Tag Archives: classes

NYC’s Best Summer Programs for Kids are Here!

Yesterday marked the first day of June and the beginning of the summer season (ok, the first day of summer is June 21 but we’re definitely not counting). Many new classes and camps in NYC are starting this week and throughout the month, and there are lots of summer programs for kids of all ages, whether your little one is dying to get outside for soccer in the park or hit the gym for tumbling and strengthening. See some of our summer picks below, and check out Kidz Central Station for a full variety of classes!

standard_Teeny_Tumblers_2Jodi’s Gym. This Upper East Side program has it all when it comes to gymnastics for little ones. These weekly classes will get kids running, jumping, singing, and tumbling all summer long, and offer just the right exercises and activities for every age and skill level. There are three different summer sessions available to accommodate busy summer schedules, and classes are for kids age eight months to five years. The first session of summer starts this week!

Evolution Enrichment Center. Whether you’re looking for summer drop-in classes or a weekly camp for preschool-age kids, Evolution Enrichment Center has it all. Classes include unique offerings such as Science Ninjas, Yoga, Jewelry Design, and their signature class, Rhythmic Gymnastics, or you can opt for their Preschool Summer Program, which includes a variety of these fun activities as well as daily lunch for campers. Starts June 29.

Kids ‘n Codingelementary school students in computer class. In today’s world, coding is an important skill to have, and the earlier you learn it, the better off you are. Kids ‘n Coding is a great kids’ coding program located in downtown NYC, where your little ones can get a leg up and learn all of the coding basics. During the month of July, the program is offering two one-week sessions for kids as young as six years old on Coding Robots—basically a step-by-step coding intro through fun games and activities with robots!

Music for Aardvarks. Music is always super fun for kids, but when it’s outdoors during summer in one of NYC’s beautiful parks it’s even better! Music for Aardvarks’s summer session of outdoor music classes starts June 23, and it includes the same singing, dancing, instrument jam sessions, and music storytelling found in all of their upbeat classes. You can find them everywhere from uptown in Central Park to Rockefeller Park in Tribeca, and there are tons of times available so you’re sure to find one that works.

Tennis Innovatorstennis boy. The perfect choice for sport-loving kids, Tennis Innovators’ Summer Camp session not only includes tennis lessons (with stroke development, private instruction, fun drills, and games), but its daily schedule also incorporates soccer, basketball, and baseball on nearby outdoor fields! Camp starts June 15 and runs through September 4, and parents can register kids for weekly sessions in the morning, afternoon, or all day long!

Wait, there’s more! Visit Kidz Central Station and search summer programs by age, location, date, neighborhood, and more!

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!

Lonely Only Child? Not So Much-Thanks to Kids’ Classes and ….

Lonely Only Child? Not So Much-Thanks to Kids’ Classes and ….

Mykaela (in the front) with her dance class friends.

 

*Mykaela (in the front) with her dance class friends.*

Gymboree Throwback! Mykaela 8 months!

I grew up as an only child. I was not spoiled. I did not think the universe revolved around me. I absolutely was not lonely. Those are the general stereotypes of only children, and like many stereotypes there is some basis to it but it has been grossly overgeneralized. The biggest stereotype is the one about being lonely. People who are not onlies seem to think that only children spend mass amounts of time brooding in their rooms wishing they had siblings. Nope. I played in my room just fine with all my stuff uninterrupted and never had to worry about anyone whining because I wouldn’t share. My books were mine, my video games were mine, and all my stuff stayed where I put it. When I wanted to share and have social interaction I had other little people called friends. Friends are awesome! I could play with them when I wanted to be around people, and when I didn’t want to I could stay home and enjoy my alone time. Friends are like siblings outside of the house so I had the best of both worlds. While other kids complained about how annoying their siblings were or how one got more attention than the other, I was quite smug about the fact that I did not have those problems. Not only were my possessions all mine, but my mom was all mine too! There was no scheduling alone time with mom. There was no “not right now Cassaundra, Mommy has to take care of BrotherSister.” Nope! I shared my mom on school trips or if I invited a friend to come along on an outing. Ok, so maybe a little spoiled, but not in the stereotypical only kid way.

