Tag Archives: drop-in classes

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!

Winter Drop-In Class Round Up!

On a cold and snowy winter day like today, it’s easy to get stir crazy inside if you don’t have any regularly scheduled classes. Luckily, it’s easy to search Kidz Central Station for one-time drop-in classes, where you can pop in with your kids for some fun and excitement without a lot of planning ahead. Here’s a round up of some of the great drop-in class options in NYC:

Valentine's Day Love HeartsKidz Central Station’s Pop-Up Classes! February is a busy month for Kidz Central Station! We’re hosting three awesome one-time pop up classes, including two Valentine’s Day celebrations! The first is on February 4, and is a super fun tumbling party at the JCC. Next we’ll visit The Art Farm on February 11, where kids will celebrate all things love with music, art, and of course, animals! Our final February pop-up is a Gymboree Upper East Side Valentine’s Day party, which will bring love music, and play to kids on February 19! So come for the classes, and stay for open play and amazing treats!

Moosiki Kids. Interactive music and movement classes in Murray Hill and the Upper West Side, Moosiki Kids classes are for adults and children ages four months to three years. Blending traditional musical learning with a more relaxed, rock-and-roll style, kids will have fun playing musical instruments and enjoying some fun with a parachute, puppets, and other various props. You can purchase a full semester at a much lower rate (until today, 1/26!), discounted multi-class packs, or single drop-in classes whenever you need them.

JCC ManhattanBaby Play at the J. For kids ages three and younger, the JCC offers several different drop-in classes to suit every age and skill level! For babies ages six months and younger, there’s Tummy Time, a perfect first music and movement class, where little ones strengthen muscles in a playful and relaxed environment. Then there’s Baby Play at the J, a FREE drop-in for six to 12 month olds to enjoy open play in JCC’s open play space. Finally, kids age one to three years old will love Tumblin’ Time at the J, an hour of open play for big kids to climb, jump, and swing with the help of JCC’s expert instructors.

Scribble Art. A brand new program to Kidz Central Station, Scribble Art offers two different drop-in classes this winter, a Mini Scribblers class, which is an extension of their semester art class of the same name for kids age 18 months to three years, and Open Sensory Play Party, a fun way for toddlers 18 months to four years to touch, explore, and play with different art materials. Both classes give little ones the opportunity to use their creative sides and both are weekend drop-ins offered on January 31 and February 7!

Kids at Work. If you live in the Chelsea area (or are close enough to walk to West 27th Street), Kids at Work should be your go-to spot for one-time kids’ classes. All of their programs are drop-ins, so you can pop in any time for soccer, yoga, dance, music, baby classes, and so much more. Classes can be purchased one at a time or in multi-packs of up to 57 classes, and there are tons of class options so kids can try a new class each week!

And of course, there’s more! Check out Kidz Central Station for drop-in classes in your neighborhood!

5 Rainy Day Activities for Kids in NYC

Today is a pretty rainy day here in NYC, which is not a lot of fun when you have little kids. There is nothing worse than being cooped up in a tiny one- or two-bedroom apartment with your children climbing the walls—and you climbing the walls too. Luckily there are plenty of rainy day activities for kids in NYC, which are great alternatives to staying inside and playing with the same old toys. Here are a few activities we recommend from experience!

Kids inside Pergamon Museum listening to audio guide. Berlin, Germany.Museums. NYC has some great kid-friendly museums, as well as museums solely dedicated to entertaining kids! A few of our uptown favorites are Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the American Museum of Natural History, and downtown there is the Children’s Museum of the Arts. You can also head to Lincoln Center to visit the (FREE!) Sesame Street exhibit if your child can’t get enough of this classic favorite show.

Drop-in Classes. Kidz Central Station has lots of drop-in classes, where you can register on the day of class—no planning ahead, no semester-long commitments. There are classes in music, cooking, tae kwan do, and more, so there are great options for all ages and interests. See our recent post about kids’ classes you should sign up for now—many of which are drop-ins—as well as all of the drop-in classes available now on the site!

Open Play. Open play is a great opportunity for a change of scenery, as well as for avoiding too much structure in your child’s day if he or she already has scheduled classes. Plus, open play spaces are great for meeting other families for future play dates and activities! Just the other day we wrote about all of the great spots for open play in NYC—check out the post for a refresher!

Playdates. While we’re on the subject of playdates, they are the perfect free activity for a rainy day. While your child might get a little antsy playing at home by him/herself, add a little playmate to the mix and it makes a rainy day so much brighter. Call up one of your friends—who is probably feeling as stir crazy as you are—and see if he or she is up for an afternoon get-together!

Art Projects. Sure, we all have crayons and coloring books, but a creative art project where kids can use their imaginations can help liven up a gloomy day. In many cases, you can use everyday materials you have lying around for a project! For example, get some glue/glue sticks and paper, and find as many odds and ends as you can in your apartment—buttons, newspapers, magazines, string, those plastic things used to tie up bags of bread, etc. Have your little one glue on the pieces to create his or her unique masterpiece! Another great project is a DIY tambourine. All you need are two paper plates, macaroni, and crayons/markers/other materials to decorate! Have your child decorate both paper plates and then put macaroni in the center of one paper plate. Attach the other plate on top using a stapler or tape and you have a homemade tambourine! While it’s a fun project, we’re sorry in advance for the extra noise!

