Tag Archives: kids activities

Head of the Class Mom: Marni Sandler

Meet this week’s Head of the Class Mom, Marni Sandler—owner of Monkey Do! Yoga—and mom to an amazing daughter!

Tell us about yourself. Why did you start Monkey Do! Yoga?
I had been dreaming of opening a yoga studio dedicated to children and families for years. My background is in children’s media, especially interactive media design. I’ve been a yoga practitioner for a good portion of my life and often thought of bringing those worlds together. My yoga training focused on children—but it wasn’t until my own daughter was born that I was driven to make it a reality. She was an inspiration to finally make the studio happen. I opened the doors to Monkey Do! Yoga exactly 12 months after she was born.

What is your secret to balancing work and family? Is there a balance?
One thing that helps me is to erase those categories as much as I can, and to be in the moment whether I’m at home, in the studio, or in my corporate advertising/media job. Each motivates and influences the other. I’ve also had to come to terms with the fact that everything is not going to get done perfectly, and that’s fine. My home isn’t as neat as it used to be—it’s a constant flow of shifting priorities.

Share a funny story that helped you become a better parent and/or better at your job.
When my daughter was about eight weeks old, we went to a parent/baby yoga class. I was surrounded by new moms and their babies—sleeping, crying, and feeding, most of us exhausted and barely able to move. That class was unlike any other I had been to in all my years of practice. It was the most impactful; among all that noise I had never been so present. Just then, my tiny daughter let out some gas with a noise disproportionate to her size, really underscoring the idea of listening to our bodies. I had to laugh to myself.

What has been your biggest challenge and/or greatest reward in the struggle for work-life balance?
The main challenge is feeling like there’s no “off button” or break. I’m not sure that’s ever going to change, at least until I retire! It’s rewarding to find those rare moments of peace, which are especially sweet when I can share them with my daughter.

What is one thing you wish you knew before you had kids?
I wish I knew how much we’re all capable of. Once you go through childbirth, you realize you can do anything. I found it very empowering.

If you could give other moms one piece of advice what would it be?
I would definitely suggest moms get out and socialize as soon possible after your kids are born. It can be challenging to get out of the house. But, I’m so grateful for those days meeting up with other new Parents for lunch, Mommy & Me yoga, and walks in the park (even in the snow!). Those bonds are still really strong – it’s great to be able to talk to other women going through exactly the same thing.

QUICK Q’s:

What is your favorite children’s book?
Guess how Much I Love You by Sam McBratney. This may sound silly, but when my daughter was brand new, I attempted to read it to her and was so overcome with emotion. To this day I still can’t get through that book.

What has been your favorite kids’ class?
Monkey Do! Yoga offers a variety of classes for kids and families, so it’s hard to pick a favorite! But, I especially love are our Spanish-infused yoga for kids—movement is such a great way to integrate language.

What is your favorite thing to do with your family on weekends?
My daughter is almost 17 months and loves coming to the studio for the Sing and Move class. Then, if I get my way, we sneak in some ice cream around the corner at Ample Hills.

What is your favorite rainy day escape?
I love Brooklyn—I’m very lucky to live in an apartment building with lots of kids the same age as my daughter. We get together, order in lunch, and let the kids play. We don’t even have to leave the building!

Check out the full schedule for Monkey Do! Yoga, here!

New Season, New Activities! 4 NYC Kids’ Programs to Try This Spring

Spring has sprung in NYC! Not only are the trees in Central Park starting to bud and sidewalk cafes are filling with people on the bustling city streets, but lots of kids’ classes are popping up for the new season. Keep your kids busy during the home stretch to summer with these four awesome activities—and search Kidz Central Station for more!

