Tag Archives: kids classes

Head of the Class Mom: Rachel Jarrett

Meet this week’s Head of the Class Mom, Rachel Jarrett—owner of Chocolate Works Upper East Side and a mom of two!

Tell us about yourself. Why did you open Chocolate Works?
You could say it was part of a “mid-life crisis,” although I would prefer to call it a “mid-life awakening.” In 2013, I turned 40, had a baby (my second), and decided life was too short not to pursue my dreams. So I quit my job as a corporate retail executive and took the risk of becoming an entrepreneur. For a long time, I had wanted to run my own business and the opportunity of opening a Chocolate Works, a fledgling franchise, on the Upper East Side, came to me from a small business broker. I immediately fell in love with the concept and the idea of making people smile every day.

What is your secret to balancing work and family? Is there a balance?
You should never open a small business believing that you will have more balance or free time than you did in corporate life. The workload is in intense and 24-7. But it does give you a fair degree of flexibility, which is very nice when you have a family. I think the trick to “balance” is being sure that your life is not only about your kids. Happy parents = happy kids. The other thing I try to do is remember that the most important thing you can do for your kids is love them and support them emotionally. This year, I forgot to apply to preschool for my son because I was so busy at the store. At first, I felt so bad and guilty. But now it is something that I laugh about and shrug off.

Share a funny story that helped you become a better parent and/or better at your job.
I didn’t have my son Spencer until my daughter Eden was already four years old. So, she was pretty used to being the center of attention. One day she said to me, “Mommy, I don’t like having a brother. Let’s bring him back to the hospital.” I looked at her—dead serious—and said “You know, you are right. Let’s take him back right now. Go pack up his stuff and I will call for a car.” Her jaw dropped to the floor. Then we both started laughing. Since then, she has never asked to return him!

What has been your biggest challenge and/or greatest reward in the struggle for work-life balance?
My biggest challenge, as a perfectionist, is having to accept that it is IMPOSSIBLE to do everything perfectly. So I have stopped trying. But sometimes I beat myself up and then I try to remember that “good enough” is okay.

What is one thing you wish you knew before you had kids?
I wish I knew how hard it would be to keep your figure after kids!

If you could give other moms one piece of advice what would it be?
Read the Ferber book cover to cover. Don’t trust what others say about it until you have read it for yourself. This book has saved me on multiple occasions.


What is your favorite children’s book?

What has been your favorite kids’ class?
My son loves his music class at Hands On. I think they do a really great job of entertaining and educating kids.

What is your favorite thing to do with your family on weekends?
Visiting the duck pond in Central Park or having bagels and lox at Barney Greengrass.

What is your favorite rainy day escape?
Renting a family movie and staying in bed!

6 Easy Ways to Ensure Spring Sport Safety

Follow these six easy tips to ensure your children enjoy a fun and safe time this spring!

Ah spring. Finally kids can play outside and give you some peace and quiet! With the additional playing time and sporting events, how do you ensure your kids are safe and prepared?

Naturally, kids are designed for high-intensity activities. They perform quick boosts of exercise followed by short periods of rest. It is for this reason that hydration and nutrition play a vital role in children’s health, not only the spring months, but year round. Ensuring that children take breaks to sip water or juice and are eating a variety of healthy foods is integral to maintaining good health and supporting their activity levels.

Now, what do we do to avoid injury?

1. Be sure their equipment fits. Trying to squeeze into last year’s cleats or putting on an extra pair of socks to fill out on older sibling’s old shoes is not the answer. These changes might be a money saver, but faulty equipment is linked to injuries. Ensuring the proper fit of clothes, shoes, sticks, racquets, and other equipment for a child’s sport is one of the quickest fixes to avoid injury.

2. Progress appropriately. We all want the best for our kids, so we shouldn’t push them into athletic situations they aren’t ready for. Don’t throw them into the game with older kids because “he is tall for his age.” Children’s motor skills, agility, strength, and power develop differently. The differences in kids age 13 compared to age 16 are immense. Putting a child into the mix with more advanced athletes before he or she is ready can lead to bangs, bruises, and even breaks.