When I started getting to the age where I thought about having a family, I thought I’d have more than one child. Not because I didn’t want an only child for fear of loneliness, but simply because I wanted a boy and a girl so I could play football with one and dress up the other. Loneliness never crossed my mind. When I became pregnant with my daughter the whole story changed. I was diagnosed with a very rare neuromuscular condition several years ago and the rate of passage is 50%. That means I had a 50% chance of passing this thing on to any child I have. I had an amniocentesis done, she did not have it. I also had the absolute worst pregnancy ever, and I was 33 when I gave birth. Listen, I don’t know about you, but to me all that screamed loud and clear ONE AND DONE! I am also not the most patient person in the world and I honestly never, ever, ever, ever, NEVER want to go through the toddler stage again! She is just about 3 and I have discovered gray hair, I have bags under my eyes, and sometimes I really feel like I’m going insane! Again, ONE AND DONE! Many people have tried to convince me that I need another child. She is going to be spoiled they said. She needs someone to play with they said. And here we go, she is going to be LONELY they said. Not so much.

My daughter is absolutely NOT lonely. She has me and seriously, I am awesome company! Aside from me, my daughter also has been in playgroups and classes with other children since she was 8 months old. We started out at Gymboree where she spent a year in music and gym classes. We had unlimited classes so she got to attend multiple times a week. I would also take her to just about every kid activity I had time for so she was exposed to other kids early on. At a bit over 2 we enrolled at the Harlem School of the Arts for Tiny Moves dance classes where she is currently finishing up her second semester. She made tons of friends there. I think the best thing I did was enroll her in those classes. They taught her to share, how to behave with other kids, how to make friends, and how to be a friend. I have recently signed her up for group piano lessons through Kidz Central Station and I am looking into other classes as well. I have been using Kidz Central Station for awhile now and I love it! Being able to search for classes that are in my budget is awesome, because as a single mom budgeting is really important. I have found many trial classes, free classes, and low cost classes for my daughter to attend. She has all the social interaction she needs without having a sibling. My daughter may be an only child, but she is definitely not lonely.

 

Parenting Tips for Kids – Choosing a Class for Your Child

There are many benefits to enrolling your child in a class. From newborn to teens, it’s important to get your child involved in extracurricular activities. For example, music classes can help build your child’s communication skills and acting classes can help your child become a confident public speaker. Joining a sports activity can teach a child about teamwork and getting along with others, not to mention keep them active and healthy. Young children learn about being with other children and socialization. There are several important factors that a parent should think about before choosing a class for his/her child. Since we attend many classes throughout NYC, here are my 5 Tips on Choosing a Class For Your Child – a part of my parenting tips for kids series.

parenting tips for kids

Parenting Tips for Kids – 5 Tips on Choosing a Class for Your Child

1.  Find something your child is interested in. When looking for a class, your first step is to look for something that your child would be interested in. If you have a newborn, then look for a class that you would enjoy for bonding with your little one while also meeting new moms. It’s important to find something that you child will like because you want him/her to look forward to the classes every week. The more that the class interests him/her, the more likely he/she will become involved and dedicated to the class.

On KidzCentralStation.com, you can sign up for free trial classes to ‘test and try,’ before paying and committing to an entire semester of classes. Ask yourself: Does you kid interact well with the instructor? Were the other moms in the class fun and friendly? What the place clean and inviting?

If you DO love the class, don’t forget to come back and leave a review on our site so other moms like you looking can see how much you enjoyed it!

2.  Ask friends for recommendations. Your friends and other moms are a great resource when looking for a new class for your child. Many of your friends are likely to have taken classes in your area, or have friends who have taken classes. Even striking up a conversation with other moms at your local playground is a good way to do some research. They are the people that can give you honest feedback and reviews on classes in your city. When it comes to moms, the word on the street is golden – don’t be afraid to ask!

