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5-Star Rated Classes and Birthday Parties

5-Star rated classes

 

 

New York City is loaded with parks, museums, classes, activities, venues, and entertainers. The choices are limitless, but as parents, we want to find the BEST activities for our kids. Kidz Central Station delivers this quality information all in one place.

 

Here are 5-Star Rated classes and birthday parties according to the best critics – Parents.


5-Star Rated Classes

  • Physique Swimming offers swim classes for kids ages 4 month to 7 years. The program is designed to help swimmers move smoothly from one level to the next as they progress in their swimming capabilities.

“All the coaches were extremely friendly and welcoming, cheering my daughter on and praising her efforts.” 

  • High Note NYC teaches children ages 3+ both piano and vocals. Through goal oriented curriculum, children learn fluent music reading, technical skill and solo performance competency. One-on-one music lessons ensure teachings are tailored to individual students’ needs with a foundation that can spam a lifetime.

“My 7 year old loves taking piano lessons with Nora! He is learning music and getting more confidence in his voice.” 

  • iHOLA! A Playgroup in Spanish, for babies 2 months- 12 years, is a grassroots organization adored equally by children and parents for it’s uniqueness where thousands of children have been aided from its early language acquisition method, iHOLA’s! unique and effortless learning process will  put your baby or young teen in a wonderful language journey with ease and joy.

“My daughter responds to many of the vocabulary words they’ve used in class”

  • Upper Manhattan Forest Kids offers outdoor educational classes for kids ages 1 to 6 years old. Classes follow the Danish philosophy of Forest Kindergarten, which encourages children to play, explore and learn in a forest or natural environment.  

“Upper Manhattan Forest Kids was an amazing class that I would recommend to every parent!”

  • 14th Street Y is a dynamic community center located in the East Village offering classes for kids of all ages: drop-ins, music, art, sports, and indoor playground, are among the many classes offered.

“Awesome class! Started off with free play, then art, then reading, then snack/storytime, and ended with bubbles and story time. Lovely teacher!” 

  • Music With James Jam sessions are for kids ages 4 months to 4 years. Classes are high energy where James plays a mixture of traditional children’s songs on the guitar, piano, harmonica, and various orchestral instruments and children sing along, dance, and play instruments with each song. Classes included animal puppets, bouncing balls, and a colorful parachute add to the fun!

“GREAT class! We love the flexibility and my son always has so much fun.” 

  • Willan Academy of Music offers music lessons for children ages 4 and up. High quality and fun music lessons can be taken at the studio or in the comfort of your own home in NYC. Lessons are personalized to your child’s individual needs in a warm and nurturing educational environment.

“Words can’t begin to express how grateful our family is for Kenji and the Willan Academy of Music. Our son is a high energy free thinking child who Kenji has turned into a musician.” 

  • The Goddard School offers a Full Day Program for children ages 5 and under. Highly trained teachers gently guide and encourage children every step of the way as they grow, develop and achieve important milestones. Children have fun while learning the skills they need for long-term success in school and in life.

“I toured the facility and was blown away by everything from the fun rock climbing wall to the spacious roofdeck playground to the amazingly nice teachers to the included healthy meals/snacks.” 

  • CenterStage classes for children ages 4 months and up are taught by distinguished professionals in the music, dance, and acting fields. Classes range from a fun weekend activity to curriculum based comprehensive workshops.

“The teachers are talented, creative and provide a warm, nurturing environment for the kids to take risks and try new things.”


5-Star Rated Birthday Parties

  • 92nd Street Y’s enthusiastic and well-trained staff lead fun-filled parties for boys and girls of all ages. From GymMaze and Jamboree parties to dancing to a circus in the sky, they offer an awesome range of birthday party themes.

“My kids loved every party they attended at 92Y! The Gym Maze party was great for my son and his friends. The facility is terrific and the staff was helpful and energetic” 

  • Chocolate Works Upper East Side will transform the birthday child and guests into Willy Wonka chocolatiers for the day! Kids make chocolate creations on the 20-foot conveyor belt, and mold and decorate their own chocolate shape to take home!

“The kids said it was the best birthday party they have ever been to – such a cute idea. The adults also had a great time.” 

  • Shake Shack is the perfect place to hold a large party! Birthday parties are held in a private rec room equipped with a 42” flat screen TV for slideshows, videos, and DVDs, and UNLIMITED Shack classics for the duration of your party. Plus, kids two and under eat free.

“Such a great deal for no wait and unlimited Shake Shack favorites!” 