3. Continue activity year-round. Good cardiovascular and strength conditioning throughout the year best prepares kids for increased activity in the spring. Younger children don’t need a specific training regimen—simply letting them move, climb, crawl, and play is enough. Think of it as “functional training”—something parents may benefit from doing with them!

4. Stretch and warm up properly. As children enter a sport, be sure they are getting a good sport-specific warm up and stretching routine with their coach prior to sports competition. This should include jogging, side-to-side movement, torso and arm range of motion, and other movements replicating the direction and type of movement they will be doing during their sport. Also, this habit will help them for years to come.

5. Rest when tired. This one may be hard to control, but kids need time to rest, recover and regain focus and energy. Taking time to grab water and a snack, and take a breather will help prevent injuries due to fatigue, like sprains, strains, and falls.

6. Have fun as a family. Enjoy activities as a family! Letting kids explore different activities and sports breeds a healthy relationship with exercise and fitness. Forcing your child into a sport he or she doesn’t enjoy, or feels pressure to perform, may even lead to behaviors such as moving carelessly and decreasing focus, which may lead to injury. Find out what your child likes best and get the entire family involved.

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

Heather Milton, MS, RCEP, CSCS, is a clinical exercise physiologist at NYU Langone’s Sports Performance Center, where she conducts physiological testing and trains a diverse clientele that ranges from competitive athletes to those wishing to improve their overall health and fitness.   Prior to joining the staff at NYU Langone, Heather worked at the Tufts USDA Human Nutrition Center as a strength and conditioning researcher and then at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a senior exercise physiologist in the cardiovascular lab. Heather is a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist (RCEP) and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). Heather also contributes her knowledge in fitness and health to a holistic wellness technology company as the physical activity and weight management consultant.

10 Ways Kidz Central Station Will Make Your Life Easier

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If you’re new to Kidz Central Station, or if you’ve only visited us a few times, you may not be aware of all of the things we can help you do to make your life easier. We know NYC parents don’t have a lot of time to search through the hundreds of of kids’ programs that exist, so we created the site so that you can search, find, and enroll in NYC classes and activities all in one place. In an effort to help all of you busy parents out there, here is a list of 10 things you can do on Kidz Central Station that will help you and your little ones make the most of the site and find the best activities for spring and summer!

  • Search classes, activities, and birthday parties by age, date, type, budget, and neighborhood to find exactly the right program for your child.
  • Enroll your little one in semester and/or drop-in classes at hundreds of local programs. Choose what fits your busy schedule—we’re adding new summer classes daily!
  • Send a direct request to any of the amazing birthday party providers on our Kids’ Birthday Party Finder, get for more information about their parties and request a party date.
  • Use our homepage event calendar to find one-time classes and activities. You can click on whatever date you are looking for something to do, and TA-DA!!, a list of activities for that date will appear.
  • Sign up for classes that have started at a prorated price! Just because a class has already started doesn’t mean your child can’t join the fun.
  • Still haven’t decided on a spring semester class or want to try something out for summer? Search for a trial class and get a taste of what it would be like if your child was enrolled for the semester. Once you try, you can easily come back and buy the class.
  • Read class reviews from the people you trust most—other parents. We think it’s important that parents review programs and classes on our site so that other parents can get an accurate view of the class and how their children will like it.
  • Share your findings with friends! You can email or share classes via Facebook from every activity page.
  • Purchase Kidz Central Station gift cards as birthday presents! Parents will love that their kids can try new classes, and will be especially grateful that it doesn’t take up any room in an NYC apartment!
  • Buy classes and save! Kidz Central Station awards Kidz Rewards points for every purchase, so by booking with us you‘ll earn discounts on future classes. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Finally, we are here to help you all day, every day. If you have any questions at all—about using the site, new classes, or anything else—email us at info@kidzcentralstation.com and we’ll email you back as soon as we can!




5 Stellar Spring Activities for NYC Kids

Losing an hour of sleep on Sunday may not have been the most fun, but what it signified was well worth it. With an extra hour of daylight and the added bonus of warmer temperatures, it actually seems like spring is just within reach. For NYC kids, the approaching spring season also means a new semester of awesome classes on Kidz Central Station (if we do say so ourselves!). Most classes start over the next few weeks and offer little ones the chance to get out and play, meet new friends, and learn lots of new skills and activities. Here are a few not to miss, and of course you can also search our site for a full selection!

