Upper West Side

Fashion Classes for NYC Kids

Buying clothing is fun, but nothing beats making your own outfits and accessories. And since New York City is the fashion capital of the world, there are lots of kids' classes where budding designers can learn how to sew, embroider, knit, weave, and crochet.

While tweens and teens can go all in with advanced programs that often include runway shows, younger kids can also get in on the fashion fun by trying less complicated projects, like making tote bags and scarves, and decorating clothing with paint, no-sew appliques, and sparkly embellishments. So for all of the aspiring Vera Wangs out there, here are the best fashion classes for kids in NYC.

Find more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.

Coding Classes and Camps for NYC Kids

In our increasingly tech-driven world, knowing how to code is an invaluable skill. But kids who code don't really look at it that way—they just think it's lots of fun to design video games, create websites, and make robots move. Take my 10-year-old: He first caught the coding bug in second grade after attending a demo led by RoboFun where he learned about the wonders of Scratch, an easy-to-use programming language specifically aimed at children ages 8 to 16. Ever since, he's continued to learn how to code at home thanks to FREE educational websites like Scratch's official site at MIT and CodeAcademy.

Even though he can work on his own, I'm a big believer in kids learning from other kids (not to mention the benefits of socializing with peers and getting him out of my hair for a few hours). So I recently researched coding classes for children in New York City to locate a program or two that would work for him. What I found were 11 high-quality classes and camps for kids who have an itch to try Scratch or another computer programming language. You can find even more tech fun for kids in our Geek Guide and more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.

Karate and Tae Kwon Do Classes for NYC Kids

My husband always said he wanted our sons to know they could take a punch and live to tell about it. To that end, martial arts classes were mandatory in our house, not just for self-defense but also to teach them self-control. (After all, enough of the latter can often stop you from needing the former.)

The two most popular martial arts disciplines for kids in New York City seem to be karate and tae kwon do. So we've rounded up some excellent classes in all five boroughs where kids can get kicking.

Find more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.

Let's Dance Art Exhibit at CMOM Gets Kids Moving

If you've got a kid who likes to move and groove, put on your dancing shoes and head to the Children's Museum of Manhattan for the newly opened Let's Dance exhibit.

Occupying the museum's ground-floor gallery, which briefly housed its Hello From Japan exhibition earlier this year, Let's Dance offers a vastly different museum experience for youngsters. While many recent CMOM exhibits have been chock-full of vignettes for kids to explore and experience, Let's Dance is an open-ended experience. The gallery space that was filled by busy streets of Tokyo in the spring has been transformed to an open canvas for artistic exploration in Let's Dance.

Eloise Hops Off the Page and into the New-York Historical Society

If you're drawn to classic children's literature, it's time to don your fanciest frock and head over to the New-York Historical Society where a rawther special guest has taken up residence.

Eloise, the brain child of cabaret singer-turned author Kay Thompson and illustrator Hilary Knight has taken over the museum's second floor, bringing her precocious spirit and side kicks Weenie and Skipperdee along to the gallery, which was previously home to other beloved NYC characters like Mo Willems' Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny, and Elephant and Piggie.

Best Summer Theater and Shows for NYC Kids (Free Options Too!)

New York City's family theater scene is hotter than a heat wave. Some people might think the dog days of summer are a cultural wasteland and that all the cool openings won't start again until fall, but that's not the case when it comes to the stage.

There are shows for all ages, interests, and budgets throughout the season, including a FREE page-to-stage adaptation of the Pete the Cat picture books, family-friendly outdoor Shakespeare, the launch of new kid-friendly matinees for a long-running Harry Potter parody, and a rare revival of the musical Really Rosie based on Maurice Sendak stories. Best of all, many of our picks cost less than $25 per ticket, and four are 100 percent FREE! Plus, we found discount codes for the pricier ones.

Big Apple Circus Readies Its Return to NYC

The past few years have been rough on circus lovers. After flying high since 1977, NYC's homegrown troupe, Big Apple Circus, announced last summer that it was folding up its tent and selling off its assets due to financial woes. And just last month, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey took its final bow after 146 years.

But this news should turn your sad clown frown upside down: Big Apple Circus is set to return this fall under new management, with a spectacle-studded show under the big top at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park. And longtime fans should be particularly thrilled to hear that the company's veteran comic star, Grandma, who bid Big Apple adieu in 2012, is rejoining the circus. We've got the scoop on what to expect when you take a bite out of this overhauled Big Apple.

While you wait for the new show to debut, stay busy with our Summer Fun Guide.

Lincoln Center Launches Arts Festival for Children with Autism

Lincoln Center is making headlines in the New York City special needs community. The iconic cultural institution is launching the "Big Umbrella Festival," a month of arts programming dedicated to autistic kids and their families. The inaugural festival is set to take over stages on the cultural campus and at local schools in April 2018, Autism Awareness Month.

The stated mission is to "enrich the lives of children on the autism spectrum through inclusive art that engages, educates, and inspires." While still a year away, the monthlong festival is surely a welcome addition to city's existing cultural programs for kids with autism.

Ancient Mummies Arrive at Natural History Museum for NYC Exhibit

Mummies, a new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, is an exciting glimpse into the ancient past made possible through modern technology. The exhibit—on loan from The Field Museum in Chicago—showcases 18 mummies from ancient Egypt and Peru, many of which have been in storage since the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.

Yes, that's right—more than 100 years ago. Amazing. Kids will be fascinated by the mummies, while parents will find the science that made it all possible equally enthralling. (More on that later.) The exhibit, which opened Monday, March 20, gives a sense of who the mummies were, what their lives were like, and even what several of them looked like. 

Best NYC Children's Bookstores to Spend an Afternoon In

Only a small number of dedicated children's bookshops exist in NYC—Books of Wonder and Bank Street Bookstore, we're looking at you!—but there are a number of other indie stores with impressive children's book sections. Many of these lit havens host children's activities, including read-alongs but also author events, and writing workshops.

My kids have a particular weakness for books, possibly because it's the one thing I never deny them—as evidenced by the overflowing bookshelves at home. We love exploring new-to-us, local shops and spending lazy afternoons getting lost in the stacks, so we've rounded up some of our favorite bookstores around the city, including two new ones coming soon.

Whether shopping for a birthday gift or looking for a local storytime, the neighborhood independent bookstore is a great bet for NYC families.

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