Guide to Finding the Best Youth Baseball Program

 

Our partners at New York Sports Connection provide our Kidz Central Station families an insider guide to finding the right youth baseball program for your child.

Guide to Youth Baseball with Kidz Central Station
Baseball is the national pastime and something many kids grow up playing. Yet, knowing when and how to introduce young players to the sport can be confusing. Below we explain some of the particulars of youth baseball, as well as, the different options available to the burgeoning ballplayer.

When considering organized programs for young players, we recommend parents focus on those that make the game fun while also providing much-needed instruction from coaches with experience with specific age groups.

 

Age Determines Play Level in Youth Baseball

In youth baseball, the level at which a child plays is normally determined by their age not their skill level. A child’s “baseball age” is set by their age on April 30th each calendar year. For example, if a child turns eight on April 29 they play 8U that spring and summer. A child who turns eight on May 1 will play on 7U teams (because they were still seven on April 29th). While players can play “up” and join an older team if they have the skills to do so, they cannot play “down” and play with younger kids even if their skills match those of the younger players.

 

Field Sizes Vary for Different Ages

Different age teams play on different size fields. Field sizes are listed by the distance from the pitching rubber to home plate and the distance between the bases. For example, Little Leagues (11 and 12 year olds) play on 46/60 fields, meaning the pitching rubber is 46 feet from home plate and the distance between bases is 60 feet. There are various incremental steps (50/70, 54/80) before players advance to a regulation 60/90 field (actually 60’6”). Most advance to the larger field around the time they play 13U ball.

 

Tee Ball May Be Your Child’s First Step into Youth Baseball

The first step for most young players is tee ball (usually ages 4-7). As the name implies, batters hit a ball placed on a stationary stand (tee) that is secured to home plate rather than a pitch thrown from the pitcher’s mound. The thinking is that young players don’t have the hand eye coordination to hit live pitching. Tee ball fields are even smaller than the 46/60 Little League fields. The goal at this level is to teach kids hitting and fielding fundamentals and to get them to enjoy the game. In many tee ball leagues, scores and outs are not recorded. Instead, each player on a team gets to bat each inning. Remember, the idea is to make it easier on hitters while keeping kids engaged.

 

Try Coach Pitch After Tee Ball

Tee ball can eventually evolve into coach pitch, the theory being that young kids are not adept enough to throw strikes consistently. Coaches are not trying to get batters out. They want batters swinging and hitting. Coach pitch is usually for ages 6-8, but can begin earlier or last longer for some. There are many variations of coach pitch leagues with some having no walks, or a coach coming in to pitch after a kid pitcher has “walked” a batter. As with tee ball, the aim of coach pitch is for kids to develop a love of the game and to encourage them to want to continue playing at higher levels.

 

The Evolution to Kid Pitch Leagues and Baseball

This is when baseball begins to feel like the sport kids watch on TV. Kid pitch leagues can be recreational/community leagues, accredited Little Leagues (the ones that culminate with regional and national championships held in Williamsport, PA), and travel teams.

  • Little Leagues are governed by Little League Baseball. The spring/summer Little League season runs from late March or early April to mid-June. There are strict residency rules with players only allowed to play for leagues in zones where they live. Some Little Leagues also play fall schedules. In Little League, players are generally assigned to teams in the hope of forming balanced teams. The main Little Leagues (often called “Majors”) is for 11 and 12 year olds. After that players graduate to Junior (13 and 14) and Senior (15-18) teams.
  • Challenger Baseball. Both Little League and many recreational leagues provide Challenger Baseball for children with disabilities to enjoy the sport. Outs and runs are often not counted.
  • Rec Baseball. Most rec leagues play two games per week, usually a Saturday or Sunday doubleheader. These leagues are open to all players regardless of skill. Rec teams normally only practice before their scheduled games.
  • Travel Baseball. Travel or tournament baseball can start as young as 7U. Travel baseball is more competitive, has more talented players (teams hold tryouts for open spots), requires more of a time commitment (more practices and travel to tournaments), and costs more. Some travel teams play three seasons – spring, summer and fall.

 

Things to do in Queens with Kids

Queens is NYC’s largest and most ethnically diverse borough.  It is fast gaining popularity with parents with such family friendly neighborhoods as Rego Park, Astoria, Forest Hills, and Long Island City.  Nice weather has arrived so it’s time to take advantage of some of the city’s most authentic food, best views of the Manhattan skyline, and Family Sundays at Citi Field (Go Mets!).   Hop the 7 train and begin your outing in Queens, NY!