Fastbreak KidsFastbreak. Little ones age 2–5 will go crazy over Fastbreak Kids, an awesome multi-sport program with a state-of-the art Upper East Side facility (conveniently next to a Starbucks with outdoor seating for parents dropping their kids off). Over the course of the spring semester, the program’s fantastic coaches enthusiastically and expertly teach kids every sport imaginable—from basketball to football to baseball and beyond. And you have tons of class times to choose from, no matter your child’s schedule. Classes start April 20!

The Mandell School. Brand new to Kidz Central Station (this month!), The Mandell School is an Upper West Side preschool with amazing mommy and me classes for kids age 2–18 months. Called My Grownup & Me, these classes focus on developmental milestones and incorporate age appropriate multi-sensory exercises with educational tools, toys, and music. These fun activities are designed to develop skills that will prepare kids to start school with a solid learning base. Sound good? Sign up for a trial, or register for the spring semester, which starts April 7!

Physique SwimmingSwim. With spring around the corner, we all know that summer
isn’t too far behind. So a great way to ensure your kids are pool-ready for summer is to enroll them in swim classes during spring! Physique Swimming not only offers classes for all ages, but also at locations throughout the city, including FiDi, Lower East Side, Midtown East and West, Upper East Side, and the Upper West Side. The classes help little ones get comfortable with the water, and teach basic skills such as splashing and blowing bubbles. So what are you waiting for? Classes start March 23!

StageCoach Theatre Arts. Our kids can be so dramatic sometimes, so why not let them channel their drama through a theater arts class? Offering weekend sessions on the Upper East Side, StageCoach has classes for kids age 4–14, where students spend an hour and a half singing, dancing, acting, and building self-confidence through group acting, solo work, and participation in an original play! It’s a great chance for your child to test his or her acting chops, and a great chance for you to run a few weekend errands, all the while knowing your little one is happy and having fun. Classes start March 28!

summertime kidKidz Central Station’s St. Patrick’s Day Pop-Up! For a fun one-time spring activity, join us at Musibambino’s Upper East Side location for a musical St. Patrick’s Day celebration on March 17! Little ones age 4 months–4 years will sing, play, and learn all about instruments. Dress your little ones (and yourself) in green for a more festive way to get into the St. Patty’s Day spirit! So pop in for the class, meet lots of new friends in your neighborhood, and enjoy some awesome treats!

For more stellar spring classes starting soon, visit Kidz Central Station!

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!

Where to Find the Best Music Classes in NYC

With fall in full swing, finding the best kids’ classes is on the minds of so many NYC parents. And with so many options, what classes do you choose? At Kidz Central Station, we’ve found that the one class that is universally loved by kids (and parents) is music. Music classes are fun and lighthearted, they help with language and cognitive development, and kids respond to music the way adults do—it makes us feel happy and at ease.

So if you want your little ones to learn about making melodies, playing instruments, and keeping rhythm, Kidz Central Station has the market on music classes—from private flute lessons to classes featuring a real live band! Here are a few great options in NYC:

Little Maestroslittlemaesrtos (Upper East Side, Union Square; Age 4 months–3 years) An award-winning NYC program, Little Maestros takes music to a whole new level. With a full band, puppet shows, musical story time, dance parties, and more, this program makes it easy for kids to learn about music and have fun at the same time. Tip: Little Maestros offers a great after work class at the Upper East Side location, so working parents can enjoy a class with their little ones at the end of the day.

Music for Aardvarks (Most neighborhoods in NYC, Age 6 months–4 years) With tons of locations throughout NYC, Music for Aardvarks was created almost 20 years ago, and is based around the program’s original songs, rhythms, and chants. Classes incorporate singing, dancing, instrument playing, and more, and many songs reflect the city we all live in and love, with songs like “Taxi, Taxi Ridin’ in the Back Seat”. What NYC kid isn’t familiar with that? What’s more, each child receives a free Music for Aardvarks CD, so they can jam to their favorite songs at home.

