Tweens & Teens

Visit Kid-Friendly Dumbo

One of my absolute favorite things to do with the kids on a nice day is to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge into Dumbo. This excursion has all the makings of a perfect day out with the kids; a little relaxing exercise, great ice cream and pizza, a great park and a boat ride. I can't think of a better way to spent a day.

This weekend is an especially good time because Saturday, June 2nd is the Dumbo Block Party. So pack up some sunscreen and water (in your new aluminum water bottles and head to the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge. (You can start from Brooklyn and follow this backwards if you prefer.)

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is stroller friendly, just stay right, out of the bicycle lane.. You can stop under the arches to take in the view, snap some photos and read the plaques which describe some of the amazing history of the Bridge. When you get toward the other side, your first opportunity to exit will be a set of stairs. Take the stairs down from the walk way and walk around the corner and back toward the waterfront.

If you're hungry from your walk, stop by Grimaldi's Pizza, considered by many to be NYC's best pizza. Then walk over to Brooklyn Bridge Park which has a great playground, a pebble beach with lapping waves and all, a large lawn surrounded by a sculpture garden and incredible views.

If you're in the mood for shopping head over to ultra-hip children stores Half Pint and Pomme (this store is now closed. If you can resist buying anything, then you definitely deserve a chocolate reward from artisan chocolatier Jacques Torres Chocolates.

At 56 Water Street, gaze at the beautiful and fully restored original Coney Island Carousel. Rides are not allowed until they find permanent home for it, however, so you might want to avoid this just as much if you've got a little one ready for a melt-down.

But, tears will come to a screeching halt if you head back toward Fulton Ferry Landing for ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. The ice cream here is unbelievable. If you ever splurge on a sundae, this is the place to do it. The caramel tastes like crГѓВЁme brulee topping and the fudge is out of this world.

When you've had enough, the easiest, fastest and most fun way to get back to Manhattan is to just hop on the Water Taxi to the South Street Seaport or around the harbor to another destination in Manhattan. Kids especially like to ride upstairs in the open air.

MOMMY POPPINS TIP: The story of the Brooklyn Bridge is really quite amazing and has lots of elements that kids will love. Here are a couple of book ideas for children of different ages that will add an additional layer of interest and excitement for kids when visiting the Brooklyn Bridge.

Twenty-One Elephants is a picture book that tells the story of a little girl who helps convince grown ups to trust that the bridge will hold. It is well researched and based on the real story of PT Barnum's participation in the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Brooklyn Bridge:The Story of the World's Most Famous Bridge and the Remarkable Family That Built It tells the amazing story of the construction of the bridge for older kids. It is part of a series of Wonders of the World Books.

Keep a Special Sick Day Toy

Sun Prints are pictures you make by creating shadows on photosensitive paper. By laying objects on a piece of sun print paper and then exposing it in a sunny windowsill, you create your own image. There's really something magical and poetic about it. When I was a kid, Sunlight Prints were the thing that my mom pulled out whenever I was sick and stayed home from school. I don't know what gave her the idea of reserving a special toy for sick days, but it was brilliant. Like a cheesy Campbell's soup commercial, I would be laying sick in bed, and when my mom walked in with the sun prints, my face would light up with a smile (Begin commercial montage of me spending quiet, but happy hours in front of a sunny window making prints).

Make a Beanbag Chair Reusing Packing Peanuts

I hate throwing things away that could be useful (even if I have no current use for them). And there are two things that I hate having to throw out maybe more than any other. One is styrofoam packing peanuts - first of all, it gets all over the place when you try to get it into a garbage bag, but mainly it just seems like such a waste. The other thing that irks my frugal, green side is CDs or DVRs that we've turned into MP3s or just don't need any more.

National Geographic Kids has a great site with lots of educational activities and games for kids. They also have a bunch of kid craft ideas, including directions for making a bean bag chair filled with styrofoam peanuts and a disco ball from old CDs. The perfect solution. You can reuse stuff you don't want to throw away, have a great kid craft activity and end up with some cool items for the kid's room.

I especially like the bean bag chair idea. It's so simple and clever. Just fill a laundry bag with styrofoam peanuts and tighten the draw string. Have your kids personalize their chair by drawing their name and decorating the laundry bag with puffy fabric paint for a little extra fun. (via AT:Nursery)

Find more great activities like this in our Indoor Activities Guide.

 

 

Family Activity: Create Your Own Holiday

How often do you wish you could just slow down and spend a quiet day together with your family? How about creating your own family holiday? You can do anything you want. It could be around a theme, you can exchange gifts, or just hang out together for a day with no distractions.

Day Tripping: Explore Northern Central Park

Just in time for the weather to warm up a little this weekend, we're taking a recess from posting about schools just long enough to send you out on an exciting field trip to Central Park.

You and the kids have trammeled every inch of Manhattan's Central Park, or so you think. Bored of the zoo, outgrown the carousel. If you've never ventured to the northern extremes of Central Park, you are in for a surprise. Four trains (the B,D and 2/3) stop right on the border of the park making access easy, just exit the train and walk right in to the park. Inside you'll find rustic woods, rock formations, streams and ponds, formal gardens, historic military ruins, seasonal swimming, fishing or ice skating, plus ball fields and playgrounds - more than enough activities to keep you busy for a full day. It's like a cross between the Catskills and Chelsea Piers.

Cultcha:Opera for Kids

The way I see, it there's basically two types of people: people who like opera and people who don't. One of those groups happens to be much, much, much, much, much larger than the other, but that's still how I like to break it down.

 

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