Queens Kids Astoria Park views

View from Astoria Park

Queens Kids Special Events

On the early evening of Friday, June 1st, join Wildlife Conservation Society at Queens Zoo to learn about birds, meet farm animals, and see other animals up close. Enjoy cookies and milk and a fun story at  Pajama Story Time – An Animal Tale.

Then, spend the morning at the Queens Zoo on Sunday, June 3rd for Family Breakfast: Keeping up with Keepers.  Meet a keeper and learn about what it takes to care for some amazing animals!

Bring the kids to a NY Mets game at Citi Field for Family Sundays.  Arrive early for the pre-game party with all kid friendly games and activities.  Stay until the end of the game to run around the bases with Mr. Met.

Queens Kids Soccer

superkickers queens

Soccer class in Astoria Park

Soccer, Soccer everywhere.

And Superkickers is truly everywhere with locations in Jackson Heights, Astoria, Long Island City, Middle Village and Sunnyside.  The gooooaaal is to have fun, learn new skills and build self-esteem for kids ages 18 months to 12 years old.

Or spend your summer with Long Island City Youth Soccer Academy which has locations in Astoria Park and Long Island City.  Soccer for Tots classes are especially designed for introducing kids ages 2-4 and ages 4-5 to the game.  Summer camps for tots ages 2-5 and older kids ages 6-15+ are designed for soccer loving kids.

 
 

Queens Kids Music and Dance

The DanceSource is a renowned Dance studio in the Rego Park/ Forest Hills area.  Classes include: Ballet, Modern, Gymnastics (Acrobatics), Tap, Hip Hop, Ballroom, Zumba, Martial Arts, Bollywood, Barata Nathyam, Georgian Dance and Yoga. And if you love to dance and are looking for a party venue, The DanceSource will host your Bat/Bar Mitzvah, Quincinera, birthday or Wedding dances.  The 6 week summer program Arts Dance Music Camp offers Art, Dance and Music and swimming.

New York Stage of Mind is a music school in the heart of Long Island City.  They offer private Piano LessonsSinging Classesand guitar lessons, as well as, Musical Theatre programs focused on acting, singing, and dancing.  Take your little ones to Tunez for Totz for a music introduction.

Maybe you don’t want to leave the comfort of your beautiful Queens home.  In that case, invite the Willan Academy of Music’s experienced teachers to give in-home Piano, Violin, Guitar, Singing, Saxophone, or Flute lessons that are personalized to your child’s individual needs.

Queens Kids Art, Music and Birthday Parties

Okabaloo Queens Kids

OKABALOO FunArtFaktory – Arts & Fun Center deserves its own category – an arts and fun factory for Kids.  Sign up for anything from puppet shows, to summer camp, to a “Lego Guru” class.  Or take advantage of their bright, spacious studio to host your next party event!  Astoria mom Samantha Shlimbaum said, “Okabaloo is unique… most spaces in Astoria are small, but Okabaloo is perfect  to invite friends and family.  Also, they partnered with Fiddle Foxes which performed at my daughters 1st birthday party. I highly recommend them!”  

Queens Zoo Summer Camp

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo in Flushing hosts frequent special weekend events such as mentioned above and offers summer camp for every age from Toddler Camp  to KinderZoo to Week of Wildlife to Zoo Explorer to Junior Scientist.  Don’t miss the zoo!

Skin Deep: Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder

body

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a condition that affects more than 1 in 100 people.  Though it can appear in children as young as five, it often begins in teen years and continues into adulthood if it’s left untreated.  Unfortunately, many people with BDD are too ashamed to speak about it, leaving them without ever receiving support. If you’re a parent with concerns about your own child showing signs of body dysmorphic disorder, here are some important facts about this widely misunderstood yet common condition:

  1. BDD is not a typical concern about weight. Seeking weight loss and supermodel looks is far from unusual in our culture and prevalent in individuals with eating disorders.  However, individuals with BDD are convinced that one or more specific areas or aspects of their body are deformed or extremely flawed, despite looking normal to others.  People with BDD often fixate on the areas around their head, such as their nose, hair, or the skin on their face, but any aspect of the body can become a focus.  In one type of BDD called “muscle dysmorphia,” individuals believe that they look too small and continuously obsess about having a more muscular body.
  2. BDD is related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Individuals with BDD spend hours each day obsessing about particular areas of their body and then engage in behaviors that are similar to compulsions in response to their concerns.  Their compulsions typically involve either frequently looking at or avoiding looking at an area of the body, repeatedly seeking reassurance from others about how they look, and/or getting multiple cosmetic procedures to try to correct the imagined flaw.  They may go to dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons often as they try to improve their appearance, however no procedure can address their psychological experience.
  3. BDD can affect anyone. Cases of BDD have been reported in children as young as 5 and adults as old as 80.  Although it occurs slightly more often in women, it is almost as common in men as it is in women.  BDD has also been found in people across different cultures and ethnicities.
  4. BDD can interrupt all aspects of a person’s life. Individuals with BDD may be so self-conscious about how they look that they completely avoid social interactions.  This may mean that they remain home and do not go to work or school.  Adults with BDD have a higher rate of unemployment than the general population.  They often have limited contact with friends and family.  When they are with others, they continue to be preoccupied with their perceived flaw.
  5. BDD takes a large emotional toll. Most people with BDD will also experience depression secondary to their body image concerns.  Many also experience thoughts of suicide and are between 6 to 23 times more likely to attempt suicide than the average person.  People will BDD also are more vulnerable to struggle with anxiety and substance use problems.  The high-likelihood of additional psychological concerns with BDD further highlight the need for these individuals to receive treatment.
  6. BDD is treatable.  People of all ages with BDD can benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  However, as there are a number of complicating factors in BDD, such a suicidality, it is important to find a therapist with expertise in this condition.  In addition, serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) such as Prozac, have been found to be effective in treating BDD.  If your child is showing signs of BDD, you can ask your pediatrician about obtaining an evaluation by a mental health professional with expertise in this condition, who can help determine whether they require treatment.

hassFrom the Real Experts at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Michelle Miller, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychology at NYU Langone Health. She practices at the Child Study Center, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, in the NYC and New Jersey locations.  Dr. Miller specializes in the treatment of body dysmorphic disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, tic disorders, and selective mutism.

Summer Camps in Murray Hill & UES

Last week, we featured summer camps in Downtown Manhattan, so now let’s head uptown and East.  Murray Hill  is a neighborhood in midtown Manhattan on the East side.  Full of families and boasting tons of restaurants and parks and tree-lined streets, this neighborhood is a great place to spend the day.  Go farther up the 6 train and you hit the Upper East Side, which is well-known for its kid-friendly activities.


Summer Camps in Midtown East/Murray Hill

Summer camps in Murray Hill Midtown Manhattan

Midtown Movement and Dance Company

Cultivate a passion for dance through music and creative movement, while establishing the foundation of ballet technique.  Classes are led by Miss Jackie. Camp runs Jul 30th 2018 – Aug 10th 2018. Mon-Fri 9am-12pm.

Sign up per week:

Sign up per day:

 

CenterStage

Performing arts classes for kids all summer culminating in an end-of-semester performance for your children’s biggest fans (you!). Sign up any or all weeks Jun 18th 2018 – Aug 24th 2018.

Sign up by age:

 

The Goddard School

Bring learning and FUN! to your young children’s pre-school experience.  Weekly themes include Engineering, Acting, Cooking, Soccer, Filmmaking, and so much more.  Field Trips each week and Splash Day on Friday. Age: 5 years and under.  Camp runs Jun 18th – Aug 30th 2018.   Mon-Fri 9am-4pm; inquire about half day option.

 

Physique Swimming

With NORY, this is an unique Swim and STEM summer camp.  Children ages 4 to 11 years can swim in the morning, then have lunch followed by an afternoon of STEM activities.   A half day Morning Camp Swim with Physique Swimming option is also available. Camp runs Jun 25th-Aug 31st 2018.

Sign up per week:

 

NORY

NYC’s premier STEM Camp for aspiring innovators ages 3 – 12.   NORY offers 3 camps, including its partner camp with Physique Swimming.  All camps run Jun 18th 2018 – Aug 17th 2018.