  • With Eloise at the Plaza you can throw the most mahvelous affair at The Plaza Hotel. Based on one of many adventures…like in Paris or Hollywood! Eloise’s mostly companions are here to assist every step of the way to make sure the birthday girl feels like one of a kind! Presents are a must, so every guest of honor will go home with her very own special gift and all her friends will get the most interesting keepsake favor bag.

“My 3 year old absolutely loved it and asked if she could go back to the plaza the next day. Love love love it!” 

  • MusiBambino Music Program gives your child an unforgettable experience with singing their favorite songs and exploring musical instruments. They also provide a music teacher, piano accompanist, a 30-45 minute music class, and adult and specially designed kid-sized music instruments!

“The staff there is so friendly and really accommodating. Their mini instruments are so fun for the kids and they sent everyone home with a drum set which was a hit!” 

  • Galli Theater give your child the magical experience of live theater for his/her special event. Create the most amazing theater party in town! All parties are suitable for girls and boys!

“We have been to many parties in NYC and they are all usually the same. Galli’s party was a welcome change and all the kids had a blast.” 

Party Time! Best Birthday Party Venues in NYC

A child’s birthday is a special part of both the child’s and parent’s life. We at Kidz Central Station are determined to make every parent’s life easier by providing a one-stop shop for all of your child’s activities and parties. There are hundreds of birthday party venues in NYC, but we have narrowed down the best locations for your child’s next party! Each venue offers a unique quality that will make your child’s day unforgettable.

We advise parents to book venues 1-2 months in advance, so start planning now!  Also, many party venues provide a discount if you book through Kidz Central Station.


Galli Theater – Tribeca

Birthday Party Venues

Starting at $995 for 21 guests.  Does your child love the theater? Experience the magic of live theater for your special event at the Galli Theater.

Shake Shack – UWS

Birthday Party Venues

Starting at $1000 for 40 guests.  Shake Shack is the perfect place to hold a large party! Birthday parties are held in a private rec room equipped with a 42” flat screen TV for slideshows, videos, and DVDs. Plus, kids two and under eat free!

Indoor Extreme Sports – Long Island City

Birthday Party Venues

Starting at $150. Indoor Extreme Sports give your child the most memorable birthday experience! Virtual Reality, Laser Tag, and paintball are just a few of the things this venue has to offer.

New York Stage of Mind – Long Island City

Birthday Party Venues

Starting at $250. New York Stage of Mind guarantees smiles and laughter for all little ones! Their base package includes one hour of a music show, sing-a-long, dancing, games, and a theme of your choice.

Eloise At The Plaza – Midtown West

Birthday Party Venues

Starting at $1500 for 8 guests. Have the most luxurious party in all of NYC at the Plaza Hotel. Eloise At The Plaza offers a variety of birthday party packages featuring food, dessert, room decorations, invitations, and pampering for your little ones.

NORY STEM Party – Tribeca

Birthday Party Venues

Starting at $500. The NORY STEM Party offers customizable themes to meet your child’s interest. 3D printing, Dinosaurs, and Space are a few of the most popular ones! Plus, each partygoer gets to build and take home their very own robot!

Hello Princess NYC – Morris Park

Birthday Party Venues

Starting at $450. Hello Princess NYC offers everything you need for an incredible princess party! Party favors, food, drinks, and paper goods are all included so you don’t have to lift a finger.

New York City Fire Museum – Soho

Birthday Party Venues

Starting at $850 for 15 guests. This hot party held on weekends offers free play, story-telling, show and tell, art project and a scavenger hunt. Party goers are given a goody bag and admission to the museum for all guests!

The Fashion Class – Midtown West

Birthday Party Venues

Starting at $575. If your children are into fashion and design The Fashion Class is the perfect party for you! Boys and girls can sew real and wearable clothing, design a fashion project or even hold a professional runway show! Children receive goody bags with accessories and candy. Parents are provided complimentary water, tea, and coffee.

Karma Kids Yoga– Flatiron District

Birthday Party Venues

Starting at $600. Karma Kids Yoga provides many birthday party options from My First Birthday Party to Yoga Sleepover Party. Each birthday party features a variety of yoga based activities so you are sure to find the perfect party for you and your child.

OKABALOO FunArtFaktory – Arts & Fun Center – Astoria

Birthday Party Venues

Starting at $550. Okabaloo throws the most FUNtastic and WOW parties in NYC! Their beautiful, spacious, and bright studio is perfect for any themed party. Decorations and a “Happy Birthday” banner is provided.

