NYC Animal Shelters: Dog and Cat Adoption Tips in New York City

So you have finally given in to your kids' pleas and agreed to adopt a family pet. Good timing, as October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month. The ways to adopt a dog, cat, kitten or puppy in NYC are endless, from drives at your local pet supply store to sophisticated shelters like Bideawee, which matches you to your potential pet like a dating service.

Read on to learn some differences between adopting from a large organization versus a smaller independent rescue center, and why buying an animal from a pet store may not be your best option.

Two International Film Series for Kids Set to Debut in Harlem

When we wrote about our favorite things to do and places to go in Harlem, we skipped the Maysles Cinema. Even though we love this independent theater—which was founded by legendary documentary maker Albert "Grey Gardens" Maysles and shows films from around the world— it never screened movies for kids. But that's about to change.

Beginning Sunday, September 30, Maysles Cinema is debuting a pair of film clubs for kids: a drop-in one for children ages 3 to 7 and their caregivers, and a drop-off semester-long class for ages 7 to 11. For children weaned on Disney and Pixar flicks, these movies should be an eye-opening and mind-broadening experience, akin to the New York International Children's Film Festival or BAMkids Film Fest.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Latino Culture All Year Long

The problem with giving various groups a designated month—Black History Month, Women's History Month, Gay Pride Month, etc.—is that after 30 or so days the topic is unceremoniously dropped and not mentioned until the next year. Well, we're not going to fall into that trap. While National Hispanic Heritage Month officially runs from September 15 to October 15, there are lots of ways to celebrate Hispanic culture all year round in New York City. (Not surprising since, according to the most recent census report, more than 2 million people of Hispanic descent live in the Big Apple!) Here are some of our favorite places to explore and learn about Latino culture with kids in NYC during National Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond.

Cheap and Free Children's Dance Classes in New York City

With a son who is totally into ballet, it wasn't long before his little sister wanted lessons, too. While I try to be fair when it comes to extracurricular activities for my kids, enrolling in multiple classes really adds up, especially with dance, which can quickly go from once a week to twice a week to oh my God, we're living in the studio!

As a result, I'm always on the hunt for the most reasonably priced dance classes in New York City. And today, I'm sharing what I've found with all of you.

NYC Museum Design Studios: Six Hands-on Spots Where Kids Can Get Creative

Lately we've noticed a really cool culture trend: A number of New York City museums have opened up hands-on design studios where kids can play, tinker and create using a wide range of materials and their imaginations. (Sure beats just looking at art.) The Museum of Modern Art debuted its Material Lab back in 2011, and since then the New York Hall of Science, Cooper-Hewitt, the Children's Museum of Manhattan and the Museum of the Moving Image have followed suit. And of course the granddaddy of them all—the Children's Museum of the Arts, which is like one massive design studio—moved into its new state-of-the-art space last fall.

While families can drop in to CMA anytime for all kinds of creative fun, some of these other design studios are only open for specific events. We've got the scoop on when you can visit these six spots and what kinds of hands-on fun you'll find.

Celebrate Juneteenth with NYC Kids: African-American History Comes Alive on the Anniversary of Emancipation

When kids learn about the history of slavery in the United States of America, it is, of course, taught with a great deal of gravitas. But this month, New York City families can experience the jubilation of emancipation at various Juneteenth celebrations that commemorate the abolition of slavery.

A combination of the words June and nineteenth, the holiday of African-American independence dates back to June 19, 1865, when Civil War General Gordon Granger arrived in Texas to claim the state for the Union and make sure the slaves were freed. (This was two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, believe it or not.) As of 2012, 41 states including New York recognize the occasion, and families can celebrate Juneteeth at various kid-friendly festivals and gatherings this month.

Celebrate National Poetry Month with NYC Kids

April is National Poetry Month (bet you didn't know that). Even if the last time you picked up a collection of adult poems was Sylvia Plath in college, chances are you read your kids rhyming stanzas by the likes of Dr. Seuss, Margaret Wise Brown or Shel Silverstein on a more regular basis. Little ones really respond to poetry; the rhymes help them learn to read, and older kids get into rap and slam poetry.

There are lots of special kid-friendly events going on in honor of National Poetry Month, including free poetry writing workshops, poetry slams and the annual Poem in Your Pocket day. But we've also got ways your family can celebrate the art of poetry year-round in New York City.

Best Kids' Classes in Harlem: Places to Play and Learn Indoors

While Harlem has a ton of lovely outdoor parks and playgrounds, there are no drop-in indoor play spaces like many other Manhattan neighborhoods (unless you count Chuck E. Cheese's).

Happily, Harlem does have lots of wonderful places that offer cool kids' classes. Whether your children are looking to swim, dance, make art or just run around like maniacs, here are the top spots for children's classes in Harlem.

Best Family-Friendly Restaurants in Harlem

Over the past few years, Harlem has become a real foodie destination, with celebrity restauranteurs like Cedric Lecendre and Marcus Samuelsson opening up much buzzed about eateries. And even though Cedric Bistro and Red Rooster are better for date night than brunch with the kids, many Harlem restaurants do cater to families.

So we continue our month-long focus on Harlem with a roundup of the best kid-friendly restaurants in Harlem, all endorsed by local families. From old-school standards like soul food stalwarts Sylvia's and Miss Maude's to popular newbies like Lido and 5 and Diamond, here are our top 13 places to eat with kids in Harlem.

Harlem Shopping for Kids: Toy Stores, Children's Boutiques and Gift Shops

[UPDATED: December 1, 2012]

We continue our month-long focus on Harlem with a look at shopping with kids in the neighborhood. The main thoroughfares like 125th and 145th Streets are filled with popular chains like Children's Place, H&M and Old Navy. But, as befits the vibrant and diverse area, you can also find more eclectic stores on the side streets and avenues.

Although independent Harlem shops aren't taking off quite like the restaurant scene, there are still several gems, each with a unique story and history. Here are our top kid-friendly stores for families to hit in Harlem.


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