Category Archives: Activities

10 Family Activities to Enjoy In & Around Brooklyn this July

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Looking for something special to do during the month of July with your family?  Look no further.  Here are 10 ideas, from taking your child “Phishing”, kayaking at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, and checking out interactive installations at the Kids Summer Family Day at the Whitney Museum of Art.

 

July 4th:  Independence Day in Prospect Park, 12-5pm:   Enjoy family-friendly activities at the Prospect Park Audubon Center, Lefferts Historic House and the Carousel.  Activities include nature activities at the Audubon Center, signing a reproduction of the Declaration of Independence at the Lefferts Historic House and a ride on the infamous 1912 carousel.  https://www.prospectpark.org/news-events/events/2017/7/4#independence-day-prospect-park-2017

July 4th (location: all over NYC):  Do you have a little one that will stay up late and watch fireworks with you?  Time Out lists best places to watch this year, including Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade:  https://www.timeout.com/newyork/things-to-do/where-to-watch-the-4th-of-july-fireworks

July 8th:  Family Cooking in the Garden at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, 1pm-2:30pm.  Bring the whole family to the Children’s Garden for an afternoon cooking class. Harvest produce from the garden, then try the kitchen tool, techniques, and recipes in the Children’s Garden that will also keep kids engaged in the home kitchen. The group will prepare one farm-fresh entree and one dessert to share.  Member Fee: $15, Non-Member Fee:  $17.  https://classes.bbg.org/CourseStatus.awp?&course=17SCGFCGA

July 9th and 23rd: Rock and Roll Playhouse at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, 12pm.  On the 9th come check out The Music of Elvis Presley for Kids.  And on July 23rd, Kids Gone Phishing: Baker’s Trio.  Each workshop is 60 minutes long and is specifically designed for children 7 and under, but all members of the family are welcome to this family show.  All ages, tickets are $10 (kids under 1 are free).   http://www.brooklynbowl.com/event/1487392-rock-roll-playhouse-music-brooklyn/ and http://www.brooklynbowl.com/event/1469789-kids-gone-phishing-baker-s-brooklyn/

July 15th:  Whitney Kids Summer Family Day at the Whitney Museum of Art, 10:30am – 3pm.  Immerse yourself in movement at Whitney Kids Summer Family Day! Explore moveable sculptures in Calder: Hypermobility and interactive installations in Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium. Join us for gallery activities, artmaking workshops, and a special Samba performance and dance party. You can also pick up a free Kids Activity or Audio Guide.  Buy your admission ticket online in advance to save $.  http://whitney.org/Events/Summer2017FamilyDay

July 16th and 30th:  Music In The Grove at Fort Greene Park, 11am-12pm:  Free. On July 16th:  Kids Concert W/ Rozz And Val Show.The Brooklyn-based high-energy duo Rozz & Val Show is coming to Fort Greene for an extra fun Sunday!  http://www.fortgreenepark.org/events/2017/5/31/music-in-the-grove-kids-concert-w-suzi-shelton-sng5r-bms53.  And on July 30th: Kids Concert With Hopalong Andrew.  Come listen to some upbeat, urban cowboy tunes brought to you by Hopalong Andrew, a former Central Park Ranger! Bring your blanket and set it down by the trees just south of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument for this free concert catered to children 0-8 years old.  http://www.fortgreenepark.org/events/2017/5/31/music-in-the-grove-kids-concert-w-suzi-shelton-sng5r-bms53-rwsck-9m35n

July 30th:  Member’s Night for Children and Sunset Picnic, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, 6:30pm-8pm.  For members only (great reason to join prior)!  Join the fun-loving bluegrass band Astrograss for an evening of singing and dancing, especially for the kids in your life! BBG educators will also be on hand with a special planting activity.  https://www.bbg.org/visit/event/members_night_for_children

Sundays through October:  Smorgasburg, Breeze Hill in Prospect Park, 11am – 6pm.  Find 100 vendors and food from all over the world every Sunday at Breeze Hill, located near Lakeside and the park’s Lincoln Road entrance. Presented in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance. Dog friendly. Rain or shine.  Here is a list of the top 10 foods you might need to try this year:  http://bbook.com/nightlife/10-things-you-need-to-eat-at-smorgasburg-2017/

Saturdays through 8/26:  Kayaking In Brooklyn Bridge Park, 10am-3pm.  For those with older kids, this is a fun adventure waiting for you!  Free.  Location: Pier 2.  Glide along the water while kayaking with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse at the Pier 2 floating dock! Children under 18 must have an adult guardian present. All levels are welcome and no experience is necessary. There are doubles for one adult and no more than one child under 14 (or paddler that needs assistance).  http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/events/kayaking

Thursdays – Sundays through October:  Makeryard, Brooklyn Children’s Museum (Crown Heights):  Inspired by adventure playgrounds, MakerYard, Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s newest exhibition, invites children to test their motor skills and imaginations as they construct, build, and invent structures and other creations using everyday materials such as cardboard, tape, fabric, string and recyclables. Parents and caregivers are invited to sit back and let children explore independently, or work collaboratively to create together.  http://www.brooklynkids.org/visiting-exhibits/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ideas for Staying Cool AND Having Fun This Summer!