Music with Jamesbaby playing xylophone (Murray Hill, Upper East Side; Age 4 months–4 years) A great drop-in option, Music with James is just what the name implies—small, intimate music classes with James Humphrey, a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and pianist, who for the past ten years has been performing at children’s events and leading music classes throughout Manhattan. At each class he plays a variety of different musical styles and instruments, while children sing, dance, shake maracas, and play along. Classes can be bought one at a time or in packs of ten, so you can sign up and drop-in as you please.

NYC Flute Instruction (Upper West Side; Age 4+) Taught by Laura Thompson, a professional flutist for over 15 years, this program includes group and private flute lessons for kids age four and up. Kids can take introductory classes to get a feel for playing this beautiful instrument, and experienced flutists can join ensemble classes and learn to play with an experienced bunch.

Vienna MusicFlute_Teacher_and_girl_playing (Bayside; Age 3+) This fantastic program focuses on professional music development with top-notch classrooms, upscale instruments, professional and experienced instructors, and student placement based on individual skill level. From private flute lessons to group classes teaching the fundamentals of music (classes include singing and playing musical games and exercises), you can’t go wrong with a music class here.

And that’s just a small selection of the best music classes in NYC on Kidz Central Station. Check out our full listing of programs for fall!

The Most Unique Kids’ Classes in NYC

If your child seems bored with his or her usual activities (or if you’re bored of taking your little one to the same old stuff), maybe it’s time to try something new . . . and different.

NYC offers a long list of kids’ activities that you couldn’t dream up if you tried! Here are a few quirky classes on Kidz Central Station that will definitely put the kibosh on everyone’s boredom.

Baby Sign Language
What is it: Little ones learn sign language through songs and play, giving them a great new way to communicate—especially when language skills aren’t fully developed.
Where you can find it: Baby Fingers is a class you’ll find at Kids at Work (Chelsea)—for kids age 5–18 months and their caregivers.

What is it: Kids learn all about robotics, engineering, and computer programming in a fun, exciting, hands-on class using the LEGO® Education WeDo Construction Set.
Where you can find it: 92nd Street Y (Upper East Side) holds two classes a week for 9–11 year olds.

dance-withlogoChinese Creative Dance
What is it: Warm up with creative movement and learn simple Mandarin concepts, like the Chinese handkerchief dance!
Where you can find it: Head to Language Beans’ East Village location—for kids age 4–7.

Construction & Science
What is it: Kids will explore the art of science building volcanoes, twisters, cities, terrariums, DNA, and more!
Where you can find it: Bring your 6–10 year old to The Craft Studio (Upper East Side) for this unique class!

Krav Maga
What is it: Self defense for kids! Improves balance, self-esteem, discipline, and focus, and sharpens your child’s insight and intuition to avoid and escape potentially-harmful predicaments.
Where you can find it: The Upper West Side’s IKM Krav Maga NY has classes for kids age 4–13.

Visit Kidz Central Station and search by activity type to see all of the unique kids’ classes starting soon for fall!

Sibling Classes: What Should I Do With Two in Tow?

Funny siblings  playing music with xylophoneChoosing classes and activities for one child is pretty easy—you have one age, one personality, and one schedule to think about. But when a second child is added to the mix, figuring out a schedule that suits both children can be pretty challenging.

So how do you pick classes when you have two kids in tow? Since the moms at Kidz Central Station have some experience in the matter, we’re happy to share a few tips we’ve learned along the way!

When your second one is young, accommodate your first (older) child. If you have an active first child and your second is brand new, it’s easy to bring the younger one to the older one’s activities. You can either wear him or her in a carrier while you take part in the class, or if your younger one is alert enough, let him or her observe the fun! Music classes are especially great for siblings, since music can be enjoyed at any age.

Many NYC classes are sibling friendly! If you search Kidz Central Station for sibling classes, you’ll see what we mean! From family art classes at Gymboree to mixed age classes at Eastside Westside Music Together (siblings under 9 months old are free!), there are many programs throughout the city that happily accommodate kids of all ages.

Take advantage of weekend classes. If you’re finding it difficult to make it to weekday classes with more than one child in tow, enroll your kids in weekend classes when you are likely to have more help. With the assistance of family and friends, you can either enroll your little ones in their own classes or attend a mixed age class with another set of (adult) hands.

