Preschoolers

Ballet, Orchestra, Opera for Kids Before They Know They Don't Like It

picture-15.pngOne of the benefits of living in a cultural capitol of the world is that your kids get to enjoy the benefits of trickle-down culture. No, the world class culture in NYC isn't just for grown ups, New York has special ballet, orchestra and even opera companies dedicated to bringing these arts to kids.

Ballet for Preschoolers
Admittedly, neither of my two sons was asking for tickets to a ballet. In fact, as, on our way to see New York Theater Ballet's The Toy Castle, we shared a subway with numerous Yankee fans on opening weekend, I am positive that neither one of my boys was thinking anything, but that they couldn't be happier than to be going to Yankee Stadium.

But, one hour later, wide-eyed eyed and red faced, each walked out of the Francis Gould Theatre wondering why it was that the ballet had to end. True, there is a vast difference between the NYTB??™s ???The Toy Castle??? and ???Swan Lake??? at Lincoln Center, but if you are wondering if your child is ready to take advantage of the World Class Performing Arts our city has to offer, then this production is a great start for you.

Hi Lo: Anime Classes for Kids


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When I saw that Hi-Art was giving anime classes for $675 I thought, "wow, those must be some pretty amazing classes." But I also thought to myself in New York City I bet there are some other really cool classes for kids to learn about the Japanese cartooning style, anime, that don't cost the maintenance money. I thought it would be fun to do a feature like in the magazine (same outfit Hi or Lo). So I did a little research and found a couple of different ways to expose your kids to anime in NYC right now. Here's Japanese Anime for Kids: Hi/Lo:

HI:
HiArt Manga Madness
For the $675 you'll pay for HiArt's Manga Madness anime classes, you'll get 8 classes (starting today). Yes, that's almost $100 per class, but kids 7-14 will learn anime-style drawing techniques from acclaimed artist Yali-Lin. In addition to learning the techniques for drawing different types of characters and faces, kids will write their own stories and learn how to create panels, incorporate text, and design their page. There will be beginner and advanced sessions so kids can really hone their skills.

What you'll get: Professional level art class with a renown artist in a beautiful, light-infused chelsea loft. Lots of individual attention and intensive study.

LO:
Brooklyn Museum Anime Event
The Brooklyn Museum is kicking off their Takashi Murakami exhibit at this Saturday's Target First Saturday event. Kids and adults are encouraged to dress up as their favorite anime characters. There will also be anime activities where kids can create their own anime alter egos. Try to catch a screening of Hayao Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service (if you haven't watched this with you kids it's a wonderful story. If you're not going to the event think about renting it). That's the tip of the iceberg. There will be Japanese Drumming, gallery talks and more. Saturday, April 5, 5-11pm at the Brooklyn Museum.

Check out the Brooklyn Museum site for the full schedule. All attendees will also get free admission into the museum to see Takashi Murakami exhibit and the other galleries. The exhibit will run through July 13th.

What you'll get:
Free anime workshops, free movies, free museum admission, and...crowds. Some events may be filled if you don't arrive early.

Family Day at the Asia Society
Discover the origins of anime through Japanese prints (ukiyo-e) in the "Designed for Pleasure" exhibit at the Asia Society. During this family day event children can also learn more about Japanese culture with traditional and modern Asian storytelling through pictures, puppets and performances. Free with Gallery Admission (which is free for kids under 16) Saturday, April 5, 12-3pm. at the Asia Society.  Exhibit runs through May 4.

What You'll Get: A free day of family events geared to exposing children to Japanese culture and placing anime in it's cultural and historical background.

Taking a Baby Sitter on Vacation with You

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Private schools just had their Spring Break and public schools have theirs coming up and as we're waiting for the weather to warm up, we've got vacations on the brain.

Have you ever been stuck with a family vacation that actually seemed like more work than not being on vacation? If you are used to having childcare, a family vacation can be a shocking experience. It's not something that most people want to admit, and of course we all love spending lots of time with our kids, but hard-working parents need some real down-time too or they're going to have their own little melt-downs that no binky can fix.

Taking a babysitter on vacation with you might seem like a huge luxury, but sometimes luxuries are really necessities. But wanting to take a baby sitter on vacation with you and actually doing it are two different things, two things with lot of steps in between, like how much to pay and how to find a sitter who will travel with you, etc. The experts at Sittercity have shared some tips with us on how to make the fantasy a reality.

From the archives: Urban Alphabet Books

I haven't done an archive post in a while and it's too bad, because looking back on the posts from last March there a ton of good ones. In fact, I just updated the POPULAR POSTS list over in the left sidebar with some new, great old posts like Useful Links for School Hunts, An Overview of the Preschool Admissions Process, and more.

But today's post is a great list of alphabet books. Unique, artistic alphabet books have become very trendy lately. These ones all celebrate the alphabet through urban environments:

Get Ready for Summer with Free Swimming Events


Summer is just around the corner and summer means swimming. In preparation of summer and swimming season get your feet wet at these free swimming events.

