NYU Langone Health: Vascular Birthmarks in Babies, Part 1

NYU Langone Health

Vascular Birthmarks in Babies: What Parents Need to Know (Part 1 of 2)

More babies than not are born with some sort of birthmark, and while many fade, some are here to stay. Birthmarks come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Most of them are fine to leave alone, but there are a few kinds that can become problematic. For parents, it’s important to know which birthmarks are abnormal and should be seen by a physician.

What Are Vascular Birthmarks?

Vascular birthmarks fall under the category of vascular anomalies, which are the result of abnormal blood or lymphatic vessels. They can present anywhere on the body, including the skin, the scalp, on the inside of the mouth, or on the genitalia. They can also be present in internal organs. Depending on the vessel type, vascular birthmarks can vary in color from pink or red, to blue, purple, or gray. Some vascular birthmarks are close enough to the surface of the skin to be seen and/or felt immediately after birth, but others don’t appear until later in infancy or childhood.

What Are the Most Common Vascular Birthmarks?

Infantile hemangiomas and capillary malformations are the most common vascular birthmarks. Both are on the skin’s surface, or typically close enough to the surface to be noticed before a baby is one month old, and tend to be pink, red, or purple.

Infantile Hemangiomas

Infantile hemangiomas are the most common vascular birthmarks. They are commonly called “strawberry angiomas,” because they often look attached to the skin’s surface, and protrude in small, clustered red bumps. Parents tend to say that the marks started as a single, small, red spot right at birth.

Hemangiomas can also be on the flatter side, or located deep to the skin. When deep, they might look like a tinted, smooth protrusion of skin. Shortly after birth, they begin to grow rapidly; during this period, they usually darken and turn from red to purplish.

Infantile hemangiomas grow at their fastest rate when babies are around seven months old. By one year, they begin to shrink. One of the first signs of shrinkage is lightening of the involved skin to gray, which usually begins in the center of the hemangioma. The gray skin is a sign that the blood vessels are being replaced by fatty tissue, which may or may not be noticeable, depending on how big or how deep the infantile hemangioma was.

By age two, infantile hemangiomas usually go away on their own, leaving only a faint mark, if anything. This is why most infantile hemangiomas can be observed as your baby grows, and don’t require any medicine or surgery.

Which Infantile Hemangiomas Need Treatment?

If infantile hemangiomas grow too quickly or get too large, complications can arise. Rapid growth can lead to ulceration, forming cracks in the skin and bleeding. This can lead to infection and scarring.

The size of infantile hemangiomas can also become problematic when they compress or cover surrounding structures. For example, an infantile hemangioma blocking a nostril, or one causing an eyelid to droop and block vision, requires action from your doctor.

Very large infantile hemangiomas can also become aesthetically unappealing, especially if they are located on the face. Even though the birthmark most often goes away on its own, large infantile hemangiomas can leave behind some fatty tissue and distended skin when they fade. This left-behind skin has a pale, saggy appearance. Typically, the larger infantile hemangiomas are allowed to grow, the more saggy tissue they will leave behind.

The birthmark location is also important because it may signify a disorder in the underlying tissues or organs. For example, infantile hemangiomas under or around the chin might indicate that there are infantile hemangiomas in the mucosa of the upper airway, which can lead to breathing problems. If your pediatrician suspects internal organ involvement, your baby may need an airway evaluation by an airway specialist, or an MRI, which is a special imaging study that helps evaluate deep effects of vascular anomalies.

Besides size and location, the number of infantile hemangiomas can also be concerning. In particular, if a patient has more than five separate hemangiomas, that could indicate vascular anomalies of the liver. Make sure to tell your doctor if your baby has multiple infantile hemangiomas, so that imaging tests to check the liver and other internal organs can be ordered, if necessary.

If your baby’s hemangioma is changing and showing some concerning signs, you should see a vascular anomalies specialist—a pediatrician, dermatologist, or surgeon who has spent time dedicated to learning about the spectrum of vascular anomalies, and how to treat them. This specialist will take into account the factors discussed above, and help guide you towards further observation of the infantile hemangioma, or towards a treatment plan. He or she may want you to see a subspecialist, like an otolaryngologist, ophthalmologist, orthopedist, etc, for an opinion about the area potentially affected by the hemangioma.

