Queens

Free Outdoor Movies For Kids

New York City has gone nuts for outdoor movies in recent years and with good reason, there's something magical about lying back on a picnic blanket and watching your favorite movie with hundreds of other New Yorkers.

Outdoor films are also the best way for grown ups to go see kid movies because you can just enjoy being out on a nice summer evening even if you aren't that into the movie. And, depending on your kids, it can be a great way to get out to see a grown up movie without spending the college savings on a sitter, as many kids will enjoy the classic films frequently shown or will just enjoy being out at night enough to sit (or sleep) through it.  Films begin at dusk which is generally at around 8:30 and many of these series include other entertainment.

Here's a rundown of the best free outdoor movies for kids in NYC this summer:

The Best Grown-Up Outdoor Music Festivals for Families

The great thing about New York City's outdoor festivals is that everyone can enjoy them. If it's kids music, at least the grown ups can enjoy being outdoors on a lovely day or evening, relaxing. And, generally kids will put up with an outdoor concert or performance if they can run around, dance, play and picnic while you enjoy a little grown up entertainment for once.

The following (mostly) free outdoor festivals are not specifically children's festivals, but they, for the most part, each have at least one kids performance and otherwise offer great performances in great outdoor environments around NYC, making a fun day or evening out with the kids either way.

Memorial Day Weekend Activites and Events for Kids

[THIS POST IS FROM 2008. PLEASE SEE OUR 2009 EVENT PICKS FOR MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND.]

I can't believe it's Memorial Day Weekend already...and I'm cold! But here it is and it's bringing the good weather with it. Memorial Day Weekend marks the openings of the city beaches and swimming pools. Also Victorian Garden's Manhattan's own amusement park. And this week is Fleet Week. Get ready for summer with our lists of top family beaches, swimming pools and amusement parks. Whether you are staying in the city or heading for the hills it looks like this Memorial Day Weekend really will be a great kick-off into the summer season.

The big fireworks display Thursday night was just the beginning of the celebrations for the 125th Anniversary of Brooklyn Bridge. This weekend is filled with fun family events starting tonight, plus a bunch of other interesting cultural events. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

 

A Week of New York City Earth Day Activities 2008

eco-camp.jpgEarth Day and NYC Public School Spring Break are in alignment this year. Coincidence? ...Yeah, probably. (shrug). So, school's out but the fun, hands-on learning is just beginning. You don't have to go to a fancy resort to have an eco-vacation. With the Mommy Poppins Do-It-Yourself Spring Break Eco Camp kids can learn, do, make and play their way to a greener, smarter world right here in New York City.

We've organized a week jam -packed with the best of Earth Week's eco-friendly fun for NYC kids of all ages. It's almost completely free, will keep you busy all week, and registration is super-easy (just ask yourself if you still have spots available!)

Saturday, April 19
South Bronx EarthFest Celebration in St. Mary??™s Park.
A recycled materials fashion show, free boat rides in the Bronx River and electronics recycling are some of the highlights among the more than 30 activities booths at the South Bronx EarthFest Celebration in St. Mary??™s Park.
Saturday, Apr 19, 2008 from 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
St. Mary??™s Park , St. Ann??™s between 146th and 148th Streets
FREE
South Bronx Earth Fest is a family celebration of the environment and of the South Bronx community. Enjoy food and entertainment, including: a "Music Gets Me Green" song contest, a recycled-materials fashion show, a musical performance by the Oscar-nominated Impact Repertory Theater, free boat rides on the Bronx River, a student dance performance, and a keynote presentation by Majora Carter of Sustainable South Bronx. Bring your old cell phones, computers, printers, fax machines, TVs, VCRs and stereos to be recycled. Donate gently used clothing for reuse. Bronx Green-Up will be among the more than 30 activities booths, which also include Bronx Community Solutions, CENYC, Butterfly Project, Solar Oven, and South Bronx Job Corps Academy.
Free admission

Habana Outpost, Fort Greene's new eco-eatery, is hosting a very cool Earth Day Expo 2008. Two Days of free workshops and events including beekeeping, recycling within your environment, composting, recycled art show and umbrella recycling. I like this event because the activities make you think differently about greening your life rather than the same old topics we hear over and over again.
Saturday, April 19th & Sunday April 20th 2008.
757 Fulton Street (corner of South Portland) Brooklyn
Kid??™s Corner-Saturday& Sunday 12-6
Check the website for the full schedule.
FREE

Go Green Go Greenpoint
Saturday, Apr 19, 2008
11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
McCarren Park, behind the Field House, Lorimer Street between Bedford and Driggs Avenues
FREE
Educational programs, recycling stations, a scavenger hunt, tree planting, live music and more.

