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5-Star Rated Classes and Birthday Parties

5-Star rated classes

 

 

New York City is loaded with parks, museums, classes, activities, venues, and entertainers. The choices are limitless, but as parents, we want to find the BEST activities for our kids. Kidz Central Station delivers this quality information all in one place.

 

Here are 5-Star Rated classes and birthday parties according to the best critics – Parents.


5-Star Rated Classes

  • Physique Swimming offers swim classes for kids ages 4 month to 7 years. The program is designed to help swimmers move smoothly from one level to the next as they progress in their swimming capabilities.

“All the coaches were extremely friendly and welcoming, cheering my daughter on and praising her efforts.” 

  • High Note NYC teaches children ages 3+ both piano and vocals. Through goal oriented curriculum, children learn fluent music reading, technical skill and solo performance competency. One-on-one music lessons ensure teachings are tailored to individual students’ needs with a foundation that can spam a lifetime.

“My 7 year old loves taking piano lessons with Nora! He is learning music and getting more confidence in his voice.” 

  • iHOLA! A Playgroup in Spanish, for babies 2 months- 12 years, is a grassroots organization adored equally by children and parents for it’s uniqueness where thousands of children have been aided from its early language acquisition method, iHOLA’s! unique and effortless learning process will  put your baby or young teen in a wonderful language journey with ease and joy.

“My daughter responds to many of the vocabulary words they’ve used in class”

  • Upper Manhattan Forest Kids offers outdoor educational classes for kids ages 1 to 6 years old. Classes follow the Danish philosophy of Forest Kindergarten, which encourages children to play, explore and learn in a forest or natural environment.  

“Upper Manhattan Forest Kids was an amazing class that I would recommend to every parent!”

  • 14th Street Y is a dynamic community center located in the East Village offering classes for kids of all ages: drop-ins, music, art, sports, and indoor playground, are among the many classes offered.

“Awesome class! Started off with free play, then art, then reading, then snack/storytime, and ended with bubbles and story time. Lovely teacher!” 

  • Music With James Jam sessions are for kids ages 4 months to 4 years. Classes are high energy where James plays a mixture of traditional children’s songs on the guitar, piano, harmonica, and various orchestral instruments and children sing along, dance, and play instruments with each song. Classes included animal puppets, bouncing balls, and a colorful parachute add to the fun!

“GREAT class! We love the flexibility and my son always has so much fun.” 

  • Willan Academy of Music offers music lessons for children ages 4 and up. High quality and fun music lessons can be taken at the studio or in the comfort of your own home in NYC. Lessons are personalized to your child’s individual needs in a warm and nurturing educational environment.

“Words can’t begin to express how grateful our family is for Kenji and the Willan Academy of Music. Our son is a high energy free thinking child who Kenji has turned into a musician.” 

  • The Goddard School offers a Full Day Program for children ages 5 and under. Highly trained teachers gently guide and encourage children every step of the way as they grow, develop and achieve important milestones. Children have fun while learning the skills they need for long-term success in school and in life.

“I toured the facility and was blown away by everything from the fun rock climbing wall to the spacious roofdeck playground to the amazingly nice teachers to the included healthy meals/snacks.” 

  • CenterStage classes for children ages 4 months and up are taught by distinguished professionals in the music, dance, and acting fields. Classes range from a fun weekend activity to curriculum based comprehensive workshops.

“The teachers are talented, creative and provide a warm, nurturing environment for the kids to take risks and try new things.”


5-Star Rated Birthday Parties

  • 92nd Street Y’s enthusiastic and well-trained staff lead fun-filled parties for boys and girls of all ages. From GymMaze and Jamboree parties to dancing to a circus in the sky, they offer an awesome range of birthday party themes.

“My kids loved every party they attended at 92Y! The Gym Maze party was great for my son and his friends. The facility is terrific and the staff was helpful and energetic” 

  • Chocolate Works Upper East Side will transform the birthday child and guests into Willy Wonka chocolatiers for the day! Kids make chocolate creations on the 20-foot conveyor belt, and mold and decorate their own chocolate shape to take home!

“The kids said it was the best birthday party they have ever been to – such a cute idea. The adults also had a great time.” 

