Upper East Side

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.

17 Popular Preschool Summer Camps in NYC

Finding a cool and enriching summer camp that's right for your kid always takes a bit of work. Finding one that's a good fit for your first-time, preschool-age camper can be downright nerve-racking. You want their initial camp experience to be fun, safe, and memorable, but not over-stimulating or overwhelming. With so many high-quality camps for NYC preschoolers, it's hard to figure out which one to choose.

That's why we turned to the experts: our friends at the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey. They've selected a handful of awesome New York City programs that offer preschoolers a well-rounded summer experience filled with games, arts, sports, socializing, and plenty of outdoor time, and we've added more options to it. Best of all, many of these camps grow with your child, taking kids in elementary school and beyond.

Keep in mind, every camp has its own philosophy and program so check out the website, call the director, and, if possible, attend an open house to get all the information you need. Check out our Summer Camp Guide Directory for more ideas, or these Brooklyn and Queens preschooler camps for more outer borough options.

The New IDNYC Card Perks for Families You Don't Want to Miss

It's no secret that living in New York City and raising kids here isn't cheap. So one of my favorite finds has been the IDNYC program, which, among other things, offers FREE and reduced-price memberships more than 40 cultural institutions across the city.

Since the municipal ID program launched in 2015, more than 1 million people have turned up at IDNYC centers to get their free ID cards and the benefits that being a card-carrying citizen of this great city brings. In 2018, the city introduced several new institutions to the program, including two that might interest NYC families: Aviator Sports and Events Center in Brooklyn and Chelsea Piers are now IDNYC partners. At Aviator, you can nab an individual membership for 20 percent off and score 15 percent off party bookings. Chelsea Piers invites you to enjoy 2-for-1 admission at its indoor ice skating rink as well as discounts at its driving range.

The IDNYC card offers more than cultural benefits: Families can take advantage of discounts on prescription drugs, car-share memberships, movies, sporting events, and more. It even acts as a public library card and can help you open an account at a bank or credit union.

I've put my card to use to take advantage of these benefits and more, so read on for a dozen reasons to sign up for your FREE card, including discounted admission to some of the city's best children's museums and zoos.

7 New Birthday Spots in NYC for Your Kid's Next Party

Every year, your kid's birthday arrives even faster, right? It seems like you just had her last party! But here you are again, and you need some new ideas. 

Good news! So many great new spots have opened in NYC in the last year, so you're about to be the coolest parent party planner. Whether your kid wants to make art, roll in a ball pit, dress up her dolls, play with dogs, or just bounce up and down for an hour, there's a new place for everyone. Read on for seven new kid party spots that have opened in the last year.

Find more party spots and entertainers in our NYC Party Directory.

NYC Kids Can Frolic with Dogs at This New Upper East Side Spot

The zoo is a great place for an animal lover, and cat cafes have popped up from Brooklyn to Manhattan... but what about dogs? Enter Frolic, a new spot brimming with dogs that is now open on the Upper East Side!

Frolic is a colorful, sunshine-filled space in Manhattan, easily accessible by the Second Avenue Subway. Owned by adjacent Biscuits & Bath (though independently run), their mission is simple: learn about dogs, and have fun while doing it!  

Best Indoor Play Spots for Toddlers and Preschoolers in Manhattan

The playground isn't always an option for keeping antsy little New Yorkers (and the grown-up variety) busy. When the weather turns and the stir-craziness sets in, it's time to search out indoor options that are not your apartment. 

After finding myself searching for indoor play options a few too many times, I'm offering my mom-tested picks for the top spots for the toddler-and-preschool set in Manhattan. None of these places—kid gyms, museums, and even atriums—require a membership, and all will help you, your little one, and, most importantly, your apartment survive a long, cold winter or rainy day.

Read on for a dozen of the best places to play with your preschooler in Manhattan, including FREE spots.

Chinese Lunar New Year Parades and Celebrations for NYC Kids

Lunar New Year is one of our favorite winter celebrations in New York City, and we're particularly excited for 2018's family activities. School-aged kids ought to be excited, too, as the holiday gives them an extra day off from school.

Often referred to as Chinese New Year, although many Asian nations celebrate it, the holiday takes place on Friday, February 16, 2018, and ushers in the Year of the Dog. Mark this cultural holiday with a family-friendly celebration. We've got the scoop on the best Lunar New Year parades, family dance parties, museum events, crafts, and more for NYC kids.

Commemorating Lunar New Year is a great way to learn about Asian culture and enjoy the food. Check out one of these dozen NYC eateries where you can enjoy Lunar New Year banquets, snacks, or desserts. With celebrations and parades in almost every borough, it's also an opportunity to get out and explore a new-to-you neighborhood such as Manhattan's ChinatownFlushing in Queens, Sunset Park in Brooklyn, or Midtown Manhattan's Koreatown.

Manhattan's Best Drop-in Play Spaces and Kids' Gyms

Finding a non-membership, drop-in play spot for your toddler or preschooler in your neighborhood is like gold to New York City parents—almost as good as scoring a deal on rent. Because when it gets too cold for the city's many playgrounds, and another playdate at home seems dull (or, let's be honest, stressful), taking your kid to a cool indoor kiddie gym or other play space, where everything seems new and someone else will do the cleaning up, is a relief to the whole family.

While the outer boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn dominate the indoor play space market, Manhattan has plenty of creative kid spaces. Some of these dozen awesome spots profiled below allow families to drop in, while others ask that you make reservations, but none require any kind of long-term financial commitment.

For even more wallet-friendly play spaces citywide, see our round up of budget-friendly play spots. And if you've got a child under the age of 5 to entertain, you might also check out our roundup of a dozen indoor play spaces perfect for the pint-sized set.

20 Indoor Places Where NYC Kids Play for Free

We're staring down another long Northeast winter, and entertaining the kids during this long, chilly season isn't easy or cheap. Throw in a cramped New York City apartment and a shortage of vitamin D and of course, everyone is eyeing the exit. Luckily, in NYC some of the best things in life are FREE (really).

If your kids are bouncing off the walls and your wallet is screaming for a break after all the holidays, we've got you covered. Check out our list of 20 FREE indoor destinations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island for fun, games, or just a much-needed change of scenery.

For more great indoor places, check out our Indoor Family Fun Guide which is loaded with all-ages drop-in spots.

Great Classes in Manhattan To Try in Winter 2018 for Tots To Teens

When the weather gets chilly, classes can be a total lifesaver. Luckily, New York City delivers an unbelievable array of options for babies through teenagers.

Try something literally off the wall, like drop-in parkour classes, or let kids' creativity take shape in a claymation class over school break. Develop new skills in gymnastics, tennis, and even Chinese. The options are virtually limitless.

You can search through dozens of classes by type or location in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings, but we've also rounded up some great options to inspire your family to find something new this season, especially now that the weather has us all stuck inside. 'Tis the season to sign up for winter and spring 2018, so take a look!

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