 


Summer Camps in the Upper East Side

Summer camps in Upper East Side Manattan

Claire’s Creative Adventures

Summer camp explores new artists and museum exhibitions throughout the summer.  This culminates in a wrap-up Friday museum art-making tour to see the artists discussed all summer.  Register for any one of the 3 weeks of June camp; each week is different. 9:30-12:30 session only. Jun 11th 2018 – Jun 29th 2018.

 

Kids In Sports

Two options: (1) Indoor Camp Ages 2.5-6 years held at Temple Israel (112 E. 75th St.) (2) Outdoor Camp Ages 4 up to 9 years held at Randalls Island.  Activities include Baseball, Football, Soccer, Basketball, Floor Hockey, and Volleyball, arts and crafts, story-time, and more. Children can participate in any or all weeks.  

 

Kids in the Game

Summer camp for boys and girls entering Pre-K4 to 8th grade. Some of the activities and trips kids will enjoy: – Sports, Arts & Crafts, Day Trips, Music, Dance & Yoga, Tennis, Swimming, Yankees and Mets Games, Transit Museum, Intrepid Museum, Bronx Zoo, New York Botanical Gardens.  Camp runs Jul 2nd 2018 – Aug 10th 2018.

 

Launch Math + Science Centers

Provide toddlers to tweens with inspiring math instruction and STEM-based summer camps.  Real-life rocket scientist, Scott Heifetz, founded Launch with one mission in mind: Inspire children to love and learn math and science.  

Sign up by area of interest:

Best Mother’s Day in NYC

Mother’s Day NYC Kidz Central Station

Mother’s Day in NYC  is a wonderful time to explore family activities all over the city.  Let the celebrations begin next Saturday, on to Sunday, and carryover all the way to the following Sunday!  You can never do enough to appreciate Mom.  Below is a roundup of the best events in NYC.
 

SATURDAY, MAY 12TH

Mother’s Day Breakfast (ages 3+ with adult)

Mother’s Day NYC Prospect Park Zoo

Wildlife Conservation Society – Prospect Park Zoo, 9am-11am.   Meet in the zoo before it opens, enjoy a light breakfast, meet an animal close up, and help prepare special treats for the animal moms!

 

Mother’s Day Tea Party Workshop

Mother’s Day NYC Taste Buds Kitchen

Taste Buds Kitchen – Chelsea, 9am-10am.  This class is designed for kids and parents to cook together.    Make melt-in-your-mouth Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze and brew a refreshing Sun Tea.  Festive Tea Party attire welcome.

 

Make Mom a Makeup Pouch – Sewing Workshop

Mother’s Day NYC The Fashion Class

The Fashion Class – Midtown West, 3:30-5:30pm. Kids will create a make-up bag or carry-all pouch with zipper and decorations for mom.  The class is perfect for everyone from beginners to advanced sewers.  The workshop begins with a sewing lesson on Singer Sewing machines.  Students learn to cut and pin fabric before sewing.

 

Mother’s Day Parent-Child Workshop: Cherry Blossom Trees

Claire’s Creative Adventures– UES, 4-5:30pm.
Children make a family tree or a beautiful sculpture to don any room!  Join your child in making hands-on projects using unique materials.
**Register by May 11th for this special Mother’s Day event.**

 

 

Mother’s Day with Mozart for Munchkins

Mozart for Munchkins – UWS, 4-5pm. Fun family concert featuring a variety of classical favorites including Vivaldi, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, and sing-along favorites!

**SAVE 10% WITH COUPON CODE MOZARTMOM**

 

 SUNDAY, MAY 13TH – Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day Celebration (Ages 3-10 with adult)

Mother’s Day NYC Central Park ZooWildlife Conservation Society – Central Park, 9am-10:30pm.   Families meet animal moms and their babies, make them treats, go on a scavenger hunt, and meet an animal guest. Then make a special Mother’s Day craft and enjoy a treat.

 

Family Brunch Celebrating Moms! (All Ages)

Wildlife Conservation Society – Queens Zoo, 11:30am-1:30pm.  Enjoy a light breakfast and explore the animals. Children will make a fun craft for their moms and the staff will take pictures of the family as a keepsake. All moms receive a gift!

Mother’s Day Tea Party Workshop

Mother’s Day NYC Taste Buds Kitchen

Taste Buds Kitchen – Chelsea, 9am-10am.  This Mother’s Day class is designed for kids and parents to cook together.    Make melt-in-your-mouth Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze and brew a refreshing Sun Tea.  Festive Tea Party attire welcome.

