Sydney Ng

Sydney Ng

Latest posts by Sydney Ng

LIC Welcomes Playday, an Art Center for Kid Creators

Once just a neighborhood of sprawling factories and warehouses, Long Island City, Queens, has transformed into a hot spot for young professionals and families. New things seem to open every day. We love the outdoor thrills at Gantry Plaza State Park and the rest of the waterfront to indoor romps at the Noguchi Museum and play spaces like City Owlets.  

But now there's a brand-new, distinctly unique creative environment in LIC: Playday. Is it an education center? Is it an art school? Is it a kids' crafting club? It’s all those things and more.

Find Free Classes for Kids at 14 NYC Stores and Public Spaces

We'll just say it: Raising a kid is expensive. Weekend classes, summer camp, after-school care, and dance and music lessons can add up. According to the 2016 Backpack Index, parents spend an average of $739 a year on average per child on extracurricular activities. And let’s face it New Yorkers, we’re most likely paying much more than that.

That’s why we’ve rounded up 13 FREE classes that run year-round in NYC to lighten the financial load. All the classes listed here are free within free-to-access stores and public places, but there are also plenty of free and low-cost activities inside of NYC museums and gardens that have monthly-memberships. Don't forget that your IDNYC card will give you free or discounted access to many of these cultural institutions.

Peruse our Free in NYC Guide for more budget-friendly family fun.

Winter Fun for NYC Toddlers That Beats Another Barnes & Noble Visit

Once the holiday season starts to fade and winter sets in, it's hard not to find yourself in a rut with your little one. We've constructed this list of 25 things to do with your toddler around New York City that will keep those blizzard blues away, from warm and toasty indoor activities to get-up-and-moving outdoor frolics. Eight of the suggestions are FREE activities.

Everything included below is just the speed and time commitment for the toddler set—and won't have you dreading another trip wandering around the children's section of B&N, restocking the books as your little one pulls them down one after another!

The Gazillion Bubble Show Delivers Magical, Soapy Fun for Kids

Few things can make a little kid smile faster than a burst of bubbles floating in the air. The Gazillion Bubble Show, playing north of Times Square at the New World Stages, brings that playful magic to the stage with its long-running show that aims to impress the young and the young-at-heart with bubble fun and tricks. 

This off-Broadway production is a favorite among families looking to introduce their kids to theater. Read on for our review...all about the bubbles.

A Cozy Kid-Friendly Bookshop Arrives in Kew Gardens, Queens

Queens has never been short on fun adventures, places to discover, and educational havens… but it does lack in one area: bookstores. After titan Barnes and Noble vacated the entire borough, only a handful of brave little bookshops remain. so most children's story hours take place at the local library.

Vina Castillo, Natalie Noboa, and Holly Nikodem saw the shockingly low number of general interest bookstores in Queens, and these ingenious book lovers set out to create an independent reading refuge for their community.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign supported by the community, Kew & Willow Books opened its doors in October 2017, offering adults and kids alike a beacon of book hope.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show Returns with New Stories

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show returned to New York City this fall with new Eric Carle stories to tell. Running an easily digestible 55 minutes and filled with bright colors and oversize puppets, this beautiful stage show easily captivates toddlers and preschoolers.

We caught the show when it first opened in January 2016, and so we were eager to see the new version, which swapped out two of the previous Carle picture book stories for two new ones. It also moved to a theater downtown. Read on for our full parent review of this show playing throughout the holidays and into February 2018.

Fairytale Island Opens in Bay Ridge with Ball Pit and More

Add Fairytale Island to the short list of winter (and hot day) indoor lifesavers. The brand-new play space in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, opened in late October, and it's huge. Not only that, but it offers just about every imaginable play item to keep the kids busy for hours.

When you enter Fairytale Island, you know that your child is entering an epic play zone. The main play space offers a giant ball pit, two-level Fairytale Island train, swings, crawl spaces, slides, little cars, and a trampoline—phew, hope I got it all. There are additional imaginary play and more toys set up in separate areas. Read on for our full review.

The Museum of Chinese in America: A Chinatown Gem for Kids

New York City has a rich and diverse heritage, and the city's museums are often the keepers of this ongoing story of its people and origin tales. The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), for example, explains the Chinese immigrant story. Being multiracial, with a father from mainland China, I always felt drawn to learn more of the journey of my people, and I've visited several times.

The museum opened in 2009 and has been attracting visitors from all over the world ever since. On my most recent trip to MOCA, I was amazed at how much this beautiful and unique NYC establishment had expanded; particularly by incorporating more children focused programs.

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