Earth Day Weekend at the Queens Zoo
Sat 19, Sun 20 11am??“4pm.
Queens Zoo, Flushing Meadows??“Corona Park, Queens.
Free with zoo admission.
Kids learn how to sort recyclables, plant seeds, design their own reusable tote, and learn about environmental projects or activities going on in your Queens neighborhood and discover ways to participate.

Sunday April 20
Ninth Annual Gowanus Canal Flotilla
Sunday April 20 11am??“3pm.
Gowanus Canal, between Second Ave and Bond St, Brooklyn
FREE
Go on an eco-cruise. Take a ride in a 21 person indian shipping canoe and pick floating trash out of the Gowanus Canal.

Join us for a fun-filled of environmental education through recreation. Paddle along this annual flotilla on the historic and notorious little estuarine waterway that flows in the heart of Brooklyn. Armed with landing nets, garbage bags, our fleet of skiffs, including our unique 32ft canoe (accommodates 21 paddlers at at a time). The Urban Divers Environmental Educators guide eco-volunteers on an eco-cruise and help pick-up floatable debris along the water and on shore...Everyone is also welcomed to bring their own kayaks or canoes or GET ON BOARD OUR FLEET OF VESSELS, including our unique GIANT 32ft INDIAN SHIPPING CANOE- vessel accommodates 21 paddlers at time. To register to volunteer call The Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy at 718-802-9874, or 347-224-5828.

Earth Day Celebration in Central Park
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Rumsey Playfield, Central Park
FREE
Activities for all ages begin at 12:00 pm, including recycled musical instrument-making, tree tours, make and take home your own mini vegetable garden and more. Get the full schedule online.

Monday, Apr 21, 2008
NATUREMANIA
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Sherman Creek Campus (3725 10th Avenue)
SHERMAN CREEK PARK, Manhattan
FREE
Spring Break is marked by being outdoors and having fun. This year for Spring Break, come learn how to build a boat, grow plants and vegetables, plant and identify trees, explore habits and fish, and more. Also join in arts and crafts projects, story time, group games, and service projects during the spring break camp at Sherman Creek Park.

Tuesday, April 22

Earth Week at Still Hip
283 Grand Avenue Brooklyn
Cool Brooklyn resale shop, Still Hip makes it easy to be green during Earth Week. Drop your old clothes off for recycling and let the kids practice tree poses.
10-5 pm: Clothing Recycling | FREE
12 pm: Baby Wearing & Cloth Diapering Workshop | FREE*
2:30 pm: Yogi Babies Save the Trees | FREE*
3:30 pm: Tree Pose Kids Yoga FUNdraiser | FREE*

Wednesday, April 23
Earth Week at the Bronx Zoo
April 21-27
Bronx Zoo
Free with Admission
Party for the Planet at the Bronx Zoo. Visit the Human Footprint exhibit to learn the impact people are making on the Earth, see recycled animal sculptures, hear stories, make crafts and more all week. See the full schedule.

Thursday, April 24
Earth Week at the Audubon Center
April 21 ??“ 27, 12 ??“ 5 p.m. every day
Prospect Park Audubon Center
FREE
Celebrate Earth Week at the Prospect Park Audubon Center! This year??™s Earth Week will have a different theme each day, with programming for environmentalists of all ages. Learn how to do your part through lectures, tours, activities, film screenings, workshops, recyclable crafts, and a daily exhibit. Check www.prospectpark.org for a full list of what??™s going on.
Friday April 25
Still Hip
283 Grand Avenue Brooklyn
Private Picassos is offering FREE Recycled Art Workshops for kids age 2-7 at Still Hip on Friday, April 25th.
Pre-registration is requested. Email info@privatepicassos.com to reserve your spot today.
Workshops include:
Junk Printmaking Workshop
Young artists age 2-4 will use recycled materials for a relief printmaking activity. Feel free to bring any toilet paper or paper towel rolls,old dry sponges, wine corks, slightly used cardboard cup protectors and corrugated cardboard scraps. 10:00-10:45am