  • Shake Shack is the perfect place to hold a large party! Birthday parties are held in a private rec room equipped with a 42” flat screen TV for slideshows, videos, and DVDs, and UNLIMITED Shack classics for the duration of your party. Plus, kids two and under eat free.

“Such a great deal for no wait and unlimited Shake Shack favorites!” 

  • With Eloise at the Plaza you can throw the most mahvelous affair at The Plaza Hotel. Based on one of many adventures…like in Paris or Hollywood! Eloise’s mostly companions are here to assist every step of the way to make sure the birthday girl feels like one of a kind! Presents are a must, so every guest of honor will go home with her very own special gift and all her friends will get the most interesting keepsake favor bag.

“My 3 year old absolutely loved it and asked if she could go back to the plaza the next day. Love love love it!” 

  • MusiBambino Music Program gives your child an unforgettable experience with singing their favorite songs and exploring musical instruments. They also provide a music teacher, piano accompanist, a 30-45 minute music class, and adult and specially designed kid-sized music instruments!

“The staff there is so friendly and really accommodating. Their mini instruments are so fun for the kids and they sent everyone home with a drum set which was a hit!” 

  • Galli Theater give your child the magical experience of live theater for his/her special event. Create the most amazing theater party in town! All parties are suitable for girls and boys!

“We have been to many parties in NYC and they are all usually the same. Galli’s party was a welcome change and all the kids had a blast.” 

Veterans Day Camps for Kids

Veterans Day Camps

Celebrate Veterans Day on Monday, November 12th

Celebrate our country’s military veterans on Sunday Nov 11, 2018 at the the annual New York City Veterans Day Parade, which begins @11:15am from 26th Street and Fifth Avenue and continues to 50th Street.  Then, on Monday when our kids have the day off of school, sign up for a wonderful one day camp and keep the kids busy!

Creative Drama
Play On! Studios
UWS / Ages 4-10

ART CAMP
Creatively WILD Art Studio
Brooklyn/ Ages 2-15

Robots & Science
NORY
UWS / Ages 3-7

Veteran’s Day: Future Celebrity Chef Camp
Taste Buds Kitchen
Chelsea / Ages 4-13

Coding
Launch Math + Science
UWS / Ages 5-11

Wildlife Mini-Camp
Queens Zoo
Flushing / Ages 4-9

Dinosaur Camp
Karma Kids Yoga
Union Sq / Ages 3-5

Cooking Camp
Freshmade NYC
SoHo / Ages 4-12

NYC Fall Guide for Kids

Fall Guide

Fall is finally here, one of the most fun seasons in New York City! This fall, we are challenging all of our parents to give your child a NEW experience. Kidz Central Station offers a variety of classes at New York’s most iconic destinations. Break out your sweaters and join us for some amazing classes in Central Park, The Bronx Zoo, Brooklyn, Soho and more!


Wildlife Conservation SocietyWCSJulie Larsen Maher © WCS

For your nature loving child, the Wildlife Conservation Society offers interactive classes at the five zoos and aquarium throughout NYC. Children and caregivers get up close to animals, help prepare animal treats, and understand how keepers care for them each day. Have breakfast with penguins at the Central Park Zoo or spend the morning with seals & sea lions at the New York Aquarium or have breakfast with baboons at the Prospect Park Zoo.


Claire’s Creative Adventures

claire

Claire’s Creative Adventure, located in All Souls Church, is an amazing educational and engaging art program! Children develop confidence and skill by facing art challenges and exploring a myriad of exciting materials. Kids get hands on experience working with paint, clay, plaster, wood, pencil, sand, paper-mache, fabric, and more.  Explore art adventures!


New York City Fire Museum

Fall Guide

Located in Soho, The New York Fire Museum is an actual fire house from 1904! Children can try on helmets and bunker gear while learning about the colorful history of volunteer firefighters and firefighting techniques and equipment.  Retired FDNY firefighters proudly volunteer to relate stories of New York City’s “Bravest.”  Schedule your visit.


The Creative Kitchen

Fall Guide

The Creative Kitchen offers cooking classes for kids in select Whole Foods throughout NYC. They focus on fostering a positive relationship between children and food.  Kids learn basic cooking techniques while strengthening their social and motor skills in a team environment. Register Now for  class during your next grocery trip!


