Tag Archives: kids

Best Bets for Brooklyn Kids


Has everyone noticed that the Brooklyn Kids scene is thriving? We certainly have here at Kidz Central Station. Well, it is our job to notice…but even if it weren’t, Brooklyn kids activities are on our radar. So, if you’re a Brooklynite, then grab a slice of the world’s best pizza and learn all about the activities in your backyard. If you live outside of Brooklyn or are visiting, then head on over the iconic Brooklyn Bridge (after pausing to take in the incredible views) and prepare for a full day of fun for your kids.

Brooklyn Kids Events

Brooklyn Kids events

Boot Camp for New Dads  is a 3 hour class hosted by NYU Langone Medical Center in Brooklyn that prepares men to be dads. Veteran dads demonstrate the basics of newborn care—from burping and changing to soothing a crying baby. Other topics include supporting moms,  bonding, work hours, forming a parenting team, safety, and dealing with relatives.

Project Playdate specializes in unique 3 hour drop-off group playdates for kids, which include free play, dinner, arts and crafts, story time, dance time, movie time, and more.  On May 18th, take part in the Kidville Park Slope Drop Off Pajama Party.

Music for Autism hosts FREE concerts for individuals with autism or special needs and their friends, families, and loved ones. Kids dance in the aisles and play musical instruments as they enjoy the featured musical act. Snacks are provided! The next event at the Park Slope Library is Saturday, July 21st.

Brooklyn Kids Summer Camps

Brooklyn kids summer camps












Prospect Park Zoo is on the eastern side of Prospect Park near the Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Windsor Terrace, and Crown Heights neighborhoods. Both Prospect Park Zoo and New York Aquarium have several weekday summer camps to choose from for your explorers.

We raved about Fruiggie Organic Arts & Crafts Studio in our Earth Day blog and it’s worth taking a another look at their wonderful creative, eco-friendly Brooklyn kids summer camp in Bed/Stuy. Weekly themes include paper making, DIY musical instruments, DIY nature jewelry, vegan cooking, DIY school supplies, and more. Students also dance, sing and play while learning the importance of recycling, upcycling and connecting with nature. Bonus: Healthy organic, vegan snacks and drinks/smoothies included!

Kids in the Game, which has many camp locations throughout NYC, has a Brooklyn kids camp – Park Slope Summer Camp 2018. Lots of fun activities including, Sports, Arts & Crafts, Music, Dance, Yoga, Swimming and more. Special field trips take place to Yankees and Mets Games, the Transit Museum, Intrepid Museum, Bronx Zoo, and New York Botanical Gardens. This summer camp offers many great activities for boys and girls entering Pre-K4 to 8th grade.

Aviator Sports and Events Center has a Brooklyn kids summer day camp in Floyd Bennett Field. As mentioned in our Swim classes blog, this co-ed camp is spacious and has every activity/field trip your child could want. Camp is divided into four divisions; Junior Camp, Younger Division, Older Division and Teen Division. Each division has 15 campers, 2 general counselors, 1 head counselor, and a division counselor, thus providing very specialized attention. All activities are developed through the Project Based Learning curriculum as recommended by NY Department of Education standards. Inquire about the bus service option.

Brooklyn Kids Classes

Brooklyn kids classes












YokeyPokey Virtual Reality Club brings VR to everyone through private parties and events at either their location in Boerum Hill a block away from Barclays center or to a location of your choice. Examples of fun party play via 360 degree videos and VR gaming include fighting zombies, driving race cars, or traveling the world. A new STEM class called VR Architechts and after-school and holiday break classes are available for kids.

Ajna Dance Company teaches kids (ages 4-8) Bollywood and Indian classical dance in Gowanus/Park Slope. Kids learn basic body awareness and movement, storytelling, authentic technique, and choreography.

Willan Academy of Music provides In-Home Music Lessons personalized to your child’s individual needs. Learn Piano, Violin, Guitar, Singing, Saxophone, or Flute in a relaxed environment with experienced teachers. Also, get your friends together because group intro classes are available.

Not just a summer camp, Aviator Sports offers several individual classes for sporty and active kids in Brooklyn. Basketball, Flag football, Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, Ice Skating, Soccer, Special Needs Gymnastics, Performing Arts, and Fitness are all available classes. If you’re still not convinced, there are an arcade, food court, sports bar, events rooms, and FREE parking for us parents!

