Tweens & Teens

Free Summer Sports and Outdoor Programs for NYC Kids

Just because we live in a concrete jungle doesn't mean our kids can't enjoy a summer filled with athletic activities outdoors. The best news: You don't need to be a banker to afford it.

New York City offers many opportunities for kids to learn team sports and to try swimming, tennis, golf, fishing, kayaking, camping, and more for FREE. Of course registering for these FREE programs takes a little legwork and (since many are first-come, first-served) punctuality. We've got the scoop on what's available, and how your kids can vie for spots. You can find more no-cost activities in our Free in NYC Guide, or check out these FREE or inexpensive summer camp options around NYC.

Swimming Spots to Host a Pool Party for Your NYC Kid

Hosting a swimming birthday party is a splashy way to celebrate your child's next big day. Kids can hit the water for an instant taste of summer no matter the season.

While FREE swimming spots abound in the summer months, the rules make it a little difficult to party there. So, expect to fork over some dough if you want to throw a good, old-fashioned pool party at one of these swimming spots in NYC that offer birthday party packages to the general public—most are offered year round.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Free Comic Books, Cinco de Mayo, YALLWEST, and Obama Boulevard!

We've got all the words this weekend. Santa Monica becomes the center of the YA universe with YALLWEST, a free festival populated by YA authors and the fans who read them.

If you like, we've got the pictures too! Saturday is Free Comic Book Day, which means there are funny books and superhero epics with your name on 'em. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, in which case reading a comic book counts as like, 100,000 books or something.

And if you're into numbers, ain't none better than cinco. Cinco de Mayo, that is. No one does Cinco like Los Angeles, with celebrations of Not Mexican Independence Day happening at the Citadel, in Venice, in San Clemente and Monterey Park, and of course Downtown, with the one on Olvera Street being a big draw. May the 5th be with you!

Keep reading for... just keep reading. Doesn't matter what you read! Word!...

Destination Playground: Hester Street Playground Is a Play Oasis in Chinatown

Playground season is finally upon us, and what better way to celebrate warmer weather than to hit a new-to-you destination playground? The promise of a trek to the Hester Street Playground in the heart of always-packed Chinatown was enough to get even my weary teen off the couch during spring break...especially with the promise of delicious post-playground eats in Chinatown.

Located on the southern end of the 7.85-acre Sara D. Roosevelt Park, Hester Street Playground is a hotbed of activity no matter the season. Bookended by a soccer field and track on one side, and basketball courts on the other, there's fun for all ages here.

Queens Art Crawl With Kids: Noguchi, MoMA PS1, Socrates Sculpture Park

While the Upper East Side's Museum Mile gets lots of love and tons of fanfare, there are other cool culture spots to visit in this diverse city. One of our favorite outer-borough destinations just might be Long Island City, which has solidified itself as the queen of Queens' vibrant art scene. In addition to a slew of funky galleries, the 'hood has a trio of art-centric museums worth visiting: MoMA PS1, the Noguchi Museum, and the outdoor oasis, Socrates Sculpture Park.

Read on for our review of these artsy spots, plus the kid-friendly programming that makes them worth visiting, whether you're a local or not.

New York City Libraries with Great Play Spaces and Children's Rooms

It’s too cold or rainy to play outside and the kids are bouncing off the walls. What to do? Don’t feel like spending money to take the kids to an indoor play activity? The best default option, hands-down, is the library. Your kid can never finish reading all the books available, and many libraries also have children’s rooms and activities. And not only is a trip to the library an always-FREE activity, your library card gets you free access to more than 40 other institutions around NYC. To mix things up, venture beyond your own local library to these gems that have some of the best children’s play spaces in the city.

May GoList: Best Things To Do with Kids in Connecticut

The flowery, festive heart of spring, May brings Mother's Day and Memorial Day weekend. Everywhere you turn throughout the month, there are fairs, festivals, and nature-inspired events, but if we had to choose, these are our very favorite things to do with kids in Connecticut this May. If you click through to the full listings, you can add them to your calendar. Of course, our Event Calendar always has more fun listed each and every day. And don't forget to bookmark our Spring Fun Guide for family activity ideas throughout this gorgeous season in Connecticut. Have fun planning!

21 Mother's Day Brunch Restaurants To Book in Los Angeles and Orange County

Mother's Day, and the brunching is easy—and when we say easy, we mean the culinary version of a chick flick. This is not a day for the Denny's Lumberjack Slam (not that there's anything wrong with that); Mother's Day brunch begs sprigs of rosemary, ocean views, and maybe a harp plucked with a rose. Or, if that's not your thing, Fillmore & Western Railway is happy to Throw Mama on the Train. The key is Mom's Choice—all day!

Read on for some of our favorite restaurants that offer a pretty darn fabulous Mother's Day brunch.

Inclusive Playgrounds for Long Island Kids with Special Needs

Inclusive playgrounds allow kids of all ages and abilities to come together in an environment that facilitates shared play. Long Island has so many great playgrounds where kids can just be kids, but here is our list of accessible playgrounds that also include equipment and/or layouts suitable for children with special needs or disabilities.

Looking for more playground fun? See our lists of the best playgrounds on Long Island and the top playgrounds for toddlers. For a complete overview of parks, playgrounds, and family fun hiking trails, check out our guide to Long Island parks and playgrounds.

Petting Zoos Near NYC Where Kids Can See Farm Animals

We're so fortunate to live in a city that offers an incredible array of fun spring activities for kids, but sometimes I fret over the disconnect from nature. I want my daughter to be as comfortable in the country as she is in the urban jungle, so we're always looking for ways to get out of NYC and explore the expansive farmland that borders the city.

While you can meet some furry friends at the city's wonderful zoos, and even get hands-on at their mini petting zoos, there's something particularly special about enjoying an authentic farm setting. We've rounded up our top petting zoos and animal havens to get some serious face time with furry friends. Get ready to load up the family for a day of donkey petting, goat bottle-feedings, and sheep shearing.

Here are our favorite spots for an up-close animal encounter, all within two hours of NYC.

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