Category Archives: kids activities

Try a Kids’ Class for Winter on Kidz Central Station!

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 8.43.49 AMWhile it may seem like the fall class season has only just started, winter will be here before we know it. During fall it was easy—schedule a class or two for your kids and spend the rest of the time letting them run around on the playground until their hearts’ content. But winter is a different story. Windy, cold, snowy days can make the days seem endless, especially if you don’t have any structured activities on schedule. So NOW is a great time to try a class, so you can be armed and ready with the best winter classes for kids when the cold arrives. Here’s how Kidz Central Station can help:

1. The site makes it quick and easy to find and book trial classes at kids’ programs throughout NYC! Use our search engine to select important criteria such as your child’s age, a convenient location, and a desired activity; check the box for trial classes; and click the button to find the best winter classes for kids!

Two Children Painting Picture At Home2. You’ll find new and unique kids’ activities that you never knew existed! In preparation for winter your child can try a class in fencing, robotics, coding, painting, theater, swim, and more!

3. Forget about unwieldy registration forms just to TRY a class! Instead, join Kidz Central Station, fill out your information once, and try as many classes as you like. Plus, once you’ve enrolled your child in a trial class, signing up for the semester is a breeze. You can enroll for the whole class via the same link you used for the trial class.

And of course, we’re always here to help you find a class or enroll—email us any time at info@kidzcentralstation.com. So get ready for winter, and try a class via Kidz Central Station now!

5 NYC Gems for Open Play

standard_IMG_2947WWNow that it’s getting colder outside, finding an indoor spot for open play is a must—especially when your kids (and you) have been climbing the walls from being home all day. If you don’t have a go-to spot, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite NYC spots for open play—places that offer dedicated time for kids to run around, explore, and play the day away!

TLB Music
TLB’s playroom is every kid’s dream: an indoor play space with slides, a play kitchen and market, soft blocks, a rock climbing mountain, ride-on cars, a reading nook, puzzles . . . the list goes on. Open seven days a week, parents can visit this Upper East Side favorite at their convenience, and purchase single visits or five-packs in advance.

FullSizeRender (12)The Playroom NYC
This awesome facility is relatively new to the Upper East Side, and offers a super cool space to climb, slide, play pretend, and more! It’s open seven days a week, so it’s a great go-to for free time on weekdays or a rainy weekend afternoon. Play passes are $30 each, which includes two hours of playroom fun (and siblings are discounted!). Plus, there are classes in music, art, Legos, and more offered here, too, if you’re looking for a little more structure for your child’s play session.

Gymtime
A state-of-the-art gym on the Upper East Side, Gymtime is known for a variety of great classes for kids of all ages. While the program doesn’t offer open play all day long or for every child, anyone enrolled in the Tiny Tots program (age 7–18 months) gets unlimited complimentary open play during designated hours of the week. Parents/caregivers and kids can drop in at their leisure for play time in the Tiny Tot mini gym, which includes, slides, mats, mini trampolines, and more.

Little Peep Prep
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This downtown program has open play classes for all ages, so you choose between a mixed age or babies-only open play session depending on your child’s age and developmental stage! In their New Baby Play session, bring you baby age four to eight months to their warm, inviting space for developmentally appropriate activities and parent discussion, and in the Big Baby Play session, kids age eight to 12 months can crawl, cruise, and play around at their leisure! Or, if you have siblings or like the idea of a mixed age class, Little Peep Prep’s Neighborhood Friends class offers kids 10 months to four years the chance to read, play pretend, create artistic masterpieces, and more!

14th Street Y
14th Street Y has tons of classes for kids—in music, language, baby development, and more. And beyond these specialized activities, this program also offers an open play class three times a week called Indoor Playground—which is exactly what it is. Children can run, climb, slide, and jump in the Y’s padded playroom, while parents and caregivers can meet and socialize for an hour or so.

Add These 6 Fall Drop-In Activities to Your List

While it’s great to enroll your kids in a handful of semester activities, it’s also nice to have a free day (or two) for play dates, relaxing at home, and drop-in activities. Our lives are so scheduled these days, it’s nice to not always have to plan so far ahead!