Why Kids Can’t Resist Unhealthy Foods at the Grocery Store

Adorable girl sit with set of good in shopping cart in supermarketParents who take their kids to the grocery store are probably used to fending off incessant requests for chips, fruit snacks, sugary cereals, soda, and other unhealthy, nutrient-poor food. This perennial battle is taken for granted today—it’s as much a part of raising children as is changing diapers or reading bedtime stories. But there’s reason to think kids wouldn’t want junk food so much if marketers didn’t target them so heavily.

Take the grocery store. A study by Dr. Brian Wansink and colleagues at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab looked at 65 cereals, finding those marketed at kids are placed half as high on grocery store shelves as cereals marketed to adults. They even found that the eyes of characters on cereal boxes, like Cap’n’Crunch and Scooby Doo, are pointed downward to make eye contact with kids, as Dr. Wansink shows in a video. “It looks more trustworthy and increases your likelihood of purchasing things,” he says.

Marketing food to kids is a $2.1 billion industry, the vast majority of it for fast food products, carbonated beverages, cereal, and candy, according to a 2012 Federal Trade Commission report. (Interestingly the foods marketed to kids are a lot less healthy on the whole than those marketed at adults).

Substantial research has found that marketing heavily influences what people choose to purchase and eat. One study found children consumed 45 percent more snack food after watching food advertising compared to those who didn’t view these kinds of ads. This is highly concerning given that one-third of children in America are overweight or obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, putting them at risk for chronic illnesses later in life, like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea.

Children are bombarded with all kinds of advertising—TV commercials, giveaways, digital media communication through cell phone, emails, and websites. As the Public Health Law Center puts it, “The means by which these products are marketed are limited only by the creativity of food marketers.”

Marketing junk food with popular children’s characters and celebrities are common tactics by purveyors. Ironically, the celebrities we think of as at the pinnacle of health are some of the worst offenders. Of the ads they have made for food, professional athletes like Peyton Manning, LeBron James, and Serena Williams primarily endorse foods that are energy-dense and nutrient-poor, and the only other products they market more than food are sporting goods, according to a 2013 study by Dr. Bragg and colleagues.

In a future blog entry, we’ll tell you what you can do about all of the ads targeted at your kids.

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

Marie Bragg, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU School of Medicine and NYU Langone Medical Center and at the NYU Global Institute of Public Health

 Elaine Meyer, M.S., senior communications specialist in the Department of Population Health at NYU School of Medicine and NYU Langone Medical Center

How to Tell if Your Child Has Winter Depression

In the midst of one of the coldest and snowiest winters in the Northeast, Sarah’s mother notices that her teenage daughter’s mood has significantly changed. Usually happy and social, Sarah has been keeping to herself more often. She no longer spends time with friends after school and is reluctant to make plans with them on weekends or snow days. She has been snapping at her younger brother more often and becomes tearful more easily. Her family is surprised that she only picks at her food during meals and asks to leave the dinner table early. Sarah’s parents wonder if her behavior is just typical teenage moodiness exacerbated by the cold and gloomy weather, or something more serious.

sad child-Girl With Sad FaceMonths and months of cold temperatures, winter weather, and darker, shorter days drive people to stay indoors. We feel cooped up and complain of cabin fever. Many people, including children, begin to feel sad and depressed. But how can you tell if your child is suffering from a type of winter depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or just a mild case of the “winter blues” or cabin fever?

Similar to episodes of major depression, SAD can range from mild to moderate to severe. It consists of a number of symptoms at once, and is unrelated to a particular situational stressor. SAD occurs at a specific time of year and follows a predictable course, with “winter depression” typically triggered during fall and remitting once springtime arrives.

If you notice changes in your child’s mood over these cold and dreary months, look for the following signs of SAD:

A distinct change in mood lasting a number of weeks and correlating with a change in seasons. This may include irritability and sadness, increased crying, and fatigue or loss of energy.

Changes in behavior related to school, attitude, and social functioning, such as difficulty concentrating and withdrawal from activities that are usually enjoyable.

Changes in the way your child sleeps, eats, or dresses, such as increased sleep and difficulty waking in the morning, increased appetite, and ingestion of more carbohydrates.