After evaluating your baby’s infantile hemangioma, your doctor may encourage you to intervene to halt its growth. Treatment options for infantile hemangiomas can be divided into three main groups:

  1. Medical Therapy – Several medications exist that have been shown to help slow or halt hemangioma growth, and in some cases, speed up the regression process.
  2. Laser Therapy – There are advanced medical lasers that can be used to shrink the blood vessels specific to infantile hemangiomas.
  3. Surgical Therapy – Occasionally, removing the hemangioma is the best option. This is usually a decision that is made when it is evident that the hemangioma will cause functional, developmental, or aesthetic problems if left alone

Choosing if and when to perform surgery is a decision that should be made with the help of a vascular anomalies surgeon. It is important to remember that surgery will always leave a scar, no matter when it is performed, so surgery is only chosen if the scar is more favorable than the predicted “scar” left behind by the infantile hemangioma.
Megan M. Gaffey, MD, is a pediatric otolaryngologist at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone. She specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of children with complex ENT issues. She has focused training in vascular malformation management.

Kids Activities in NYC for MLK Weekend

Kids Activities for MLK Jr Day

MLK Day is Monday, January 21, 2019, a day to commemorate the legacy of American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is also a wonderful day to get the kids out and involved in activities around the city to take part in this day of remembrance.  Here is a selection of classes and camps available to our kids to celebrate the day.

  • January Jam Mini Dance Camp // January 21 // Upper East Side // 9:30am-12:30pm. Join Dance Workshop NY & Shibley Day Camp for a morning of dance, games, crafts and fun!
  • Martin Luther King Robots & Science Camp // January 21 // Manhattan and Brooklyn // 9am-3pm.  Kids ages 3-7 will use their strengths, as well as develop new skills, to program a robot and build circuits and structures
  • Pokemania // January 21 // Astoria // 1:30-2:30pm. Join Snapology as students build and explore the world of Pokemon and create their own gyms, battles, and even their very own generation of Pokemon.
  • Stop Motion Animation Camp for KIds // January 21 // Brooklyn // 9am – 4pm. Spend an exciting and informative Camp day making your very own Stop Motion Animation Clip!
  • ART CAMP for Kids // January 21 // Brooklyn // 9am – 4pm. Spend an action-packed day with Creatively WILD exploring artistic materials and techniques.
  • Wildlife Mini-Camp: MLK Day Camp // January 21 // Queens Zoo // 9am-3pm. Campers learn about the rights that animals have  and about the conservation efforts happening at the Queens Zoo!
  • Holiday Kids Camp! // January 21 // 9am – 12:30pm // Karma Kids Yoga. A super fun Holiday Camp to our preschooler community!
  • Yoga Rainbow Holiday Workshop // January 21 // 10am – 12pm or 1 – 3pm // In Grandma’s Attic.  Students study and practice yoga poses fused seamlessly with movement and dancing.
  • Babysitter Certification / Ages 11-15 // January 20 // 9am – 2pm // UES at 92Y. This class covers basic child development, infant and child care, first aid, emergency procedures, age-appropriate toys, business hints and tips for managing parents’ expectations.
  • Saturday Morning Show // January 19 // 10am – 12pm // Hudson Eats at Brookfield Place. FREE to attend. Food and beverage options available for purchase.
  • Make Your Dream Candy Bar // Fri-Mon // Many times available // Chocolate Works UES. This delicious activity can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how elaborate the masterpiece becomes!
  • In-Home Private Music Lessons // Fri-Mon // Choose your time // Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens.  A teacher comes home and gives music lessons to your kids! Ages 4+.

