Category Archives: kids events

Best Bets for Brooklyn Kids

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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.

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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.

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!

Here’s Why You Should See The Gazillion Bubble Show NOW

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If you’re looking for a fun weekend activity this winter, Kidz Central Station has just added a brand new family-friendly show to the site—The Gazillion Bubble Show! We were really excited to add it to our already amazing offerings, as not only do we have a special discounted rate to offer all of our members (save $30 off each ticket!), but we also have only heard amazing things about the entire production.

standard_gbs-home-slide-sevenWe decided that someone from Kidz Central Station had to check it out and see if the hype was real—so our founder, Lauren Pohl, took her two kids to see a Saturday afternoon show. Here’s what she thought!

The space: Lauren walked to the theater with two kids in tow, crossing her fingers that the space would accommodate her enormous only-in-NYC double stroller. She reported that the theater is a great space and is very easy with a stroller—even her monstrous double stroller!
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The show: It was a freezing winter day when Lauren and her kids hoofed it to the Theater District (West 50th Street to be exact), so not only was she happy to finally be inside, but she was thrilled to find out that the show was totally worth the walk! True to its name, bubbles were the main event, and they didn’t disappoint. Both kids and adults marveled at the enormous bubbles that came right within arms reach and the brightly colored lights and spectacular laser beams that illuminated the bubbles as they danced around the room. According to Lauren, “My son loved the bubbles—how big they were and the different shapes floating through the air. He especially loved grabbing at bubbles that were bigger than he’d ever seen before!” The show is set to upbeat music, which played alongside the amazing bubble creations, and according to Lauren, the music made the show even better.

The show is also interactive! Not only does the music and swirling bubbles get the audience dancing around in their seats, but kids are also invited up on stage to participate in the fun. This makes for great entertainment for the entire audience.

Bottom line: The show is the perfect family activity—both for kids of all ages (everyone from babies to big kids were totally enthralled) and adults! “Two enthusiastic thumbs up! Everyone left with huge smiles on their faces and my kids are begging to go again!”

You can purchase discounted tickets via Kidz Central Station now! Instead of the usual $75 price tag, use code GBKCS55 at checkout and pay only $45 a ticket!

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Book a Spring Break Camp!

Ahhh Spring Break is almost here – that means warmer weather, getting outside, and……the kids are off! Yikes! What to do now? Don’t panic, we have lots of available options for Spring Break camps through KidzCentralStation.com – here are a few of our favorites:

1. LIC Kids – Olympic Camp 

olympics

This year LIC Kids will be offering “Olympics Camp” with sporting/athletic events , competitions and activities themed to different countries all over the world. Your children will compete in their own Olympic Games in Gymnastics, Swimming and Diving, Soccer, and Basketball.  Not only will their athleticism be stimulated but their imaginations will soar as they are immersed in the different cultures of the world through art, music, dance, and theatre! How fun does swimming, twirling on Olympic rings and jumping on the trampoline sound? Ages 4 -12. Book Olympic Camp now!

2. Fashion Class – Fashion Camp

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Is your child into fashion? Why not let them get creative and learn to make their own clothes and accessories! Fashion Class Fashion Camp includes sewing and/or creating fancy accessories like jewelry, handbags, and mini top hats!  Students get to create 2-3 garments during the week. They also can draw and design clothing in Fashion Illustration. There will also be field trips to Mood Fabrics, the FIT museum, a fashion showroom and even guest speakers who work in fashion! Book Fashion Camp Now!

3. Drama Llama – Broadway Boot Camp

dramalama

This boot camp focuses on different aspects of performing and all things Broadway. Children will focus on fun exercises and basic principles for acting, followed by an hour and a half with a current Broadway performer that will teach the students a piece from the current show they are associated with. On the final day of camp, students will perform a showcase for family and friends. Ages 6-12. Book Broadway Boot Camp Now!

4. Art Farm In The City – Animals, Cooking and Art, Oh, My!

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Is your child a little explorer? Loves animals? Art Farm will host a spring break camp that has ladybugs, baby chicks, caterpillars to butterflies and more! All children will have up close and personal experiences with our animals in the petting zoo and be a part of live animal science classes. They also get the chance to cook in the kitchen, create art masterpieces, and sign along to the guitar. Ages 3-8. Book Art Farm In The City Camp Now!