The Big Swim
April 12, 2008
The Big Swim is a one-of-a-kind open swim meet where 1,000 New York City children ages 6-16 participate in a free day of competitive swim races. Each child experiences the excitement of a real race with starting blocks, officials, and a timed finish. Races are all supervised by lifeguards and swimming Asphalt Green aquatics staff. This event has been recommended to me by other parents who said that your child does not need to be an very strong swimmer to have a great time. The environment is not competitive and each child goes home a winner with a medal, a photo with Olympians, a t-shirt, and a goody bag.

The Big Swim takes place on April 12, 2008, but registration forms must be received by March 30th. For more information on the meet, call 800.NYC.SWIM (800.692.7946) or go to the website to register online.

Asphalt Green's The Big Swim
555 East 90th Street
New York, NY 10128

YMCA Splash Week
April 21-25, 2008
The YMCA of Greater New York is hosting a week of free swimming lesson during their Splash Week to promote water safety for kids and families. During Splash Week local YMCA branches will be offering free half-hour swimming lessons to anyone aged 3 and up. Yes, there will even be free adult swimming classes as well as lifeguarding classes for anyone who's dreaming of getting a job as a lifeguard this summer. You won't find any information about Splash Week online. You must visit or call your local YMCA branch to find out the schedule of classes, but if you don't know where the nearest YMCA branch is you can find it at the YMCA website. Participating branches can be found in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island.

If you're looking for swimming classes for read our swimming classes post. It includes mommy and me swimming classes and classes for older children as well.

Giveaway: Elf Tennis. Easy for Even the Littlest Rackets

photo by steve9567Tennis is a great sport for NYC kids. There are free tennis courts all over the city and you can play inside during the colder months. Now tennis is even more accessible to it's littlest players thanks to Elf Tennis and it's creator Esther Forrester. Esther, a former Division I college tennis player with over 10 years of experience teaching tennis to adults and children, has developed a new method of teaching tennis perfect for children as young as 3 years old.

What is the Elf Tennis secret? First they start with oversized foam balls and smaller nets to help smaller children get into the game and love it. But classes also focus on the 4 Fs: Fun, Fitness, Friendship and Fundamentals of tennis. Sounds like a winning combination to me.

Easter Egg Crafts and Purim Recipes

We've got a long weekend and I'm in the mood to get crafty. Preparing for holidays is always a fun time in our house when we can slow down and do some craft activities together. My kids love this and the crafts don't have to be complicated.

Making Easter Eggs is a great craft to do with kids because it can be tailored to be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be for different ages, abilities and crafty proclivities ??” meaning I can really get into it with my own creations.

Below I've rounded up a bunch of links to great Easter egg craft ideas, but this first link is to a delicious looking recipe for some Purim Hamantaschen. If you don't know about the Jewish holiday Purim, you can read about it on the 92nd St. Y site which tells the story. Purim is one of the few Jewish holidays that's really a kids' holiday.

Easter Egg Making Tips and Craft Ideas:

Free Demo Classes in a Neighborhood Near You

Free demo classes are like the gallery openings of childhood, but instead of free wine and cheese and pretentious art talk, you get a taste of some of the best classes available for kids. Here are some classes for babies, toddlers and kids that have free demo classes coming up, plus a super cool try-out opportunity for girls who just want to rock!

T. Kang Tae Kwon Do in Tribeca offers terrific martial arts classes for children as young as 2 years old and up through adult. Visit their open house on Sunday, April 6th at 12pm for a Tae Kwon Do demo by Junior and Adult students and stick around for free trial classes afterward. Register at the open house for a 10% discount. For questions, please call (212) 219-0043 or email tkangtkd@gmail.com.

Apple Seeds, the Chelsea play space is offering a full range of free demo classes like, "almost yoga" for 2.5/3 year olds, crafts, fitness, Spanish, "my Chelsea art opening", cooking and more. Classes are offered for babies up through 5 years old. VIsit the website to see the full offerings and then call to sign up for a free class.

Music for Aardvarks has arrived in a new location in Tribeca and to celebrate they're offering free $15 demo classes throughout the rest of March. You have to reserve a spot online. There are still spaces for March 19, 20, 26 and 27 for these city-centric kid music classes. In addition to the free $15 classes participants will get a free Taxi CD and $50 off Spring registration. [Sorry for the misprint. The classes are not free, but you do get a free CDS]

Not to be outdone, during the first week of April, Music Together is offering free trial classes for new students in several locations around Manhattan including, Murray Hill, Gramercy, Chelsea, SoHo, Tribeca, Battery Park City, and the West Village. Check out their website for dates and locations and to sign up.

In the "not free, but totally worth it" category is the Willie May Rock Camp for Girls MiniCamp this Saturday, March 22nd from 1-7pm at Union Pool in Brooklyn. They'll be giving guitar, bass, drums, keyboard and singing lessons to help uncover the rock star that lurks inside your little princess. Performances by hot girl rock bands Mod Rocket, Magnolia and Care Bears on Fire may inspire an irreversible trend toward uber-coolness. Open to all ages, but recommended for 5 and up. Register online. Performances by hot girl rock bands Mod Rocket, Magnolia and Care Bears on Fire may inspire an irreversible trend toward uber-coolness. Open to all ages, but recommended for 5 and up. Register online.

 

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