baby girl with her mother rolled out the dough cook, bakeEloise at the Plaza. Contrary to what you might think, a visit to the renowned Plaza Hotel is not just for adults—kids are in for a treat too! Little ones can pay a visit to a very special friend named Eloise—the beloved character from the Eloise children’s book series—in her own lovely corner of this popular spot. Drop in for weekly tea sessions on Fridays, complete with sandwiches, sweets, and story time; or pop in for events such as cookie decorating and pasta making, which are sure to end with a delicious treat! Plus, all children who attend these fun drop-in activities will go home with a favor bag and a $10 gift card to the Eloise store!

standard_Bulldog_5-6Bulldog Ball Club. When we think about spring, we imagine kids running around and playing outside after a long, cold winter—and thanks to Bulldog Ball Club they can do just that, starting this week! With after school baseball sessions in Central Park for kids age 4–9, this program teaches the basics, including hitting, fielding, and throwing, as well as important lessons for sports and life: positivity, effort, perseverance, and sportsmanship. All skills are taught through fun, conceptual mini baseball games, getting them ready for Bulldog’s summer camp, which is just a couple short months away!

The Art Farm - Birthday PartyArt Farm in the City. Not only does this Upper East Side favorite have tons of spring enrichment classes for kids as young as six months old, but it’s also one of the only NYC kids’ programs to focus on nature and animals. There are some great ways to play here this spring—kids can cook healthy eats in the Farm Foodies Cooking Class; rock out, get creative, and meet new animal friends in Rocks, Smocks, and Animals; or get prepped for preschool in the brand new Farm Friends class. If you’re looking for some last minute fun with animals, there is also drop-in open play every week. Although the spring semester began last week, you can still join at a prorated price!

standard_Tennis_MSSGreen Ivy Enrichment. Located downtown at the Pine Street School and Battery Park Montessori, Green Ivy Enrichment is a fantastic kids’ program with tons of after school activities for kids with every possible interest. Children age three to eight can join for a semester of soccer, tennis, chess, art, or capoeira dancing (and more!), many which are taught by well-known local programs (i.e. Super Soccer Stars and Chess at Three). Classes start this week, so reserve your child’s spot! P.S. If your child is off for spring break from April 25–29, you’ll also want to check out Green Ivy’s Spring into Summer Vacation Camp!

Find out more about NYC kids’ programs on Kidz Central Station this spring! Visit the site and narrow your search by age, location, price, day, or time to see what’s happening this season near you!

We’ve Expanded . . . Check out Kidz Central UK!

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We are SUPER excited to announce that Kidz
Central Station has expanded—internationally! Yesterday we announced our launch of Kidz Central UK, a new website for finding and enrolling in kids’ activities in Hertfordshire, a suburban area outside of the city of London. Kidz Central UK features the same easy-to-use interface and search engine that has already helped thousands of parents find and enroll in kids’ programs here in NYC and has helped local kids’ programs to expand their reach to new parents. Using this new site, Hertfordshire parents can search for local kids’ activities by the criteria most important to them, such as age, location, class type, price, and more; sign up for trial classes; and directly enroll in a wide variety of programs in music, dance, art, cooking, and more.

Here’s what Kidz Central Station founder Lauren Pohl had to say:

“We are very excited about our expansion to the UK. Our experience in the New York City market proved that there is a need for one centralized location for finding and enrolling in local kids’ programs. Expanding to other markets was the natural next step, and we are excited about the great feedback we’ve already received in the UK market. The Hertfordshire area has so many amazing kids’ programs available, but until now there hasn’t been an easy way for local parents to find them. There is truly a need for this technology, and I have the utmost confidence in the energetic and extremely capable team leading this new venture.”

At the helm of Kidz Central UK is Julie Morrow, CEO, and Daisy Hodgson, director of marketing and strategy, both moms who live in Hertfordshire and have a strong familiarity with the area’s kids’ programs. Before joining Kidz Central UK, Morrow spent many years as an electronics engineer in the audio broadcasting, test automation, imaging and defense industries, and Hodgson was an auctioneer and valuer for over ten years.

Here’s what Julie Morrow, head of our new London team, had to say:

“After seeing the success of Kidz Central Station in New York City, we knew this kind of website was needed in our area. We have already garnered positive feedback from local parents and kids’ programs and look forward to what the future has in store for us.”