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Photo of Shipwrecked Miniature Golf, by Sai Mokhtari

OK…it’s starting to get hot, and it’s only going to get hotter. You’re in your little (hopefully) air conditioned apartment wondering how you and your family will be able to play and enjoy your day without melting into a puddle. You’re sick of the local playground water feature and need a change. What to do??? Here are some ideas, including awesome public pools and for those SUPER hot days…indoor play spaces!

 

Shipwrecked Miniature Golf: Right in our back yard of Red Hook, take the family out for a fun day of miniature golf (perhaps followed by a seafood lunch at Brooklyn Crab – also in Red Hook)! This place is indoor, has 18 holes and even theatrical lighting and special effects as you travel through the different themed areas of the course! They also host singers, magicians, jugglers and more. 621 Court St, 2nd Floor. http://www.shipwreckednyc.com/

City Treehouse: For those who are adventurous and are willing to take your child into Manhattan, check out the City Treehouse. Inside this play area is an interactive water play, a treehouse themed indoor play area, even a cavern illuminated by stars! It’s in Chelsea at 129A W 20th St. (between 6th and 7th Ave), Manhattan. http://www.citytreehouse.com/

Lefrak at Lakeside: You probably know about the amazing splash pad with 41 jets (AMAZING)…but, have you considered the other activities here? Rollerskating of course… and what about renting a single or double surrey bike for your family, and go explore Prospect Park? OR, go on a pedal boat where they allow one lap child. You could spend an entire day here, there is so much fun to be had! http://lakesidebrooklyn.com/#page-content

Brooklyn Public Pools: There are a plethora of free public pools right here in Brooklyn. A few of the favorites are the Red Hook Pool, the Sunset Park Pool, the Brooklyn Bridge Pop-up Pool and the Double D Pool in Gowanus. Remember to read all of the rules before planning your trip (check out “Know Before You Go” section here: https://www.nycgovparks.org/facilities/outdoor-pools)

The NY Transit Museum: This underground super COOL museum is where you can sit on a vintage car, sit at the wheel of a city bus and check out a real subway platform and tracks with cars from different times in history. The interactive exhibits are so exciting for the little ones. Boerum Place at Schermerhorn Street in downtown Brooklyn. http://www.nytransitmuseum.org/

NY Beaches: Of course there is Coney Island, but how about Jacob Riis in Queens? There’s a playground, concession stand and a boardwalk. Or maybe try Cedar Grove Beach in Staten Island, known as the cleanest of the Staten Island beaches. https://www.timeout.com/newyork/attractions/best-beaches

SeaGlass Carousel: Pretend you’re underwater and check out the new SeaGlass Carousel, where you sit on an iridescent fish, instead of a horse – and “swim” up and around in all different directions. It’s amazing and such a quick subway ride on the R to Battery Park. http://www.seaglasscarousel.nyc/

American Museum of Natural History: Check out those dinosaurs and explore and discover in the “Discovery Room”, where kids can dig for dinosaur bones or search for animals in a baobab tree. Microscopes, animals and other fun things are there for your child to explore. There’s even a story time here on Monday mornings for preschoolers! http://www.amnh.org/learn-teach/pre-k-to-grade-2

NYC Water Taxi:  Thinking about going into Manhattan with the family?  Instead of the usual subway ride, get a little creative and take your family on the NYC water taxi from Red Hook into Wall Street!  Best part…it’s free on Saturdays and Sundays.  See the beautiful views of the NYC skyline while you cool off in the summer breeze.   After, head over to Pearl Street where you will find several restaurants with outdoor seating.  https://www.nywatertaxi.com/ikea

 

While you’re at it, treat yourself to a gelato or an ice cream. The best ice cream in town can be found at Ample Hills Creamery, which has a location in Gowanus that includes a rooftop deck with chairs! And check out L’Albero Dei Gelati in the Slope for some incredibly yummy gelato.  Bring on the heat, this can also be the most fun time of the year here in Brooklyn. Enjoy!!!

Fun-Filled Family Activities in the Slope!

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Spring is HERE!!!!  And this upcoming month’s local Brooklyn events do not disappoint.  Celebrate the cherry blossoms, get your children’s voices heard in a  “Children’s March”,  explore a fire truck and more at Touch-a-Truck, and experience a live outdoor concert with your kids by the Brooklyn Bridge.   So many special memories to be made!

May 13th:  It’s BAAAACK!!!! The best kids street fair in Brooklyn, the PS 295 7th annual Touch-a-Truck Event is here!   SO many trucks to explore, bouncy houses, delicious food, music and MORE.  18th St between 6th and 7th Ave, rain or shine. 12pm-5pm.  Buy tix in advance to save $.  Check out the Make-a-Truck Art center, sponsored by your very own SSP!  http://ps295touchatruck.weebly.com/

Saturdays and Sundays through August 20th:  Come see “The Reluctant Dragon” at Puppetworks, the story of a dragon protesting the mistreatment of his species.  Adapted for Marionettes by Michael Leach. Ages 3+.   Shows are at 12:30 and 2:30pm.  Reservations are suggested!  http://puppetworks.org/

April 29th and 30th:  From 10am-6pm celebrate traditional and contemporary Japanese culture during the cherry blossom season at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.    Sakura Matsuri events include dance and music performances, a flower hat procession, live martial arts and a magic show!  https://www.bbg.org/visit/event/sakura_matsuri_2017/

