take on Queens storytimes with kids.

Harvest Fests, Pumpkin Patches, and Hayrides Right Here in NYC

If you think you need to head out to the 'burbs for an authentic fall harvest experience, we've got good news: You can pick the perfect pumpkin, go on a hayride, meet farm animals, and even get lost in a massive corn maze right here in NYC.

So if you're looking to skip the car rental, hop onto the subway instead to head out to these fall harvest festivals and pumpkin patches, all located within the five boroughs. Looking for more fall fun? Check out our NYC Fall Fun Guide for the best of the season.

10 Queens Restaurants with Backyards for Kid Friendly Outdoor Dining

Nothing beats outdoor dining in warmer months, especially with kids in tow, and in family-friendly Queens, there are plenty of spots where you can enjoy alfresco eats.

We don't mean a sidewalk table or two—we're talking an actual yard with ample seating and room for families to enjoy a meal. Outdoor dining often provides a more relaxed atmosphere, where kids can be entertained by simple pleasures like a passing butterfly or flowers on a nearby plant, and distant city noises offer cover for little ones who may forget to use their indoor voices.

We've highlighted several NYC eateries with outdoor seating options in the past, as well as exceptional spots where kids and families can eat and play. Now read on to take a closer look at restaurants in Queens with backyards for dining.

Indoor Play Spots for NYC Toddlers with Weekend Hours

Indoor play spots are essential for NYC families with young children (and limited square feet) as temperatures begin a steady decline into winter.

Unfortunately, so many of the city's indoor play spots are limited to weekday hours. That's great for caregivers Monday through Friday, but mom and dad are left out in the cold, scrambling to fill up those chilly fall, rainy spring or snowy winter weekends with their preschoolers in other ways.

Luckily, we've uncovered nearly two dozen fantastic play spaces that get it, and are keeping weekend, drop-in play hours for kids, no membership required. All include playthings sized just right for the little ones, including for babies in many instances. They are stroller-friendly and equipped with changing stations, making them no-fuss options for the toddler squad.

NYC Bowling Alleys That Welcome Kids and Families

Bowling is a perfect indoor family activity when you find yourself with some spare time (sorry—couldn't resist). At about age 5, children really start enjoying it, making it an ideal family outing. Bowling birthday parties are a hit for the school-age set and most venues offer special packages and pricing.

There are traditional bowling alleys—think leagues, snack bars, pro shops—in the outer boroughs, but Manhattan's spots err on the side of grown-ups. Don’t worry though: Kids can still find lanes—you just have to know when to go. Here are 16 places to bowl with kids all across New York City.

Play Cafes: Shops in Brooklyn and Queens with Kid Play Spaces

If you're looking for a new spot to grab your morning coffee or merely want to enjoy brunch in peace, these kid-friendly restaurants can't be beat. At these Brooklyn and Queens cafes you will find a welcoming environment, great food, and a caffeine jolt, as well as dedicated and safe play areas for your kids. Several of them are actually play spaces first, and cafes second.

So turn your meal into a play date with a friend, or just sit back and take some well-deserved breathing space. Either way, both you and your kids are sure to have a good time.

Check out our NYC Restaurant Guide for more great eateries, or our Play Spaces Guide for more romper rooms.

Best Places to Trick-or-Treat on Halloween with NYC Kids

One of my favorite childhood memories from growing up in NYC was Halloween in Greenwich Village. Back then, the Village Halloween Parade was just a couple hundred artists and others who marched through the neighborhood. Afterward, we would trick-or-treat up and down the brownstone blocks. Everyone was friendly, and we would come home with our shopping bags completely filled. It was magical.

Although the parade and Greenwich Village have changed a lot since then, your kids can still enjoy that kind of thrilling trick-or-treat experience in many New York City neighborhoods. Which neighborhood is the best for Halloween trick-or-treating depends on who you ask. New Yorkers love to bicker over the best coffee shops, the best (and worst) train lines, and yes, the best places to take their kids on Halloween. We also love to find that secret gem.

So we asked our astute readers and collected recommendations from our parent-driven NYC staff over many, many years to bring you a list of our favorite trick-or-treating spots so you'll know where to bring your kids this October 31.

Join one of the local Halloween parades and then go trick-or-treating throughout the community with local families. Or hit one of the neighborhoods or streets listed below: We have a slew of spots to try in all five boroughs. For more seasonal fun, check out our jam-packed Halloween Guide, showcasing FREE events, haunted houses, pumpkin patches, and more.

12 Mother’s Day Brunch Spots in Queens

Just as its population is diverse, so are options for Mother’s Day brunch in Queens. It’s mom's special day, and she'll want to relax with family, sip a mimosa and eat great food knowing that spills won't be met with rolling eyes. So we’ve curated this family-friendly list of brunch options in the borough, offering inventive twists on traditional favorites. Don’t worry, omelets and French toast still are represented.

Check out our suggestions for how to spend the rest of your 2017 Mother's Day in NYC, or peruse Brooklyn or Manhattan brunch options if you're thinking of hopping boroughs.

Preschool in the Park? Outdoor and Nature-Themed NYC Classes

Nature provides the perfect classroom for preschool-aged kids. Even New York's little urbanites love to jump in puddles, make mud pies, climb trees, and dig for worms. For parents looking for a classroom that draws its lessons from nature, we've rounded up the city's best preschools, "forest schools," and toddler classes in which kids spend a significant part of each day outdoors or interacting with the natural world. As classes are often held rain or shine, proper outdoor gear is a must, so get some sturdy boots and rain pants and let your kids explore!

For more preschool options, be sure to check out the directory of schools, as well as our New York City Preschool Guide with tips on what to ask during a tour and how to ease the transition for kids (and parents).

Sunnyside Plays: A New Drop-In Play Space for Queens Kids

Western Queens just gained a new indoor play space for kids with the opening of Sunnyside Plays in, of course, Sunnyside. My family was super excited to have a new indoor playground so close to our neighborhood. In fact, we were amazed when we saw our 7-month-old son start crawling there for the first time. We are already making memories.

The spacious location on 48th Avenue, which just opened this month, is close to Sunnyside Library and Lance Cpl. Thomas A. Noonan Playground. Sunnyside Plays, founded by local parents Ed Kim and Vanessa Quinn, is 1,700 square feet of open, rectangular floor space with 16-foot ceilings. LED track lighting and the studio's vibrant colors give it a refreshing artsy loft feel. Kim and Quinn have art backgrounds and use their knowledge to offer events and classes for kids and adults. 

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