The Best Kids Classes in NYC for Every Age

Different ages require different types of classes, and for new parents especially, you don’t know what the next stage will bring until you get there. And then, once you have your child figured out, he or she seems to require something completely different!

If you have no idea 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 classes in NYC for every age.

0-3 months: While your baby is too young to appreciate a class, signing up for a scheduled activity at this point is strictly for the well being of the totally stressed, sleep deprived, new mom. Try a new parent support group (like Big City Moms’ New Moms Support Group) as a way to make new friends, while supporting and sharing experiences with other parents.

3-6 months: Your baby is becoming more alert and moving around, so a music and movement class like Eastside Westside Music Together or Music for Aardvarks—all with locations throughout NYC—will expose your child to singing, rhythm, and some of the familiar tunes he or she will be singing for years to come.

6-12 months: Your baby is probably crawling, walking, or on his/her way, so this is the perfect age for a gym class. A semester at Gymboree or a drop-in class at Kids at Work will allow your little one to crawl and climb, stretch and step, and continue to enjoy rhythm and song.

12–24 months: Kids at this age will benefit from a more action-packed gym class, like Teeny Tumblers at the 92Y, Big Muscle Playtime at Kidville, or gymnastics at LIC Kids, Wee Ones Club, and C.A.T.S. Music is important for language development, so keep those classes going as well. Don’t want to commit to another semester-long class? Try a drop-in like Music with James, which your little one can attend as much or as little as you’d like.

2 years: Active two-year-olds are at the perfect age for sports basics classes, which keep them active and offer more structure. Some great options are Fastbreak Kids, which offers multi-sport classes in its state-of-the-art gym, and Soc Roc, a fantastic soccer program taught in neighborhoods throughout the city.

3 years: In addition to sports and play, try something new at this age! NYC has many unique options, such as Creative Chinese Dance at Language Beans or Brunch N Munch healthy cooking classes at Freshmade. These activities will expand your child’s horizons and expose him or her to a fun new activity.

4+: Now you can really hone in on your child’s interests! Have a ballerina in the making? Try a dance class at City Moves Dance Studio. 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 quirky options like Zumbini, Fashion Couture & Sewing, Robotics, and more.

Check out Kidz Central Station to search all of the great class options for your child this fall! Whatever classes and activities you choose, your little one is sure to have a great time learning new things and meeting new friends.

It’s Back to Class Season at Kidz Central Station!

Baby girl and her mother playing at homeUh-oh . . . it’s August. There’s still plenty of summer left, but August is a reminder to
savor every summer second because fall is coming soon. If you haven’t thought a minute about what classes your child should take when September arrives, you’re not alone—many parents put it off because it can be pretty overwhelming.

To relieve some of the stress, Kidz Central Station is starting a “Back to Class” series here on Kidz Buzz, with class tips for every age, interest, and neighborhood. We’ll give advice, answer questions, and do our best to make it easy for you to sign up your kids for fall classes and enjoy the rest of your summer. To start, here are a few tips for choosing the best fall classes!

Try something new! While you may have a favorite program that you continuously sign up for with friends, try adding a new class to your child’s repertoire this fall. There are so many unique programs out there that you probably don’t know exist! Kidz Central Station lets you search by type of class and neighborhood, so try a search in your area to see what hidden gems are right around the corner.

Schedule classes around your child’s needs. Little kids can be unpredictable. But if your child has a particular nap schedule or there’s a time of day he or she will be most engaged in class, factor that in when choosing a session. Because really, what mom wants schedule 15 make-up classes because her child slept through class yet again? Luckily, many of the programs on Kidz Central Station offer a variety of times and days for each class, so it’s easy to find the perfect option for your child.

Try a class NOW. Since fall classes don’t start until next month, August is a great time to register for a trial class. Most programs offer them for free or at a nominal cost, so it’s worth a try before you buy. 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.

Don’t overbook. With so many possibilities, and so many unique fall classes for NYC kids, it can be tempting to enroll for an activity or two every day of the week. While structured activities are important for development and learning, kids still need free time to run around and play with pals—especially since fall is still warm enough to take advantage of NYC’s parks and playgrounds. But don’t worry—winter comes next, so in just a few months your little one can try all of the classes there wasn’t time for in the fall.