Kids

Inclusive Services at BPL: Free Special Needs Program at the Library

Ever since we moved to southern Brooklyn from the Upper West Side, I've been on the hunt to replace all of the amazing special needs activities we had access to in Manhattan with only limited success. That's why I was really excited to stumble across the FREE Inclusive Services at the Brooklyn Public Library program.

The program, formerly known as The Child's Places, takes place at five borough branches and is a lot more than books. The activities, geared toward children with special needs ages newborn to teen, include reading, playing and clubs where participants engage in a variety of enriching hands-on activities. True to their name, the offerings are inclusive, which means you can bring siblings of all abilities. So no more schlepping to Manhattan when looking for FREE fun for my special needs tween.

Best Strawberry Picking Farms and Festivals on Long Island

The East End of Long Island is ripe with places where you can pick your own strawberries. Deciding where to go can be a challenge, so we've handpicked a few of our favorites. Harvesting your own fruit is not only fun, it connects you to where your food comes from and supports locals farmers. It also allows you to experience food at its freshest, right off the vine. This is especially important for Long Island strawberries, which are sweeter and more delicate than most grocery-store varieties, and tend to have a shorter shelf life. Be sure to call ahead or check the farms' websites to confirm that the fields are open and the strawberries are ripe.

For more places where you can pick your own fruit and vegetables in the tri-state area, check out our Farm Guide.

20 Things to Do This Summer With Kids in Litchfield County, CT

For generations families from NYC and surrounding areas  have been heading to Litchfield County to spend weekends and summers. It's the quiet alternative to the Hamptons. There's plenty of natural beauty, sophistication and country charm without the pretense (and, might I add, phenomenal ocean beaches and dining options which you can read more about in our CT Beach & Water Fun Guide). But that's okay, Litchfield County provides ample opportunity for creating wonderful summer memories anyway with it's beautiful lakes, rivers and charming villages. While risking sounding like a travel agent, let's just say it's a great place to unwind, slow down and enjoy the scenic countryside.  The following list of 20 things to do with kids will come in handy while spending time with the family this summer in the Northwest Corner.

Weekday Picks for LI Kids: Planting Party, Hike It Baby, May 16-20

This week, kids can get their hands dirty through planting or engaging in some arts and crafts. With the weather finally getting nicer, enjoy a hike in Nassau County. Families can also check out some live theater at LICM. And this is just a sampling of what's going on this week, so be sure to take a look at our Long Island events calendar and our Spring Fun Guide. You can also get the best events of the week sent directly to your inbox each week if you sign up for our newsletter.

Weekday Picks: Greek Festival, Spring Nature, and a Fishing Derby, May 16-20

 This week you'll find all sorts of fun things to do around the state. See the show, "When She Had Wings", have some spring fun in nature, or attend a Greek Festival. Whatever you choose, it's sure to be a great memory for you and the kids. Also, in case you haven't noticed, we've got a new site! Tell us what you think and be entered for your chance to win this amazing trip to Club Med Punta Cana!

To make sure you don't ever miss out on any fun across the state, check our frequently updated Event Calendar and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Pick-Your-Own Berry Farms in Connecticut

The abundance and availability of fresh food at this time of the year is a real treat. Being able to pick our own fruits and vegetables at local farms makes the bounty taste even sweeter. Not only is it a fun family activity, it's also a great way to teach children about where their food comes from and to engage them in its preparation process.

Right now, strawberry picking is just getting under way, but don't hesitate: on some farms the picking season lasts just a few weeks.  For more pick-your-own options in Connecticut, check out our posts about strawberry picking in Hartford County and blueberry picking farms. Happy picking - and baking - and eating!

NYC Kids and Family Pool Guide: What to Know Before You Swim at NYC Pools

In New York City we have plenty of pools to choose from: outdoor public pools, indoor pools, private pools and even pop-up pools. During the summer, NYC's FREE outdoor public pools are very popular, but they have their drawbacks, too. First and foremost, they all adhere to very strict rules so your visit won't be a day at the beach if you're not prepared.

Read on to find out everything you need to know before you go to a free NYC public pool.

Register for Free Swimming Lessons for NYC Kids

The New York City Parks Department offers FREE aquatic programs for children under 18 all year round, as well as adults, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. Summer swimming lessons are on the horizon and the lottery opens on June 15.

Read on for the details on where to swim for free, or check our directory of paid kid swim classes or mommy-and-me swim lessons for babies and toddlers.

Sprinkler Season at NYC Playgrounds: When it Starts and More

When does the city turn on the sprinklers in NYC parks? That's a question we get asked every year as the weather starts to heat up. It's getting to be that time when going to the playground can pretty much guarantee getting wet. All of those sprinklers, fountains, rivers and other cool water features will be spouting soon. In fact, we were surprised to find the water already on one hot day recently at our favorite play spot. I had no towel or change of clothes for my son, but try explaining that to a 1-and-a-half-year-old.

Now it's no big deal for kids to play in their diapers, really. But to spare you having to strap a soaking wet toddler into a stroller as I did, here is some information that can help prepare you for sprinkler season.

Ahoy! Shipwrecked Miniature Golf Spot Opens in Brooklyn

When the folks behind the over-the-top Park Slope Holiday Light Spectacular attraction create a miniature golf course, it is best to drop everything and go. Like the incredible light-and-theater productions the pair mounted on a Brooklyn brownstone in years past, the brand-new pirate-themed Shipwrecked Miniature Golf is unlike any other mini golf course you may have experienced in the past.  

You won't be golfing holes with spinning windmills here. Instead, expect a cool neon light show, NYC-themed rooms, tropical island backdrops and an overall kid-friendly, interactive experience at this 18-hole course. The indoor (ha, ha rain!) 11,000-square-foot Shipwrecked Miniature Golf opened in Red Hook, Brooklyn in late April, and takes inspiration from its waterfront neighborhood of choice. Of course, I had to make the trek out with my family to check it out. Read on for our full review of this new kid sports and fun play zone.

Looking for more mini golf? We recently rounded up 11 of the city's top spots, just in time for spring. Many are outdoor venues, so open seasonally only.

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