10 Days of Holiday Charity Ideas

Tis the season for shop till you drop. We spend all this time and money rushing around to find the perfect gifts, spending more and more money on fancy, luxurious and expensive items. But sometimes the most cherished gifts don’t cost much at all.  Instead of rushing out to buy yet another electronic device or toy,  let’s try and purchase at least one gift that has true value behind it, and shows our children the real meaning of the holiday season, ‘to give.’ Even though they are all listed here, we will be bringing you 10 Days of Holiday Charity Ideas on our social media – giving you lots of ideas and options on ways to give back this season. Hopefully next year we can do the full 25!

holiday charity ideas

Did you know there are many gifts that can be made in honor of our kids and help teach them about those not as fortunate as they are? Here are a few to get you started:

10 Holiday Charity Ideas:

1. Toys for Tots
Founded by the Marine Corp in 1995 it’s one of the most recognized programs for kids around the holidays! You can make a donation, request a toy for your own child, or even set up your own donation center! What a great way to give back and show the kids how they can be involved.

2. St. Jude Holiday Cards
We all send them, so this year why not spend money on cards that will go towards something worthwhile? St. Jude’s Kids get to dress up for photos shoots, or design beautiful cards that you can order to print or even send in emails.

Other holiday card ideas:

Paper Culture – plants a tree every time you place an order to replace the tree that was used to make your cards. And you can even name the tree in honor of someone! Maximo has a few out there already!

3. USO Holiday Boxes
You can help send festive decorations and treats to soldiers serving over seas that don’t have access to traditional holidays. Soldiers appreciate these boxes because they help brighten up their camps and bring a little piece of home to them. There are actually four different boxes you can contribute to throughout the year – so you can even send them 4th of July flags in the summer!

4. Ronald McDonald House
Ronald McDonald House also makes holiday cards you can purchase to help families whose kids are getting cancer treatments and can’t be home for holidays. They also offer a cookbook you can purchase, the chance to donate a ‘wish list item’ for a child, or you can even sponsor an entire families stay for a week for only $35.

5. Seussville – Grow Your Heart 3 Sizes 
December 1st was the celebration of the newly minted National Grinch Day and kicks off “25 Days of Grinch-Mas”. Inspired by Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” it is a campaign to encourage kids to do one good deed each day and “grow your heart 3 sizes.” Complete and submit the form sharing 3 good deeds and your child will contribute a book through FirstBook.org.

6. Reach Out and Read
Such a fun way to give the gift of reading. So many children grow up illiterate, that Reach Out and Read helps doctors of disadvantages parents hand out free books to promote ‘bedtime story reading.’ It seems simple, but has had astounding effects, so much so that families come back to say reading has become the child’s favorite activity! $50 covers the cost of one child for five years!

7. #GivingTuesday
A great way to get the kids involved without spending any money! Even though this is a nationwide event, there was also a citywide initiative that encouraged parents to BRING their children to donate their lightly used clothes and toys at drop off centers throughout the city. This We all have plenty of toys, and having our kids donate their own shows them the true meaning of giving! You can also do a monetary donation – this year they raised 162% more than last year, with an average donation being $120! That’s incredible!

holiday charity ideas

8. USPS Letters to Santa 
Did you know you can go to your local post office and pick up an actual letter written to “Santa?” The Postal workers sift through to find the letters from needy children, remove addresses, and leave them open for public adoption. You can return with the gift and letter BACK from Santa. How adorable is that??? You can learn more at your local post office, or visit the USPS website here.

9. Navy Seal Foundation 
This one is all year – not just for the holidays. You can help support the families of Navy Seals -whether it’s offering up support when a Seal falls through funeral costs and helping families travel, to helping the YMCA offer child care services. While many of us take for granted child care, spouses of Navy Seals don’t often know when their significant others will be sent away. And if there is an emergency, they can’t exactly run back home, so these offers provide a sense of community and support for the families while the Seals are away. What is a better way to give back than supporting those who risk their lives to be our heroes?

10. City Meals On Wheels – They also make holiday cards. You can get a 5 pack for $32, and each card covers the cost of one meal the elderly in the neighborhood. What a sweet idea, plus all of your card receivers will know of the thoughtful deed you have committed to – which helps spread the word. #payitforward

holiday charity ideas

Do you know of others great opportunities out there? Let us know and we’ll share them as well! Let’s help each other by helping spread the word! Email us at info@kidzcentralstation.com – we’ll not only add to the list, we’ll share on our social media as well as add to our growing list of charities for next year!

Christmas Tree Shops Locations – New Jersey “Cut Your Own” Tree Farms

For many, the holidays are a time for rituals and making memories that are passed down to the next generation. If you haven’t already picked out your Christmas tree, consider making a day of it and visiting the farm where it was grown. I’ve rounded up some of the best Christmas tree shops locations in New Jersey that let you “cut your own” tree. Don’t worry – many of these farms will cut the tree for you or provide you with a saw to do it yourself. Round out the day with hot chocolate, a beautiful story and lots of love!

christmas tree shops locations

 

Christmas Tree Shops Locations – New Jersey “Cut Your Own” Tree Farms

Dixiedale Farm. 9am to 3:30pm (Fri, Sat, & Sun only; Nov. 22nd to Dec. 22nd). Wander the ten acres at your leisure and pick from Douglas fir and Norway Spruce. Located in the charming town of Chatham, you can visit their Main Street for some great eats. Family owned and operated since 1911. 347 Hillside Ave., Chatham, NJ. 973-635-2097.

