Tag Archives: kids activities

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!

Why Kids Should Learn to Code


Just as math and english are critical subjects for kids to learn, coding is increasingly becoming just as important. Our friends at The New York Code + Design Academy have compiled a list of important reasons kids must learn to code in today’s world. 

It will help them with their career.
“1 million of the best jobs in America may go unfilled because only 1 in 10 schools teach how to code”. There are always technical jobs available but are difficult to fill because there’s a limited supply of people with those skills. Having coding skills early in life will allow kids to build upon their knowledge and have better chances of employment later on.

It teaches cognitive skills.
Programming flow charts can be utilized to better manage problems and thought processes. Kids would learn how to break down complex problems into smaller ones to solve an essential life skill.

It allows them to build anything.
Let them create anything with their imaginations. Coding is just another way for kids to express themselves outside of music, writing, art, and other traditionally creative mediums.

It’s the future.
Technology is not only everywhere, but it’s advancing rapidly. The younger generation shouldn’t only be consumers of technology—they should help mold the future as well.

For in-person classes, The New York Code + Design Academy has two- and four-week summer coding camps for kids age 9-12 and 13-17 starting August 3rd. Learn more about how to get them started on building web applications here!

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!

Head of The Class Mom: Judy Yee

Meet this week’s Head of the Class Mom, Judy Yee—co-owner of City Tots and a mom to an amazing son!

Tell us about yourself. Why did you open City Tots?
I spent over 15 years in management consulting and for me personally, I always knew that the world I was in wasn’t conducive to raising a child the way I envisioned. So, the goal for me was always entrepreneurship. So City Tots was created for a multitude of reasons. First, I was passionate about building a business that really took learning through play to a whole new level—providing an environment that fosters a child’s natural sense of discovery, exploration, and curiosity while also incorporating educational/developmental components. Second, City Tots was an incredible way to have a personal stake in my son’s education and development while simultaneously filling an unmet need for NYC families to have an all-inclusive place for their kids to enjoy.

What is your secret to balancing work and family? Is there a balance?
There is an inherent unpredictability that comes with starting a new business and raising a toddler, so finding a healthy balance is a challenge I face everyday. In reality, it ends up being about prioritization and time management. My son always comes first, but in general I try to focus on work when I’m at Tots and my son when I’m home. I always make sure we have some pure undivided time together each day.

Share a funny story that helped you become a better parent and/or better at your job.
I could never select just one! My son is the funniest kid and he makes me laugh every day. He is the greatest blessing and motivator I could ever ask for.

What has been your biggest challenge and/or greatest reward in the struggle for work-life balance?
The biggest challenge has been spending so much more time away from my son. The greatest reward is watching members enjoying the facility, camp sessions, and all of our other offerings.

What is one thing you wish you knew before you had kids?
I come from a large family and spent a great deal of time with my nieces and nephews. So while I felt like I had a good idea of what parenting would be like, nothing could have prepared me for what a life altering and truly amazing experience parenthood has proven to be.

If you could give other moms one piece of advice what would it be?
Enjoy every moment and try to capture as many moments as possible because one day they will serve as a great reminder. I created a separate email for my son that I regularly send messages to in an attempt to document his development and all those special, cute and precious moments that are likely to have been otherwise forgotten.

QUICK Q’s:

What is your favorite children’s book?
Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
by Dr. Seuss.

What has been your favorite kids’ class?
My son loves anything to do with music.

What is your favorite thing to do with your family on weekends?
Sleeping in, brunch, and then a trip to the playground or park.

What is your favorite rainy day escape?
Staying indoors and letting my son decide the day’s activities (Legos, reading books, puzzles, listening to music, dancing, etc.)

Curious about City Tots? Check out all of the program’s summer classes, here!