Upper Manhattan Forest Kids

Fall Guide

Upper Manhattan Forest Kids is an outdoor educational program in Central Park. Each week parents and children get together to learn about and explore our living environment. All activities encourage personal development, language development, and social skills.  Attend a FREE trial class this week!

Read about our recent trial class to learn more about this program!


Creatively Wild Art Studio

Fall Guide

Located in the heart of Dumbo’s vibrant creative community, Creatively Wild Art Studio gives kids a chance to build confidence and self-esteem while discovering their own personal creativity. Upcoming holiday camps for kids, toddlers, and teens are educationally designed to inspire learning through exploration in artistic mediums & techniques. As well as being lots of fun, campers pick up skills & professional techniques for future artistic endeavors!

Drop into a 2D Computer Animation, Cartooning and Manga, or Painting, Mixed Media and Found Object Art class this month!


New York Stage of Mind

Fall Guide

Drop into a New York Stage of Mind class in the hub of art and dance, Long Island City. New York Stage of Mind offers Piano lessons, Singing classes, and their ever so famous Broadway Youth and Broadway Bound classes which cover singing, acting, and dancing!

Best Mother’s Day in NYC

Mother’s Day NYC Kidz Central Station

Mother’s Day in NYC  is a wonderful time to explore family activities all over the city.  Let the celebrations begin next Saturday, on to Sunday, and carryover all the way to the following Sunday!  You can never do enough to appreciate Mom.  Below is a roundup of the best events in NYC.
 

SATURDAY, MAY 12TH

Mother’s Day Breakfast (ages 3+ with adult)

Mother’s Day NYC Prospect Park Zoo

Wildlife Conservation Society – Prospect Park Zoo, 9am-11am.   Meet in the zoo before it opens, enjoy a light breakfast, meet an animal close up, and help prepare special treats for the animal moms!

 

Mother’s Day Tea Party Workshop

Mother’s Day NYC Taste Buds Kitchen

Taste Buds Kitchen – Chelsea, 9am-10am.  This class is designed for kids and parents to cook together.    Make melt-in-your-mouth Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze and brew a refreshing Sun Tea.  Festive Tea Party attire welcome.

 

Make Mom a Makeup Pouch – Sewing Workshop

Mother’s Day NYC The Fashion Class

The Fashion Class – Midtown West, 3:30-5:30pm. Kids will create a make-up bag or carry-all pouch with zipper and decorations for mom.  The class is perfect for everyone from beginners to advanced sewers.  The workshop begins with a sewing lesson on Singer Sewing machines.  Students learn to cut and pin fabric before sewing.

 

Mother’s Day Parent-Child Workshop: Cherry Blossom Trees

Claire’s Creative Adventures– UES, 4-5:30pm.
Children make a family tree or a beautiful sculpture to don any room!  Join your child in making hands-on projects using unique materials.
**Register by May 11th for this special Mother’s Day event.**

 

 

Mother’s Day with Mozart for Munchkins

Mozart for Munchkins – UWS, 4-5pm. Fun family concert featuring a variety of classical favorites including Vivaldi, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, and sing-along favorites!

**SAVE 10% WITH COUPON CODE MOZARTMOM**

 

 SUNDAY, MAY 13TH – Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day Celebration (Ages 3-10 with adult)

Mother’s Day NYC Central Park ZooWildlife Conservation Society – Central Park, 9am-10:30pm.   Families meet animal moms and their babies, make them treats, go on a scavenger hunt, and meet an animal guest. Then make a special Mother’s Day craft and enjoy a treat.

 

Family Brunch Celebrating Moms! (All Ages)

Wildlife Conservation Society – Queens Zoo, 11:30am-1:30pm.  Enjoy a light breakfast and explore the animals. Children will make a fun craft for their moms and the staff will take pictures of the family as a keepsake. All moms receive a gift!

Mother’s Day Tea Party Workshop

Mother’s Day NYC Taste Buds Kitchen

Taste Buds Kitchen – Chelsea, 9am-10am.  This Mother’s Day class is designed for kids and parents to cook together.    Make melt-in-your-mouth Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze and brew a refreshing Sun Tea.  Festive Tea Party attire welcome.

 

Mother’s Day with Mozart for Munchkins!

