New York City

52 School Lunch Ideas for Lunches Kids Will Actually Eat

Chances are that by now you've had some healthy, well-packed lunches delivered back into your hands virtually untouched at the school end of the day. There should be a special name for the heartbreak one endures at the words "I told you I hate peanut-butter and jelly," when not only is this the first you're hearing of it, but you spent extra money on organic jelly and freshly ground peanut butter. And if not PBJ, then what? Well, we've got 52 answers to that question!

Bounce Houses and Trampoline Spots Where NYC Kids Can Jump

As any veteran NYC parent knows, there's only so much in-apartment bouncing your downstairs neighbor can handle. If you've got active kids and hop-happy toddlers to entertain during spring's showers, summer's heat, or winter's freeze, what's a parent to do? Nothing cures the bad-weather blues like a trip to a big old bounce house.

These inflatable favorites are a staple of outdoor festivals and street fairs, but it's such a bummer waiting on a long line to shell out several dollars for a two-minute session. Luckily NYC is home to several high-flying play spaces. You'll find all kinds of fun, including trampolines, long bouncy slides, tunnels, and obstacle courses at these spots. Best of all each location hosts regular open-bounce sessions, so your kids jump all they want for one low price.

Best Events This Fall for NYC Preschoolers

Let the fall fun begin! This fall there are tons of events, festivals, and shows in NYC just right for the preschool crowd. From fall fairs with petting zoos to music performances to great toddler and preschooler activities, here are 30+ fall events for NYC preschoolers—and best of all, many events and activities are FREE.

Don't forget to check out our September GoList and Best NYC Fall Festivals for even more great fall events, not to mention our just released Fall Fun Guide. Looking for a special day trip? Preschoolers are old enough to pick their own apples this September or even find the perfect pumpkin.

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.

Visiting the Staten Island Zoo with Kids

There are so many great zoos in NYC, and each zoo has something different to offer. Prospect Park Zoo is perfect for the toddler set, the Bronx Zoo is designed for the more adventurous child, Central Park Zoo is steeped in historic charm...but what about Staten Island? This compact zoo is the perfect layout for small children, but offers a huge variety of programs and species for kids of all ages. Head across the Verrazano (or take the ferry!) for a day of fun with the animals. 

Indoor Swimming Pools in NYC That Offer Day Passes

There are plenty of FREE swimming pools in NYC for kids during the summer months, but if you're looking for year-round options, or less crowded waters, the options are a bit limited. We've rounded up the best bets, from private pools offering day passes, to off-the-beaten-path community spots. All are kid friendly and welcome families for swimming and other water fun.

Read on for where to get swimming in NYC now.

Labor Day Weekend with NYC Kids: Festivals, Unicycles, Beaches

For NYC kids, Labor Day weekend means one thing: time to finish that summer bucket list before heading back to school. There's plenty going, too. On Governors Island, ride into NYC's annual unicycle fest. Or head to an outdoor carnival at the Richmond County Fair. Plus, Wildman Steve Brill is prowling the parks in Brooklyn and Queens for fascinating tours of NYC's green spaces.

There's still time to end the summer with your beach game strong: Hit the Jersey shore with our handy-dandy guide, daytrip to Long Beach or Asbury Park, take the subway (or ferry) to the beach, or hit the road for a nearby freshwater swimming lake. For less sandy but equally fun options, see our guide to outdoor pools and sprinklers within the five boroughs, plus nearby amusement parks and water theme parks.

​Looking for something low impact and close to home? Enjoy family brunch outdoors at one of these kid-friendly restaurants in Manhattan or Brooklyn, or go for an ice cream crawl at these worthy NYC sweet shops. If the clouds don't stay away this weekend, we've got suggestions for rainy day fun at museums and play spaces.

You could also go on an impromptu art hunt: Public art popping up around NYC includes suits of armor dotting the lawns of Fort Tryon Park, a Poetry Jukebox in Greenwich Village, and—our fave—dusk.space at the Seaport.

On Monday, don't miss the FREE pie throwing event that kicks off the 2018 NY Clown Theatre Festival. If ever there was a reason to stick around the city on Labor Day weekend, this might be it.

Read on for all of our Labor Day weekend picks. You'll find additional suggestions in our Event Calendar and September GoList. Farewell, summer!

The NYC Public School Calendar for 2018-2019

If you're a parent of a child in public school, you live by the school calendar. Even many local NYC preschools follow the public school schedule. As the first day of school in NYC approaches (Wednesday, September 5...but who's counting?) you'll want to bookmark the New York City Department of Education's calendar for the 2018-2019 school year.

Keep this list handy as you start making next year's family vacation plans! With the exception of the occasional unplanned snow day or case of the sniffles, these are all of the dates you can count on your kiddos being out of school.

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.

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