If you’re looking for an activity or two that doesn’t require scheduling months in advance, here are a few of our picks for drop-in classes—from unique activities that are new to the site this season to favorites we’ve had on Kidz Central Station for some time now.

The Brand New:

Krav Maga Experts
If you’ve never heard of it before, Krav Maga is a self-defense style based on Israeli military principles—and Krav Maga experts, located in the East Village and Upper West Side, offers classes for kids! Sessions here help children improve balance, self-esteem, discipline, and focus, and sharpen insight and intuition when avoiding and escaping potentially-harmful predicaments. This class is great for kids age four and up!

Manhattan Fencing Center
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Let your child take a “stab” at fencing this fall! Manhattan Fencing Center is home to the Olympic Silver Medal Saber Team (Beijing), three top eight finishers in the London Olympics, and many members of the U.S. National Men’s and Women’s Saber Team—so the instructiors here really know what they’re doing. With an intro package here, kids age seven and up will learn the basics through two private lessons and two group lessons—plus equipment! Classes take place in Manhattan Fencing Center’s Midtown West location and can be scheduled when it’s convenient for your child.

RESOBOX
This Long Island City program offers an array of unique drop-in classes in the Japanese arts. Kids as young as five can pop in to learn awesome skills such as Manga Drawing and Animation, Crocheting and Amigurumi Making, and Japanese Classical Dance—classes you can’t find just anywhere! The program also offers traditional Japanese Karate classes taught by an expert instructor, for those interested in martial arts. Most classes are scheduled for after school, so they will fit perfectly into any child’s school schedule.

The Good Old:

standard_silviya_12_10_classEvolution Enrichment Center
If you’re looking for a drop-in class and live downtown, this place truly has it all. Located on the Lower East Side, Evolution Enrichment Center offers some great and interesting classes for kids age two and up. From a music class focused on songs around the world to Rhythmic Gymnastics—their signature class—there is so many different activities for kids to try. This fall, they are also offering a Gifted and Talented test prep class that uses SMART Boards, touch screen technology, and hands-on manipulatives to prepare little ones for entrance into the G&T program.

Music with James
Music with James is just what the name implies—small, intimate music classes with James Humphrey, a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and pianist, who for the past ten years has been performing at children’s events and leading music classes throughout Manhattan. At each class he plays a variety of different musical styles and instruments, while children age four months to four years sing, dance, shake maracas, and play along. Classes take place in Murray Hill and can be bought one at a time or in packs of ten—so you can sign up and drop-in as you please.

The Art Farm in the City
The Art Farm - Birthday Party
While The Art Farm is known for it’s awesome semester classes, luckily for all of us, they also offer two different drop-in sessions at their Upper East Side location—Open Play Time and Fun Fridays on the Farm! Open Play Time is offered Monday through Thursday afternoons and includes animal time, arts and crafts, and creative play in the playroom, and, as the name implies, Fun Fridays on the Farm is on Friday mornings, and kids can enjoy baking, arts/crafts, music, singing, and plenty of cuddling with animals. If you live in Midtown there’s a class for you as well—The Art Farm has teamed up with Creative Dream Parties for a drop-in Play Time with Animals class on Thursdays!

It’s Fall! Here Are 10 Musts for Kids’ Classes This Season

While we’re all pretty sad that summer has come to an end, there’s so much good that comes with the fall: cool, crisp days spent outside (ok not today, but soon enough!); beautiful foliage; fun fall activities (think apple picking, hay rides, and more); and of course, the start of fall kids’ classes! If you need a few recos to get your family ready for the new season, here are some great picks that will make the fall the most fun season of all!

Jodi’s Gymstandard__DSC0128. This Upper East Side program has it all when it comes to gymnastics for little ones (age eight months to eight years). Weekly classes get kids running, jumping, and tumbling all season long, and offer just the right exercises and activities for every age and skill level. Plus, members are entitled to enjoy three free playtimes each week (that’s over 50 per semester!). So hurry up and enroll—classes start September 14!

Soc Roc. Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean children can’t enjoy classes outside in the fresh air. Soc Roc offers awesome soccer classes in great outdoor venues such as Manhattan’s Central Park, McCarren Park and Bushwick Inlet Park in Brooklyn, and Astoria Park in Queens! This program allows kids of all ages to learn the basics of soccer while having a blast with their peers. And if outdoor classes aren’t right for your child, Soc Roc also offers indoor classes in various NYC neighborhoods. Classes start over throughout next two weeks!

