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.  

SpongeBob the Musical Hammers Home All the Right Messages

SpongeBob SquarePants (the cartoon) might be pretty far down on your list a parent-approved media. But SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical just made it to the top of mine. Talented actors, a solid storyline, and insanely imaginative sets—and a complete lack of hokeyness—made this performance a family Broadway standout. You won't find oversized sponge or starfish costumes, but the talent seamlessly translated the characters (none of whom are human) to the stage and easily transported the audience to a quirky and much-loved Bikini Bottom.

Read our review for a sense of what to expect from this infectious performance, or check out our complete Theater Guide for NYC Kids for many more options.

Top Traditional Summer Camps (With Very Modern Offerings) for New York City Kids

New York City has always been the best place on Earth to find uh-mazing summer camps, but the options for families looking for that traditional, all around camp experience have only gotten better over the years. Between city camps with tricked-out facilities, and lots of outdoor time, and accessible-by-bus destinations just outside the city, there are plenty of places that deliver those tried-and-true camp activities and then some, combining canoeing, arts and crafts, sports, and swimming with more modern camp curriculums and amenities.

If you'd like to stay within city limits, there are day camps across the five boroughs complete with 75-foot pools and outdoor ball fields, trips to amusement parks and adventure courses, fully-equipped air-conditioned gyms, and fun-filled days at the beach or the park. Meanwhile, if your kiddo is ready to travel, you'll find completely un-plugged media-free nature day camps, lush 27-acre campuses right nearby, lakes with boating and fishing, multiple-day overnight trips to state parks, and of course, that classic sleepaway camp experience.

The One Reason Families Are Applying to BASIS Independent in Droves

There is an educational renaissance happening in New York City. In the past few years we’ve seen dozens of new schools open, adding more public, private, and charter options to the mix. Two of those new programs are part of BASIS Independent Schools, a network of five independent schools nationwide. Their two brand new campuses in New York City offer a PreK-grade 12 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and a PreK-8 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Register for Free Swimming Lessons for NYC Kids

The New York City Parks Department offers FREE aquatic programs for children under 18 all year round, as well as adults, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. Spring swimming lessons are on the horizon, and the lottery for registration opens Monday, March 12, 2018 at noon through Monday, March 19, 2018 at 11:59pm.

The spring swim lessons will take place Monday, March 26, 2018 through Thursday, June 7, 2018.

Read on for the details on where to swim for free, or check our directory of paid kid swim classes, and mommy-and-me swim lessons for babies and toddlers, including those specifically in Brooklyn and in Queens.

Spring Break Camps for NYC Kids This April Vacation

School holidays seem to pile up this time of the year. You've just gotten back into your routine following February break and it's already time to plan for spring break, which runs from Friday, March 30 through Friday, April 6 for public school kids in 2018.

Whether your kid wants to spend his or her break in the arts or honing sports skills, is obsessed with all things STEM, or all of the the above, New York City seemingly has a camp for every interest. In fact, we've rounded up more than two dozen NYC camps across the five boroughs that are open for spring break and many other school holidays.

Check out our Summer Camp Guide if you're planning for summer's much longer school break!

Easter Egg Hunts for Kids in New York City 2018

Easter Sunday is April 1 this year—no joke! It's just a hop, skip, and a jump away. One of the best ways to celebrate with kids is to attend one of NYC's treat-filled egg hunts. Most are outdoors in playgrounds and parks, zoos, and gardens, but a few are indoors at museums and other cultural spots. Many offer additional spring fun, including seasonal crafts, face painting, and live entertainment.

Remember, Easter egg hunts in NYC are extremely popular so arrive early and expect hordes. If you dislike crowds, avoid the free hunts and opt for those that carry a small fee as they usually cap the number of participants. Or get your photo op with the Easter Bunny in ahead of time at these brunches.

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—March 17, 2018—is a Saturday, which is when the big Midtown Manhattan parade takes place. However, the festivities begin with a trio of popular parades stepping off on the first weekend of this month 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!

Where Nursing Moms Can Find Private Lactation Rooms in NYC

Raising kids in New York City isn't for the faint of heart. City parents have plenty of worries to contend with that our suburban counterparts don't, from car seats in cabs to finding the right stroller for your lifestyle, and how, exactly, to navigate the subway with a baby in tow.

But one thing city mamas shouldn't have to worry about is where to feed their babies, specifically where to breastfeed or pump when you're on the go. While state law protects a mother's right to breastfeed in public, saying "a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be," not all mothers are particularly comfortable baring it all, and certainly pumping isn't easy on a city bench. When mama's not comfortable, neither is baby.

To help ease the stress of breastfeeding or pumping on-the-go, we've rounded up some private or semi-private spots for you to feed your wee one while you're out-and-about checking things off our NYC baby bucket list.

8 New NYC Bookstores and Libraries To Check Out With Kids

New York is filled great bookstores and neighborhood libraries. As parents, we know these lit havens can mean lifeline to sanity on cold and rainy days and hot and humid ones, along with giving a safe and kid-friendly place to play through all those stages they seem to whip through so quickly, from cruising toddler to inquisitive adolescent.

Sure there are the standard spots to rely upon week after week, year after year. But just in case you're tiring of the same four walls, we've rounded up the top openings and renovations of NYC libraries and bookstores around the city. Get ready for some fresh kid lit!


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