Upper West Side

Maker Spaces for Drop-In Creator Fun with NYC Kids

The maker movement is alive and well in NYC, annually bringing one of our favorite festivals, Maker Faire, to the New York Hall of Science.

But what to do with your inventive child the other 51 weekends of the year? Of course there are after-school classesbirthday parties, and summer camp options, but for drop-in, one-off workshops and tinkering sessions? Not as many. Still, we've dug in and rounded up nine NYC maker spaces offering chances for year-round STEM-inspired making, building, and creating, from robots to 3D printing and creative coding.

If you're looking for a longer-term commitment, check out our STEM Guide to read up on all the options for maker-inspired camps, classes, and DIY fun.

Destination Playground: Hippo Playground on the Upper West Side

New York City doesn't lack for spectacular destination playgrounds, but Hippo Playground is more than a great place to play. Nestled among honey locust trees and a stone's throw away from the Hudson River in Riverside Park, Hippo Playground serves as the heart of the community for this slice of the Upper West Side and countless tots have grown up playing in the cool shade of its trees.

What the Hippo Playground may lack in modern bells and whistles, it makes up for in community and character, starting with the playful pachyderms who form the centerpiece of the playspace.

Upper West Side with Kids: 30 Things to Do for NYC Families

The Upper West Side of Manhattan is one of the most famously family-friendly areas in NYC. I've lived on the UWS since I was just a tot and raised two children in the same apartment where I grew up, so we're all very passionate about the neighborhood. (That's part of why we've covered it so extensively in the past.)

Within the massive neighborhood bordered by Lincoln Center to the south, 106th Street to the north, and from Riverside Park to Central Park west to east, there are a slew of kid-centric hot spots and activities. It wasn't easy, but we've whittled down our list to 30 top picks for things to do with kids on Manhattan's Upper West Side. While you're sure to find the obvious ones (hello, American Museum of Natural History and Children's Museum of Manhattan), we also included some off-the-beaten-path ideas and activities for families in the Upper West.

American Museum of Natural History in NYC: What to See with Kids

The American Museum of Natural History may be one of the foremost natural history museums in the world, but a visit here is a rite of passage for all NYC kiddos. The building's imposing footprint and vast collection can make the trip a slightly daunting proposition, especially for first-timers.

Never fear: Not only is AMNH one of NYC's most kid-friendly museums, it's also easy to check out a hall or two on one visit and still leave dozens of other exhibits for a totally new experience on your next visit. Read on for our top sights and kid-friendly tricks for checking out this amazing institution.

Best Fall Festivals for NYC Kids in September

Kick off autumn at one of September's fun-filled (and mostly FREE) fall festivals in NYC. Annual family favorites abound this month, including top September GoList picks such as the Richmond County Fair and the annual Queens County Fair. For more interactive fun, make sure you hit up the Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science. There are also plenty of cool under-the-radar events you may not have heard of, including a marine science fest in Tribeca, a sweet honey fest in Rockaway Beach, and Italian fairs in the Bronx and on Staten Island, which are both a lot less crowded than San Gennaro.

So banish the back-to-school blues by hitting one (or more) of these kid-friendly festivals this September.

Girl Power: Classes, Camps, and Workshops Just for Girls in NYC

One of my greatest priorities in raising a young girl is to give her a strong foundation, so that she has a positive self-image and feels empowered to be herself. Part of that work involves seeking out girls-only spaces across the city where she feels heard, valued, and has the opportunity to meet strong-minded, brilliant female role models.

There are more than enough opportunities to keep kiddos busy in the city, but girls-focused programs are specifically designed to allow girls to explore their world freely. From STEM to sports, many of these programs are run by women who, of course, know what it’s like to be a young girl coming into her own.

We've rounded up our favorite activities, camps, and programs that pack major girl power. Be sure to click through to the listings for all the details, including times, locations and recommended ages. You can search through dozens of classes by type or location in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings as well.

Where to Find Awesome Classes for NYC Kids This Fall

Back to school season isn't just new backpacks and long lists of school supplies. It's also time to get your little New Yorkers signed up for fall classes!

Thankfully, this city's got something for kids of all ages, from babies and tots to tweens and teens. Whether you're looking for a morning mommy-and-me class or an awesome after school program, there's no shortage of sports, dance, art, theater, and academic options to keep everyone happily busy.

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 of the top options for fall 2018. Take a look at these family favorites!

Learn Spanish: Language Classes for NYC Kids

Many New York City public schools offer wonderful dual-language Spanish programs, as well as other languages. But if your child's school doesn't offer a language program, there are lots of Spanish language programs around the city that teach young kids to habla Español. We've rounded up some of our favorite Spanish language learning centers for New York City kids. And best of all: Thanks to the wonderful diversity of New York City culture, your kids will certainly get to practice what they learn in the classroom!

Find more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings, and check out our guide to Foreign Language Camps for NYC Kids.

Special Needs Programs and Classes for New York City Kids

Some kids take so many extra-curricular activities they barely have time to play, but for other kids, finding the right after-school classes can be a challenge. Whether your child has a developmental challenge, disability, or disorder, general after-school activities might not work well for them. Luckily, NYC offers a number of options for children of every ability.

We've rounded up more than two dozen great classes for kids with a special need or disability. Don't forget to ask about summer camps and holiday mini camps. Many of these programs offer them, too.

Check out our NYC Special Needs Guide for more ideas, programs and services, including sensory gyms, support groups, and sensory activities.

Best Summer Festivals for NYC Kids This August

Many families flee the city in August for end-of-summer vacations, but it's actually one of my favorite months to be in NYC. With summer staples like swimming, play fountains, and Governors Island, plus hundreds of free summer activities and only-in-August favorites like Summer Streets and Arthur Ashe Kids' Day, there's plenty to do if you stick around.

So we've rounded up a dozen FREE family-friendly festivals happening throughout the Big Apple in August to help you get the most out of NYC with kids during the last month of summer.

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