April 29th:  From 10am-4pm check out the Spring Carnival at PS 321 at 180 7th Avenue between 1st and 2nd St.    There will be face painting, nail art, food, bouncy castles, a book shop, games to enjoy…and more!  http://ps321.org/spring-carnival/

May 4th – 8th:  For ages 2-5, Olive & Pearl tells the story of a young girl being raised by her Granny.  Told through puppetry, theater, dance and live music, this tale takes the youngest theatergoers on a sensory journey filled with wonder, surprise and delight.  BAM Theater.  http://www.bam.org/oliveandpearl

May 13th:  A truly remarkable event, this Children’s March gives our children the opportunity to stand up and speak out about the issues that are important to them.  Celebrating “independent thought, community, inclusivity, and their future”.  11am-2pm at Cadman Plaza.  https://www.facebook.com/events/1075768622552815/

May 20th:  Want to watch an incredible event and help cheer on Dr. Cao?  Come watch the Brooklyn Half Marathon, and high-five those runners as they pass by!  Show your support for those who have trained so hard, and share this inspiring experience with your kids.http://www.nyrr.org/races-and-events/2017/airbnb-brooklyn-half

May 20th and 21st:  Is your child obsessed with the “baa baas”?  Want to see those sheep get a haircut?  Look no further…come to the Prospect Park Zoo to enjoy some special wool activities and learn all about these animals and their coats at the 23rd Annual Fleece Festival.   On Sunday at 1pm you can even join a parade from the Zoo barn to the Lefferts Historic House as the fleece is transported, and see how it’s processed into yarn!  https://prospectparkzoo.com/events/14

May 26th -28th:  Staying local this Memorial Day Weekend and looking for something fun to do?  Take your family to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum where you can play with imagination playground blocks (including Magnatiles) AND join in the “Can You Dig It” program, where your child can recover fossils, rocks and minerals on their own archaeological dig!   http://www.brooklynkids.org/memorial-day-weekend/

Every Saturday through August 19th:  Come experience a free 1 hour family concert starting 4pm on the water at Brooklyn Bridge Park.  Beautiful music with a stunning view….this can’t be beat.    http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/events/bargemusic

Family Events in Brooklyn!

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Photo by Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.

Fun family events over the next month include rocking out to a Michael Jackson tribute, celebrating “Grandparents Day” at the Children’s Museum, and enjoying breakfast with penguins!  Check out all of this and more in this month’s roundup of fun family activities in the area.

It’s Grandparents Day at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum!  Celebrating grandparents and elders in our lives, on March 18th you can meet an artist, touch live sea creatures, go to an interactive story time, say “cheese” with the grandparents in a pop-up photo booth – then design a custom frame to go with your photo!  AND so many more fun activities.  To learn more, go to:  http://www.brooklynkids.org/grandparents-day/

Say goodbye to winter and SPIRAL into Spring at Lefrak at Lakeside’s Ice Showcase, where you’ll see figure skating solos, duets and group numbers.  March 19th from 5:30-6:45pm.  http://lakesidebrooklyn.com/event/spring-ice-showcase/

From March 18th – 26th check out the Peter Pan Experience at BAM.  5 adult strangers find themselves in a world of nightstands and night lights, a world where your favorite forgotten toys appear out of nowhere, your favorite music thrills you to dance, and all of the joys of childhood come flooding back thanks to the invisible magic of Peter Pan.  Dutch’s theater company Het Laagland presents this formally innovative, effortlessly thrilling piece of physical theater about rediscovering the joys of play, shaking off the shackles of adulthood, and flying high with the kind of make-believe.  Ages 7+. Tickets: $15.   http://www.bam.org/kids/2017/the-peter-pan-experience

On March 25th at Littlefield Performance and Space (622 Degraw Street), check out “Kids Rock Michael Jackson!  A Tribute to the King of Pop”.  Doors open 11:45, show starts at noon.  10 Amazing young bands play tribute.  Tickets are $7, free for kids 5 and under.  http://www.littlefieldnyc.com/event/1429508

Every Sunday through April 30th in Coney Island you can come experience an afternoon of fun and wonder at the Magic at Coney Sunday Matinee. There will be magicians, illusionists, escape artists and mentalists.  All ages.  $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12.   http://www.coneyisland.com/events/?program=21

The Rock and Roll Playhouse at Brooklyn Bowl has some exciting shows coming up!    These are unique, interactive and educational live music experiences for children.  60 minute concerts, where children explore live music, movement and collaborative activity.   For kids 10 and under.  $10  person (under 1 are free). On March 19th there is a concert featuring the music of Prince, on March 26th there is a show featuring the music of Fleetwood Mac, and on April 2nd they will feature the music of the Grateful Dead!  http://therockandrollplayhouse.com/brooklynbowl

Breakfast with the Animals: Penguins (New York Aquarium, Coney Island):  On April 1st from 9am-10:30am learn all about penguins along while having breakfast and enjoying  activities like learning to sing like a penguin and carrying eggs on your feet.  There will also be a live animal encounter! Ages 3-8 with caregiver.  $45 per ticket for non-members, $40 for members (ticket includes an adult and child).  Pre-registration is required.  http://nyaquarium.com/programs/family-programs

Want to do something active as a family?  How about the Brooklyn 15k run, where you can sign up for a 15k, 10k, 5k or a kids 2k run!  It takes place in Prospect Park on Sunday, April 16th. http://www.brooklyn15k.com/

It’s Family Earth Day Celebration at the Prospect Park Zoo on April 22nd from 11am-12pm.  All ages, $25 for members, $35 for non-members (ticket prices include one adult and one child).  Come to the zoo for an Earth Day celebration to discover how the Wildlife Conservation Society is working to protect wildlife and how you can help!  Participants will meet animals up close, decorate a flower pot & other activities.  Refreshments will be provided.   https://prospectparkzoo.com/family-programs

And don’t forget…. the beloved carousel in Prospect Park reopens March 30th!!!