 3. Look online in your search. The internet is a great resource for finding just about anything you need, including classes. You can search many of the facilities in your city that provides classes for your child. KidzCentralStation.com is another great resource for searching for classes in New York City. It allows you to search for classes  based on certain criteria including age, day of the week, time of day, class type, price and more. Like I mentioned above, it also has reviews of classes from other parents.

Some other great resources to use when scouring the web?

Mommy Nearest (A FREE app you can download that is location based. You can pull it up to find open spaces and parks ‘on the fly’ as well as kid-friendly restaurants, changing tables and more!)

–  Well Rounded NY Is a great place for pregnant and soon-to-be moms to get started. They offer tons of tips and information on everything and anything during pregnancy, including prenatal classes like yoga!

Big City Moms  Lots of great parenting resources – directly curated for us Big City Moms. They are also the masterminds behind the Biggest Baby Shower, which I highly recommend you check out!

parenting tips for kids 

4.  Make sure it works with your schedule and budget. You might have found the perfect class for your child, but you want to make sure that it fits your schedule and your budget before you enroll. Make sure that it is on a day of the week that you have free and that your child will have no problem attending during the week. If you have a baby that still takes a nap during the day, do not schedule a class that will interfere with that! The last thing you want is for your little one to attend a class tired and cranky. You guys are there to have fun!

 5.   Have fun! Yes, have fun! It might sound simple, but one of the very reasons that you want to enroll your child in a class is to have fun. You want it to be a class that he/she looks forward to every week and will tell all of his/her friends about. You know that your child is really enjoying a class when he/she can’t stop talking about it.

So put down the cell phone, kick off your shoes and spend those 45-60 min bonding and having fun with your child. Remember – they watch you and look up to you, so if they see you having fun they will too!

Introducing the First Class Ticket

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As both parents and members of the parenting industry, we’ve been asked a lot of questions about raising kids in New York City. Many parents, especially those outside NYC, seem to think there are a lack of kid friendly options available in the Big Apple, but we find that the biggest problem is choosing from the over-abundance of possibilities: schools, parks, theater, museums etc. and then there are all of the activities and classes.

We love having all these choices, and they are among the reasons many parents decide to raise their children in NYC. But figuring out which option is best for your kids and family is often a challenge itself. It’s with this in mind that we started asking parents we’ve met at various Kidz Central Station events, “What would make choosing a class for your kids easier?” The answer over and over was, “give me choices but don’t overwhelm me with options.”

kids smile

So, we thought about it. We talked to some of our amazing class providers, and we’ve come up with an answer that is a win-win for everyone: the First Class Ticket. This one ticket buys you and your child the opportunity to sample four different types of classes, from four different providers, and all within a similar neighborhood or area. And all of this costs less than $10 a class. We’ve done the leg work so you don’t have to. All you need to do show up and play, learn and watch your child thrive. When you find the class (or classes) that fit you and your child, you can sign up for more with confidence and ease. We hope you love it and that it makes your life easier and more fun!

Here is how it works:
It’s this simple: buy one First Class Ticket from Kidz Central Station, try four different classes, offered by four amazing providers, in one general area, all for under $10 a class. Pay only $39 for classes valued at more than $120, when purchased individually. With the First Class Ticket you and your child will sample a new music, art, physical play and enrichment class. All you have to do is sign-up, save money, time, and hassle while trying out a handful of amazing classes. It’s the best ticket in town to find the greatest kids classes NYC has to offer this Fall!

first class ticket

The following is a list of the providers and locations available on the First Class Ticket Fall 2013:

FIRST CLASS TICKET – UPPER EAST SIDE
NY Kids Club, TLB Music, The Art Farm in the City, Moosiki Kids, Lets Gogh Art

FIRST CLASS TICKET – MIDTOWN EAST/WEST
Wee Ones Club, Kids at Work, Let’s Gogh Art, NY Kids Club

FIRST CLASS TICKET – DOWNTOWN
Little Peep Prep, Swaddle Waddle, NY Kids ClubMusic Beans

There are a limited number of First Class Tickets available. Classes are available for children aged 6 months to 24 months. Limit of one class per child per venue. Sign up and find your new favorite class today!