Brookhollow Farm. 9am to 4pm (Sat & Sun only starting Thanksgiving Weekend) They also do alpaca farming in addition to Christmas tree farming. They supply saws, netting and twine. Spruce and Douglas Firs are $10/foot. 425 Powerville Road, Boonton, NJ. 973-335-3393.

Country Heritage Farm. Nov 23 to 25th: 9am to 4pm; after that: Fri: 12pm to 4pm; Sat/Sun: 9am to 4pm until Dec. 16th. You will have to travel a bit for this farm. But, they have some amenities to make your trip worthwhile. Free hayrides to and from the trees, tree baled and tied to your car; you can pick from Douglas Fir, Norway Spruce, and Blue Spruce. They have a playhouse for kids, sandbox, cutouts and sleighs for pictures, picnic tables and and outdoor stone fireplace to keep warm by. 129 Plains Road, Augusta, NJ. 973-875-5590.

Hidden Pond Tree Farm. Fri, Nov 29th: 9am to 5pm, afterwards, open daily except Mondays 9am to 5pm. You’ll find free hayrides, hot chocolate and coffee, picnic area, and toasted marshmallows on a bonfire. Trees: $50 to 75; over 8 ft. sold out: Norway Spruce, Blue Spruce, Douglas and Fraser Fir. 4 West Field Road, Mendham, NJ. 973-865-6362.

Always call before you visit a farm. Due to weather, demand or other factors the supply can change. Check out this site for a comprehensive listing of Christmas tree farms: www.pickyourownchristmastree.org (not just ones you pick yourselves)

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This list was created by Playground Talk – ”Beyond the town newsletter, local paper and word of mouth, Playground Talk is Bergen County’s online resource for keeping families informed and fostering community involvement. Join Us! www.playgroundtalk.com

 

 

Monsters In The Closet

Wanda's Monster

One of the perks of working for Kidz Central Station is being in the know about all the incredible kid-focused activities in NYC. Armed with up our up-to-date knowledge on what’s happening around town, Lauren Pohl and I took advantage of a recent warm Sunday afternoon to sit in an air conditioned theater with our four year olds to see a performance of Wanda’s Monster playing at The Vineyard Theater in Union Square.

Right around two years old, kids can develop a fear of the dark. Poignantly, it often seems to parents that these fears manifest themselves overnight. As soon as their little imaginations kick in, some kids start to envision the noises they’d heard only the night before as big hairy creatures hiding under the bed. It’s precisely this fear that comes to life and is set to music in this fun-filled performance.

The basic arc of this one-hour play follows young Wanda as she ‘discovers’ a monster in her closet. At first Wanda is terrified, but after receiving advice from her Granny she starts to believe that maybe the monster stays in her closet because HE is the one who is shy and frightened. By putting herself in his fuzzy oversized shoes and considering how the monster might feel, Wanda tackles her fears and reaches out to make a new friend. Naturally, the monster slowly overcomes his own fears and a beautiful friendship is born. Empathizing with others and accepting them for who they are, no matter how purple or fuzzy, is the lesson kids hopefully takeaway from the play.

At first, most kids in the audience were wide-eyed and anxious as Wanda’s monster made his entrance. The actors clearly understand this and the monster dances and shakes in exaggerated silly movements giving kids a chance to see that he isn’t frightening, but fun and goofy instead. But even kids who are not afraid of the dark, like my son, were silent and unsure what to make of the monster initially.

As I watched the reactions on the faces around us throughout the play I was reminded how children, even those the same age, often react to the same situation differently. My son was laughing and/or dancing throughout most of the performance, while Lauren’s daughter was holding on her to favorite stuffed bunny and her mom’s hand most of the way through. And yet, after the show when everyone is invited to meet all the characters and shake their hands, take pictures or ask questions, it was my son who wanted nothing to do with them and Lauren’s daughter, with her own fears sufficiently tackled, who was eager and ready to join them for the picture above.

They advertise that the play is for kids aged two to ten, but I’d say the sweet spot is likely the four to six set. Thankfully, the music is by Laurie Berkner so parents can enjoy the music as well as the delight on their kid’s face throughout.

The performance is showing through September 8 in Manhattan at The Vineyard’s Dimson Theatre (108 East 15th Street). Tickets available online at www.WandasMonster.com or by calling (646) 601-1406.