 

Mother’s Day with Mozart for Munchkins!

Mother’s Day NYC Mozart for Munchkins

Mozart for Munchkins – UES, 4-5pm. Fun family concert featuring a variety of classical favorites including Vivaldi, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, and some sing-along favorites!

**SAVE 10% WITH COUPON CODE MOZARTMOM**

 

 SUNDAY, MAY 20TH

A Mommy Puppet Show

 Mother’s Day NYC Okabaloo

OKABALOO FunArtFaktory – Arts & Fun Center –  Long Island City, 10-10:45am.  It’s a Mommy and Me show date dedicated to “Mother’s Month.”  Enjoy a 45 minute interactive puppet show full of laughs and surprises.

Summer Camps in Downtown Manhattan

Downtown Manhattan – which includes the Financial District, Battery Park, and Tribeca –  has become one of the most family friendly areas of NYC in the past decade.  Check out these great summer camp options in this bustling downtown area.


Play On! Studios is a theater enrichment studio providing a music and theater summer camp.

Summer Camp NYC Play On! Studios

  • Who? Kids age 4 to 9 years(grades K-4)
  • Where? 25 Pine Street
  • What? Creative Drama Camp.  Your campers will experience rehearsing and putting together a show and end with a performance in front of family and friends.
  • Kidz Tips:
    1. Innovative methods that kids love
    2. Caring, expert instructors
    3. Develop a love for music and theater

Quad Manhattan offers a special education summer camp experience.

  • Who? twice exceptional (2e) Summer Camp NYC Quad Manhattanchildren age 5 to 15+ years
  • Where? 25 Pine Street, 4th FL
  • What? Quad Summer Camp blends emotional, social, and executive functioning skill training with fun camp activities such as Field Trips, Outdoor Play, Capoeira, Technology, Animation, Filmmaking, Cooking, Theater and Improv Games, STEM, and much more.

Launch Math + Science Centers provide math instruction and STEM-based summer camps.

  • Who?  Toddlers to tweensSummer Camp NYC LAUNCH MATH
  • Where? 124 Hudson Street, Tribeca Community School

 NORY and Physique Swimming partner for this unique Summer Camp at Pine Street School combining a morning swim program and afternoon STEM based activities.

Summer Camp NYC NORY PHYSIQUE Swimming

  • Who? Kids ages 4 – 11
  • Where? Pine Street School, 25 Pine Street
  • What? Swim & STEM Summer Camp.  Campers swim daily with Physique for a full hour of instructional swim with 15 minutes of fun.  After lunch its NORY time! Robot Building, Motion & Matter Physics, Blast Chemistry, Builder’s Engineer and sports in the afternoon.
  • Kidz Tips
    1. No prior swim experience necessary
    2. Daily lunch provided
    3. Optional Extended Care (4-6PM)

And for our youngest group…

Jewish Community Project (JCP) Downtown is a summer play group for toddlers and their grownups.

  • Who? Ages 11–25 months Summer Camp at JCP NYC
  • Where? 146 Duane Street
  • What? Summer Play Together  is led by children’s musician and JCPlay teacher Suzi Shelton. Using her ukelele, Suzi incorporates music and movement into each class.
  • When? Tuesday & Thursdays 9:15–10:30 AM; June 12 to July 19 (No classes July 3 and 5)

Best Bets for Brooklyn Kids

brooklyn6

Has everyone noticed that the Brooklyn Kids scene is thriving? We certainly have here at Kidz Central Station. Well, it is our job to notice…but even if it weren’t, Brooklyn kids activities are on our radar. So, if you’re a Brooklynite, then grab a slice of the world’s best pizza and learn all about the activities in your backyard. If you live outside of Brooklyn or are visiting, then head on over the iconic Brooklyn Bridge (after pausing to take in the incredible views) and prepare for a full day of fun for your kids.


Brooklyn Kids Events

Brooklyn Kids events

Boot Camp for New Dads  is a 3 hour class hosted by NYU Langone Medical Center in Brooklyn that prepares men to be dads. Veteran dads demonstrate the basics of newborn care—from burping and changing to soothing a crying baby. Other topics include supporting moms,  bonding, work hours, forming a parenting team, safety, and dealing with relatives.