Let us know what you think!

Children Approach Museums with Excitement and Know-how!

Claire’s Creative Museum Adventures Brings Children’s Art Education to NYC’s Museums and Galleries!

Are you a NYC family wanting to expose your children to the fascinating world of art around you that they can enjoy?  Do you have friends or family members traveling through NYC seeking a truly memorable cultural experience together?

We all know that New York City is known for its culture and the arts.  It’s world-class museums and galleries provide an extraordinary opportunity to learn!  So how can your child take advantage?

Creating unique professional artist or theme-based visits that are educational AND entertaining is not an easy feat!  First, children tire easily.  Even getting to the artwork can be intimidating in large museums, especially those like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  And how do you know where to begin?

There are ways to demystify not only the museum, but also the art processes, while making them easy to understand and fun to learn!  Following a few simple rules can help.

For many museums, just getting to certain galleries can be a hike.  First, know where you are going before setting out.  You don’t want your child to see it as a chore if you have to cover too much ground.  Pick a small section each visit to explore more fully.

Next, select just a few pieces that are in close proximity with each other, which provide ample learning opportunities based on one theme. Locating the artists with something in common helps to bring home specific ideas, without wearing out your child.

Many artists may seem too sophisticated to share with kids.  Not so!  Breaking down the art processes of artists and making them easy to understand and fun to learn can be exciting!  Of course ages and special interests are important to consider for each visit; Explaining color theory to a 4 year old by using the Impressionists may be too much, however, Ellsworth Kelly or Roy Lichtenstein is a great start.  Balance and line exploration using Calder’s mobiles, or even metal-working with pieces from David Smith and John Chamberlain, is a pragmatic way to teach.

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Kids don’t want a lecture!  Since there is no teacher like doing, actually making artwork in front of a piece of art is instrumental for kids!  Knowing what materials work best, and which ones are appropriate in a public space, is also not easy.  That’s often where experts come in.  You may not feel comfortable bringing in recycled materials to discover El Anatsui’s magic, however, you can never go wrong with pencils, colored pencils or wire for your first endeavors as a parent.

Be sure to switch it up:  construct, collage or create colors with separate visits.  Since a child’s attention span is short, each project needs to be divided into simplified steps, and include more than one simple hands-on project.

Some great first galleries I would suggest are the modern painters at the Met.  There are beginning discovery lessons in line, shape and color here like no other!  Then those lessons can be applied to more artists, once digested.

Keep it simple and fun.  You want your child to be eager to not only go to see art, but excited by the process…  and if you become a learner with your child along the way, you’ll see them making connections and coming to their own conclusions you would never have thought of!

Don’t miss out on the amazing educational opportunity to discover art with your child by using your city’s resources.  You may also wish to take advantage of an experienced and engaging tour leader to illuminate your experience.

By Claire Munday, Founder of Claire’s Creative Adventures, LLC for kids ages 2-12.  Museum and Art Adventures uses NYC’s modern, contemporary and multicultural art resources to go beyond school curricula to “demystify” artists and their processes. Children (and their accompanying adults) are introduced to modern and contemporary artists as well as diverse cultures, based on current exhibits from the myriad of NYC museums and galleries, providing all of the supplies, education and entertainment while actively engaging the children in the fantastic world of art from museum arrival to departure… Click here to book your next tour or class!

 

 

Classes with Our Kids in NYC

CLASSES WITH OUR KIDS

My 4 1/2 year old son is the epitome of a first born. He is a “take charge” kind of kid and is full of confidence. And, he is ALL boy. He is active, energetic and non-stop. I became a coffee addict just to keep my eyes open until his naptime. Needless to say, when I found out I was pregnant again, the week of my son’s first birthday, I panicked. How was I going to have the stamina for two energizer bunnies? When that fateful day arrived, “delivery day”, I was stunned when I delivered a bouncing baby girl. We had chosen not to learn the sex of either of our kids, but I was sure I was carrying a boy so it was a huge surprise when my daughter was delivered and my husband and I looked at each other with fear…how were we going to take care of a girl?