Physique Swimminghi res-girls with paddleboards. Although swim season will soon be a distant memory, kids can enjoy swim classes all year long with Physique Swimming! Not only does this program offer classes for all ages, but it also has locations throughout the city, including FiDi, Lower East Side, Midtown East and West, Upper East Side, and the Upper West Side. The classes help little ones get comfortable with the water, and teach basic skills such as splashing and blowing bubbles. So what are you waiting for? Classes start this week!

StageCoach Theatre Arts. Kids can be so dramatic sometimes, so why not let them channel their drama through a theater arts class? Offering weekend sessions on the Upper East Side, StageCoach has classes for kids age 4–14, where students spend an hour and a half singing, dancing, acting, and building self-confidence through group acting, solo work, and participation in an original play. It’s a great opportunity for your child to test his or her acting chops, and the perfect time for you to run a few weekend errands, all the while knowing your little one is happy and having fun. Classes start September 12!

Chocolate Works Upper East Sidestandard_sushi. With tons of fall workshops for kids age three and up, Chocolate Works is a delicious spot on the Upper East Side where kids learn to make sweet treats and use their imaginations at the same time. The store hosts regular workshops on both weekends and weekdays that teach kids how to make and decorate lollipops, chocolate pizza, candy bars, and even candy sushi! The program also hosts special holiday-themed classes (like Rosh Hashanah coming up!), so there are lots of options for everyone’s schedule.

The Art Farm in the City. One of the only kids’ programs in NYC to focus on nature and animals, The Art Farm in the City is a favorite on the Upper East Side. Kids as young as six months old can drop in for Play Time or enjoy a great variety of semester classes, such as their signature Rocks, Smocks, and Animals class or Farm Foodies Cooking Class. The fall session start this week, so reserve your child’s seat now!

JCC in ManhattanHappy little boy playing in playroom. Located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the JCC in Manhattan offers a tons of kids’ classes in ballet, sports, tumbling, tennis, and more—so no matter what you’re looking for, this program is sure to have it! They even offer weekly Little Maestros classes, the popular kids’ music program that started on the Upper East Side. If you live on the Upper West Side, this one is a no brainer.

Gymboree. This popular program is known for its Play & Learn enrichment classes, where babies learn developmental skills and are exposed to music, movement, and age-appropriate activities. But beyond this great program, Gymboree offers a whole lot more: art, music, and even preschool prep classes! There are many locations throughout Manhattan, so no matter where you live, there is sure to be a Gymboree nearby.

14th Street Ystandard_Musical_Notes_with_Nathan. If music is your child’s thing, you’ll find no shortage of great options at the 14th Street Y. Classes like Rock-a-Baby and Boogie with Brett incorporate songs, instruments, musical stories, and more and let kids age 12 months to three and a half years rock out. Beyond music you’ll find, sports, tumbling, language and more, as well as drop-ins for new parents looking for support or to get in shape after baby! Classes start September 14.

92Y. This Upper East Side program truly has it all—there are hundreds of classes available for babies, toddlers, kids, teens, and even adults. From perennial favorites like swimming and gymnastics, to unique options such as songwriting and classes focusing on twins, kids come from all over NYC to take classes here. The fall session starts throughout September, so you’re sure to find a class that works for your child’s busy schedule.

Request a Class Via Kidz Central Station

With fall registration well underway, we are trying to do everything we can here at Kidz Central Station to make it easy-peasy for parents to find the best classes for their kids and quickly enroll. Not only can you email us any time at info@kidzcentralstation.com, we’ve just added a brand new feature!

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 4.09.19 PMUsing our new Request a Class function, you can now request class recommendations for a variety of activities by simply filling out a quick form (it will literally take you five seconds) and pressing submit. We’ll then respond back to you with suggestions for your child as soon as we can! Looking for a music class for your infant? Request a class here. How about a cooking class for a five-year-old girl? Click here. We know how busy parents are, so our hope is that we can better help parents to navigate through all of the interesting and unique classes on the site for fall. And of course, if you’re a DIY-er, it’s super easy to search Kidz Central Station by class type, age, location, price, and more to find the perfect activity for your child this fall!