5 Open Play Escapes for Kids in NYC

NYC is a fantastic place to raise kids, but small living spaces can often result in little ones climbing the walls and adults getting extreme cabin fever. Kids’ programs that offer open play in addition to classes really get it—sometimes parents need a kid-friendly spot to escape to when the usual toys and games just won’t cut it.

Kidz Central Station has some great options for open play, including play spaces that are open all seven days a week, and programs that offer open play in addition to enrolled classes. So if it’s raining, too cold for the park, or when you feel the walls closing in on your apartment, check out some of these awesome places for kids to run, jump around, and let out some energy.

TLB

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.

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.

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Creative Dream Parties
Known for creating amazing birthday party celebrations, Creative Dream Parties now hosts open play Monday through Wednesday from 10am–12pm in its 3,000-square-foot space in Murray Hill. Kids can run, dance, laugh and play and use their imagination to create their own fun experiences. Snacks and drinks are included and drop-offs are available to give parents a quick break during the day.

Kids at Work
A Chelsea program known for its flexible schedule of drop-in classes, Kids at Work also offers a Free Baby Playdate each week, where parents and kids (newborn to 12 months) can socialize and play in the program’s cool, sunlit, 1,000-square-foot space. The play area includes age-appropriate toys, manipulatives, balls, and tunnel, and open play is offered every Monday at 1pm.

PLAY GreenpointPlay Greenpoint
For Brooklynites in the Greenpoint area, PLAY Greenpoint is the perfect spot to spend an hour, an afternoon, or even a full day. Kids up to seven years old can explore various play areas, a wide-open tumbling gym, a music and art studio, and more, and for the littlest babies, there is a designated baby area for crawling around or quiet time. Parents and caregivers also have access to a sitting and feeding area, which includes a beverage center stocked with ice coffee, water, and juice, as well as a microwave for any food you want to bring.

Kids’ Classes to Sign Up For RIGHT NOW

Since fall’s halfway over you have to wait until winter for your kids to start new classes, right? Wrong. Luckily, so very wrong! Many kids’ programs offer mini semesters that start smack in the middle of the season, giving parents another chance to sign up for brand new kids’ classes for fall. Kidz Central Station has a bunch of new offerings starting soon, so if your little ones could use another fun activity each week, check out some great new classes to fill those empty holes in their schedules.

baby girl with her mother cook, bakeJCC in Manhattan. For working parents who want to experience the enrichment of classes with their kids, or for parents who want to enjoy a class together with their kids on weekends, the JCC in Manhattan is offering a whole new array of Sunday drop-in classes (and one mini semester class) that literally just started. From cooking classes to new parent support groups, there are some great options here, and since most are drop-in, you can pay by the class and not commit every week.

Soc Roc. A Kidz Central Station favorite, Soc Roc is starting new mini semester of soccer classes on November 12 at Babies ’R’ Us in Union Square. It’s a great program taught by a real soccer pro, known for fantastic classes all over the city for little ones as young as 18 months old. If you’re interested and want to see what it’s all about, Soc Roc is holding free trials on November 6 and 7, so you can get a taste of what the mini semester will bring.

14th Street Y. If music is your child’s thing, you’ll find no shortage of great options at the 14th Street Y. With mini semesters starting throughout November, there are classes for every age with songs, instruments, musical stories, and more. Kids age 12 months to three and a half years can rock out with Rock-a-Baby, Boogie with Brett, or Musical Notes with Nick, and there is even a Brett class for tiny musicians whoa re two months old and up.

Rockin’ With Andy. Known as one of the best infant performers in NYC, Rockin’ With Andy does it all—he sings, he plays instruments, and he dazzles little ones age four months to four years with a rockin’ good time. He just began holding weekly drop-in classes at Explore + Discover’s brand new facility in Murray Hill (single class or five-class packs are available) so you can stop in for a class whenever it fits your schedule.

Juguemos a Cantar. For Park Slope parents whose kids can’t get enough of arts and crafts, Juguemos a Cantar’s jewelry workshops are the perfect weekend option. There are two different workshops offered, one for age 4–7 and another for age 8–12, and both teach kids to design their own jewelry using an array of fun materials and their innate talents. As a bonus, classes are taught by Flora Mayer, an innovative fashion designer from Buenos Aires, whose art has been showcased in shops, galleries and museums in both Argentina and Spain.Two Children Painting Picture At Home

Looking for more great fall kids’ classes and activities to add to your list? Check out the weekend plays at the Galli Theater (The Ugly Ducking, Snow White, Rapunzel, and more!), amazing art gallery tours with Chelsea Childhood Center for the Arts, and drop-in classes every week throughout NYC!