There are already over 1,500 classes populating the site and parents can choose from unique kids’ programs such as Tilly’s Dance Factory for dance and Wildchild Activities, which offers classes in archery, skateboarding, and outdoor bushcraft. Like Kidz Central Station, Kidz Central UK allows parents to sign up for semester, drop-in, and trial classes, purchase gift cards; read reviews; and earn reward points with each purchase through the Kidz Rewards program. Kidz Central Station’s popular birthday party finder tool can also be found on the UK site in the form of Hertfordshire’s Best Kids’ Birthday Party Finder, offering area parents a quick and easy way to find and request more information about kids’ birthday party programs and entertainers.

If you’re ever visiting the Hertfordshire area, or if you have friends who live there, spread the word!

10 Tips For Beating the Winter Blahs

Child in snow
Spring is just around the corner, but many of us are still dealing with the doldrums of winter. While there are lots of things to love about winter, it also means shorter days, less sunlight, colder weather, and more time stuck inside. This is a time of year when many people feel less energetic and possibly a little “blah.” Feeling like you might be in a bit of a winter slump? Here are ten ideas to help you conquer your winter woes.

1. Brighten your world! Winter’s lack of sunlight can cause many people to feel gloomy and sluggish. Get as much natural light as you can. Open the curtains, sit by the window, and enjoy a mood-lifting vitamin D boost from the sun. Decorating your home in light, cheery colors may also help to counteract the dreariness of winter.

2. Make quality zzz’s a priority. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule and getting the right amount of sleep can help you stay energized.

3. Get outside when you can. Being cooped up inside for too long can make anyone feel pretty blah. Bundle up and take an energizing walk in the cold!

4. Exercise! Exercising releases endorphins and helps to decrease stress and anxiety. It can also improve sleep and boost energy. Try a new sport or exercise class. If you’re snowed in, practice yoga, try some workout DVDs, or even have your own private dance party at home.

5. Pump up the jams! Speaking of dance parties, music can be an excellent way to lift spirits. There are tons of potential mental and physical benefits of both playing and listening to music.

6. Eat well. During cold winter months, it can sometimes be tempting to eat the same comfort foods over and over. However, eating a healthy, varied diet full of vitamins and nutrients can improve energy, mood, and overall health.

7. Plan a mini “vacation” and give yourself something to look forward to. This could mean going on an actual trip, but it can also be as simple as planning a special weekend activity close by.

8. Volunteer for a cause that’s important to you. Use your personal interests and skills to make the world a better place. In the process, you can connect to others, build self-esteem, and gain a sense of purpose.

9. Socialize, and not just on social media. Surround yourself with positive people. When you and your friends stick together, the winter blahs don’t stand a chance!

10. Treat yourself! Don’t forget to do something extra nice for yourself once in a while. You deserve it!

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Janis Atty, MA, CCLS, ATR-BC, LCAT is a child life specialist and creative arts therapist at NYU Langone’s Fink Children’s Ambulatory Care Center, and is part of the Pediatric Celiac Disease and Gluten Related Disorders Program. She helps pediatric patients and their families understand and cope with medical illnesses and experiences. By providing education, preparation, emotional support, and guidance, she promotes positive development and well-being in patients facing a wide range of challenging life events.

 

Head of the Class Mom: Pam Wolf of New York Kids Club

IMG_0097Meet this week’s Head of the Class Mom, Pam Wolf—founder of NY Kids Club and a mom to four amazing kids!

Tell us about yourself. Why did you start New York Kids Club?
When I left work in 1991 to have my first daughter, Jessica, I told my recruitment firm partner I’d be back in two weeks. As soon as I met Jessica, I was in love. I had my second child, Jared, 15 months later (and two more children after that!). I never got around to going back to work—at least not for anyone else.

While I enjoy being a parent, my entrepreneurial passion was alive and well and I found myself looking for a new outlet for expression that would allow me to keep my children close by.