Scientists aren’t certain what causes SAD. Some theories link this particular form of depression to factors in the environment, such as changes in the brain caused by light. Others point to studies showing seasonal changes in the brain’s supply of serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked to major depression and other mood disorders.

We do know that the changes brought on by SAD can affect a child’s self-esteem, interfere with extracurricular activities, and impair social and academic functioning. If you are concerned your child may have SAD, consult with a medical professional, such as a pediatrician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed therapist. Ask the provider to assess the changes you have observed and guide you on how to approach the situation and whether treatment is needed.

Preliminary research supports phototherapy (treatment with bright lights) for SAD, and there are a number of evidence-based treatments for depression. Determining which is the most suitable for your child is best based on professional judgment and consultation.

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

Carrie Spindel Bashoff, PsyD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the NYU Langone’s Child Study Center. Dr. Bashoff, who received her doctoral degree in psychology from Yeshiva University, is particularly experienced in treating children and adolescents with anxiety and depressive disorders.

What You Need to Know About Childhood Immunizations

Immunization Record concept of vaccinationEach year, particularly before children go back to school, parents will inquire about immunization schedules and often ask about their safety. Many of the “safety” related questions are based on popular myths. The following is a Q&A with Norma Villanueva, M.D., M.P.H., network chief of Child and Adolescent Health at Lutheran Family Health Centers.

What are your general thoughts on vaccinations? 

There are so many diseases and conditions that we are all at risk for in our lives. The vaccines we have available to us have been proven to work and can prevent a number of serious childhood diseases. More importantly, they save lives.

What would you tell parents about the HPV vaccine? 
New vaccines are developed every few years and it’s important to speak to your pediatrician about the latest developments. For instance, the HPV vaccine will protect your child from one of the most common sexually-transmitted infections in the U.S., the human papillomavirus. HPV is a horrible virus that can cause cervical cancer and many other types of cancer. Both boys and girls over the age of eight should receive the vaccine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), HPV is so common that nearly all sexually-active men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives, and most people never know that they have been infected and may give HPV to a partner without knowing it.

Does everyone understand the consequences and risks of not vaccinating their children? 
No. Influenza is a good example of this where children and older adults, especially those with chronic diseases like asthma, are most at risk. Many people think it’s a normal seasonal illness and something everyone has to deal with and accept. This is not true. Flu is serious and kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide each year. Why would you take that risk?

Are vaccines safe? 
Yes. Vaccines are safe, undergo rigorous safety testing, and are continually monitored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). I sincerely recommend that parents follow their pediatricians’ advice and the vaccination schedules recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, and the CDC. Vaccine-preventable diseases are extremely serious and cause severe debilitation, cancer, and death. It’s not a chance you want to take with a child’s life.

What would you tell parents who are worried or have more questions? 

I’d recommend that they review the following resources: The World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, American Academy of Family Physicians, the NYC Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. These organizations have created a number of fact sheets and frequently asked questions for anyone with concerns about childhood immunizations and their impacts.

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

Pediatrician Norma Villanueva, MD, MPH, is network chief of child and adolescent health and regional director of medical education at Lutheran Family Health Centers in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. She received her medical degree from Yeshiva University, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

*Beginning in January 2015, a clinical collaboration between Lutheran HealthCare and NYU Langone Medical Center offers a broad array of pediatric specialty services at Lutheran’s main campus in Sunset Park, and give patients access to complex subspecialty care at NYU Langone, if required. NYU Langone specialty services include pediatric cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, nephrology, pulmonology, and Rusk pediatric rehabilitation. These increased services build upon Lutheran’s recognized pediatric programs, including the largest school-based health center program in the state, and its Pediatric Epilepsy Center of Excellence, also in partnership with NYU Langone.

An Educational (and Delicious) Family Outing: The Farmers Market!

October is a wonderful month to visit the farmers market. Just when you think things are slowing down and harvests are coming to an end, Mother Nature starts showing off. With an array of apples, winter squashes, and pumpkins, it’s an excellent weekend activity with the family. Here are a few ways to make the farmers market both fun and educational for the entire family.