Things to do this Winter!

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Let’s all agree, this isn’t the most lively time of the year.  It’s cold, the excitement of the holidays is over, and the Spring seems so far away in the distance.  The sun, if it’s out, isn’t warming us as much as we want it to.  The playground is not usually the best option, unless we want to freeze and listen to our kids complain they are cold.  So…what do we do?  How about sampling some of the best hot chocolate NYC has to offer…or try out some origami?   Here are ideas which are fun for ALL of us (parents included)!

If you’d like to stay warm indoors…

* Try out the best hot chocolates Park Slope has to offer…Le Pain de Quotidien on 5th Ave let’s your child swirl the dark chocolate syrup into the frothy milk themselves (what kid doesn’t LOVE to mix everything)!  There’s also The Chocolate Room and Colson Patisserie, both serve up a yummy cup of chocolate goodness.

* Check out the Brooklyn Children’s Museum pop-up exhibit, Industry City, at 274 36th Street in Sunset Park.  Through February 26th you’ll be able to check out an interactive art exhibit, which will ask kids what it takes to create a happy and healthy neighborhood.  There are interactive programs for families with children 1-8 YO. Thurs-Sun.  Free!  

* Go to a book reading at Powerhouse or Barnes and Noble in the Slope! 

* Try your luck at bowling at Melody Lanes in Sunset Park or Family Bowl on Saturdays at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg.  A major draw for Brooklyn Bowl is that you can enjoy some of the best fried chicken around, brought to you by Blue Ribbon.  It’s SO good.

* Get crafty at Taro’s Origami Studio at 95 7th Avenue, between Union and President.  Follow directions on touch-screen tablets (fun for the little ones) or learn from the staff.  Make your origami flowers, spaceship or whatever you choose – and decorate with stamps and paint!  

* Check out a new puppet show at Puppetworks, right here in our hood of Park Slope.  Through April 9th, Puss in Boots will be performed!  Based on Charles Perrault’s 1697 French Fantasy, with an original score.

* Get that energy out at Bounce U, about a fifteen minute drive from Park Slope on 67th St and 9th Ave.  $16 per kid, reservation required (remember to bring socks).   There is a “preschool playdate” for kids 7 and under:  

* How about a little culture to brighten up that dreary cold day?  BAM offers theater and film with kids in mind.   On February 19th at 2pm check out a matinee of “Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown” about Charlie Brown and the gang traveling to Europe for fun and adventure.  And for a live theatrical performance, check out Do Not Disturb (2/11-2/12), about factory workers assembling a giant wheel – combining dance, physical theater and a clown!  Ages 6+.

If you want to brave it and have fun outdoors…

* The Prospect Park Zoo is open year-round!  You can go celebrate the “Year of the Rooster” 2/11 – 2/12 from 11am-4pm.  There will be puppet performances, a scavenger hunt, fortune cookies and a calligraphy workshop!  

* Also in Prospect Park, go ice skating at the Lefrak Center at Lakeside!  There’s even a skate school and a hockey program if your child is interested.   Grab a hot beverage after at the cafe!  

* The next time it snows, have a plan as to where you are going to sled!  There of course is the big hill at 9th street in Prospect Park, but there are other spots in Fort Greene and Bay Ridge.  Check this list for top sledding spots in NYC.

Things to Do on Holiday Break with our Families!

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It’s that wonderful time of year where many of us are so lucky to be able to spend more time with our families.  With school closed, we have to keep both us and our children busy with fun and engaging activities.  This gives us a chance to do things we otherwise might not have time to do – like baking, doing charity work and fun craft projects.  If we’re lucky enough, perhaps we’ll see a little powder and be able to enjoy sledding on the 9th Street hill in Prospect Park!

Here are a few ideas to keep you all busy during this time of year.

1) Cooking & Baking:

* We recently updated our Pinterest Page with several festive meals, snacks and sweets that are kid-friendly (some are even healthy)!!!  Who knows…maybe if you dress up your veggies to look like a Christmas tree, your child will want to eat them?!   It’s worth a shot!  https://www.pinterest.com/drcaoparkslope/fun-holiday-recipes/   

* Here is a link to fruit-filled holiday dessert recipes that your child can help you with, and doesn’t require the use of an oven:  http://www.popsugar.com/moms/Fruit-Filled-Holiday-Desserts-42609490#photo-42609527

* For non-holiday themed recipes that are great year-round, I love the recipes in Pretend Soup and Salad People, both which are for preschoolers and up.  The popovers are a huge hit in this house!

2) Charity Work:  We recently shared a blog about the different charities we can get involved with in the NYC area (http://www.southslopepediatrics.com/blog/giving/).  Now we’d like to share the charities that South Slope Pediatrics is working with, in hopes that we can get our SSP families involved in as well.  This is a great way to teach our children about how this season is about giving and helping others!