One day in between music class with my daughter on one side of town and art class on the other, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if these classes (along with many others) could be housed under the same roof?” Leading with a laser focus on providing the most unique experience for children coupled with the high-level customer service, hospitality, and fastidious cleanliness you’d expect from upscale hotels; the NY Kids Club was born.

What is your secret to balancing work and family? Is there a balance?
There is no secret to work-life balance. Every minute you spend missing a soccer game for an important meeting, or missing an important meeting for that soccer game, you will be worried that you are letting someone down. Focus on achieving work-life flow, rather than balance. You’ll be much happier (and much more effective).

Share a funny story that helped you become a better parent and/or better at your job.
I learned a long time ago that you have to find humor in even the most challenging of circumstances. When I get the call that a pipe has burst in the dead of winter, flooding a location in the middle of the night, I’ve trained myself to first think, “Alright, should we add indoor ice skating?”

What has been your biggest challenge and/or greatest reward in the struggle for work-life balance?
The biggest challenge is remembering that health, happiness, and charity must begin at home. It is easy to put everyone and everything first—side-lining your own personal well-being along the way. You have to take care of yourself before you can be good for anyone else. That’s not selfish—it’s smart.

The greatest reward has been seeing my business evolve and grow over the past 15 years. It has been an incredible journey. Sometimes I’ll walk into our relatively-new midtown headquarters and think “Wow, look at this place! Look at all these people!” Then I remember I’m supposed to be in charge and I make sure there are flowers in the lobby and mints on the snack bar. Attending to the details is as important now as ever.

What is one thing you wish you knew before you had kids?
They are like potato chips. Every time you have one, you want another.

If you could give other moms one piece of advice what would it be?
Resist the incredible urge to compare yourself (or your children) to anyone else. Dare to be different and teach your children that “different” is cool.

QUICK Q’s:

What is your favorite children’s book?
The Country Bunny
by DuBose Heyward.

What has been your favorite kids’ class?
Musical Tots at NY Kids Club of course.

What is your favorite thing to do with your family on weekends?
Anything that involves food!

What is your favorite rainy day escape?
The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Curious about New York Kids Club? Check out all of the program’s birthdays here!

About Pam Wolfe and New York Kids Club:
Founded by Pamela Wolf in September of 2001, the New York Kids Club has grown to become the premiere enrichment center for children two months to 12 years. Ms. Wolf has been recognized as a Stevie award winner in the category of Business Mentor of the Year, a Stevie Award finalist in the category of Best Entrepreneur, and one of the top female entrepreneurs of the year by Entrepreneur magazine. She has paired her extensive business background with her experience as a mother of four to build a strong foundation for the organization that has grown to include 11 locations in New York and 12 in China. The company received INC 500/5000 list recognition in 2014. Of the several successful businesses Ms. Wolf has owned in New York, she is most proud of the New York Kids Club.

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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Try a Kids’ Class for Winter on Kidz Central Station!

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 8.43.49 AMWhile it may seem like the fall class season has only just started, winter will be here before we know it. During fall it was easy—schedule a class or two for your kids and spend the rest of the time letting them run around on the playground until their hearts’ content. But winter is a different story. Windy, cold, snowy days can make the days seem endless, especially if you don’t have any structured activities on schedule. So NOW is a great time to try a class, so you can be armed and ready with the best winter classes for kids when the cold arrives. Here’s how Kidz Central Station can help:

1. The site makes it quick and easy to find and book trial classes at kids’ programs throughout NYC! Use our search engine to select important criteria such as your child’s age, a convenient location, and a desired activity; check the box for trial classes; and click the button to find the best winter classes for kids!

Two Children Painting Picture At Home2. You’ll find new and unique kids’ activities that you never knew existed! In preparation for winter your child can try a class in fencing, robotics, coding, painting, theater, swim, and more!