Photo: Jane Feldman

Photo: Jane Feldman

Sample and taste. The farmers market is a great place for kids to familiarize themselves with different kinds of fruits and vegetables—and even sample them! Most farmers are willing to share a taste if you ask. Encourage kids to pick things up and see how they feel. The farmers market is much more relaxed than the grocery store and touching the produce is not frowned upon. Vegetables become more interesting when you can pick them up and hold them. Is it heavy? Is the surface rough or smooth? Can you eat the whole thing or do you have to peel it? The learning opportunities are endless!

Variety is the spice of life. Use the farmers market to your advantage by getting one of everything! Can’t decide what kind of apples to buy? Get four or five different kinds and then have a taste testing party later on. Explore the difference between sweet and tart. Which one is the juiciest? Make up a ballot and have your kids vote for their favorite in each category. This can be done with a variety of items such as pears, peaches, potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and peppers. When kids get to choose which one they like best, the yellow peach or the white peach for instance, it’s easier to get them to try new foods.

Try something new. Pick a new fruit or vegetable to try. Ask the farmer what it tastes like. How does it grow? Does it come from a tree or a plant, or the ground? How is it prepared? What other fruits or veggies go well with it? The farmer may even have recipe recommendations. Make it a game, an adventure, or an exploration! Only get one or just enough so that the whole family can have a sample. Then, back in the kitchen, you can cut and prepare it together. Kids are much more willing to try new things if they have helped to pick it out and prepare it. Discovering new food is fun!

Play with your food.  The farmers market is the perfect place to teach kids how produce is sold and practice math skills too. Give each child an age appropriate amount, for example $2 for little ones for one or two pieces of fruit and perhaps $5 to $10 for older kids to get enough for the whole family. Let them read signs and figure out how much each item costs. Have them watch as the item is weighed and help them figure out if they can get more or need to put some back. These real life skills will take them far and help them understand the cost of food.

Everyone’s doing it.  On Friday, October 24, you can help set a world record at The Big Apple Crunch, a citywide event promoting healthier eating. The main event takes place at noon at the Union Square Farmer’s Market, but you can participate at any of GrowNYC’s Greenmarkets or Youthmarkets, or even host your own event! Find out more at bigapplecrunch.org.

Bonus Tip! Go as early as possible. There will be less crowds and the farmers are fresh and ready to talk. Plus, even though there’s lots of food, going to the market at lunch time is not the best idea. The crowds are more dense and everyone is way too hungry before lunch to make it fun. By going early in the morning, everyone has just had breakfast, so you can nibble and enjoy samples, but not feel too rushed.

From Sun and Sand to Back to School

phpO96nKfPMHow do you go from endless summer days filled with sun and sand, watermelon and corn on
the cob to backpacks and lunch boxes, pencils and crayons? The answer is simple—it’s not easy! As much as I try to hold on to the joys of summer, every year at this time the little voice in my head starts whispering a hefty to-do list. So, in order to enjoy what’s left of summer vacation, how do you prepare for the busy season ahead?

Ease back in to back to school shopping. I used to carve out entire days for back to school shopping, but I’ve learned over the years that it’s easier to get back into the school mindset gradually by picking up different items at different times. If there’s a sale on school supplies somewhere, my kids and I will head to that store and get what we can. If I can’t get everything at once, it’s okay. This way my kids have their say and I can finish up at my leisure. In my experience, kids are much more concerned about choosing their lunch boxes and backpacks than anything else! Which brings me to my next tip . . .

Invest in a good backpack! For parents of older children, it’s worth investing in a really good—sometimes expensive—backpack. It will hold up better throughout the year and can easily go in the wash. As my kids got older, they used their backpacks for more than just one year, and even swapped backpacks with cousins and friends for a little variety. As for lunch boxes on the other hand, don’t overspend—you’ll want to throw them out at the end of the school year or maybe use them for camp if you’re really lucky.

Start implementing a regular bedtime. Especially if your children are in pre-K through primary school, decide on an appropriate bedtime and start putting it into practice. Don’t start a new bedtime all of a sudden; ease it into your kids’ schedules so that those first few school days aren’t disastrous. For parents of night owls, by the end of August it will start getting dark out earlier, so that should help with getting your kids into bed at a reasonable hour. If you are fortunate enough to have good sleepers, start getting them up earlier in the morning.

phpb1sKaDPMSchedule check ups and physicals. This one’s simple. You child will definitely need a physical for school, so by planning for it now when things are a little less hectic, you won’t have to switch your whole schedule around just to get to the doctor’s office.