Project Playdate specializes in unique 3 hour drop-off group playdates for kids, which include free play, dinner, arts and crafts, story time, dance time, movie time, and more.  On May 18th, take part in the Kidville Park Slope Drop Off Pajama Party.

Music for Autism hosts FREE concerts for individuals with autism or special needs and their friends, families, and loved ones. Kids dance in the aisles and play musical instruments as they enjoy the featured musical act. Snacks are provided! The next event at the Park Slope Library is Saturday, July 21st.


Brooklyn Kids Summer Camps

Brooklyn kids summer camps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prospect Park Zoo is on the eastern side of Prospect Park near the Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Windsor Terrace, and Crown Heights neighborhoods. Both Prospect Park Zoo and New York Aquarium have several weekday summer camps to choose from for your explorers.

We raved about Fruiggie Organic Arts & Crafts Studio in our Earth Day blog and it’s worth taking a another look at their wonderful creative, eco-friendly Brooklyn kids summer camp in Bed/Stuy. Weekly themes include paper making, DIY musical instruments, DIY nature jewelry, vegan cooking, DIY school supplies, and more. Students also dance, sing and play while learning the importance of recycling, upcycling and connecting with nature. Bonus: Healthy organic, vegan snacks and drinks/smoothies included!

Kids in the Game, which has many camp locations throughout NYC, has a Brooklyn kids camp – Park Slope Summer Camp 2018. Lots of fun activities including, Sports, Arts & Crafts, Music, Dance, Yoga, Swimming and more. Special field trips take place to Yankees and Mets Games, the Transit Museum, Intrepid Museum, Bronx Zoo, and New York Botanical Gardens. This summer camp offers many great activities for boys and girls entering Pre-K4 to 8th grade.

Aviator Sports and Events Center has a Brooklyn kids summer day camp in Floyd Bennett Field. As mentioned in our Swim classes blog, this co-ed camp is spacious and has every activity/field trip your child could want. Camp is divided into four divisions; Junior Camp, Younger Division, Older Division and Teen Division. Each division has 15 campers, 2 general counselors, 1 head counselor, and a division counselor, thus providing very specialized attention. All activities are developed through the Project Based Learning curriculum as recommended by NY Department of Education standards. Inquire about the bus service option.


Brooklyn Kids Classes

Brooklyn kids classes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YokeyPokey Virtual Reality Club brings VR to everyone through private parties and events at either their location in Boerum Hill a block away from Barclays center or to a location of your choice. Examples of fun party play via 360 degree videos and VR gaming include fighting zombies, driving race cars, or traveling the world. A new STEM class called VR Architechts and after-school and holiday break classes are available for kids.

Ajna Dance Company teaches kids (ages 4-8) Bollywood and Indian classical dance in Gowanus/Park Slope. Kids learn basic body awareness and movement, storytelling, authentic technique, and choreography.

Willan Academy of Music provides In-Home Music Lessons personalized to your child’s individual needs. Learn Piano, Violin, Guitar, Singing, Saxophone, or Flute in a relaxed environment with experienced teachers. Also, get your friends together because group intro classes are available.

Not just a summer camp, Aviator Sports offers several individual classes for sporty and active kids in Brooklyn. Basketball, Flag football, Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, Ice Skating, Soccer, Special Needs Gymnastics, Performing Arts, and Fitness are all available classes. If you’re still not convinced, there are an arcade, food court, sports bar, events rooms, and FREE parking for us parents!

swim classes for kids in NYC

Swim Classes & Camps for NYC Kids

Finding swim classes may seem like a daunting task when you are raising your kids in New York CIty.  Yet, the city has excellent options for swim classes and camps whether you are looking for your babies, toddlers, or older kids.  Here are great choices to help you find the right program for your kids and help them become confident swimmers.  

FREE Swim Event

Upper East Side

Asphalt Green will host its Big Swim Big Kick event on Saturday, April 28 from 11:00 AM – 4:30 PM. Kids ages 6-10 can participate in a swim race and soccer festival as part of the nonprofit’s annual fundraising event.  The swim races for kids start at 12:00 PM.

The event will also feature meet-and-greets with five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Dana Vollmer and University of Florida women’s head soccer coach Becky Burleigh. Participants receive a medal, a t-shirt, and ice cream.