Fun & FREE Kids Events at Brookfield Place in NYC

Brookfield Place

Special Weekly Event! Saturday Morning Show

Join us Saturday mornings for performances by magicians, musicians, storytellers and more that are perfect for a pint-sized audience! Kids can wiggle, dance and singalong with our dynamic children’s performers.  FREE to attend. Food and beverage options available for purchase.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 12
10am Music with CC & Mallory
11am Juggling Performance by Jester Jim

SATURDAY, JANUARY 19 
10am Music with Carl Banks
11am Magic with Cardone The Magician

SATURDAY, JANUARY 26
10am Music with Lloyd H. Miller
11am Puppet Show with Yellow Sneaker Puppets

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 2   
10am Music with Hopalong Andrew
11am Puppet Show with Paper Heart Puppets


 

Brookfield Place

Upcoming Event! Celebrate Lunar New Year 2019

Ring in the Lunar New Year with a family-friendly performance presented by Arts Brookfield in partnership with the New York Chinese Cultural Center.  A dynamic Lion Parade led by lion dancers launches an afternoon filled with bursts of energy and color with traditional Chinese dance and music, a martial arts demonstration, and theatrical players in full traditional make-up and regalia!

3 Reasons Kids Should Learn A Second Language

Language Workshop for Children

In today’s interconnected world, understanding the languages of other people and other countries is essential to engage with the world.  And children who learn a second language at a young age not only gain cognitive advantages, but also develop an interest in  different cultures and people from the start.

Boost Brain Development

When kids are young, e.g. birth to about five years old, they are very receptive to receiving different sounds and words. Studies have shown that even babies who have been exposed to multiple languages show different cognitive patterns in their brain. In fact, brain scans show more gray matter in the regions of the brain involved in executive function.

Enhance Academic Achievement

Studies have also shown that  that students who know or have studied multiple languages perform better on tests and get better grades in school.  Language learning boosts problem-solving, memory, critical-thinking, concentration and listening skills.

Create Cultural Empathy & Understanding

Understanding another language helps our children build empathy for other cultures and people who speak other languages. It builds cultural understanding of different words and sayings, as well as, traditions.

So, how do I get my kids started?

The Language Workshop for Children (LWFC)  has an unique, internationally-recognized teaching method, which is developed especially for children. They discover language through movement, touch, sight, hearing, voice and emotion to ensure that what they learn they retain for life.  Original music, vocabulary-building songs, language immersion, festive visual aids, action games and native-fluent language teachers are why the LWFC is the country’s leader in children’s language educational play.

Early Bird Special! Language Workshop for Children is offering 10% off their Winter semester classes until Jan 9th. Learn French, Italian, or Spanish. For ages 6 months to 5 years.

Snapology Combines Play and Education

Snapology is a new learning concept that combines play with education by providing a fun and interactive environment for children to learn. Your child will learn Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, Robotics, and Video Game Design concepts using LEGO® bricks, K’Nex, and technology.

  • Birthday parties and Classes 
  • Ages 2 to 14
  • Multiple locations, including Astoria, Long Island City, and the Upper East Side

Birthday Parties

standard__birthday_2017_8_6You choose the location and Snapology will come to you! Snaplogy’s exciting birthday parties can be customized to your child’s favorite theme including Spongebob, Hello Kitty, Jurassic Park, LEGO, Pokemon, and more! A certified Snapology party facilitator will set-up, conduct activities, and clean up. You can sit back and enjoy your child’s big day.  Most parties book 14 days in advance. Request a date / More info


Unique Classes

STEM/STEAM

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Snapology believes childrens’ best learning experiences come from interactive activity. In this hands-on class, children learn using LEGO® bricks, K’Nex, and technology. While the children are having fun with familiar toys, laptops, and iPads, they don’t even realize they’re learning! STEM/STEAM classes are designed for children 2 to 14 years old. Classes are offered Every Day from 8am to 6pm in multiple locations.

ABCs & 123

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This program for children 2 to 4 years old is designed to reinforce the current curriculum being taught to preschoolers. Children will learn their colors, shapes, letters and numbers using DUPLO® bricks and other interactive learning toys. This class is offered in Long Island City, Mondays – Thursdays @9-10am.

