Kelly O

Kelly O

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Kelly O'Neil - NYC Writer

Kelly is a proud native New Yorker who was raised in Queens, just like her parents. She also lived on the West Coast and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Bolivia before returning to her home borough. She now resides in Sunnyside with her husband (also a Queens native) and their two daughters. Kelly's passions include sampling new cuisines and discovering stimulating things to do wherever she goes.

A New York City public school teacher, Kelly is currently on child-care leave and loves going on local family adventures. She is always on the hunt for the most economical kid-friendly places and activities all around the city, and she shares her finds on Mommy Poppins. Follow her on Google+.

Latest posts by Kelly

25 Top Things to Do with NYC Preschoolers Before They Turn 5

New York City doesn't scrimp when it comes to creating awesome family events and institutions, from the many children's museums and zoos and gardens to only-here street and art fests. But as a mom of two children younger than 5, I'm always looking for fun activities that appeal to the city's youngest children. It's such a special window of time, and I want to create lasting memories—within budgetary reason, and manageable enough for kids who sometimes still need a nap and a sippy cup of milk.

So, inspired by our roundup of 100 things to do with kids in NYC before they grow up, we came up with a list of 25 things to do with toddlers and preschoolers around the city before they turn 5 and head to kindergarten. A few of our selections are well-known favorites with specific under-the-radar attractions for preschoolers, while others are more off the beaten path, but all are things we've enjoyed doing or aspire to try soon!

Queens Party Places: 21 Spots for Kids Birthdays

We've profiled cool NYC party places in the past, but there are so many awesome birthday spots in good old Queens alone that it deserves a post of its own.

These Queens birthday party places cater to all kinds of kids, from active to artsy to animal lovers. As a Queens mom with two children, I've been to many of these spots personally. You can find additional birthday inspiration in our party guide.

Best of Astoria with Kids: Play Spaces and Indoor Attractions

Families flock to Astoria, Queens, for its parks, pool, and great restaurants, but also the trove of family-friendly indoor entertainment, from top museums like the Museum of the Moving Image to creative kids' classes and fun play spaces.

We can't possibly list all of the wonderful programs on tap, but we're highlighting locations that offer drop-in sessions, as well as a few perennial family favorites that require longer commitments. Many of these spots attract residents from all over Queens, including my kids and I, who come from Sunnyside to hit The Yoga Room and the inexpensive but fun play space, Kids Playhouse Astoria.

Here are 11 places where kids can swim, dance, bowl or just get their sillies out in Astoria, Queens.

Best Queens Play Spaces and Gyms for Kids

Queens has plenty of indoor play spaces with open play hours for when it's too cold, too rainy, or too hot for the kids to run around outside. In fact, it has more than Manhattan and is gaining on Brooklyn.

We found 15 indoor romping spots in the borough that offer drop-in sessions open to the public, including several newcomers, such as Shastye Art Gallery and Play SpaceGood Day Play Cafe, and Sunnyside Plays. We also welcomed a complete overhaul of Let's Play Playhouse in Astoria, and City Owlets, which just opened in 2017.

Bonus: All of these spots host birthday parties, too, and most are much more affordable than their Manhattan competitors.

Good Day Play Cafe: New Drop-in Play Space and Cafe in Queens

I first learned about Good Day Play Cafe in Bayside, Queens from three friends who raved after its June 2016 opening. They had me at Stumptown coffee and cold brew, but after hearing about the Hinoki cypress wood cube sensory pit and indoor play area, I knew I had to check it out with my kids, ages 6, 4, and 9 months. The thoughtfully designed space features an engaging and unique play area and a cafe serving delicious eats, making it an ideal destination for families with young kids.

Sunnyside Plays: A New Drop-In Play Space for Queens Kids

Western Queens just gained a new indoor play space for kids with the opening of Sunnyside Plays in, of course, Sunnyside. My family was super excited to have a new indoor playground so close to our neighborhood. In fact, we were amazed when we saw our 7-month-old son start crawling there for the first time. We are already making memories.

The spacious location on 48th Avenue, which just opened this month, is close to Sunnyside Library and Lance Cpl. Thomas A. Noonan Playground. Sunnyside Plays, founded by local parents Ed Kim and Vanessa Quinn, is 1,700 square feet of open, rectangular floor space with 16-foot ceilings. LED track lighting and the studio's vibrant colors give it a refreshing artsy loft feel. Kim and Quinn have art backgrounds and use their knowledge to offer events and classes for kids and adults. 

5 ‘Frozen’ Party and Craft Ideas to Melt Away Summer’s Heat

Disney’s Frozen sequel isn’t due out for several years, but that hasn’t slowed down the Elsa and Anna fever in my household where “Let It Go” is the nightly bathtub refrain. If your kid is pining for the snow queen’s return, then it might be time to whip up a Frozen-themed party or activity.

Sticky summer weather only makes us crave a chill-inducing Frozen scenery more. Besides, Olaf would approve of the summer setting, wouldn’t he? So pop on the soundtrack, think ice cold thoughts and check out these five Frozen-themed kid party ideas and activities, some simple, some messy, but all 100 percent fun.

Drop-In Storytimes for Kids in Queens

Kids in Queens have no shortage of storytime opportunities with popular library branches, bookstores and playspaces all offering some great choices. We've rounded up the best spots where babies, toddlers and preschoolers can enjoy listening to their favorite books in Jackson Heights, Astoria, Sunnyside and other family-friendly Queens neighborhoods.

A number of these read-along sessions include crafts, music, puppetry, or even yoga, so it's a great way to pass the morning for parent and babe or caregiver and tot. After the stories are put away, peruse the bookshelves or nearby toys. Most are drop-in events, but we've noted if registration is required. Expect all sessions to be FREE or inexpensive. Read on for our insider's take on Queens storytimes with kids.

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