REGISTER here for Big Swim Big Kick  

Swim Classes

Bowling Green, FIDI, LES, East Village, Midtown East, Midtown West, UES, Harlem

Physique Swimming has every level possible from Beginner under age 5 to Swim Team Prep for kids age 6+.  You will be hard pressed to find a bad review of Physique’s expert swim classes.  Their program is designed to advance young swimmers from one level to the next as they progress at their own speed.  Physique also offers a summer camp co-hosted with Nory (see below) and Mommy/Daddy and me classes.

physiquenory

Summer Camp

Battery Park/FIDI/Tribeca, Midtown East

If you’re looking for a full-day camp with a unique combo of Swim Classes and STEM learning, this summer camp partnership between NORY and Physique Swimming is your dream come true.  This camp was a huge success last summer and they are back for a second year.  Your kids can learn to swim and make robots!

 Brooklyn

Aviator Sports and Events Center Summer Day Camp is located within Floyd Bennett Field in aviatorswimBrooklyn.  This is the place you imagine when you think of summer camp – a wide open space with the whole gamut of activities. Aviator offers swim classes and much more including, dance, music, nature, yoga, fencing, soccer, basketball, rock climbing, STEM, gymnastics, etc. There are field trips and Carnival Day.  Your kids will forget that they are city kids at this rewarding summer experience.

Rewarding Kids for Good Behavior: A Bad Idea? (Part 2 of 2)

Close Up Of Girl Eating Iced Donut

Two weeks ago, we began a two-part series that aims to provide information to parents about rewards and how to use them strategically and systematically to teach children skills and modify behaviors. Our first post discussed common parental concerns about rewarding kids for good behavior. This week’s will focus on how to use a reward system effectively.

1. Define the target behavior and set up attainable goals. This involves planning what behavior(s) you want to target over time and then defining the behavior so it is specific, observable, measurable, positively-stated, and attainable:

Specific and Observable:
Avoid using vague terms that cannot be measured such as “Behaving,” “Listening,” or “Being nice.” Instead try “Staying next to parent outside of home,” “Using kind words with brother and sister.” Make sure the target behavior can be observed directly by anyone observing including a parent, nanny, or sitter.

Measurable: The next step is to make sure the goals are measurable. Make sure to focus on behavior and to avoid using thoughts and feelings in the goal because these internal states can’t be quantified by an observer. Also, make sure your goal has parameters like a time of day, number of reminders, or quantifiable amount. For instance, “Completing homework accurately,” could be defined as “Completing homework with at least 75% accuracy.”

Positively-Stated: After goals are specific and observable, they should be reworded if needed to ensure they are positively-stated. Positively-stated goals tell a child what to do instead of what not to do. For example: “Using a big boy voice,” or “Using an appropriate tone of voice,” can be used instead of “Not whining.”

Attainable: 
It’s important to set the target so it’s an improvement over where your child started but not so hard that it’s impossible. You want to find the right balance so you don’t reward things they are already doing and also don’t make it so difficult that they lose interest and your chart starts to collect dust. Adding a set number of reminders or specifying a small timeframe can help make challenging goals more attainable. Then when a child is successful, parents can make the target harder, which shapes the goal closer to the parents’ desired outcome. For instance, a goal of “Keeping hands and feet to self with 2 or fewer reminders in the afternoon,” can be changed to “1 or fewer reminders” after a child is consistently successful with 2 reminders.

2. Select Appropriate Rewards. Once targets are set, parents need to establish rewards based on their child’s preferences. Parents should brainstorm privileges, activities, and tangible items that would be enjoyable for their child. Examples of privileges or activities are extra screen time, extra story time, a board game with a parent, a craft or activity with a parent, a later bedtime, or an outing. Tangible items can include stickers, small prizes in a grab bag or treasure chest, a special treat, or items a child wants such as Pokemon cards, Legos, downloading a song or game, or gift cards. Parents should make sure the reward is something the child does not already get for free, such as offering an additional 20 minutes of screen time when current screen time is unlimited. They will also want to make sure they are comfortable withholding the rewards if the child does not earn them. For instance, a parent who is trying to help a child make more friends may not want to use play-dates as a reward. In general, younger children and children who have trouble waiting respond best to daily rewards and older children can wait for larger rewards.

