While it’s great that NYC offers so many amazing enrichment programs where little ones can learn and play, it can be daunting to sort through all of the options to figure out which kids’ program is best for your child—especially since the “right” activity changes so much with age. And if you’re new to the whole parenting thing, a million questions can stop you in your tracks: Is three months old too young for music classes? Will a four-year-old girl enjoy soccer? Are there classes for parents too?
If you still don’t know what classes are right for your child this fall, we’re here to help! Here is an age-by-age breakdown of the best kids’ programs in NYC for every age.
0-3 months: While your baby is too young for most NYC kids’ programs, at this point it’s important to find a scheduled activity where you can meet fellow new parents and have a reason to actually get dressed and leave the apartment. Try a new parent support group (like Big City Moms’ New Moms Support Group), which is great for making friends and sharing experiences. Or, for a class that’s good for both the mind and body, try the postnatal yoga classes at programs like Prenatal Yoga Center and the 92Y.
3-6 months: Your baby is becoming more alert and moving around now, so a music and movement class, such as Little Maestros, Kids Music Round, and Music for Aardvarks will expose your child to singing, rhythm, and songs he or she will be singing for years to come. Another great option at this stage is a baby development class (i.e. Gymboree’s Play & Learn classes or Creative Play for Kids’ Bouncing and Busy Babies) which will nurture your child’s early gross and fine motor development.
6-12 months: At this stage, your baby is probably crawling, walking, or on his or her way! This is the perfect age for a tumbling class. A semester at programs like MAGIC or the JCC Manhattan will let your little one crawl and climb, stretch and step, and continue to enjoy rhythm and song. Keep the music classes going too! Don’t want to commit to another semester-long class? Try a drop-in like Music with James, Music with Suzanna, or Moosiki Kids Music, which your little one can attend as much or as little as you’d like.
12–24 months: Kids at this age will benefit from a more action-packed gym class, like Teeny Tumblers at the 92Y or Mighty Muscle Movers at Jodi’s Gym. This is also a great age to begin a foreign language development class, since children are becoming more verbal at this stage and soaking in the language around them. Programs like ¡Hola! A Playgroup in Spansh and The Language Workshop for Children teach children the basics of a new language through play, music, and age appropriate games. Music is also important for language development, so keep those classes on the schedule as well.
2 years: Active two-year-olds are at the perfect age for sports and dance basics classes, which keep them active and offer structure to the day. Some great options are City Moves Dance Studio, which offers classes in a variety of dance styles; Physique Swimming, which offers swim lessons in several Manhattan neighborhoods; and Soc Roc, a fantastic soccer program taught in neighborhoods throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. This is also a good time to enroll your child in a preschool 2s program, so he or she can experience a variety of activities while developing socialization skills and preparing for future school years.
3 years: In addition to the preschool program your three-year-old may be attending, try something new at this age! NYC has many unique options, for example a Science class at City Tots, Basketball with Hands on Hoops, and Chocolate Making at Chocolate Works Upper East Side. These programs will expand your child’s horizons and expose him or her to fun new activities.
4+: Now you can really hone in on your child’s interests! Have a budding actor or actress on your hands? Try a dance/theater class at I Can Do That NYC. A Michaelangelo in the making? Creative Space Arts has a basic sculpting class for creative kids. The next Karate Kid? Yang Taekwondo is a studio that will grow with your child, offering martial arts classes for children up to 12 years old. Kidz Central Station also has unique options for Coding, Legos, Manga drawing, and more!
Check out Kidz Central Station to search all of the great class options for your child this fall! Whichever classes and activities you choose, your little one is sure to have a great time learning new things and meeting new friends in the new season.