Three years later, it is our little girl who has taught us how to take care of her – she pretty much potty trained herself, was eating solids and feeding herself very early and learned to dress herself before her brother ever expressed an interest in dressing himself. She is also the one who told me that she wanted to take ballet because she saw her friends dressed up in their ballerina outfits one day. Every class I had taken with my son was exhausting. I was usually chasing him around some field or gymnasium, telling him to listen to his coach, reminding him to not hit the kid next to him and explaining to him that yelling was not acceptable. So, when my daughter informed me of her desire to take ballet, I wasn’t sure how much fun Mommy was going to have.

ballet

But, of course, I enrolled her and to put it simply, it was fantastic. As she dressed herself for class in her leotard and white chiffon skirt and proudly put on her tights and ballet shoes, she was transformed into a charming ballerina. She enjoyed the class and loved being with all of her new friends. And, I was able to sit back and watch her learn and could recall being a toddler ballerina myself and it made me smile. In my busy life as a full-time working Mom, taking my daughter to ballet was a weekly opportunity to simply observe. It was a moment in time that I wasn’t focused on my career and chores at home. Instead, it allowed me the chance to watch my baby turn into a little girl. She was so proud to learn how to do the passé, the arabesque and always made sure that I was watching. Her interaction with the other ballerinas was so adorable that I found myself taking plenty of pictures to share with my family. It was a class full of Mom’s and Dad’s enjoying their children and we all seemed to be aware of how special that early age was and how important it was for our children to demonstrate their newly learned skills.

In an effort to be honest, I will confess that ballet class was not our first endeavor. No, that would have been the soccer class for kids under the age of two. That was a class where Mommy learned the soccer skills needed to be a soccer star. It was a class that Mommy learned how to kick a ball, sing songs and perfect the art of walking around the gymnasium floor with a little monkey girl who learned how to wrap herself around my leg, the minute the class started and never let go, for six weeks worth of classes. I took her to every class and was sure she was going to outgrow her clingy behavior and I could sit back and drink my coffee. But, that day never came. My hope is that all parents experience a class (or two) with their kids. You never know what you will witness and learn!

By: Denise Courter, Manhattan mother of two children under the age of 5 and Founder of FiDi Families.

Is Your Child Tapping into Their Creativity? 10 Things Every Parent Needs to Know About Kids and Creativity!

Green leafy vegetables, a good night’s sleep, and… art. Art isn’t just a hobby, it’s a must. Did you know that ART is vital for your child’s health? The benefits of art are scientifically proven. Here are our top 10 reasons why every child needs ART in his/her life.

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1. Children master communication skills through art. Art provides an opportunity to share important feelings that cannot be expressed verbally.

2. Art fosters positive self-esteem by allowing children to express their individuality and uniqueness. Art creates a feeling of accomplishment that children take pride in.

3. As children explore creatively, they experiment and thus discover new assessments and solutions. This “how” and “why” thinking of art builds problem-solving skills along with out-of-the-box thinking skills.

4. Self-expression is an intrinsic human need. Through art, children express their true, authentic selves freely in a healthy, safe and nurturing environment.

5. Art classes are social and engaging. Art gives children an opportunity to build their social skills through creative play, sharing, and enjoying one another’s artwork.

6. Art is a form of relaxation and meditation. Your child is able to relax and relieve stress while having FUN!

7. Creative learning is directly linked to the overall health of children’s brain development.

8. Art enhances focus and memory. Art classes are even linked to higher test scores!

9. Art is directly related to enhanced fine motor skills. Creating specific brushstrokes, cutting small collage papers and a variety of other artistic techniques teach children the art of fine motor skills.

10. Art offers children a lesson in safe, healthy, “unplugged” FUN. With art, children unplug from technology and learn how to plug into the joy of good, wholesome fun.

By: Rebecca Schweiger, Founder of The Art Studio NY & Internationally Renowned Artist. The Art Studio NY offers children’s art summer camps and inspiring children’s art classes all year round. Click here to see their classes and camps listed on Kidz Central Station.