Take even just one of these tips and put it into practice, and you’ll be way ahead of the game! You’ll still have plenty of time to head to the beach, put your toes in the sand, and enjoy the last of summer.

Helping Your Child, And Yourself, Through A Tantrum

toddler tantrum

Tantruming is not new to childhood but it seems that every day an expert has a new way to end your child’s tantrums. I say stick with the tried and true…

Before your child tantrums, think about what sets them off.  Why does he or she tantrum?  Think about where your child is developmentally.  Is your 3 year old having a tantrum because you won’t give him something he wants?  Is your 19 month old tantruming because she’s lost control of herself?

When a toddler has a tantrum it is often because they are melting down, tired, or hungry.  Whatever the cause, a toddler does not have the tools to calm their bodies and regain control on their own.  They need you.  At this age I recommend that you sit on the floor next your child, tell them you see they are having a hard time and that you are going to help them calm down.  Some like to be held, others do not want to be touched.  You can ask your child what they prefer, or just try what you think might work and see what happens.  To be clear, this doesn’t mean to give in if the child is demanding something, it just means that you are giving your child what they need.  Something, at that moment, that a toddler can not do for themselves.

As your child gets older, think about their temperament and try these techniques:

Reflect your child’s emotions.   Bend down so that you are level with their eyes.  Try saying, “You are so mad (fill in the emotions) right now.  I know you really wanted that 5th scoop of ice cream but you may not have it.  I understand that makes you feel angry and sad.”  Then move on.  Give your child a choice, should we play with blocks next or take out the crayons.

Give positive alternatives.  Explain to your child that banging that block on his infant brother’s head is not a choice, but he can bang the block on another block, or play the drums if he feels like banging.  Remind your child that banging on another person’s body is not safe.  Ask, “where do you think is a safe place to bang?”

Keep it light.  Use a little humor to diffuse the situation.  When your child is begging you not to go out to dinner, remind them that you have to come home to sleep in your bed.  Ask them “Can grown-ups sleep in a restaurant?  A car?  On the table?  No! How silly!  Grown-ups have to come home to sleep in their beds.”  We even use this idea during the separation process at school.  When your child is having one of those delightful moaning tantrums, reflect their feelings and be silly.   ”You are so mad, I wonder if you can stamp your feet as loud as I can.”

Ignore it.  There are times when a child begins to have a tantrum, that the best thing you can do is simply ignore it.  Check in to be sure your child is safe, but keep yourself out of the tantrum.  If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one there to see it…

Remove them from the situation.  This idea can be interpreted in two ways.  For some children, having a conversation with their grown-up while being distracted by the item they want, the child who has it, or something else that is happening in the environment, is just too much.  For these children, removing them from the situation can mean going into the next room to work through the tantrum in a quieter place.  That being said, sometimes there is no other option than to remove your child from the situation entirely.  If your child has gone past the point of no return, leaving will often give them the opportunity calm their bodies in a less stimulating environment and help them understand that their behavior is unacceptable.

Deciding how to deal with tantrums has a lot to do with your child’s temperament.  I say this often: Parents know their children best.  Think about your child and the way they handle different situations.  Children give us a lot of information every day, from whether they need to be prepared for something new a week before or an hour before, to how to handle their tantrums.  When a tantrum begins, assess the situation, decide on a technique, and set the limit.  Do not tolerate unacceptable behavior.  The consistency in your reactions to tantrums, as with any other behavior, will help your children develop their ability to regulate their own emotions and behaviors.  You can do this!

More questions?  Not sure how to make this work for your child? Or feel overwhelmed by the idea of trying?  Reach out!  Dana@DanasKids.com

Dana Rosenbloom has a master’s degree in Infant and Parent Development and Early Intervention and has been working with children and families for over 10 years. Dana’s Kids provides 1:1 parent education, play and behavior therapy, special education services, parent workshops and support groups, and professional development. To learn more about Dana and Dana’s Kids please visit  www.DanasKids.com.  You can also follow Dana on Facebook:www.facebook.com/DanasKids and Twitter: Danaskids

Dana’s Kids 

empowered parents, happy families.



Children Approach Museums with Excitement and Know-how!