Pokemania

standard__themed_pokemonLearn about real-world science through the habitats of the Pokemon! Students ages 5 to 12 will build and explore the world of Pokemon as they create their own gyms, battles, and even their very own generation of Pokemon. This workshop is offered in Astoria on Monday, January 21 @1:30- 2:30pm.

Junior Creator’s Club

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Students ages 2 to 5 participate in various creative play activities designed to promote the creative, social and expressive skills of children. You’ll be amazed at the improvement you’ll see in your child’s fine motor skills after just a few visits to Snapology. This class is offered in Long Island City, Mondays @11am-12pm.

Junior Engineers

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Young student’s use DUPLO® blocks to build fun and simple models! By playing with and manipulating the models, 2 to 6 years olds experience pulleys, levers, gears, wheels, and axles while exploring energy, buoyancy, and balance. Classes include free-building time to promote creativity. This class is offered in Long Island City, Tuesdays @10-11am.

Junior Scientists: All About Animals

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Allow your child to cultivate their love of animals. Children ages 2 to 5 will learn various concepts of animal life cycles and animal characteristics & traits using K’Nex toys and other interactive learning tools. We make animal science fun at Snapology! This class is offered in Long Island City, Wednesday @10-11am.

KinderBots

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Children ages 4 to 6 will begin to explore the world of robotics as they build simple models that teach the fundamentals of robotic design. Whether learning about sensors while building drills and magic wands, or discovering ways that gears and pulleys create movement while building helicopters and robotic dogs, your child is sure to have a great time! This class is offered in Long Island City, Thursday @10-11am.

Snapology Basic Engineers Class

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In Snapology’s Basic Engineers class, 5 to 8 year olds will build super-cool models that use gears, axels, and pulleys. Students will work in teams under guided instruction to build a different model each week. This class is designed so that children of all building abilities can build together. They will also have plenty of free-building time to express their creative side. This class is offered in Astoria, Saturdays @11am-12pm.

Snapology is a one of a kind program combining play and education in a fun and interactive environment. Their innovative programs help children grow up with a thirst for knowledge! Sign Up your child for a class today!

NYU Langone’s Virtual Urgent Care for Kids Age 12+

Sick Over the Holidays? Get Help Without Leaving Your Couch with NYU Langone’s Virtual Urgent Care

Virtual Urgent CareWhen you’re not feeling well and it isn’t easy to make it to the doctor, what do you do? NYU Langone Health’s Virtual Urgent Care service now offers patients in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania a real-time video visit with a world-class doctor in the palm of the hand.

Saving you a trip to the doctor or even leaving your couch, adults, as well as kids 12 and older can see an NYU Langone board-certified emergency medicine physician for minor medical concerns—right from the comfort of home, on any mobile device.

The service is ideal for non-emergency issues such as cold and flu, sore throat, pink eye, earache, rashes, and urinary tract infection, for both adults and children. Physicians are available for appointments Monday through Friday from 7 am to 11 pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 8 pm.

These video visits are just like an office appointment. The doctor will review your child’s medical history and symptoms, develop a treatment plan, prescribe any needed medications and, if necessary, provide a referral to a pediatric specialist at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

For children, parents must schedule the appointment and be present with their child during the visit. They will also need to have proxy access to their child’s NYU Langone Health MyChart account, which can be set up by calling 929-455-6409, or in person, at your child’s doctor’s office. You must be in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or Pennsylvania to use the Virtual Urgent Care service.

So the next time your child has flu symptoms and doesn’t want to get out of bed to go to the doctor, they don’t have to—NYU Langone Health’s Virtual Urgent Care is here for you when you need it.

Learn More about NYU Langone Health’s Virtual Urgent Care service on Youtube

How to Support Your Child, and Cope with Anxiety During the Holidays

Holidanxiety? 

ANXIETY

The holiday season is often accompanied by stress, which can be particularly difficult for children and adolescents with elevated anxiety. Here are some tips about how parents can help.