* Jonah’s Just Begun:   Dr. Cao’s best little friend Jonah is suffering from a very rare disease, San Filippo Syndrome, and needs our help to fund research to save his life.  Let’s help raise money to find a cure!!!  Donate here:  https://app.mobilecause.com/form/vCJQEw

* Toys for Tots:  We have a box out in our lobby and are collecting all new toys and books, which will be given to children in need.  This cause is very special to Dr. Cao as they helped his own family when he was a child.  Please come by and make a donation if you can!

* Little Essentials:  We will also have a box in our lobby for Little Essentials, a Brooklyn based charity who helps children living in poverty by providing urgently needed resources and parenting education to families in crisis.  Please stop by with any new book or toy and help this local cause!

* Love in a Safety Pin:  Dr. Cao and your SSP Team has recently embarked in a courageous journey to ensure that our values of inclusion, tolerance, kindness and LOVE stay strong.    We have declared South Slope Pediatrics a safe haven for those who might find themselves harassed or bullied on the streets of Park Slope.  Please, join us by claiming your Love in a Safety Pin free sticker and by donating what you can to our campaign so we can produce and mail the stickers to the rest of the country.   Donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/love-in-a-safety-pin

3) Crafts:   Looking for fun indoor activities during this cold weather that spark a bit of creativity?   Here are links to easier crafts that the smaller ones can get into:

http://www.parenting.com/gallery/christmas-crafts-kids  From felt snowmen to deer made of cardboard to traditional cut-out snowflakes, there are plenty of crafts on this list (26 in total)!

http://mylifeandkids.com/25-fun-easy-holiday-crafts-kids/  25 holiday crafts including fingerprint christmas lights, santa beards, santa slime and shredded paper snowmen!

http://www.emmaowl.com/reindeer-footprint-christmas-cards-all-you-need-is-a-shiny-nose/#_a5y_p=4586085  Footprint Reindeer Cards…genius.

http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/11/shivery-snow-paint-recipe.html  Icy Cold Snow Paint – this looks like a lot of (messy) fun!

http://handsonaswegrow.com/28-winter-crafts-kids/  Handprint penguins, puffy paint polar bear faces and snowy owl pine cones are a few of the 28 winter crafts you can try.

And…let’s just say you’re exhausted from all of these activities and you need a little down time.  Maybe a holiday show is a way to relax and cuddle with our little ones!  Here are a few favorites for kids 3 and up:

* A Charlie Brown Christmas

* Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

* Frosty the Snowman

* Lights: The Miracle of Chanukah

* Merry Christmas, Olivia

* Curious George, a Very Monkey Christmas

* Mickey’s Christmas Carol

* Shalom, Sesame: Chanukah Special

* Dora’s Christmas Carol

* Elmo’s Christmas Countdown

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!

FUN HOLIDAY EVENTS IN BROOKLYN & BEYOND!

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Check out these fun family events that will surely help get you into the holiday spirit.  From family-friendly holiday themed shows like The Nutcracker, Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas and a Charlie Brown’s Christmas Live…to train shows at Grand Central and the NY Botanical Garden…from an Ice Spectacular Show at  Lefrak to meet and greets with Santa himself right here on 5th Ave in Park Slope, there are many ways to celebrate and share the joy with our little ones!

* 15th Annual Holiday Train Show in Grand Central (Grand Central Station, Manhattan): November 14th – February 26th.  Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat and Sun 10am-6pm.  This year’s Holiday Train Show display will feature a 34-foot-long “O gauge” model train layout with Lionel’s model Metro-North, New York Central, and vintage subway trains running on eight separate loops of track, against a backdrop featuring graphics celebrating the Museum’s 40th anniversary by artist Julia Rothman.  http://www.grandcentralterminal.com/event/15th-annual-holiday-train-show/2145462112

* Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas (Vital Theatre, 152 W. 71st St):  November 19th – December 31st, Saturdays and Sundays at 11am and 1pm.  Based on the NY Times bestselling picture book by Jane O’Connor.  What could be fancier than Christmas? Presents with elegant wrapping paper, festive decorations, Christmas cookies with sprinkles – and who could forget the tree? After all, there is no such thing as too much tinsel. Ooh la la! This year, Nancy is especially excited. After selling some of her old gowns and accessories, Nancy has enough money to buy a brand-new sparkly tree topper. She can’t wait to decorate the Christmas tree. But when things don’t turn out the way Nancy planned, will Christmas still be splendiferous?  http://fancynancychristmaslive.com/  1 hr long.