Claire’s Creative Museum Adventures Brings Children’s Art Education to NYC’s Museums and Galleries!

Are you a NYC family wanting to expose your children to the fascinating world of art around you that they can enjoy?  Do you have friends or family members traveling through NYC seeking a truly memorable cultural experience together?

We all know that New York City is known for its culture and the arts.  It’s world-class museums and galleries provide an extraordinary opportunity to learn!  So how can your child take advantage?

Creating unique professional artist or theme-based visits that are educational AND entertaining is not an easy feat!  First, children tire easily.  Even getting to the artwork can be intimidating in large museums, especially those like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  And how do you know where to begin?

There are ways to demystify not only the museum, but also the art processes, while making them easy to understand and fun to learn!  Following a few simple rules can help.

For many museums, just getting to certain galleries can be a hike.  First, know where you are going before setting out.  You don’t want your child to see it as a chore if you have to cover too much ground.  Pick a small section each visit to explore more fully.

Next, select just a few pieces that are in close proximity with each other, which provide ample learning opportunities based on one theme. Locating the artists with something in common helps to bring home specific ideas, without wearing out your child.

Many artists may seem too sophisticated to share with kids.  Not so!  Breaking down the art processes of artists and making them easy to understand and fun to learn can be exciting!  Of course ages and special interests are important to consider for each visit; Explaining color theory to a 4 year old by using the Impressionists may be too much, however, Ellsworth Kelly or Roy Lichtenstein is a great start.  Balance and line exploration using Calder’s mobiles, or even metal-working with pieces from David Smith and John Chamberlain, is a pragmatic way to teach.

2013-06-14 10.43.41

Kids don’t want a lecture!  Since there is no teacher like doing, actually making artwork in front of a piece of art is instrumental for kids!  Knowing what materials work best, and which ones are appropriate in a public space, is also not easy.  That’s often where experts come in.  You may not feel comfortable bringing in recycled materials to discover El Anatsui’s magic, however, you can never go wrong with pencils, colored pencils or wire for your first endeavors as a parent.

Be sure to switch it up:  construct, collage or create colors with separate visits.  Since a child’s attention span is short, each project needs to be divided into simplified steps, and include more than one simple hands-on project.

Some great first galleries I would suggest are the modern painters at the Met.  There are beginning discovery lessons in line, shape and color here like no other!  Then those lessons can be applied to more artists, once digested.

Keep it simple and fun.  You want your child to be eager to not only go to see art, but excited by the process…  and if you become a learner with your child along the way, you’ll see them making connections and coming to their own conclusions you would never have thought of!

Don’t miss out on the amazing educational opportunity to discover art with your child by using your city’s resources.  You may also wish to take advantage of an experienced and engaging tour leader to illuminate your experience.

By Claire Munday, Founder of Claire’s Creative Adventures, LLC for kids ages 2-12.  Museum and Art Adventures uses NYC’s modern, contemporary and multicultural art resources to go beyond school curricula to “demystify” artists and their processes. Children (and their accompanying adults) are introduced to modern and contemporary artists as well as diverse cultures, based on current exhibits from the myriad of NYC museums and galleries, providing all of the supplies, education and entertainment while actively engaging the children in the fantastic world of art from museum arrival to departure… Click here to book your next tour or class!



Swimming Classes for Babies

swimming classes

Growing up in the country, we learned how to swim by jumping in our pond. You couldn’t see anything in the muddy waters – you just jumped and hoped you missed a frog and a rock. Once your feet hit the slimy, gushy ground, you were up, out and repeat. Even though the East

River presents the same look – dark, dirty and you want to jump and not land on anything – especially nothing dead or contaminated, I would rather Maximo’s first swimming classes experience not be so – well, adventurous.

So where do you go when you want to find the best (and cleanest) swim class in NYC? Kidz Central Station of course! And the popular vote went to Physique Swimming – with a huge rate of moms booking consistent classes. That must mean they like them!

This is NYC –  every mom knows some things CAN be questionable. So I took one more blind leap and booked Maximo’s first swim class.

