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The Skyscraper Museum

We have hundreds of great articles in our archives and we'll be plucking out the best to share every week, but you can also search our archives using the search feature in the upper right corner of the page or click on some of the category links in the left sidebar.

indooractivities.jpgHere's a different activity. Ever been to The Skyscraper Museum

The Early Childhood Resource and Information Center

indooractivities.jpgUPDATE January 2009: The ECRIC early childhood research materials have moved to the Mid-Manhattan Library Branch, but the Family Room is still at the Hudson Branch. If you are looking for more information about the Family Room, click on the Hudson Branch link. If you are looking for more information about ECRIC, click on that link.

Right upstairs from the Hudson Park Branch Library on Leroy Street in the West village, you'll find the Early Childhood Resource and Information Center. This is a unique resource in the NYPL system, a place dedicated to serving the needs of young children (birth to age 6), their parents, caregivers, teachers, and other early childhood professionals.

The Family Room is the heart of ECRIC. The room holds a special collection of books, toys, and learning tools and includes a carpeted block area, housekeeping and dramatic play spaces, drawing easels, climbing & sliding equipment, puzzles, and other learning tools.

Last minute Holiday Links Too Good to Skip

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Saks Fifth Holiday Window Display via Fred Flare

Again, a special Saturday post just because there has been so much great stuff to write about that I haven't been able to get to it all. So today I'm throwing together a couple of links I just can't let slip through the cracks.

Also, later this weekend we will be rolling out our new website design on our fancy new server. Hopefully this will solve both our yucky server issues and bring some great new features to the site. More on that later. Stay tuned.

Because of the server problems it looks like a couple of posts might have slipped through the cracks this week, including the announcement of our Scholastic Store Giveaway (Heather S). And also the Tracking Santa with Norad post did go out to feed readers, so check the site to see all of this weeks posts.

Last minute Christmas links:

You read about all the circuses in town, maybe you even went to go see one or two of them. Now it's your kid's turn. Paper Doll Militia at Bowery kids is having Circus Workshops this Sunday, December 23rd. Kids can learn to stilt walk, clown around and more. These workshops are for kids of all ages with the 2-4s sticking to the floor stuff and watch, while older kids get to try some aerial tricks.

Design Mom has been doing a series of posts about the sibling gift craft projects she is working on with her kids. I love this series so much. She's got 5 kids of all ages so there's something appropriate for everyone and the gifts are so great and the sentiment is just wonderful. DesignMom, can we have a kid crafting playdate?

McBrooklyn does a nice round-up of posts about seeing the lights and sights of Dyker Heights. (I seriously did not plan the rhyme in that sentence. It just kind of happened.) If you don't know, Dyker Heights is one of the neighborhoods in Brooklyn that goes over the top in their Christmas decorating. Houses, yes they have houses there, are covered in elaborate light displays with neighbors competing to out-do each other. Hop in your car or Zipcar and drive through the nabe for a great Christmas Eve family activity.

Fred Flare has a wonderful photo slideshow of this year's department store window displays as well as ones from previous years. If you never made it out to see the Christmas Department Store Windows with the kids, this is a good alternative. [via Goodyblog

 

Scholastic Store Extreme Makeover

Sadly the Scholastic Store closed in January 2015. In my opinion the Scholastic Store in SoHo is one of the better kid stores in New York City. Whether I am looking for books, toys or a last minute birthday party present, I know I can always find something of quality at the Scholastic Store. Most of the toys and books are educational as well as being fun. They've just done a complete overhaul of the store making this great shopping experience even better.

Read more to find out some of the changes at the Scholastic Store in SoHo, some last minute gift ideas.

Snowflake Celebration: Holiday Shopping in Brooklyn (and Queens)

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Blue Ribbon General Store

[THIS POST WAS UPDATED NOV 2008]
By now, we all know the benefits to shopping from small, local retailers rather than big box stores, but the main reason should always be because you find more unique, wonderful things to buy in a more enjoyable shopping experience.

To that end, Dani has brought you some recommendations of great new stores in Brooklyn and Queens to do your Holiday gift shopping this year. And to make sure that buying from Mom and Pop is a great shopping experience Buy in Brooklyn is hosting a Snowflake Celebration the first two Thursdays in December (Thursday, December 4th and 11th) where local Park Slope retailers will offer special discounts, promotions, and in-store refreshments to shoppers. Last year the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music performed concerts, carolers wandered the streets, and snow machines dusted the sidewalks to set the mood. More about that after Dani's recommendations:

Two stores in Brooklyn & one in Queens with great gifts for the holidays will remind you that NY shopping exists outside of Manhattan. While you're there explore a little & enjoys some food & fun.