Stay tuned for next week for our favorite birthday party entertainers!

13 Unique Kids’ Birthday Party Venues in NYC

Unique birthday party venues in NYCParents in NYC are always looking for new and different birthday party venues where we have not already attended a kid’s party.  Kidz Central Station continues its Birthday Party Series with a look at unique and cool birthday party spaces in NYC that are not the usual gyms and athletic centers.  Also, consider hiring a musical performer to entertain the group.

Restaurants

Shake Shack UWS hosts your friends in the private Rec Room and treats them to all of the classics:  Shack burgers, flat-top dogs, crinkle fries, frozen custard shakes and concretes, Shack-made lemonade, fresh brewed iced tea, and fountain sodas.  Your friends will love it.

16 Handles has birthday party locations on UWS and UES. Rent out the entire store before it opens or choose a period during regular business hours. Recommended entertainment options include a gaming station with party host, face painting/tattoo artist, balloon artist, mad scientist, Rockin’ With Andy, magicians, and clowns.

Action Burger is a science fiction/comic book/video game themed restaurant in Williamsburg.  Entertainment includes classic arcade games (Street fighter anniversary & Mortal Kombat 2), as well as, modern games (Just Dance, Guitar Hero, Halo, Call of Duty, Halo, Mindcraft, Karaoke, and more).  Fun for kids and the parents!

The East Wing is the private party room at UES bar The Stumble Inn. It features a “kid friendly” menu with breaded chicken tenders, mini hamburgers, mac n’ cheese, tater tots and quesadillas. They offer a fully stocked bar for the adults and a soda and juice bar for the little ones.

Please read about our visit to one of our Kips Bay/Murray Hill favorites, The Shake and Burger Bar.

Museum

New York City Fire Museum.  Do your kids want to grow up to be firefighters?  This is their dream party.  The museum has collections of fire related art, artifacts, gear, and apparatus from the late 18th century to the present and showcases the evolution of firefighting.  The Junior Firefighter Birthday Party package lasts for two hours and is designed for children ages 3-6.

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Arcades (VR, Pinball, Interactive)

Please read about our super-fun 4D immersive visit to NFL Experience Times Square.

YokeyPokey Virtual Reality Club – Brooklyn.  Race cars, shoot down space aliens, play minecraft, create and destroy cities, paint in an immersive painting and much more in a virtual reality gaming and 360 degree immersive experience.  Your kids and guests won’t stop talking about it.

Indoor Extreme Sports – LIC and Staten Island. Choose from Paintball, Black Ops Lasertag, Arena Lasertag, Archery Tag, Virtual Reality, and more. This is one of the best extreme sports & experiences out there for ages 7+.

Modern Pinball NYC Party Place & ArcadeYou and your guests will have a BLAST playing Unlimited Games with all arcade machines on FREE PLAY and enjoy the comfort and privacy of the separate Party Room.  Ranked #1 at Yelp! for ‘Best Birthday Party Venue’ in New York City!

Fashion & Tea Parties

The Fashion ClassThe birthday girl or boy can choose to sew real, wearable clothing, design a fashion project or even hold a professional runway show!  The party takes place in the bright and airy 2500 sq ft Midtown studio with separate food, activity and parent hang-out areas.

Tiarah Events – Queens.  Tiarah’s Royal Tea Parties are a fun way for little guests to get pampered and have fun! Our Royal Tea Party starts with mani/pedi, dress up, and then once we’re all glamoured up we’ll sit and have a cup of tea, sandwiches, and sweets and scones.

Hello Princess NYC – Morris Park. Two hours of Princess or pop star themed and tea parties for the birthday girl. Manicures, makeup and tiaras for all.  Ages 3-10.

5 No-Fail Entertainment Ideas for Your Child’s Next Birthday

So you’ve picked a birthday celebration spot, a beautiful cake, and the perfect party theme, but a party isn’t a party unless there’s great entertainment! No matter your child’s age, there are tons of great options—and we’ve all been to enough NYC birthday parties to know that if you can dream it, it can be done! For your child’s next birthday, check out our five birthday entertainment ideas below—they’re sure to make your child’s party a blast for all who attend!