3. Preparing Your Child: It’s important to prepare your child in advance by discussing briefly during a calm time. In this discussion you would want to let your child know what he or she will be working on and why, review how rewards can be earned and what types of rewards will be provided. You will also want to get input from the child about rewards.

4. Starting the Program, Giving Feedback, and Monitoring Progress: Once you start the system, it’s important to monitor and give feedback consistently after every opportunity to earn. Feedback should be praise when your child meets the goal and neutral feedback when he or she does not. For instance, positive feedback could be, “Great job getting dressed on your own with only one reminder.  You earned something from your reward list.”  Alternatively, on a tougher day, feedback could be, “I had to give you three reminders to get dressed today so you didn’t earn your reward.  We’ll try again tomorrow.”  You could also help problem solve with your child any difficulties depending on their age and ability.  In addition to regular verbal feedback, formally tracking progress is important to assess the effects of the program and determine next steps.  Having a visual such as tokens, a marble jar, or a behavior chart with stars or stickers helps the child understand the system and their progress. Visuals also can be important cues to busy parents that remind them to use the system.  In addition to providing a visual cue, behavior charts are particularly helpful for tracking progress over time to help parents decide when to make the goal easier or harder.

5. Troubleshooting: A number of problems can come up with reward systems. It’s important to consider several causes if your child is not responding or was responding and then stopped. One possible problem is your child’s motivation. Consider whether they are motivated by the reward, if the reward is too far in the future, and if the reward is something they already get for free. Sometimes refreshing the reward menu periodically can significantly help motivation and prevent a child from getting bored of the system. For children who are hard to motivate, pay attention to how they are spending their free time and what they are asking for. Some children are very motivated by parent attention and respond best to individual time with a parent or parent-child activities.  If it’s not a motivation problem, parents should consider whether they are giving regular and clear feedback consistently and should take steps to improve consistency by using reminders on a phone and/or placing the chart in a visible area. For parents with children who argue about their behavior, parents should make sure their feedback is given right when they see a behavior, let their child know that parent decisions are final, and then ignore arguing consistently.

Behavior charts can be very effective in changing behavior over time when used correctly. If you’ve tried these steps without positive results, you may want to consider professional guidance.

hassFrom the Real Experts at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Stephanie M. Wagner, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. She serves as the co-director of the Early Childhood Clinical Service at the Child Study Center, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

Earth Day Kids’ Activities

Kidz Central Station Earth Day

Earth Day is Sunday, April 22, 2018.  Did you know that Earth Day was started in 1970 to spotlight environmental causes and now is the largest globally celebrated non-religious event?  It’s never too early to get our kids involved and there are many activities for them in NYC this weekend.  Get moving!

Earth Day Activities in NYC

EvFruiggie 2ery day is Earth Day at Fruiggie, a 100% organic, eco-friendly, non-toxic creative space in Brooklyn with art classes and workshops for children.  Fruiggie uses recycled supplies in most arts and crafts projects and even edible paint.  Explore your child’s creativity in making a unique nature collage that uses cereal boxes, twigs, leaves, flowers, and bottle caps to make beautiful landscapes.  Fruiggie offers art classes and an eco-art camp for the summer.

Check out your local New York Public Library branch for various activities this Friday and Saturday.  From eco-crafts classes to storytime for toddlers to science projects for teens, there’s something for the whole family.  Our partner Art Farm in the City will be giving a LIVE animal presentation at Epiphany Library on Friday.

On Saturday, take a walk through the cherry blossom festival at Randall’s Island.  Lots of kid-friendly activities—face painting, kite flying, and even “yoyo balloon fishing.”   We’re going just to find out what that is.

Start your Sunday with a yummy family breakfast at the Queens Zoo.  The Wildlife Conservation Society has prepared a full day for families to visit the animals and take part in projects such as planting flowers or building birdhouses to teach our kids how to support local wildlife.  Or, if you’re near the Staten Island Zoo, try out their eco-crafts and hands-on activities to celebrate Earth Day.

Drive over (or back) to Manhattan and teach your young fashionistas to “upcycle” old clothes into new eco-fashion.  The Fashion Class will help budding designers and beginners take a button down shirt and transform it into a fabulous dress.  Sounds like a great way to channel our kids’ ingenuity.

Let’s get our kids involved this Earth Day and make them leaders in caring for our planet!