Recycled Robots Workshop
Young artists age 5-7 will use recycled materials to create their own robots. Feel free to bring old cereal boxes, small cardboard boxes, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, corrugated cardboard, etc. 11:00-11:45am

Saturday, April 26
Go Green Expo
Saturday, April 26th from 10 a.m. ??“ 6 p.m. and Sunday, April 27th from 10 a.m. ??“ 3 p.m.
Learn about eco-friendly alternatives available today. More than 200 booths showcasing organic food and wine, home and office products, health and beauty supplies, energy alternatives, and the latest cars and transportation. Find out more at GoGreenExpo.com
Sunday April 27
Gardening Day at the Queens Botanic Garden
Sun 27 noon??“5pm.
$5 Donation
Queens Botanical Garden, Flushing, Queens.
Learn about and celebrate the honey bee with puppet shows, storytelling, and clowns!

Stay tuned for next week when our Earth Week posts really HEAT up. An don't miss our GREAT GREEN GIVEAWAY.

Get Ready for Summer with Free Swimming Events


Summer is just around the corner and summer means swimming. In preparation of summer and swimming season get your feet wet at these free swimming events.

The Big Swim
April 12, 2008
The Big Swim is a one-of-a-kind open swim meet where 1,000 New York City children ages 6-16 participate in a free day of competitive swim races. Each child experiences the excitement of a real race with starting blocks, officials, and a timed finish. Races are all supervised by lifeguards and swimming Asphalt Green aquatics staff. This event has been recommended to me by other parents who said that your child does not need to be an very strong swimmer to have a great time. The environment is not competitive and each child goes home a winner with a medal, a photo with Olympians, a t-shirt, and a goody bag.

The Big Swim takes place on April 12, 2008, but registration forms must be received by March 30th. For more information on the meet, call 800.NYC.SWIM (800.692.7946) or go to the website to register online.

Asphalt Green's The Big Swim
555 East 90th Street
New York, NY 10128

YMCA Splash Week
April 21-25, 2008
The YMCA of Greater New York is hosting a week of free swimming lesson during their Splash Week to promote water safety for kids and families. During Splash Week local YMCA branches will be offering free half-hour swimming lessons to anyone aged 3 and up. Yes, there will even be free adult swimming classes as well as lifeguarding classes for anyone who's dreaming of getting a job as a lifeguard this summer. You won't find any information about Splash Week online. You must visit or call your local YMCA branch to find out the schedule of classes, but if you don't know where the nearest YMCA branch is you can find it at the YMCA website. Participating branches can be found in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island.

If you're looking for swimming classes for read our swimming classes post. It includes mommy and me swimming classes and classes for older children as well.

MagicCarpet Day Camp

Boys and girls ages 4-14.

Journey with Magic Carpet and experience an exciting adventure each day with swimming, Arts & Crafts, sports, special events, and trips. This summer's "flight plan" includes stops at Adventureland, Fun Fuzion, Fun Zone, Chuck E. Cheese's, a Cyclone baseball game, a New York Liberty basketball event, Strikes, a farm, the movies, bowling lanes, a billiards hall and a skating rink. Weekly events include a carnival, costume party, talent show, an onsite TV game show, a puppet show, a live animal show, Olympics, and other contests.

The camp is located in a quiet Bayside community and is housed in a beautiful, air-conditioned facility complete with a gymnasium, lunchroom, stage, auditorium and outdoor areas. Daily swimming and instruction are given in two, private, outdoor pools. Door-to-door transportation, lunch and snack, a T-shirt and tote bag are provided. Campers are supervised by a professional staff of administrators, teachers and counselors.

In session from the end of June to the end of August, 9am to 4pm. Extended hours are available from 7:30 to 9am and 4 to 6pm at an extra fee. Two through eight week sessions are available. Come to an open house. Have your child fly the "Magic Carpet" to a fun-filled summer adventure.