* Holiday Train Show (NY Botanical Gardens, Bronx): From November 19th – January 16th.  Enchanting model trains zip through a display of 150 landmarks, each re-created with bark, leaves, and other natural materials—all under the twinkling glow of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Marvel at G-scale locomotives humming along among familiar sights such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center on nearly a half-mile of track.Explore a winter wonderland across our 250 acres with special tours, a cappela performances, Winter Harmonies Concerts, a poetry reading with recently named NYBG poet laureate, Billy Collins, and activities for kids.  http://www.nybg.org/hts16/

* Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (Manhattan): 9am on November 24th.  The annual pageant of giant balloons, floats, cheerleaders, clowns, marching bands, theater and Broadway in New York performances and celebs is one of the best NYC events in November. Read up here for recommended viewing areas:  https://www.timeout.com/newyork/things-to-do/events-festivals/macys-thanksgiving-day-parade

* Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar (501 Union, Gowanus): November 26th and 27th, 11am – 6pm.  Free admission.  Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar is a unique annual event that showcases the best of Brooklyn under one beautiful roof. The 4th edition will be packed with fine handmade goods, food, drinks, music, craft activities and more good times on Thanksgiving weekend.  http://brooklynholidaybazaar.com/

* Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting (Rockefeller Center, Manhattan): The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a world-wide symbol of the holidays in New York City. The 2016 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be lit for the first time on Wednesday, November 30, with live performances from 7–9pm, at Rockefeller Plaza, between West 48th and West 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues.  https://www.rockefellercenter.com/whats-happening/2016/11/30/2016-rockefeller-center-christmas-tree-lighting/

* Charlie Brown Christmas Live (ShapeShifter Lab, 18 Whitewell Place, Brooklyn): Fri, Sat and Sun, Dec 2nd – 11th.   Performance of the classic Charlie Brown Christmas special word for word and gesture for gesture.  Jazz trio will play the iconic Vince Guaraldi score.  For show times and details, go to: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2698281

* Santa on 5th (several locations on 5th Ave, Park Slope on Dec 3rd, 10th and 17th): Ho ho ho!  Santa will be making appearances at 3 different locations on our very own 5th Ave during the month of September.  Eat, Drink and spend locally – while saying hi to our friend visiting from the North Pole!  Strolling carolers will be making an appearance as well.  http://parkslopefifthavenuebid.com/event/here-comes-santa-clause-first-visit-of-three/

* The Colonial Nutcracker at the Walt Whitman Theater  (Brooklyn Center for Performing Arts, 2900 Campus Rd, Brooklyn):   December 11th, 2pm.  An annual holiday favorite, Dance Theatre in Westchester performs its family-friendly, full-length version of Tchaikovsky’s ballet set in wintry colonial Yorktown, complete with a red-coated mouse army, an enchanted nutcracker prince, and simultaneous narration to help young audience members enjoy this timeless classic.   2hrs, 10 min including a 15 min intermission.  Recommended for ages 5+.  Tickets: $15. http://www.brooklyncenter.org/buy-tickets/calendar-of-events/view/The-Colonial-Nutcracker/

* Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Radio City Music Hall, Manhattan): The Radio City Christmas Spectacular 2016 literally kicks off the holiday season in NYC. Since 1933, the tap dancers, flying Santa and of course the Rockettes have put on one of the city’s most classic Christmas spectacles. If The Nutcracker from New York City Ballet is too stuffy and doesn’t have enough camels onstage for you, this show is the one to see.  https://www.rockettes.com/christmas/

* Tree Lighting Party (Greenwood Park, Park Slope):  December 7th from 6pm- close. The “biggest tree in Brooklyn”!  Tree, wreaths, and decorations will be for sale in the holiday market.  Bring the family to meet Santa – there will be hot coca, cider, food and drink specials!   http://greenwoodparkbk.com/blog/events/holiday-tree-lighting-party/

* Ice Spectacular (Lakeside @ Lefrak Center, Prospect Park):  December 18th, from 5:30 – 6:45pm.  This annual winter show is FREE to watch and features figure skating solos, duets, and group numbers. Group number registration includes three half-hour rehearsals on Sundays before the show as well as skate rental, show accessories, and keepsake programs on performance days. Register in advance online or in person, limited space available.  $40 for one (1) event, $60 for two (2) events.  http://lakesidebrooklyn.com/event/ice-spectacular-winter/

GIVING

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GIVING.  There is nothing more fulfilling than giving to others and helping those in need.  Whether it be providing a meal to a person who is hungry, to spending time with an elder who feels isolated and lonely, to providing blankets and clothing to keep someone warm in the colder months – these are just a few of the ways we can show we care and want to share the love in our hearts with those around us.   For those of us who find it difficult to make time for volunteering, donations (both monetary or goods) can make an important impact in someone’s life.  After all, in this exceptionally ugly election race, we should all open our hearts and share a little more love, sensitivity and generosity.    It can be contagious!   Let’s all get involved and ask our friends to join us.  Make it a family outing and teach our children the importance of giving.  Here are a few ways we can volunteer and give back in NYC, both around the holidays and year-round.

NY Cares: Help mentor students, serve meals in soup kitchens, clean up parks, collect winter coats and help the homeless.  NY Cares offers one-time volunteer opportunities to weekly opportunities.  Volunteer as an individual, group or with your company. https://www.newyorkcares.org/volunteer?utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=DesktopBannerTest

City Meals on Wheels: If you have a car, you can get involved with this organization that helps feed 18k elderly folks in the NYC area.  This Thanksgiving they’re looking for people to go to a senior center in Bushwick, Brooklyn and deliver food.  Here is a link the volunteer form, where you can sign up to volunteer for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years programs.  http://www.citymeals.org/volunteer-with-us/individual-volunteers/volunteer-application-form