Happy searching!

 

 

Which NYC Kids’ Program Is Right For My Child?

Two Children Painting Picture At HomeWhile it’s great that NYC offers so many amazing enrichment programs where little ones can learn and play, it can be daunting to sort through all of the options to figure out which kids’ program is best for your child—especially since the “right” activity changes so much with age. And if you’re new to the whole parenting thing, a million questions can stop you in your tracks: Is three months old too young for music classes? Will a four-year-old girl enjoy soccer? Are there classes for parents too?

If you still don’t know what classes are right for your child this fall, we’re here to help! Here is an age-by-age breakdown of the best kids’ programs in NYC for every age.

0-3 months: While your baby is too young for most NYC kids’ programs, at this point it’s important to find a scheduled activity where you can meet fellow new parents and have a reason to actually get dressed and leave the apartment. Try a new parent support group (like Big City Moms’ New Moms Support Group), which is great for making friends and sharing experiences. Or, for a class that’s good for both the mind and body, try the postnatal yoga classes at programs like Prenatal Yoga Center and the 92Y.

Baby girl and her mother playing at home3-6 months: Your baby is becoming more alert and moving around now, so a music and movement class, such as Little Maestros, Kids Music Round, and Music for Aardvarks will expose your child to singing, rhythm, and songs he or she will be singing for years to come. Another great option at this stage is a baby development class (i.e. Gymboree’s Play & Learn classes or Creative Play for Kids’ Bouncing and Busy Babies) which will nurture your child’s early gross and fine motor development.

6-12 months: At this stage, your baby is probably crawling, walking, or on his or her way! This is the perfect age for a tumbling class. A semester at programs like MAGIC or the JCC Manhattan will let your little one crawl and climb, stretch and step, and continue to enjoy rhythm and song. Keep the music classes going too! Don’t want to commit to another semester-long class? Try a drop-in like Music with James, Music with Suzanna, or Moosiki Kids Music, which your little one can attend as much or as little as you’d like.

standard_Mighty_Muscle_Movers_212–24 months: Kids at this age will benefit from a more action-packed gym class, like Teeny Tumblers at the 92Y or Mighty Muscle Movers at Jodi’s Gym. This is also a great age to begin a foreign language development class, since children are becoming more verbal at this stage and soaking in the language around them. Programs like ¡Hola! A Playgroup in Spansh and The Language Workshop for Children teach children the basics of a new language through play, music, and age appropriate games. Music is also important for language development, so keep those classes on the schedule as well.

2 years: Active two-year-olds are at the perfect age for sports and dance basics classes, which keep them active and offer structure to the day. Some great options are City Moves Dance Studio, which offers classes in a variety of dance styles; Physique Swimming, which offers swim lessons in several Manhattan neighborhoods; and Soc Roc, a fantastic soccer program taught in neighborhoods throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. This is also a good time to enroll your child in a preschool 2s program, so he or she can experience a variety of activities while developing socialization skills and preparing for future school years.

standard_kids_conveyorbelt_pretzels3 years: In addition to the preschool program your three-year-old may be attending, try something new at this age! NYC has many unique options, for example a Science class at City Tots, Basketball with Hands on Hoops, and Chocolate Making at Chocolate Works Upper East Side. These programs will expand your child’s horizons and expose him or her to fun new activities.

4+: Now you can really hone in on your child’s interests! Have a budding actor or actress on your hands? Try a dance/theater class at I Can Do That NYC. A Michaelangelo in the making? Creative Space Arts has a basic sculpting class for creative kids. The next Karate Kid? Yang Taekwondo is a studio that will grow with your child, offering martial arts classes for children up to 12 years old. Kidz Central Station also has unique options for Coding, Legos, Manga drawing, and more!

Check out Kidz Central Station to search all of the great class options for your child this fall! Whichever classes and activities you choose, your little one is sure to have a great time learning new things and meeting new friends in the new season.