Magic Carpet Day Camp Beautiful, Air-Conditioned Bayside Location Call for more information and Open House Dates (718) 634-8109 www.magiccarpetdaycamp.com

 

And for more great camp ideas, check out our Summer Camp Guide

 

West Side Tennis Summer Day Camp

The West Side Tennis Club, former home of the U.S. Open for 60 years, is a world-class facility with 39 courts. Your children can play on all four surfaces: Har-Tru, Deco-Turf, red clay and grass. Year-round, juniors are offered inter-Club team competition. They enjoy an extremely favorable player to pro ratio; we strive to have 4-6 players per court. The Junior Tennis Camp is personally directed by Director of Tennis, Bob Ingersole,and Junior Program Director, Thomas Gilliland and is staffed by USPTA and PTR tennis professionals. Bob Ingersole is a former world-ranked player who has coached hundreds of sectionally and nationally ranked juniors. He was selected to participate in the first USTA Elite Coaches program and has completed both levels of USTA Science Competency tests.

For more information: West Side Tennis Club website

And for more great camp ideas, check out our Summer Camp Guide!

Lester's Summer Camp Store

Lester's offers the latest trends and fashion brands in clothing, shoes and accessories from layette to older teen and those in between. Your shopping experience is made easy with a sales staff that delights in helping our customers find just what they're looking for .

Lester's stores are located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Greenvale, Huntington, and Deal, NJ.

Please call for an appointment with a camp counselor at the Lester's nearest you.

Manhattan-1534 Second Aveue/80St. 212 734-9292 Brooklyn - 1102-1120 Avenue U-718 645 4501 Greenvale, LI - 90 Northern Blvd- 516 626-1161 Huntington,LI - 350 Rte. 110 (next to Barnes & Noble) 631 299-2222

 

For more great camp ideas, check out our Summer Camp Guide!

Celebrate The Romance of Childhood

In between the fish sticks and temper tantrums we sometimes forget about the romance of childhood. Their joy and fascination with incredibly simple things (like my daughter's recent discovery of scotch tape) or those moments when they are so incredibly empathatic that your can feel your heart breaking. Take some time out this Valentines Day to celebrate the beautiful small moments of being a child by introducing your kids to some classics:

The Red Balloon

At just 34 minutes and with almost no dialogue, this is the perfect first movie for any kid while also being a pure joy for adults and what could be more romantic than watching a red balloon waft down the streets of Paris in 1956? The screening at the Alliance Francaise will be followed by an hour of activities and games inspired by The Red Balloon, led by Le Club Th?©??tre, Saturday Feb. 9, tickets for Non-Members $10 / Children under 12 $5. Visit the site for more information.

Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity
Though always crowded and somewhat overpriced, there was nothing I loved more as a kid than going to Serendipity and getting their frozen hot chocolate. The enormous cup is filled with deliciousness and the whole place is a kid wonderland. The wait can be ridiculously long so I suggest making reservations. And, while you are in the neighborhood, take a ride on the Roosevelt Island tram which is a cheap thrill for any kid. For the price of a subway in each direction you get a surprisingly intense ride that lasts 4 minutes!

Surf the Beach
This one is for the adventurers but if you dare, a great way to spend a winter day is to bundle up and head to the beach. There is something really magical about being on a huge empty beach in the winter and it's an amazing place to take photographs (try taking real photographs too, you remember, the ones that require film). The shells and sand are still there and will entertain most kids for hours. With the future of Coney Island up in the air, you might want to hop on the D, N, Q or F train to catch some last glimpses of the beautiful, seedy and outrageously photogenic amusement park. And if you get chilly, you can always head over to the Aquarium which is right off the boardwalk. Or, take the A train to the Rockaways where you may even be able to catch some crazy surfers. This video is proof that they are out there in the middle of freezing February.

Barnes and Noble Storytimes

We recently wrote about the Battery Park City as a nice place to spend a day indoors., with lots of different activities amenities. Well, here's a nice addition to this little outing: there's a big, brand new Barnes & Noble bookstore just about a block away at 270 Greenwich Street (the entrance is actually on Warren).

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