NY Common Pantry: Choice Pantry volunteers help provide free grocery packages for families and hot meal volunteers help prepare and serve meals to guests at the NY Common Pantry location on 8 East 109th St. in Manhattan.  http://nycommonpantry.org/how-to-help/volunteer/  They also offer off-site opportunities like a Thanksgiving Food Drive, making sandwiches for the Brown Bag Program, and collecting new clothing and toys.  http://nycommonpantry.org/how-to-help/off-site-opportunities/

BARC Shelter:  Are you an animal lover?  Here’s a way you can help our furry friends.    Come take a dog for a walk, keep a cat company or bring in your old towels and blankets as a donation.  http://www.barcshelter.org/

Gobble, Gobble, Give: This organization meets in Harlem to assemble takeout meals for 200+ families in low income housing and shelters.   You can help put meals together or drop off the food.  Donations of food, clothing, toiletries, toys and books are also welcome. Check out their Facebook page for more information: https://www.facebook.com/gobblegobblegivenyc

God’s Love We Deliver:   Help bring food to those who are sick and unable to shop and cook for themselves.   Every Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve over 1k volunteers help in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.   https://www.glwd.org/volunteers/holiday.jsp;jsessionid=1394DCC88DACD66D864DB9F0427B108C

City Harvest:  Help fight hunger by distributing fresh food and collecting any excess food donations from farmers at the end of local farmer markets.   How about getting your company involved and work as a team to fight hunger?  https://www.cityharvest.org/volunteer

Good+ Foundation:  Donate that baby gear and those diapers, coats and toys that your children have grown out of or organize your own children’s coat or holiday toy drive.  http://goodplusfoundation.org/how-to-help/organize-a-drive/

Room to Grow:  Dedicated to enriching the lives of babies born into poverty, Room to Grow assists low-income families by accepting donations of baby items, funds and volunteering.  Learn how to get involved here: http://roomtogrow.org/index.php/get-involved/how-to-help-in-new-york

October Family Events

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Photograph Courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park Harvest Festival

 

There is no shortage of family activities this October in and around Brooklyn. We have harvest festivals, Halloween parades and pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins!!! Need a pumpkin break? How about a creativity lab session or a drop-off art class for your little one. Read up below on the festive calendar of things to do with your family this month!

  • Scarecrows & Pumpkins (Bronx Zoo): From September 17th through October 30th, come explore more than 30 friendly scarecrows set among rare and unusual pumpkins and gourds in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden. Celebrate the season by putting on a festive fall puppet show and having a spooky tea party in the Victorian playhouse. Guided activities feature making a sprout a seed necklace and exploring flowers, fruits, and seeds. Weekends bring interactive demonstrations featuring bats, reptiles, and other creepy creatures. And, on October 22nd and 23rd check out the giant pumpkins – some weighing more than a ton! http://www.nybg.org/exhibitions/2016/pumpkins-and-scarecrows/pumpkins.php
  • The Chile Pepper Festival (Brooklyn Botanical Gardens): Enjoy a full day of music and yummy (spicy) food on Saturday, October 1st from 10am-6pm. 6 Bands and 62 different food vendors will be there. 11am-3pm: Go check out “Hot Chiles for Cool Kids”, where your child can pot up a pepper plant to take home! Buy tickets and learn more here: http://www.bbg.org/visit/event/chile_pepper_festival_2016_tastings
  • Creativity Lab (The Brooklyn Museum): On October 2nd from 4-5:30pm, visitors of all ages are invited to drop by the studios and explore their creative side. In this drop-in workshop, take inspiration from their galleries and get messy, experiment with materials, and learn artistic techniques with a new project each month. Takes place in the education studios, 1st https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/calendar/event/creativity_lab_october_2016
  • Drop Off Studio Hours at Private Picassos Art Studio (Private Picasso’s Art Studio, 237 5th Ave): The 3rd Saturday of every month until December.  $36/child (15% off second sibling enrolled for the same program).  Pre-registration is required, as space is limited!  Email info@privatepicassos.com or call 718-215-0589 to reserve your spot.  Walk-ins are welcome if space is available.  Parents can enjoy a date night while your budding artist explores new materials and makes new friends. Available the 2nd Saturday of each month for kids 5+. http://achildgrows.com/thecalendar/232160835/2016-10-15/
  • Zahhak: Legend of the Serpent King (BAM): A Persian legend comes to life with live musical accompaniment and intricate shadow puppetry. Taken from the Shahnameh or Book of Kings – an epic narrative penned in the 10th century by Persian poet Ferdowsi – this shadow play tells the story of a misguided prince who becomes the villainous Serpent King. Saturday, October 22nd at 10:30am and 3pm. Tickets: $15.   Ages 8-13. http://www.bam.org/kids/2017/zahhak-legend-of-the-serpent-king
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park Harvest Festival (Brooklyn Bridge Park): Come celebrate the Fall season on October 29th , 11am to 2pm with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy and Brooklyn Bridge Park at the 7th Annual Harvest Festival and explore a NEW parkland with the opening at Pier 6! Enjoy pumpkin carving, arts and crafts, puppetry, games and musical performances.   Did you know they will have a “haunted marsh”???!! http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/events/harvest-festival
  • Halloween in Prospect Park (various locations in the Park): On October 29th, Prepare for ghoulish happenings all over Prospect Park! Gather the goblins for a truly hair-raising Halloween Haunted Walk and Fair (noon to 3pm) at Lookout Hill and Nethermead. At the Audubon Center, there’s Creepy Crawly Halloween, where kids can learn about all sorts of shiver-inducing creatures, find bitty bones during an owl pellet dissection (1 to 2pm), or take a Creepy Crawly walk (3 to 4pm) in search for park-dwelling critters. Over at Children’s Corner, visit Lefferts Historic House for scary storytelling and crafts  (2 to 4pm; suggested donation $3), then spin to spooky music on the Haunted Carousel (noon–5pm; $2 per ride or five tickets for $9). All ages.   http://www.timeout.com/new-york-kids/things-to-do/halloween-in-prospect-park
  • Boo at the Zoo (Prospect Park Zoo): On Saturday, October 29th and Sunday, October 30th don’t miss the zoo’s annual Halloween event. This year they have a costumed character scavenger hunt, face painting, spooky barn and of course – plenty of animals!!! https://prospectparkzoo.com/events
  • Halloween Family Party (Greenwood Park): On October 31st come for free pumpkin decorating, crafts and games, trick or treating and spooky snacks! Timing isn’t specified on the website, so call ahead to confirm hours: http://greenwoodparkbk.com/blog/calendar/
  • Park Slope Halloween Parade (7th Ave and 14th St to the Old Stone House): Kicking off at 6:30pm sharp, this is the best family Halloween Parade around!   Maybe you’ve seen Dr. Cao and his family in costume in years past? The parade ends at the Old Stone House at Washington Park, with a little post-parade dancing at J.J. Byrne Playground. Feel free to gather with your family around 4pm, as many families and merchants begin greeting trick or treaters on Seventh and Fifth Avenues (yippee!). You never know what kind of spooks you’ll see at this festive celebration, and the costumes get increasingly inventive with each passing year-—so bring your A-game. All ages. http://www.timeout.com/new-york-kids/things-to-do/park-slope-halloween-parade