5 Ways to Prepare for Fall Classes and Activities

baby playing xylophone
Now that it’s August, the pressure is on—it’s time to start enrolling your kids in fall classes and activities. Sure, you can put it off a few weeks, or sign up when summer is over, but the sooner you sign up, the sooner you can cross it off your list and return to summer fun. Plus, classes DO fill up, so enrolling now means assuring your child a spot!

If you haven’t thought a minute about what classes your child should take when September arrives, you’re not alone—it can be totally overwhelming, especially since there are so many kids’ programs to choose from in NYC. At Kidz Central Station we eat, sleep, and breathe kids’ activities, so we’re here to share some of our tips for choosing the best classes and preparing for the fall season.

Sign up for something new! Along with the perennial favorites that you sign up for season after season, try adding a new class to your child’s repertoire for fall. There are so many unique programs out there that you may not even know exist, and Kidz Central Station makes it easy for you to find them! Simply search by class type and neighborhood to see what hidden gems lie right in your neighborhood.

Keep kids’ schedules in mind. While it’s good for children to learn to be flexible, if your child naps at the same time every day, or you know he or she will focus better at a particular time keep those factors in mind when choosing a session. This will help you avoid making up tons of classes and will ensure that your child gets the most out of each lesson. Luckily, many programs offer multiple times and days for each class, so it’s easy to find the perfect option for your child.

Two cute little boys, playing footballTry a class NOW. Since fall classes don’t start until next month, August is a great time for kids to try out a class before committing for an entire season. Most programs offer trial classes for free or at a nominal cost, so it’s totally worth the time and effort. To search for a trial class on Kidz Central Station, simply check the box for “Trial Class” when searching from the homepage to see what’s available.

Complement classes with play time. With so many unique activities available for NYC kids this fall, it can be tempting to book a class for every day of the week. While structured activities are important for learning and development, kids are still kids at the end of the day—they still need free time to run around and play. Plus, fall is still warm enough to take advantage of NYC’s parks and playgrounds, which offer ample opportunity for running, jumping, climbing, and playing with pals. But don’t worry—winter isn’t too far behind, so in just a few months your little one can try all of the classes and activities he or she didn’t have time for during fall.

Get help! At Kidz Central Station, not only do we work with tons of NYC kids’ programs, but many of us are parents too! Email us any time with questions and to ask for suggestions—we know the ins and outs of the kids’ programs in NYC from working with them day to day and because our own kids have experienced many of the classes we have on the site. Let us help you get ready for fall!

Why Kids Should Learn to Code


Just as math and english are critical subjects for kids to learn, coding is increasingly becoming just as important. Our friends at The New York Code + Design Academy have compiled a list of important reasons kids must learn to code in today’s world. 

It will help them with their career.
“1 million of the best jobs in America may go unfilled because only 1 in 10 schools teach how to code”. There are always technical jobs available but are difficult to fill because there’s a limited supply of people with those skills. Having coding skills early in life will allow kids to build upon their knowledge and have better chances of employment later on.

It teaches cognitive skills.
Programming flow charts can be utilized to better manage problems and thought processes. Kids would learn how to break down complex problems into smaller ones to solve an essential life skill.

It allows them to build anything.
Let them create anything with their imaginations. Coding is just another way for kids to express themselves outside of music, writing, art, and other traditionally creative mediums.

It’s the future.
Technology is not only everywhere, but it’s advancing rapidly. The younger generation shouldn’t only be consumers of technology—they should help mold the future as well.

For in-person classes, The New York Code + Design Academy has two- and four-week summer coding camps for kids age 9-12 and 13-17 starting August 3rd. Learn more about how to get them started on building web applications here!

4 Tips for Pool Safety This Summer

Mother and baby playing in a swimming pool
On hot summer days, a cool, refreshing pool is exactly where you want to be. Plus, it’s the perfect family activity! Kids love playing and splashing around and let’s be honest, adults do too. However, as with many outdoor activities, there are important precautions we all must take to ensure that our kids are not just happy, but safe as well. Before your next pool trip this summer, keep these four tips for pool safety in mind.

Load on the sunscreen. Whether it’s the sunniest day of the year or there are clouds in the sky, the sun’s UV rays are always there—and they’re strong. Not only should you load up your kids (and yourself) with sunscreen before heading outside, but also be sure to reapply every two hours. There are tons of great sunscreens on the market, many made specifically for kids’ sensitive skin, so it’s easy to find the best one for your child. Skin safety is important—make it a priority before taking that dip in the pool!