 

Swimming Classes for Babies

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Growing up in the country, we learned how to swim by jumping in our pond. You couldn’t see anything in the muddy waters – you just jumped and hoped you missed a frog and a rock. Once your feet hit the slimy, gushy ground, you were up, out and repeat. Even though the East

River presents the same look – dark, dirty and you want to jump and not land on anything – especially nothing dead or contaminated, I would rather Maximo’s first swimming classes experience not be so – well, adventurous.

So where do you go when you want to find the best (and cleanest) swim class in NYC? Kidz Central Station of course! And the popular vote went to Physique Swimming – with a huge rate of moms booking consistent classes. That must mean they like them!

This is NYC –  every mom knows some things CAN be questionable. So I took one more blind leap and booked Maximo’s first swim class.

Swimming Classes for Babies by Physique Swimming at the Mercedes Club

(original post and review found on MommyNearest.com – read the original post here).

swimming classes

First impression upon walking in
Very clean and fancy, but didn’t come off as very kid-friendly. It was an upscale, luxury sports club and I didn’t exactly see any other strollers lurking around. But the staff was extremely friendly and walked me into the locker room to show me where everything was and how to get to the pool. Strollers are big and bulky, and I got a couple ‘too bad you have a kid’ smirks from the young, rich clientele walking in with makeup, who could more likely use a cheeseburger instead of a treadmill. But I am never one to be intimidated, so I dressed Maximo into his suit via the stroller , rolled him right out to the pool area, and parked my City Mini. I always hate the feeling of not having to push myself and the stroller into areas where I’m not sure if it’s allowed. But I figure when it’s just me, and I have all this stuff and a squirmy toddler, it’s do first, ask later.

We walked over to the edge of the pool where I see one other mom and a little girl floating in the water already. I ask if they’re in the class and they’re excited there is another mom to join them! Well, at least we’ll get a lot of one-on-one attention!

The Class
The swimming teacher was super nice. She totally took into consideration that it was Maximo’s first time in the water and went slow to introduce him to floating and kicking. Luckily for me, Maximo loved it. It took him a few minutes to understand what all this water was – but once herealized I wouldn’t leave his side and he could float and kick happily – he was smitten.

We started with the basics – floating on his stomach and trying to kick. After that, floating on his back (definitely didn’t like this as much) and looking up and singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Then we had a little floaty fish we would throw and ‘swim’ to get.

Then we played Maximo’s favorite – Humpty Dumpty. You sit them on the side of the pool, and lean them towards you. Count to three and have them jump into the water with you. Then – Maximo did something I didn’t expect his first time – he went underwater! (If you blow in their face right before they dunk, they automatically hold their breath.) He popped up and looked around – a little surprised, but overly excited to do it again!

swimming classes

Overall Experience:
I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just a fluke experience. Our buildings pool is finally open for the summer, so I took him him down yesterday right before it closed to let him try out some of his newly learned skills. And he took to them just like a fish! In fact, he didn’t even want to get out this time. Ahh, to be a kid again! Talking to my other mom friends, the consensus is that all their kids loved the classes too – and they have started their babies as early as 6 months! Moms also let me know that they played the same games as we did – so it’s going to come down to WHO is teaching your class, not WHAT they are teaching. So make sure you and your baby like working with the instructor!

I highly recommend Physique Swimming classes for babies because they are totally professional and I felt safe with Maximo in the water.  They were really nice and patient – I never felt rushed or stressed. And they hold their classes in reputable, clean pools in the city – aka – no new germ friends to tag along home.

Author: Stephanie Barnhart
Stephanie Barnhart

Stephanie is a published author—featured in the New York Times, NY Metro Parents Magazine, PARENTGUIDE NEWS, as well as an #expertmom for MommyNearest.com, and contributing author to KidzCentralStation.com and Kidville.com’s Voices of the ‘Ville — author and speaker/consultant on motherhood and the importance of marketing and research in a business arena, specifically online. She also owns her own social media company, www.socialmindedmediagroup.com

Tips to Choosing Kids’ Classes

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You’re at the park pushing your baby on the swing. The mom next to you with a baby who looks similar in age smiles. You smile back. She asks your child’s age. She mentions her son is just a few weeks older than your daughter. A familiar conversation ensues in which you bounce back and forth between bottles, naps, separation anxiety – all of the usual suspects. Then the question pops up that never fails: “What classes is she enrolled in?”