Go to Brooklyn.... Take the A or C train to the Hoyt/Schermerhorn stop in Brooklyn. Just around the block on the corner of Bond St. & State St. is Blue Ribbon General Store which opened in September. They have tons of great gifts for kids (and adults). Make sure to check out their "grab bag" bins that are filled with all kinds of treats perfect for stuffing those stockings and would be a great resource for kids birthday goody bags as well. Along with clever toys from Eeboo, Crocodile Creek, Toysmith and Melissa and Doug, they carry tons of puzzles, art supplies and books. They also have lots of kids cooking kits that will come in handy on those inside days that we're always talking about.

Grab your bags & head down Atlantic Avenue and make a note to tell Santa about all the fabulous clothing shops that have opened there. You can take a break and grab some delicious falafel on homemade pita bread at Bedouin Tent. They also make fabulous pizzas that are really kid friendly on that same pita. You'll also pass Downtown Atlantic which carries some of the most delicious cupcakes around. Grab a couple to take home!

After you're finished, make your way to Exit 9, 127 Smith Street. This store has a great selection of really original offerings from old fashioned gag gifts to housewares to really stylish fashion accessories. One of my favorites is the old fashioned phone receiver that plugs into your cell allowing you to talk the old fashioned way. This store is perfect for everyone on your list with stuff for older kids, teenagers & adults as well. It's packed with really inventive gift ideas and lots off stuff from a variety of designers & artists. They also have a really cool selection of baby gifts & shower gifts so this place could be a valuable resource year round.

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ToyQube

Queens.... Get in some for some shopping & then grab a bite at one of the great Chinese, Korean, or other southeast Asian restaurants that abound in Flushing. ToyQube & Gallery (Flushing Mall 133-31 39th ave. #F36) is located in Flushing a few blocks from the 7 train. This store carries the best & brightest toys that you'll never see in toys r us. Kid Robot might be a recognizable name to some with older kids, but if you’ve never heard of them they are one of many colorful inventive figurines from Japan, Hong Kong & other faraway places. For those with younger kids they also have Yo Gabba Gabba Dolls.

It’s a store but also a gallery so you can be inspired by the creativeness of these toys that are worlds away from the average toy store counterparts. The store also carries skate accessories, sneakers and lifestyle accessories. Your cool? quotient will definitely grow after visiting this store with the tweens & teens in your life. You might even take home something for yourself.

To get a preview of all the wonderful things you can expect to find for sale at the Snowflake Celebration, check out the Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn Holiday Shopping Guide which shows some of the highlights and diverse finds you'll find while strolling down both Fifth Avenue and Seventh Avenue in Park Slope.

For a full listing of all the special deals, discounts and offerings of the Snowflake Celebration visit Buy in Brooklyn.

5 Best Indoor Activities for NYC Kids

Though the weather doesn't seem like it will ever approach the lows that will force you & your brood inside. It's going to happen! Whether you have a newborn, toddler or school-aged child you're going to be faced with long hours inside this winter. After you have watched every video, played every game & read every book in the house you're going to need to venture outside or risk what I'd like to call M.G.S.C. Disorder better known as "Mommy's Going Stir Crazy".

Here are some ideas on where to go for indoor activities in New York that will be fun for parents as well as children.

Free Parks Programs Let City Kids Discover the Nature All Around

I think I love being out in nature in the Fall better even than in the summer. The smell of the damp leaves on the ground, the crisp autumn air, it's very relaxing and great being outdoors with the kids at this time of year.

But you don't need to hop in the car to get your walk in the woods. There are woods all around us and the NYC Parks Department has tons of programs to help families enjoy them and teach NYC kids about nature. There are too many in one weekend to even list, but here's the top ones in every borough.

Staten Island: Haunted Hike
Explore the haunted history of Conference House Park, which was once a Native American burial ground. 7PM Friday, Nov 2.