  1. Maintain Structure. Late nights, holiday treats, and unscheduled days are what many children love most about the holiday season. At the same time, sufficient sleep, staying active, and a healthy diet set the foundation for adaptive coping. We are all more at-risk of feeling overwhelmed when tired, hungry, or sick! Encourage your child to enjoy the freedoms of their holiday break in moderation. Maintaining a (mostly) consistent bed-time and wake-time (ideally within 1-2 hours of when they need to go to sleep and wake up for school) will ease your child’s transition back to school, and ensure they are well rested during the break. Encouraging your child to eat complete meals, in addition to holiday sweets, provides them with the energy to take full advantage of their free time. Additionally, having a daily routine can help your child know what to expect, and lessen overall anxiety.
  2. Cope ahead. If your child experiences elevated anxiety that causes significant distress, they may benefit from working with a cognitive-behavioral therapist to learn how to identify and effectively cope with anxiety. If your child is already working with a therapist, collaborate with them on ways you can best support your child in generalizing skills learned in therapy to anxiety-provoking situations that arise during the holidays. This may involve developing a cope ahead plan, which includes identifying situations that induce anxiety (e.g., family gatherings, parties, sleepovers, etc.) and selecting coping skills to help your child approach rather than avoid these difficult situations.
  3. The same strategies that apply to supporting your anxious child during the school year also apply during holiday breaks.

    Below are tips on how to CARE for a child with anxiety (Swan, Kagan, Frank, Crawford & Kendall, 2016).

    1. Coping model: Children learn from parents, which means you play a key role in modeling for your child how to manage anxiety effectively. Notice your own reactions to holiday stress, and put the proverbial airplane oxygen mask on yourself first. Being a coping model is not about being ever calm and anxiety-free (good luck!); rather, it is about noticing your own anxiety, and modeling how to skillfully manage. Everyone experiences anxiety, we just don’t want anxiety to keep us from doing what we want or need to do.
    2. Accommodate less. Accommodating anxiety (helping your child avoid situations that cause distress) alleviates anxiety short-term, but maintains anxiety over time. In collaboration with your child’s therapist, work to gradually reduce current accommodations. Try not to anticipate that your child will be anxious and give them an out. Instead, support them in coping with (rather than avoiding) anxiety during the holidays, so that they become more comfortable with practice.
    3. Reinforce brave behavior. Exposures are a key component of cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety, and involve children gradually engaging in situations that cause anxiety in the context of a supportive, therapeutic environment. If your child is working with a therapist, collaborate on how they can practice being brave over the break, and provide reinforcement. Without the competing demands of school, the holidays present a golden opportunity for at-home exposure practice! Reinforcement can be social (praise), tangible (stickers, rewards), or activity-driven (extra screen time, picking the family movie). In general, notice and reinforce when your child bravely engages in situations that make them nervous.
    4. Empathize and validate. While we recommend against parents accommodating their child’s anxiety, we also do not want parents to become frustrated or punitive when their child expresses feeling scared, frightened, or nervous. It is completely natural to want to avoid situations that cause anxiety. Telling your child “just do it” or “don’t be nervous” is unlikely to help. Instead, express to your child that you understand how they are feeling, empathize with them, and encourage them to do it anyway. If “it” seems too hard, work together to find one small step your child can take to practice.

The holidays can be stressful for parents and children. Supporting your child by maintaining structure, coping ahead, and reinforcing brave behavior can help!

Anna J. Swan, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. She sees patients for evaluations, individual cognitive-behavioral therapy, and group therapy as part of the Anxiety and Mood Disorders Service at the Manhattan and New Jersey locations of the Child Study Center, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

NYC Winter Break Camps for Kids

Winter Break CampsNYC is cold and the department store windows are decorated for the season.  The holidays are upon us and the kids are enjoying their holiday parties at school.  Are you searching for the perfect activity to keep them engaged and happy this Winter Break?