When we were in our teens it was “Where do you go to school?”, our 20’s was “What bar did you go to last night?” and for parents it is “Where does your baby take classes?” or “Where does your child go to preschool?”. As a maternity consultant, I get asked this question a lot. People want advice on the best facilities. Some moms believe classes are the gateway to Harvard. Others choose to opt out of them all together and find free, fun city activities. I see both sides. As a working mom away from her children eight hours a day, I wanted them to have a consistent routine of activity. Although I felt classes were important, I aimed for quality over quantity.

Classes are a great way to not only provide social interaction for your child, but for you as well! Being home with a baby/toddler all day can be isolating. Classes provide a structured schedule in the week and get you out of the house. Mommy-and-me classes give you focused one-on-one time with your child without the everyday distractions. In addition, classes foster muscle coordination, music and art appreciation and social development. While I do not feel it is necessary to have your child’s schedule jam-packed with multiple daily activities, I do value providing a few diverse options for older babies and toddlers as well as a preschool or preschool alternative for two & three-year olds. There is a myriad of options for classes across the city. Here are some tips for choosing them:

1. Research the classes in your neighborhood. Use word of mouth first for what your mom friends prefer and then narrow it down by proximity to your home, budget, and schedule.

2. Request a free trial. If you are going to invest over $500 for a semester of classes, make sure you know what you are getting. Try a few out to see what feels right.

3. Choose a class that will not interfere with your child’s nap schedule. For a toddler with two naps, try one in the late morning between the naps. For an older child with one lunchtime nap, aim for morning or late afternoon. For the over-three set, try a preschool program earlier in the day so they are energized.

4. If you are looking for a healthy balance, choosing one gym class and one music class per week is a good start. These build different skills and won’t become too redundant. Some facilities offer longer classes that combine both physical skill-building and art, which is a great way to break it up.

5. Get involved. The best thing about classes is sharing the experience with your baby/child. Play with the instruments, sing the songs, be silly. Before you know it, they will be attending classes or school without you and you will miss it!

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6. Don’t always feel you have to keep up with the Joneses. Your child is not going to be the next Bill Gates because you enrolled them in classes while they were still in the womb. Do what makes the most sense for your family – not just what others tell you to do.

Kidz Central Station is your go-to resource for NYC classes. They make this process a whole lot easier and seamlessly guide you to the perfect class for your child. Here are some other recommendations from a NYC mom of two:

1. NY Kids Club – at 18 months, my son loved their combo class of music, art and gym

NY Kids Club

2. Playtime with Sammie & Tudie – known as “the power couple of the clowning world”, Sammie & Tudie host classes/events all over the city, featuring magic, storytelling, songs, and activity play for ages 1-4 and their prices can’t be beat. Both my children adore them.

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Playtime with Sammie & Tudie

3. Yogi Beans – around 18 months, my son took “Me & My Bean Yoga” at this adorable Upper East Side studio and came home proudly demonstrating downward dog and namaste.

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Yogi Beans

4. The Art Farm in the City – for my son’s first separation program, we chose The Art Farm on the Upper East Side. He thoroughly enjoyed spending two three-hour days there a week with their warm staff, diverse curriculum, and who can turn down playing with farm animals in the city? Their classes and playgroups are excellent as well.

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The Art Farm in the City

Lauren Deneroff is the founder of Wife to Mom Consulting (www.wifetomomconsulting.com), a maternity consulting and baby planning firm in New York City. Wife to Mom Consulting offers services to expectant and new moms such as new parent coaching, registry guidance, nursery design and preparation, baby gear education, and organizational services. Lauren lives in Manhattan with her husband, Joe, and their two children, Brody, 3 & Harper, 1 and is happy to share her consulting and mommy advice on Kidz Buzz!

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