Swimming Classes for Babies by Physique Swimming at the Mercedes Club

(original post and review found on MommyNearest.com – read the original post here).

swimming classes

First impression upon walking in
Very clean and fancy, but didn’t come off as very kid-friendly. It was an upscale, luxury sports club and I didn’t exactly see any other strollers lurking around. But the staff was extremely friendly and walked me into the locker room to show me where everything was and how to get to the pool. Strollers are big and bulky, and I got a couple ‘too bad you have a kid’ smirks from the young, rich clientele walking in with makeup, who could more likely use a cheeseburger instead of a treadmill. But I am never one to be intimidated, so I dressed Maximo into his suit via the stroller , rolled him right out to the pool area, and parked my City Mini. I always hate the feeling of not having to push myself and the stroller into areas where I’m not sure if it’s allowed. But I figure when it’s just me, and I have all this stuff and a squirmy toddler, it’s do first, ask later.

We walked over to the edge of the pool where I see one other mom and a little girl floating in the water already. I ask if they’re in the class and they’re excited there is another mom to join them! Well, at least we’ll get a lot of one-on-one attention!

The Class
The swimming teacher was super nice. She totally took into consideration that it was Maximo’s first time in the water and went slow to introduce him to floating and kicking. Luckily for me, Maximo loved it. It took him a few minutes to understand what all this water was – but once herealized I wouldn’t leave his side and he could float and kick happily – he was smitten.

We started with the basics – floating on his stomach and trying to kick. After that, floating on his back (definitely didn’t like this as much) and looking up and singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Then we had a little floaty fish we would throw and ‘swim’ to get.

Then we played Maximo’s favorite – Humpty Dumpty. You sit them on the side of the pool, and lean them towards you. Count to three and have them jump into the water with you. Then – Maximo did something I didn’t expect his first time – he went underwater! (If you blow in their face right before they dunk, they automatically hold their breath.) He popped up and looked around – a little surprised, but overly excited to do it again!

swimming classes

Overall Experience:
I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just a fluke experience. Our buildings pool is finally open for the summer, so I took him him down yesterday right before it closed to let him try out some of his newly learned skills. And he took to them just like a fish! In fact, he didn’t even want to get out this time. Ahh, to be a kid again! Talking to my other mom friends, the consensus is that all their kids loved the classes too – and they have started their babies as early as 6 months! Moms also let me know that they played the same games as we did – so it’s going to come down to WHO is teaching your class, not WHAT they are teaching. So make sure you and your baby like working with the instructor!

I highly recommend Physique Swimming classes for babies because they are totally professional and I felt safe with Maximo in the water.  They were really nice and patient – I never felt rushed or stressed. And they hold their classes in reputable, clean pools in the city – aka – no new germ friends to tag along home.

Author: Stephanie Barnhart
Stephanie Barnhart

Stephanie is a published author—featured in the New York Times, NY Metro Parents Magazine, PARENTGUIDE NEWS, as well as an #expertmom for MommyNearest.com, and contributing author to KidzCentralStation.com and Kidville.com’s Voices of the ‘Ville — author and speaker/consultant on motherhood and the importance of marketing and research in a business arena, specifically online. She also owns her own social media company, www.socialmindedmediagroup.com

Keep Your Kids Reading During The Summer!!

Our kids work so hard all year, let’s keep it up over the summer. As an educator, I have been making this statement for years, but now it is my turn to do the work with my son. Here are few questions to ask youself to get ready for the summer!

Is your library organized?
If your children can’t find books they like, they will not read! I organized my son’s books using baskets and put them into categories.  It takes a short amount of time and it is totally worth it!!!!


Do you know what your child’s reading level is?
The best way to find out your child’s reading level is to ask his or her teacher, or have a reading specialist perform an evaluation. Once the reading level is determined, make a basket of books that your child can read to you, or on his or her own! Tip: to find books at his or her level you can use Scholastic book wizard, or a great app called Level it!

Leveled Library

What time will you read with your child or will her or she read independently?
Set a specific time to read everyday!  I usually like to read with my children before bedtime. First, I have my son read me a leveled book and then I let him choose a book that I will read to him.


Do you know that reading is all around you?
Make sure you use your neighborhood and all around your house to read!!!  Your child can read you signs, labels, lists, game titles. This is a great way to learn sight words and use them in a real life setting!


Lauren Bernstein is the executive director of Lauren’s Little Learners in Livingston, NJ. She specializes in individualized instruction for students ages 3-10 in in reading and writing.