There’s still time to enroll your children in a fantastic Winter Break Camp in NYC…

Winter Break Camps

Winter Break STEM Camps @NORY
For your inventive, creative, and problem solving child. Ages 3-4 and 5-7. Locations in Manhattan (UWS, Batter Park/FiDi/Tribeca) & Brooklyn Heights. REGISTER
Dec 2628Winter Break Robots & Science Camp
Jan 24Winter Break 2 Robots & Science Camp


Winter Break Camps

January Mini-Art Camps //  Jan 2,3,4 7 // Claire’s Creative Adventures on UES. Special Museum Adventure Friday 1/4 will be at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Winter Break Camps

To celebrate the holiday season, Nutcracker Dance Workshops are available at In Grandma’s Attic on the UWS. Dance class, plus exciting excerpts from the classic Nutcracker story! Costumes and arts project included in these holiday workshops. Classes running all month long. UWS and Midtown West. Ages 3-12.


Winter Break Camps

Creatively WILD Art Studio in Brooklyn is offering Art Camps for children of all ages.  Kids will explore a wide variety of professional artistic mediums and learn exciting techniques. Taught by professional teaching artists. Camps run during Winter Break dates: Dec 24-28, Jan 2-4.

ART Camp for Toddlers Age: 2 to 4

ART CAMP for Kids Age: 5 to 9

ART CAMP for Teens Age: 10 to 15+

Creatively WILD Art Studio is also offering Stop Motion Animation and Computer Animation Camps during Winter Break.

Stop Motion Animation Camp for KIds Age: 5 to 9

Stop Motion Animation Camp for Teens Age: 10 to 15+

Teens Advanced 2D Computer Animation Camp Age: 10 to 15+


galli

Winter Holiday Theater Camp // Dec 26-28 // Galli Theater in Tribeca. Warm up games, movement activities, and theater games. Kids are working on a play during the camp with a performance at the end.


Winter Break CAmps

Wildlife Mini Camp // Dec 26, 27 or 28 // Queens Zoo. Campers learn how animals build, live in, and adapt to their natural habitat.

Winter Survival // Dec 28// Bronx Zoo. Children explore how animals adapt/survive/thrive in cold weather.


Winter Break Camps

At Taste Buds Kitchen in Chelsea:

Winter Mystery Basket // Dec 31- Jan 4. Cook your way through surprise ingredients to prepare a starter, main course, and dessert.

Holiday Cookies Galore // Dec 24-28.  From Gingerbread Men to Star of David Cookies; add your own spin on classic recipes.

Gingerbread House Workshop // Dec 16- 27. Parent and child work together to design and decorate their own Gingerbread House.

A Developmental Pediatricians’ Tips for the Best Holiday Gifts for Children of Any Age

Best Holiday GiftsNow that the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers have been consumed, the holiday season is officially upon us and for many families this is a time when we begin to shop for holiday gifts for the children in our lives. Here are a few suggestions of some developmentally appropriate toys for the holidays.


0-12 months: Babies are attracted to bright colors and objects with high-contrast patterns. Their play involves watching and exploring their own bodies. Look for multisensory toys with a variety of textures and toys that are soft, lightweight, easily grasped, washable, and safe to go in the mouth. Good toys in this category include activity mats and gyms, mobiles, and plush toys. Mirrors help develop self-awareness and identity. In the later end of this age children become interested in cause and effect and container play so consider pop-up toys, stacking and sorting toys such as nesting cups and boxes, and squeeze and squeak toys.

1-2 years: Children in this age-group are increasingly interested in cause and effect activities such as dumping and filling, building and knocking down, and pushing and pulling. Building play starts to emerge towards the later portion of this age range so lightweight blocks or building materials are good options. Blocks are also a great example of open-ended play items that can encourage creativity and language development. Other suggestions include shape sorters, cars with handles or short cords, or simple trains. A riding horse can also be introduced at this age provided the child’s feet touch the floor or base of the horse when they are seated. Musical instruments such as xylophones and small tambourines are also fun.