3. Forget about unwieldy registration forms just to TRY a class! Instead, join Kidz Central Station, fill out your information once, and try as many classes as you like. Plus, once you’ve enrolled your child in a trial class, signing up for the semester is a breeze. You can enroll for the whole class via the same link you used for the trial class.

And of course, we’re always here to help you find a class or enroll—email us any time at info@kidzcentralstation.com. So get ready for winter, and try a class via Kidz Central Station now!

Request a Class Via Kidz Central Station

With fall registration well underway, we are trying to do everything we can here at Kidz Central Station to make it easy-peasy for parents to find the best classes for their kids and quickly enroll. Not only can you email us any time at info@kidzcentralstation.com, we’ve just added a brand new feature!

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 4.09.19 PMUsing our new Request a Class function, you can now request class recommendations for a variety of activities by simply filling out a quick form (it will literally take you five seconds) and pressing submit. We’ll then respond back to you with suggestions for your child as soon as we can! Looking for a music class for your infant? Request a class here. How about a cooking class for a five-year-old girl? Click here. We know how busy parents are, so our hope is that we can better help parents to navigate through all of the interesting and unique classes on the site for fall. And of course, if you’re a DIY-er, it’s super easy to search Kidz Central Station by class type, age, location, price, and more to find the perfect activity for your child this fall!

Happy searching!

 

 

Which NYC Kids’ Program Is Right For My Child?

Two Children Painting Picture At HomeWhile 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.

Baby girl and her mother playing at home3-6 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.

standard_Mighty_Muscle_Movers_212–24 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.

standard_kids_conveyorbelt_pretzels3 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.

5 Ways to Prepare for Fall Classes and Activities

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Now that it’s August, the pressure is on—it’s time to start enrolling your kids in fall classes and activities. Sure, you can put it off a few weeks, or sign up when summer is over, but the sooner you sign up, the sooner you can cross it off your list and return to summer fun. Plus, classes DO fill up, so enrolling now means assuring your child a spot!

If you haven’t thought a minute about what classes your child should take when September arrives, you’re not alone—it can be totally overwhelming, especially since there are so many kids’ programs to choose from in NYC. At Kidz Central Station we eat, sleep, and breathe kids’ activities, so we’re here to share some of our tips for choosing the best classes and preparing for the fall season.

Sign up for something new! Along with the perennial favorites that you sign up for season after season, try adding a new class to your child’s repertoire for fall. There are so many unique programs out there that you may not even know exist, and Kidz Central Station makes it easy for you to find them! Simply search by class type and neighborhood to see what hidden gems lie right in your neighborhood.

Keep kids’ schedules in mind. While it’s good for children to learn to be flexible, if your child naps at the same time every day, or you know he or she will focus better at a particular time keep those factors in mind when choosing a session. This will help you avoid making up tons of classes and will ensure that your child gets the most out of each lesson. Luckily, many programs offer multiple times and days for each class, so it’s easy to find the perfect option for your child.

Two cute little boys, playing footballTry a class NOW. Since fall classes don’t start until next month, August is a great time for kids to try out a class before committing for an entire season. Most programs offer trial classes for free or at a nominal cost, so it’s totally worth the time and effort. To search for a trial class on Kidz Central Station, simply check the box for “Trial Class” when searching from the homepage to see what’s available.

Complement classes with play time. With so many unique activities available for NYC kids this fall, it can be tempting to book a class for every day of the week. While structured activities are important for learning and development, kids are still kids at the end of the day—they still need free time to run around and play. Plus, fall is still warm enough to take advantage of NYC’s parks and playgrounds, which offer ample opportunity for running, jumping, climbing, and playing with pals. But don’t worry—winter isn’t too far behind, so in just a few months your little one can try all of the classes and activities he or she didn’t have time for during fall.

Get help! At Kidz Central Station, not only do we work with tons of NYC kids’ programs, but many of us are parents too! Email us any time with questions and to ask for suggestions—we know the ins and outs of the kids’ programs in NYC from working with them day to day and because our own kids have experienced many of the classes we have on the site. Let us help you get ready for fall!