As you could probably tell from my posts about indoor play spots, outdoor playgrounds and toy stores, I love raising my daughter in Park Slope. One of our favorite things to do in the area is hit one of the many inexpensive drop-in sing-alongs and interactive storytimes.
Now that winter's here, we attend at least one of these every week. It's a great way to get out of the house and give my toddler a little playtime. From the local Ys to the Brooklyn Public Library's central branch to various cafes, we've been to 'em all. These are the sing-alongs and storytimes we think are worth the schlep.
Park Slope Armory YMCA
361 15th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues
Prospect Park YMCA
357 9th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
Baby Boogie is $14 per child-adult pair; Story, Song & Shimmy is $12 per child-adult pair. Both classes are free for members.
The Baby Boogie and Story, Song & Shimmy parent and me classes are really marvelous. Boogie is for children up to 13 months, after which you graduate to Shimmy. The programs are run by enthusiastic staff members, who usually have a background in music, dance or acting. Activities including storytelling, singing, dancing, and frenzy-inducing add-ons, like the bubble machine. As well as being a fun forum where young kids can socialize, it's a great way to meet other local families. Find the schedules at the Park Slope Armory Y and Prospect Park Y websites.
Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch
10 Grand Army Plaza
You need good timing to get your hands on the coveted tickets for many of the library's free family events (consider arriving up to 40 minutes in advance!). This BPL branch offers Story Play, Babies & Books, and Toddler Time. The formats are fairly self-explanatory, but the kicker is the fantastic host: A sexy, middle-aged, Eastern European lady outfitted in tight leopard print clothes. You and your little darlings will love her! Check the calendar for the complete schedule. Read our extended review of the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.
Two Moon Art House & Cafe
315 Fourth Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets
$5 per family, food costs extra.
When Perch Cafe closed its doors, Two Moon became the new home to sing-alongs hosted by popular local children's musicians Lloyd Miller of The Deedle Deedle Dees and Frank Gallo from Rolie Polie Guacamole. On Tuesdays at 10am, Lloyd strums his guitar and delights audiences with his original history songs and quirky humor. Visit Lloyd's blog for info on sing-alongs in other neighborhoods (he hosts six a week!). Frank, a renowned kids' entertainer in these parts, really rocks his slot on Wednesdays at 2:30pm, and Guacamole's percussionist, Ivan Katz, hosts a drum-along on Thursdays at 10am. All of these gatherings are held in the cafe's art gallery, a bright, airy space with colorful art on the walls and lots of natural light. Check the website for the complete schedule.
Unfortunately Tea Lounge closed in December 2014.
$5 per family, food costs extra.
The wonderful puppetry-musical group Yellow Sneaker Sing-Alongs performs on Wednesdays at 10am. The gatherings feature original songs, cute and colorful hand puppets, and amusing props.
435 Seventh Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets
$10 suggested contribution per family
This sweet spot opened in May 2011 and features Nikolai Moderbacher from South Slope's Music Together classes for its Friday sing-along at 4pm. He plays a multitude of instruments, including a guitar and harmonica, and is accompanied by a friend on drums. Kids are given a nice selection of music makers to shake and bang along with the band. Moderbacher sings quirky, self-penned songs and some popular covers, including a personal favorite, "Walking on the Moon" by The Police.
Birth Day Presence
182 Eighth Avenue between Garfield Place and 1st Street
$5 per family
This birth and labor support center is home to a drop-in storytime hosted by Spellbound Theatre on Wednesdays at 4pm. It's a comfortable space with sofas for adults and stools for kids.
Velvet Peach Cafe
335 Flatbush Avenue near Seventh Avenue
A little further afield, this cafe hosts a monthly Family Music Night featuring the Jammin' with You Music School. You can even enter to win a 30-minute in-home music lesson. The next shindig will be Saturday, January 28 at 4pm. Check the website for future dates.
Read our other posts about Park Slope.