Mother’s Day NYC Mozart for Munchkins

Mozart for Munchkins – UES, 4-5pm. Fun family concert featuring a variety of classical favorites including Vivaldi, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, and some sing-along favorites!

**SAVE 10% WITH COUPON CODE MOZARTMOM**

 

 SUNDAY, MAY 20TH

A Mommy Puppet Show

 Mother’s Day NYC Okabaloo

OKABALOO FunArtFaktory – Arts & Fun Center –  Long Island City, 10-10:45am.  It’s a Mommy and Me show date dedicated to “Mother’s Month.”  Enjoy a 45 minute interactive puppet show full of laughs and surprises.

Head of the Class Mom: Dr. Jessica Loo Marn

Meet this week’s Head of the Class Mom, Jessica Loo Marn—owner of NYC’s Urban Pediatric Dental and the new Eastside Pediatric Dental—and a mom to two amazing kids!

DSC_0722Tell us about yourself. Why did you start your practices?
I have always been a very ambitious person and was given an opportunity to start my own practice in a small shared space downtown. I took out a huge loan and had no other option but to make it work.

What is your secret to balancing work and family? Is there a balance?
I think there can be a balance, but I’m still working on that myself! I’ve realized that the better I take care of myself, the more quality and productive time I can give to those around me. It is difficult to carve out “me” time because of all the roles women take on. The one thing I do know for sure is the importance of having a great support system.

Share a funny story that helped you become a better parent and/or better at your job.
When my eight-year-old daughter tells me, “Mommy, you cannot quit your job because I’m planning to become a pediatric dentist and you need to teach me all of your tricks.” I realize that I need to set a good example and be an excellent role model for my kids— parents should be the super stars kids look up to every day. That is the responsibility we take on when we sign up to be parents.

What has been your biggest challenge and/or greatest reward in the struggle for work-life balance?
The biggest challenge is carving out time for myself, because sometime I feel like there are not enough hours in a day. The greatest reward is being a parent to both my 10-year-old son and to my eight-year-old daughter. I love when my kids to visit my offices and see firsthand how much I love and enjoy my job, and all of the letters written by patients that I have up on my office walls.

What is one thing you wish you knew before you had kids?
The true meaning of the word responsibility when it comes to raising well-rounded, loving, and respectable kids while juggling a full-time career. I have become quite the expert at multi-tasking!

If you could give other moms one piece of advice what would it be?
Make time to spend with your kids. They grow up so fast and you can’t get the time back!

QUICK Q’s:

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

What has been your favorite kids’ class?
Definitely music classes! I love watching my kids’ dance moves, the genuineness of their laughter, and how carefree they are. Priceless!

What is your favorite thing to do with your family on weekends?
We like to take mini weekend getaways to nearby states to enjoy different types of scenery and expose our kids to life outside of the city.

What is your favorite rainy day escape?
We love board games, arts and crafts, and watching movies as a family.

FInd out more about Dr. Marn’s practices, Eastside Pediatric Dental and Urban Pediatric Dental!

5 Ways to Prepare for Fall Classes and Activities

baby playing xylophone
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!

3 NYC Preschool Programs You Must Check Out

If you were counting on Universal Pre-K for your child next year and it didn’t work out, or if you have a two- or three-year-old ready to try out a preschool program in September, we’ve got you covered! Search Kidz Central Station  by our preschool category, and you’ll find some fantastic preschool options for 2015–2016. Lucky for you these programs still have spots available—but probably not for long! Here are three fantastic NYC preschool programs we recommend for kids in NYC.


standard_IMG_1106City Tots.
 This brand new, state-of-the art facility on the Upper East Side has everything. Not only does City Tots’ offerings include enrichment classes, birthday parties, and open play for kids of all ages, but they also have a preschool program for little ones 18 months up to five years old. They foster a love of learning though a curriculum that focuses on social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development, with an emphasis on language and communications skills and self-help skills and work habit. City Tots also partners with several NYC private schools to help ready families for child’s education post preschool.