 

 

 

September Family Events In & Around Brooklyn!

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Photo by TA Smith

Time to come to terms with the fact that summer is ending, and Fall and the new school year is upon us!  Here are some ideas for fun family activities both in Brooklyn and the surrounding NYC boroughs, for the teeniest and the biggest kids to enjoy.  They will surely help you through your end-of-summer blues!

* Hansel & Gretel (Puppetworks): Starting on September 3rd and running through December 18th, this Brothers Grimm story will be performed by marionettes.  Recommended for ages 3+.  Saturdays & Sundays 12:30 and 2:30pm.  Child: $9, Adult: $10.   http://www.puppetworks.org/

* Lavendar Blues (LARK): Back in session on Saturday the 17th, this intimate music and movement session for babies and toddlers is held every Saturday at 9:30 and 10:30am.  $10.  http://www.lavenderbluesmusic.com/services.html

* Play:Ground (Governors Island):  Itching to get out of Brooklyn and try something new?  Only a short ferry ride away, this play space is modeled after a junkyard, where a child’s imagination can really go wild using an assortment of materials, tools, water, dirt and things that others might describe as trash.   Through September 25th on Saturdays and Sundays, 11am-4pm.  https://govisland.com/exhibitions/playground

* Sensory Room (Brooklyn Children’s Museum):  Beginning Saturday, September 17th at 2pm on Saturdays following, the sensory room is a welcome environment for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other special needs.  Sessions will accommodate 10 participants, pre-registration required.  All ages, see here for the schedule. http://www.brooklynkids.org/calendar/2016/9/17/sensory-room

* Moscow Ballet (Brooklyn Children’s Museum): Do you have a little ballerina?  Join a ballerina from the Moscow Ballet as she performs a Russian children’s story, ending with an interactive dance activity for all!  Ages 3+.  12-2pm on Friday, September 30th. http://www.brooklynkids.org/calendar/2016/9/30/moscow-ballet

* Medieval Festival (Fort Tryon Park, Washington Heights):  Time-travel back to the Middle Ages and enjoy its ancient forms of fun. Wandering Fort Tryon Park’s lush grounds, families can rub shoulders with performers and festivalgoers dressed in clothing typical of the era, listen to authentic period music, and watch the antics of jugglers and jesters. All ages.  http://www.timeout.com/new-york-kids/things-to-do/medieval-festival-at-fort-tryon-park

* Museum Day Live! (Several Locations):  On September 24th over 1,300 museums around the country open their doors to the public free of charge. Previous years included family-friendly favorites like the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the Skyscraper Museum, El Museo Del Barrio, the NYC Fire Museum and the Museum of Arts and Design. Head to smithsonianmag.com to see which institutions are participating this year and to download a free Museum Day Live ticket. All ages.  http://smithsonianmag.com/museumdaylive

* World Maker Faire (NY Hall of Science, Queens): On October 1st and 2nd this show displays way-out-there experiments that will have your little mad scientists in awe. Past lineups have involved running through a life-size mousetrap, watching a Coke Zero and Mentos mountain explode, shooting marshmallows, flying model drones and powering your own DIY rides. Family passes (5 attendees) are available for Sunday, online advance purchase only. All ages.  http://makerfaire.com/

Lastly, don’t forget about the Smorgasburg, every Sunday in Prospect Park 11am-6pm (http://www.smorgasburg.com/) and get in your last swim at one of NYC’s awesome public pools…the season has been extended until 9/11!  Piece of advice:  read the rules before planning your trip.   https://www.nycgovparks.org/facilities/outdoor-pools