2-3 years: Pretend play is now emerging and building play becomes more sophisticated as a child’s fine motor skills become more developed. Realistic props help enhance pretend play. Additional building blocks and materials and push-pull toys that resemble real life objects such as strollers, shopping carts, and vacuum cleaners are very popular at this age. Straddle ride-on toys and slow-moving three-wheeled scooters with wide standing platforms are fun and encourage physical development and self-esteem. Additional suggestions include easels and non-toxic finger paints. Play with simple insert puzzles may enhance attention span and visual discrimination.

3-4 years: Pretend play is at its peak in the preschool years and there are a variety of toys to encourage this sort of creative play such as action figures and dolls, playhouses, doll houses and thematic play scenes, dress up materials, and tools and props that resemble real items such as medical kits, cash registers, and cooking/kitchen sets.

4-6 years: Game play emerges more in elementary school as attention span increases and turn-taking behavior emerges. Many children begin to enjoy traditional board and card games at this age such as ‘Go Fish,’ and ‘Uno’ as well as matching or memory games. Train and car sets with multiple cars that detach and tracks are popular at this age along with more simple sewing and craft kits, water colors, and stamps with ink pads. Two-wheeled scooters and bicycles with training wheels (with the appropriate protective gear such as helmets) are popular gift ideas.

6-9 years: Children now have the ability to work on multi-step sequences and have the fine motor dexterity to begin complex model kits and more complex craft kits such as beading, jewelry kits, and yarn looms. Other ideas include jigsaw puzzles with 100-500 pieces and strategy games such as checkers. Skateboards, two-wheeled bicycles without training wheels and equipment based on your child’s interests such as cameras, roller skates and sports equipment are additional options.

9-12 years: Children in this age range are developing their skills from the sports and activities of their earlier years. Tailor your gifts based on your child’s interests and abilities. Examples include more advanced jigsaw puzzles, trivia games, and sports or recreational equipment such as camping gear.


Manage expectations

Children do not require a large amount of gifts or toys to have a magical holiday experience. In fact, too many toys and gifts can overwhelm young children and there is evidence to show that fewer toys may help young children focus better and play more creatively with the toys they have. Set your own limits ahead of time on the right number of gifts that makes sense for your family and consider including extended family members in the conversation.

Safety

Of utmost importance is ensuring whichever toy you select is safe for the age of your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers a variety of tips to aid in safe toy selection.

Catherine Workman, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and a developmental pediatrician at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

Weekend Activities for Kids in NYC

Weekend Activities

Who doesn’t look forward to the weekend? Even the little ones need time to let loose and have some fun. Weekends are the perfect time for kids to try some fresh and fun activities. Here’s our list for the best weekend activities your kids will love!

 

Wildlife Conservation Society Spend your weekend up close to animals with an interactive class at the five zoos and aquarium throughout NYC. Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Bronx Zoo, NY Aquarium / Ages 2+         

Family Breakfast With The Animals: Primates

THE ZOO: Jungle World Mornings

 

The Fashion Class. The Fashion Class focuses on fun and fabulous fashion themed classes where students learn to sew in a creative environment. Midtown West / Ages 6+

Beginner Sewing Class for Kids

Fashion Design & Illustration for Kids

Pattern & Stitch Advanced Sewing for Kids

Fashion Design & Sewing for Teens

 

New York Stage of Mind. New York Stage of Mind provides exceptional performance-focused music education. Classes include private lessons in voice, piano, guitar, and more for all ages. Long Island City / Ages 3+

Piano Lessons

Singing Classes

 

Physique Swimming. Designed for swimmers to move smoothly from one level to the next as they progress in their swimming capabilities. Throughout NYC / Ages 4 months to 7

Me and My Shadow

Beginner 1: Water Exploration

Beginner 2: Primary Skills

 

Eastside Westside Music Together. For children from birth (yes, birth!) to five years, is based on the premise that all children are musical and have the same innate ability to learn music as language. UWS, UES, Midtown.

Music Together (Babies)

Music Together (Mixed Ages)

 

14th Street Y. Bring a friend and enjoy the relaxed environment where little ones explore and play together. Stuyvesant Town / Ages 2 months to 3

Indoor Playground

Sing Along