standard_wee-ones-clu-three-kidsWee Ones Club. You may know this favorite Murray Hill enrichment program for its mommy and me classes for kids as young as four months old, but Wee Ones Club also has a preschool program for two-, three-, and four-year-olds that provides the same warm and nurturing environment as its beloved classes. Through play-based, hands-on experiences, teachers work with kids on simple concepts such as separation from caregivers, self help skills, and health and nutrition (including hygiene). They also focus on social/emotional development, building confidence, language and literacy, and more!

standard_ab1Aleph Bet. Another Murray Hill favorite, Aleph Bet not only provides children with a warm and nurturing environment in which to grow and develop, but also focuses on Jewish education and giving children the opportunity to learn about their heritage and Jewish traditions and holidays. With three-day and five-day options available for two-, three-, and four-year olds, kids will enjoy an advanced curriculum for pre-reading and writing skills, play time outdoors, fun daily activities (music, soccer, dance, yoga, and baking), and more!

See a full listing of preschool programs for the 2015-2106 school year here!

9 Best Kids’ Boutiques on NYC’s Upper East Side

With the Upper East Side being one of NYC’s most family-friendly neighborhoods, it’s only appropriate that we would have a wide variety of children’s boutiques to keep our kids looking their best. Here are our top picks for everything from gifts to footwear to high fashion for littles:

For the Trendy Tot: Lemonade
1050 Lexington Avenue (between 74th & 75th Streets)
Lemonade is a little gem in the 70’s with an eclectic collection of urban-inspired on-trend styles for infants, boys, and girls.

Photo credit: Hoofbeats Ltd.For Personalized Perfection: Hoofbeats
305 E. 84th Street (between First & Second Avenues)
If you are looking for a specialty item for your little one or a memorable gift for a friend, Hoofbeats is your go-to boutique. This 25-year-old company specializes in monogramming any baby item imaginable: burp cloths, tote bags, blankets, you name it (literally).

For Classic Cool Big Kids: CrewCuts
1190 Madison Avenue (between 87th & 88th Streets)
No one does classic, collegiate style like CrewCuts, J.Crew’s kidswear outpost. Their preppy styles for boys and polished looks for girls are quintessential UES.

Photo credit: Lester'sYour One-Stop Shop for Mommy & Me: Lester’s
1534 Second Avenue @ 80th Street
Any UES mama knows Lester’s. You could easily spend an afternoon in this upscale department store, shopping for you and your little one. You can start on the contemporary side with on-trend picks for shoes and casual and dressy looks. Then, move to the kids’ side for personalized layette assistance, a well-stocked shoe department, and the cutest duds for everyone from toddlers to tweens.

For the Eco-Minded Mom: Sprout San Francisco
1375 Third Avenue @ 78th Street
Sprout has become a staple in the ‘hood for their extensive collection of organic products, from clothing and baby care items to toys, gear, and nursery items. This store is a rare find, not only for their eco-friendly options, but also for a great play space where they host classes and open play.

For Baby Basics: Giggle
1033 Lexington Avenue @ 74th Street
Photo credit: GiggleGiggle is an Upper East Side must for baby gear and essentials—but they also have Better Basics, their own super cute collection of baby wear, as well as some of our favorite kids’ fashion apparel lines: Splendid Littles, Tea Collection, and EGG by Susan Lazar.

For Gorgeous Gifts: Ralph Lauren Baby
872 Madison Avenue @ 71st Street
pPOLO2-8229717_standard_t240If you’re a Ralph Lauren lover, you’ll adore their baby store, which offers Upper East Side kids miniature versions of the classics, along with luxurious baby gifts. Think sterling silver baby brushes and cashmere throws.

For Selecting the Layette: Baby Cottons
1236 Madison Avenue @ 89th Street
This sweet boutique is a great place to put together your layette. Their entire line is made up of classic designs and soft pima cotton basics that will keep your baby as cozy as he/she is cute.

For Special Occasions: Magic Windows
1186 Madison @ 87th Street
Photo credit: Magic WindowsThis uptown institution carries the finest brands for all ages (from newborn to tween) as well as in-house tailoring for your little one’s special occasion suits and dresses.

Written by Lauren Deneroff, founder of mama{love} NYC, a lifestyle blog and resource for the modern city mama. She is also an Upper East Sider and a mom to two amazing kids!

Photo Credits:
Hoofbeats
Komen NYC
Little Babe Big City
Ralph Lauren
Magic Windows