Manhattan:Inwood Park Nature Walk
How would you like a guided nature walk by no less than the chief naturalist of the NYC Parks Department? Spot songbirds and learn about the ecosystems of Manhattan's last natural forest and salt marsh. Sat., Nov. 3. 8-10AM, Inwood Park

Queens: Fall Migration
Help Rangers count raptors as they pass by on their Fall Migration. Raptors are always cool and kids will love that they are helping the Rangers. Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 10AM Sat, Nov. 3.

Brooklyn: Backyard Ecology Walk
A kid-friendly introduction to Fort Greene's wildlife will teach NYC kids about the nature that lives right in their own backyards. Sure to open city kids' eyes to the world of nature around them. Sat., Nov. 3, 1PM, Fort Greene Park.

Bronx: Fall Foliage Walk
Enjoy some of the most exquisite fall foliage in the city on a guided walk through an oak, hickory and sweet-gum forest and search for the special 400 year old white oak. Pelham Bay Park, 2 PM. Sunday, Nov. 4.

Want more NYC nature walks?

Check out trails.com. A member fee is required, but it gives you unlimited access to detailed guides for hiking, biking, kayaking and more all over the US. There's tons of guides for NYC and the surrounding areas and even ideas for hikes with kids. You can try it out with their 14 day free trial.

Gorp is free site that has lots of hiking and other outdoor activity ideas around NYC and the country. The information is less detailed than what you'll find on trails.com or in a book, but it's a good starting place.

Best Hikes with Children in the Catskills and Hudson River Valley

is a book that features 51 easy hikes to enjoy with your kids in the area.

 

Be on TV and/or enter The Great Green Giveaway

Hot off the press! I just got this email from Kate over at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. They are looking for lots of parents and kids to come out tomorrow, Thursday October 25th to be on Good Morning New York to promote their Ghouls and Ghords Halloween event. It sounds like a lot of fun. Giant puppets, Audra Rox and everyone who shows up gets free tickets to return to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden another time. It's never too early to start your child''s television career! Here's the info and then check out our Great Green Giveaway below. Just leave a comment on this post and you'll be automatically entered.

5 Magical Halloween Events for NYC Families

I can't believe how many Halloween events there are in this city. There is cool-sounding stuff to do for Halloween with kids in every corner of the city from now until the 31st. Little neighborhood events can be the best ones, so definitely keep an eye out for what's going on in your hood (and let us know).

I've picked out just five events that each take a different spin on celebrating the holiday, aren't too commercialized, and hopefully bring that Halloween magic that will give you and your family great Halloween memories.

Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail
Just as the sun is setting, children launch their lit Jack o' Lanterns out into the Harlem Meer and watch as the flotilla of jack o' Lanterns float across the water. Starting at 4PM there will also be mask-making workshop, lawn games, a costume parade, and costume contest. FREE. When: Saturday, October 28th, 4-7PM

Brooklyn Botanical Garden Ghouls and Ghords
At Ghouls and Gourds kids learn about plants as they engage in freakishly fun activities. In addition to the great big costume parade, carnivorous plant feedings with BBG's very own "Morticia Adams," giant ten-foot-tall puppets, a flying flea circus, mysterious music, and other eerie oddities. Music from Maracatu NY and the rockin' tunes of Audra Rox. Sounds cool.
When: Sunday, October 28 from noon to 6.

Scared Silly: Halloween in Prospect Park
A weekend of Halloween family fun in Prospect Park. There'll be the Haunted Carousel, Scary Stories from the past and period Halloween crafts at Lefferts Historic House, Creepy Crawly Critter Fest at the Audubon Center, Boo at the Zoo, and the Halloween Haunted Walk (Saturday only) and carnival. All free except for carousel and Zoo admission. When: October 27 – 28

Halloweekend
Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall will be the site of a weekend full of family fun and events, but the highlight is sure to be the award-winning giant puppets of Ralph Lee. These puppets are just amazing and there's nothing like seeing them up close. It's sure to be some Halloween magic you and your children will remember for years to come. When: October 27-28

Di­a de los Muertos
Not eactly Halloween, but I thought it would be interesting to add a slightly different cultural perspective on this Holiday. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is the Mexican version of our All Saints Day or Halloween. At this Family festival, families are invited to explore the ancient roots and contemporary DГѓВ­a de los Muertos customs through bilingual educator-led altar discussions, artist-led workshops, storytelling, live music and dance performances, and food workshops that teach about ofrendas (offerings) and the traditional foods involved in the celebration. Free, but registration required. When: Saturday, November 3, 12:00 pm - 3:30 pm

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