Swim early and late. Besides putting on sunscreen, another way to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful rays is planning pool time around when the sun is at its strongest—between the hours of 10am and 4pm. An early morning or late afternoon trip to the pool will ensure that you and your little ones aren’t basking in the sun’s strongest UV rays. Of course, it’s still important to put on sunscreen and reapply!

Use floats (but don’t depend on them). Using swim floats (either arm floats or puddle jumpers) allow little ones independence in the water to splash around and learn on their own. It also makes it a easier on us adults, who don’t have to carry our kids around the pool the entire time! While floats are fantastic, don’t depend on them alone—it’s important to be close by while your children are using them so you can help at a moment’s notice.

Swim Lessons. The best thing you can do for your kids is teach them to swim at an early age so they can help ensure their own safety in the water. There are tons of great programs on Kidz Central Station that provide lessons for kids as young as six months old, so little ones can become comfortable in the water and grow up to be confident swimmers. Simply search the site using the category for swimming to find private, semi-private, and group lessons for kids of all ages from programs like Physique Swimming, Penguin City Swim, and Island Swimming. No matter what age they start, your kids are sure to have a blast!

The Best Summer Activities for NYC Kids

While many people think of summer as a time to escape the NYC heat and head for greener pastures (literally!), summer in the city can actually be a real treat—especially if you have kids. Beyond the tall buildings and bustling streets there are hidden amusement parks, water spraying playgrounds, and free concerts you and your little ones can enjoy almost any day of the week. So next time you’re racking for brain for things to do on your next free afternoon, try out one of the best summer activities in NYC!

Victoria Gardens. Hidden away in Central Park is Victoria Gardens at Wollman Rink, a kiddie amusement park that only operates during the summer. Perfect for preschoolers, the park has a variety of gentle rides (only a few have height limits), local performers, and lots of fun snacks. The under five set will probably need a little help handling rides like the Aeromax and the Rockin’ Tug, but all ages will love a day here nonetheless. To find Victoria Gardens, enter the park at 59th Street and Sixth Avenue and follow the path until you find the fun!


Water Playgrounds
Play in Water
. At first look, NYC playgrounds seem like normal play areas—a few slides, swings, climbing equipment, and some monkey bars. But when summer arrives, these playgrounds transform into water spraying entertainment areas, with sprinklers squirting water in every direction, and little ones frolicking happily through the spray. You can find these playgrounds in almost every corner of NYC, but for the ultimate spot, check out the Pier 25 play area, which has eight seasonal water features designed for kids age 2–12. You can even make a day of it here—there’s an 18-hole mini golf course, sand volleyball courts, and a snack bar.

Madison Square Park Concerts. Not only is Madison Square Park a fun place to go with kids because of its huge playground and every child’s favorite eatery Shake Shack (who doesn’t love a burger and ice cream?!), but it’s also the perfect summer spot because of its Thursday morning FREE concerts for kids. Favorites such as Songs for Seeds, WeBop Family Jazz Party, and more perform rain or shine starting at 10:30am—the lawn opens at 10am so get there early to reserve your spot!

Public PoolsMother and baby playing in a swimming pool. Besides swimming lessons, there’s nothing better than splashing around freely in a pool on a hot day. Luckily NYC has a bunch of great public pools, where little ones can spend a morning or afternoon cooling off with other city kids. We love John Jay Pool because of its proximity to the river and the adjacent John Jay Park playground, but there are tons of other convenient pools throughout NYC depending on where you live.

Drop-in Classes. When your little one needs a break from the summer sun—as well as some learning and structure during the day—there are awesome drop-in classes throughout NYC, where you can pop in without having to plan too far ahead. Whether you live uptown, downtown, or anywhere in between, you can search Kidz Central Station by drop-in classes, location, and whatever type of class you’d like (music, cooking, dance, open play, and more!) and you can sign up in a minute and be on your way to class.

And when all else fails, load up on sunscreen, walk out your door, and grab a couple of cones from your nearest Mr. Softee truck—it’s sure to do the trick!