Film Classes for NYC Kids

These days, kids can make movies using their cell phones. One look at YouTube is proof enough, but my older son's really into cinema and has sent me searching for film classes.

I'm well aware he may not turn out to be the next Scorsese, but he can learn lots of interesting skills in these programs. Many of them go way beyond the camera; he'll also get to try his hand at auditioning, storyboarding, editing and maybe even animation depending on which class he takes.

If nothing else, once he finishes, he can help me go through that hard drive of family footage I've amassed. Here are seven places that offer kids' film classes. Ready ... Set ... Action!

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.

15 Revolutionary War Sites in NYC That Bring Our Country's History to Life for Kids

As a diehard history nerd, I've taken my nine-year-old son to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia (twice!), and we've visited Philadelphia and Boston, both cities with major Colonial cred, numerous times. But some of the most important Revolutionary War battles and key events took place right here in NYC, so, really, you can bring the birth of our nation to life in a way no textbook can just by using your MetroCard. 

See where George Washington slept during the war and the Bible he used for his inauguration; check out where the battles of Fort Washington, Harlem Heights and Brooklyn were waged; and tour Founding Father Alexander Hamilton's home all without leaving the boroughs. Plus, many of these sites host special interactive activities like living historical reenactments, battles and commemorations.

Here are 15 NYC sites where kids (and grown-ups!) can connect with the events and people who helped found our country.

Recycle Your Jack-o'-Lanterns at Pumpkin Smash Composting Events in NYC

Halloween inevitably ends with way too much candy, which is why we're big fans of donating or repurposing excess treats. But you know what else we have too much of on the holiday? Decorative pumpkins and gourds. Often they sit and rot on windowsills and stoops until they cave in, at which point parents can finally convince their kids to chuck 'em in the trash. But there's a more fun and environmentally friendly way to get rid of your jack-o'-lanterns: Recycle them at Pumpkin Smash, a series of FREE composting events being held throughout the five boroughs this Saturday, November 1.

Gifts That Give Back: NYC Retailers That Donate to Charity

Have you ever looked at a kid's birthday party haul and wondered what kind of message it sends? All those shiny new toys and clothes and books stuffed into a clear garbage bag with a ribbon on top so they can be carted home with ease. There's no way the birthday child will ever use (or even open!) all of them. No wonder a lot of families have taken to asking for charitable donations in lieu of presents.

But there's a way to give cool creative gifts while also giving back to those in need. There are several New York City children's stores as well as online retailers that donate a portion of their proceeds to various charities. So the impact of your gift continues long after the wrapping paper has been thrown away.

Resources for NYC Dads: Meet-ups, Listservs & Support Groups for Fathers

We don't want to say that dads are the new moms because that sounds like some line you'd see in the ads for that awful new Fox sitcom. But fathers certainly are everywhere you look these days, beaming at ballet class, wiping boogers at the playground, and not just on weekends, either. New York City is definitely a hands-on dad kind of town every day of the week.

But just like moms, dads need support, too, whether just to hang with their peers or something more formal. Here are some great resources for New York City fathers of all stripes.

Pediatric ERs in NYC: Best Emergency Rooms for Kids in Manhattan

'Tis the season... for children to cut themselves on broken ornaments, burn themselves on melting candles and crash their sleds into inconveniently placed trees. (What? Just my kids?) But really, any season has the potential for injury or illness. So even though it's not something we parents like to think about, it's important to know where to find an emergency room.

But when it comes to kids, not all emergency rooms are created equal. If at all possible, it's best to bring children to a pediatric ER where the staff is specifically trained to deal with the anatomical, physiological and psychological issues unique to kids.

This being New York City where we have everything, you probably won't be surprised to hear that we've got lots of pediatric ERs throughout the five boroughs. There are so many in fact, we decided to start with a list of pediatric ERs in Manhattan. You can find our follow-up list of pediatric ERs in the outer boroughs here. Obviously, when you've got a bleeding, wheezing or otherwise in distress child on your hands, you won't have time to go online, so jot the nearest one down on your emergency contact list—and then hope you'll never need to visit.

Special Needs Dance Classes for NYC Kids

A few weeks ago I wrote about special needs music classes for kids in the five boroughs. Today I'm spotlighting dance programs for children with special needs in NYC.

Just as organizations like Daniel’s Music Foundation changed my son’s life and allowed him to be able to get up on stage in front of people and sing, there are dance programs that help children with special needs do the same with dance. There are a variety of dance classes and summer camps throughout NYC for children with special needs. Here are some of our favorites:

Best NYC Kids' Concerts for Winter 2013: Rockin' Live Music Shows

Earlier this week, we shared our favorite NYC spots where kids can run around (or skate or swim or bike) indoors when it's too cold to play outside. But sometimes the best way for the entire family to get their sillies out is to jump around at a live music show. My daughter and I love discovering bands and musicians together, and we're always on the lookout for new-to-us groups to add to our ever-growing list of favorites.

There are so many cool kids' concert series in New York City—Bring Your Own Kid at 92YTribeca, Just Kidding at Symphony Space, the Tot Music Fest at Littlefield, to name a few—that you could easily see three shows every week (as my daughter would like to do)! But to give your dancing shoes (and your wallet) a break, we've rounded up our top 11 family concerts this winter. In addition to picks at all of the major series, we're also highlighting two local kindie rock faves who are playing the BAMkids Film Festival as well as a couple of totally free shows. In fact, almost all of these concerts cost less than $15 per person.

8 Spots for Young NYC Inventors: Places Where Kids Can Create Robots, Buildings and More

Children are natural inventors. They're always creating, building and tinkering, and coming up with inventive ways to solve life's problems. Take my oldest son, who after watching me scramble for his little sister's discarded sippy cup for the umpteenth time proposed that we add pop-out wings to her stroller to catch whatever she chucked.

While he never did figure out how to develop that product, he's certainly kept busy over the past few years inventing all sorts of other things at a variety of creative places. Here are eight NYC spots where your budding Benjamin Franklins can be inspired to make robots, model buildings, video games and lots of other cool stuff.


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