Tweens & Teens

Free Demo Classes For Kids Throughout NYC

This is first in a series of posts listing free demo classes for NYC kids. Find more free demo classes and exclusive discounts in our second Free Demo Class Post.

I admit, I have a fear of Mommy and Me classes. I'm not sure how it started but every time the idea was batted around in my house I came up with a million excuses why it wouldn't work. But, now that my daughter is two and we are both sufficiently bored of the playground, I've come to realize it's time to take the plunge. Even better, I've realized that she is now old enough to take classes without me having to participate!

If you are anything like me, here is the perfect baby step - FREE demo classes. Before you shell out the money for a weekly class, why not try it out? We have compiled a super long list of FREE demo classes, most of which are held in August and September. From pottery to gymnastics to music to miming so you can see how you and your kid like the class before committing to an entire semester. Plus, a lot of these places have offered amazing discounts to Mommy Poppins readers if you do choose to sign up for the class.  Keep reading to check out our list.

Reader Tip: Free Outdoor Movies at Waterside Plaza

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Reader, Bess, from Brooklyn gave us the heads up about yet another place to enjoy free family friendly outdoor movies this summer—Waterside Plaza. Waterside Plaza is the apartment complex/community east of the FDR in the 20s. It can be reached by the 25th Street footbridge over the highway or by taxi or bus at 23rd St.

In August there will be a series of movies, music and dancing on the plaza with views of the East River.

Movies are Monday nights at 8:30. Free popcorn and beverages are available. There is limited seating. You should bring your own folding chairs or blankets. Here's the line-up of free family friendly films:

Things to Do in Astoria and Down Under The Triborough

The incredible popularity of DUMBO has created this new love for New Yorkers and that is hanging out in the magical and somewhat creepy space that is created under our massive bridges. If you are one of these LOSUBs (lovers of spaces under bridges), and getting tired of loitering under the various Brooklyn crossings, I have a new one for you that won't disappoint - the Triborough. Head to this neighborhood of Queens for a great day of water fun, ethnic eats, a kid-friendly beer garden, and maybe even a fun Museum stop.

Reader Tips: Water Taxi Bird Watching, Jump and Last Licks

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We have been getting lots of great tips from readers in our in box and in the comment section of the site. It's been hard for me to keep up with it all on top of our regular posting. Some of them I've been able to slip into regular posts, but the tips are all too good to let go, so this week and next week I set aside some days that I am going to be posting the great ideas for things to do with kids in New York that you have been sharing.

If you have some tips you'd like to share with us please send them to me.

Thanks to Sharon Kleinhandler, Tricia Gillespie and Neeta Vallab for these tips:

Find the Free Gelato Truck this Week

The Ciao Bella Gelato Mobile will be in New York over the next week, giving out free scoops of gelato and sorbet, beginning with the Park Avenue Summerfest this weekend. The flavor options are: Tahitian vanilla gelato, pistachio gelato, maple ginger snap gelato, blood orange sorbet, blackberry cabernet sorbet and coconut sorbet. Yum.

You'll find the gelato mobile at the Park Avenue Summerfest on Saturday July 12th between 17th and 23rd streets, from 11am-6 pm.

On Tuesday, July 15th, you get a second chance at the Flatiron Chefs event when the truck will be parked on Madison and 24th from 5:30 to 8:30pm.

And then in Tribeca on Friday, 7/18 at the Civic Community Day Fair from 11am-6pm (Murray Street from Broadway to Church Streets).

The truck will also be at the following locations in New Jersey:

Little Naturalists: Wildflowers Everywhere

Photos by Leslie Day

All summer long, New York City is filled with beautiful flowers and gorgeous scents. Mommy Poppins' resident naturalist Leslie Day has put together this guide of local wild flowers for you to look for as your explore your streets and parks and some background science so you can turn a walk in the park into a teachable moment.

Linden Tree Flowers (above)
Everywhere you go on the Upper West Side and on streets that have these lovely trees throughout the five boroughs, you smell the heavenly scent of linden tree flowers. Show your children the leafy bracts that each flower cluster is attached to. When the flowers produce seeds, these modified leaves carry the seed clusters to the ground like little helicopters. At night, when you emerge from the subway, you are greeted with this heady perfume. Follow your nose!

Cool Stuff for Families at the Queens Museum

There is a lot going on this summer at the sometimes forgotten Queens Museum nestled in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and well worth the trip if you havn't been. This summer's events at the museum include an international film, dance and music series, free archery, scavenger hunts and lots of art making and viewing opportunities with the family.

The Queens Museum focuses on 20th-century works and is located right next to the Unisphere which is that awesome retro steel globe sculpture that was made for the 1964 World's Fair, check out Forgotten NY for some cool vintage photos and info on the Fair. And since school groups are the largest single community that visit the museum each year, they really appreciate and cater to kids and their staff is uniquely qualified to work with children.

As for getting there, while it is a bit of a trek, you can get there on the 7 train and the trade off is that once you are there its usually not too crowded and all their summer activities are free with admission ( $5 for adults, $2,50 for kids. Kids under 5 are free).

Day Trippin' - get more out of getting out of NYC

We love NYC in the summer, there is so much to do and it's less crowded. But, its also great to get out of town to spend some time in nature, swim in the ocean and check out new places. For all of July and August, in addition to our regular posts, we will be posting suggestions for fun day and weekend trips that you can take with kids. Here are a few quick suggestions to get you started. Any of these ideas would be great for something to do with the kids this Fourth of July Weekend.

Free Fun Friday: Figment 2008 Festival and Reader Tips

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The top tip for this weekend is the Governor's Island Figment 28 Festival , an incredible sounding three-day outdoor art festival with just a wild array of really fun sounding events for adults and kids.

Bring your bikes, your picnics and all your senses for a unique outdoor art experience. Hop on the free 15 minute ferry ride and it's as though you've arrived in the Berkshires at the other end, with the picturesque environment and wonderful art festival that feels a world away from NYC. I think we'll be sorry if we miss this one.

Figment 2008 Kid-Friendly highlights:

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