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Music.
 Fun, upbeat musicians can entertain kids of any age—and adults love them too! From a one-year-old birthday girl who can shake and clap to the music to a four-year-old boy who can jump around, sing, and dance, all children will appreciate an entertainer who can sing their favorite songs, strum the guitar, and make them feel incredibly special on their birthdays. If this sounds like what you’re looking for, entertainers like Music with James or Jam with Jamie are great NYC options—or you can search Kidz Central Station by “musician” for more options!

standard_FullSizeRender_1Face Painting. Kids love pretending to be their favorite characters, and a little face paint can go a long way toward getting them in the spirit! From adorable puppies to jewel-laden butterflies, the sky is the limit to what a face painter can create. And a program like Art Party NYC will come to any party venue of your choice to paint your little ones into whatever they choose!

Tattoo Art. For older kids, tattoo art is a great option. Children can get creative with whatever tattoos they choose, and sport a cool artistic creation on their arms for a day (favorite characters, hearts, or stars—sky’s the limit!). You also may be able to find a tattoo artist who also does face painting and combine two great party ideas into one!

standard_421814_10150654732224259_174468608_nCharacters. Especially when they’re little, kids gravitate toward certain characters from movies, books, TV shows, and more (think Elmo, Elsa and Ana, Mickey Mouse, etc.). So what better way to celebrate your child’s birthday than to invite a special character to his or her birthday celebration? A program such as A Princess Visit lets special characters entertain party guests with songs, activities, stories, and more, and will make the day a very memorable one for your child.

Balloon Making. You know those cool balloon animals that you’ve see street performers whip up in just minutes? These awesome entertainers can also come to your child’s birthday party and create whatever creatures and characters your tiny guests would like. Not only are these artists entertaining, they’ll provide a great favor for kids to bring home at the end of the party.

4 Unique Create-Your-Own Birthday Parties in NYC

If you want your child’s birthday to stand out from the crowd, you have to find a program that will create a unique and creative party that your child (and his or her guests!) will be talking about for months to come. Many of the kids’ programs on Kidz Central Station will help you dream up the party of your child’s dreams, from setting up the party room with amazing décor to making a favorite theme come to life, to coming up with activities catered to your child’s interests. These four great options below offer just that—they’re more than just birthday celebrations, they’re unique birthday party experiences!

Imagination Lanestandard_zachparty1. For a unique birthday party for kids age 2–12, Imagination Lane celebrations are a must. Face painters and glitter tattoo artists will get kids in the party spirit and custom art projects and games will engage them to use their creative sides. True to its name, Imagination Lane can imagine any theme you’d like and bring it to life in a unique and festive way. This great program will come to any venue of your choice in NYC, so pick your place and Imagination Lane will do the rest!

e.t.c. custom events. Much like the custom events and workshops that this cool company creates for kids, they can also dream up amazing birthday party experiences based on any theme or activity you’d like. For kids age three and up, the sky’s the limit for what this company can do—a musical Frozen party with ice princesses leading a sing-along, parties based on your child’s favorite book (think a re-enactment of the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter), or creative cooking with a decorate-your-own-birthday-cake party—and they can do it in any location of your choice. When it comes to birthdays, there really isn’t a party e.t.c. custom events can’t create.

Citibabesstandard_05img_8390. Located in the trendy Soho neighborhood, Citibabes is known for throwing a great kids’ birthday party. From the program’s experience creating popular classes and events for children, they know how to imagine the perfect party for any age. Beyond their 1,500 square-foot indoor playground where kids can run, jump, and play, the venue can incorporate any theme or activity you’d like and work with outside entertainment, such as petting zoos with kangaroos, concerts, magicians and more, to bring your child’s party to life. And, while the Citibabes space is the perfect party spot, they also offer parties to go, and can bring the celebration to your location of choice in NYC, the Hamptons, and beyond!

Creative Dream Parties. With over 3,000 square feet of space in the Murray Hill neighborhood, Creative Dream Parties can create parties that incorporate over 30 different themes with awesome activities that reflect your child’s interests. Whether your son is into pirates, superheroes, or cowboys, or your daughter likes karaoke, tie dye, or magic, Creative Dream Parties’ inviting space will be transformed into your child’s special wonderland and delight guests of all ages. Plus, there’s complimentary parking at the venue for the host and discounted parking for party guests!

Check out NYC’s Kids’ Birthday Party Finder for full information about these birthday parties in NYC (including when parties book up, party duration, and cost), and, if you like these custom birthday parties, check out our custom kids’ classes and activities that can create programs tailored to your child!

 

 

These 4 Awesome Kids’ Programs Can Fit ANY Busy Schedule

Kids have crazy schedules—between school, extracurricular activities, and family time, it can be hard to fit everything in. So if you’re looking for a kids’ program to fit your busy schedule—instead of cramming in an activity at an inopportune time— check out these four programs on Kidz Central Station that allow you to create a class when it works best for your child!