Why Dance Injuries Happen in Kids, And How to Prevent Them

Young ballerinas practicing a choreographed dance
Adolescence is a time of significant physical and psychological development for the dance student, and is typically coupled with a huge jump in training frequency and intensity. All of these factors combined make the adolescent dancer uniquely susceptible to dance injuries. In fact, injury incidence nearly doubles in 14 to 16-year-old dancers compared to dancers 9 to 13 years old.

At the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, we treat dancers of all ages from amateurs to professionals. Whether your child is dancing in an after-school group or a Broadway show, it’s crucial to remember the top risk factors for injuries in adolescent dancers, and the best ways to prevent dance injuries from occurring.

Risk: Growth spurt
The growth spurt is the most rapid and significant period of physiological development of any person’s life outside of when they’re babies. Adolescents generally experience growth spurts between ages 9–13 for girls and 11–15 for boys. Dance students, both male and female, are typically about two years behind their non-dancer counterparts in the onset of adolescent growth changes. Adolescents can experience growth slowly over a period of one to two years, or they can grow very rapidly over a period of a few months. The rate of this growth can dictate how significantly an adolescent dancer will be affected, both in their dance technique and injury risk.

During any growth spurt, the bones of the body grow first, followed by the surrounding soft tissue, including the muscles and tendons. This can create an internal imbalance in a dancer’s body that can lead to temporary decreases in flexibility, strength, coordination, and balance. These are temporary changes, but they can result in impaired technique and early muscle fatigue, which in turn increases the likelihood of injuries like tendinitis or stress fractures. These changes can also lead to psychological distress in young dancers – they don’t understand that their technique is suffering because of growth changes and can lose confidence in their ability to dance.

Safety tip: Simple activity modifications in class and rehearsal, such as reducing number of jumps, relevés, and other similar moves, can mitigate these issues and allow students to safely participate in dance throughout their growth spurts. Also, explaining to the adolescent dancer that these changes are temporary and due to a growth spurt can help boost their confidence in class.

Risk: Poor nutrition
Proper nutrition is critical in fueling the growing dancer’s body. Research into adolescent dance students has shown tendencies toward insufficient calorie intake and poor nutrition overall. Dance students can burn between 2,500–3,500 calories in a day, but the typical dance student only eats between 1,400–1,800 calories per day. The drive for thinness in dance often overrides common sense in young dancers. Because these adolescents are connected deeply with their identity as dancers, they will sacrifice proper nutrition for the sake of staying thin. This is an unhealthy attitude for all dancers to have, but can be especially damaging for an adolescent dancer whose body has increased nutritional needs for proper growth and development.

Female dancers are especially prone to injuries like stress fractures due to the connection between caloric intake, menstruation, and bone density development.

Safety tip: Adequate calcium intake (1,000–1,500mg/day) as well as getting enough calories (at least 2,500 calories per day) can reduce the likelihood for these types of injuries in female adolescent dancers.

Risk: Periodization
Dance training is rooted in the artistic culture of dance, which means that it does not follow the typical sports model of “in” and “off” season. Dance students often train at high intensity throughout the year and do not have an off season to let their bodies rest and recover from the demands of dance training. Dancers who train at a high intensity for too long are more likely to develop overuse injuries like tendinitis and stress fractures.

Safety tip: Periods of rest and recovery with a focus on cross-training activities instead of dancing are necessary to allow the dancer’s body to recover from the stress of dance training. Yoga and pilates are great activities for building and maintaining muscle strength, plus they are complimentary to dance training. Cardiovascular training—such as bike riding and swimming— is an excellent way to boost endurance while a dancer is on break.

If you have questions about keeping your child safe when dancing, speak to a trained professional.

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

Alison Deleget, MS, ATC is a certified athletic trainer with over 12 years’ professional experience; 10 years in the performing arts setting at the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Hospital for Joint Diseases. She has presented on adolescent dancer injury risks at national and international dance medicine conferences, and has worked extensively with professional dance companies and Broadway shows providing onsite rehabilitation services. She regularly lectures at dance schools on topics such as injury prevention and injury management.