Island Swimming. A 36-year old award-winning swim program, Island Swimming comes to you whatever day, time, and location (at a pool of course) that works for you! Their collegiate swim instructors custom design each program to meet your child or groups’ specific needs, whether you have a toddler learning to swim or need a training program for an advanced competitive swimmer. All you have to do is request a program through Kidz Central Station, and we’ll contact you to create your private or group swim lesson.

Chess at Threestandard_IMG_0855. Chess is a tough game, so the earlier you start to learn it the better off you are. Chess at Three can help your child do just that—and at the time of your choice! This full-service tutoring company has fantastic instructors who will travel anywhere you’d like in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Lessons are 50 minutes long for private or group classes, and use fun stories and challenging games to teach kids all about the complex game of chess.

e.t.c custom events. This program is incredibly unique in that it custom designs classes, activities, and parties of any kind—no really, the sky’s the limit. From scavenger hunts at the zoo to Frozen-inspired arts and crafts classes, this company can plan a one-day experience, a week-long workshop, or a birthday party extravaganza—whatever you can dream up, they can create it. Just request more information through Kidz Central Station, and they’ll do the rest!


Jam With Jamie
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. Create your own playgroup with Jam with Jamie, a lively and entertaining musical experience for kids of all ages. With a guitar in hand and plenty of instruments for the little ones, Jam with Jamie musician hosts 45-minute classes on a day and time of your choice for up to eight kids. These awesome entertainers also do birthday parties, and offer a variety of great packages that not only include live music, but also puppets, face painting, balloon making, and more. Check out this video to see what they’re all about!

6 Birthday Party Favors Kids Will Actually Use

So you’re planning your child’s birthday party—you’ve picked the place, the food, the cake, and the invitations. Just when you think you’ve just about planned it all, you realize there is one more thing to decide on: party favors! You know, those little gifts that need to be unique (or at least different from what your child received at every other party) and items that might be thrown away, or thrown to the bottom of the toy bin never to be seen again.

Colorful gift bag and party blowersWhile many birthday party favors end up being not-so-exciting throwaway items, they don’t have to be! Here are a few great ideas for party favors your tiny guests will love—and ideas you don’t have to come up with yourself!

Personalized place mats. Every child eats, and every parent wants to keep mealtime messes contained. So personalized place mats—adorable and functional—are great birthday party favors for any age. Choose place mats with your child’s favorite theme, animal, or character from sites like Birthday in a Box and Etsy and have them sent straight to you—it’s that easy. Kids love seeing their names on items they use every day, so this favor is sure to be a hit.

More fun with names! You can put kids names on almost anything, and most likely there is a great local gift store nearby that will personalize everything from snack cups for little ones to simple plastic lunch boxes for school-age kids. For all of you DIY-ers, you’ll save some money by doing the personalizing yourself! Once you decide on the item (other great options include mini sports balls, tambourines, water bottles, and pencil cases), pick up an array of paint pens at your local craft store (they can instruct you which pens to buy) for writing names and designs yourself.

Books. You can never have enough kids’ books in your house, right? Give all of your child’s guests a great birthday-related story or a book about your child’s favorite character and you’re sure to make everyone—parents included—very happy.

Play-Doh. Once upon a time you loved Play Doh, so it’s fair to say most kids today do too. This colorful, smushy stuff has been around for decades and it doesn’t get old—even for many adults. Purchase a party bag with mini containers in a variety of colors or buy some three-packs of the bigger containers to fill up kids’ goodie bags. Add dough cutters in fun shapes to round out the party favor.

Sticker/stamp sets. Since arts and crafts is a big interest for little kids, sticker and/or stamp sets (Melissa & Doug makes great ones) are the perfect parting gift. Especially a hit with kids age two and three, these sets come pre-packaged so you don’t have to do a thing, and you can take comfort knowing that whatever money you spent will be put to good use.

Easter traditional Gingerbread cookies backgroundSweet treats. If you’re the kind of person who likes to bake and do crafty things, this may be a great project for you—and if you’re not, something you can outsource to a professional (like Eleni’s). Package up decorated cookies or cupcakes with cute designs, your child’s age, or that say something like “Billy’s 2nd Birthday”, and add some ribbon to make the favor look festive. Make them cookie pops for an extra cute treat! It’s a super sweet way to say goodbye to your little guests as they walk out the door.