Tag Archives: Sports

Family Fun and Birthdays at NFL Experience Times Square

rogerKidz Central Station just had a ridiculous fun time at NFL Experience Times Square (NFLX) and we want to spread the word.  This is a live action experience that involves athletic skills games (e.g., vertical leap, quarterback challenge, blocking dummy, etc) and a wholly immersive 4D surround sound movie theater to bring us the feel of being “in the game.” This is awesome if you are a football fan, but  we learned that you do not need to be a fan or even know much about the game to enjoy the journey.NFL Experience Times Square

On a hot and muggy day, NFLX was the perfect place to get our kids out of the house and out of the sun to release their energy.  When we first arrived, we visited the second floor gift shop and cafe area where Good Morning Football is filmed.  The kids got to sit at the desk and pretend they were tv hosts.

Next, we entered the exhibit, which begins on the fourth floor with a walk down a hallway that introduces the 32 football teams and showcases jerseys and helmets and displays for each NFL conference.  Learn football history here, especially with  an interactive map where we could learn about any team we chose.  This is an example of when you do not need to be a fan.  Kids love pushing buttons and being the one in control of the adventure.NFL Experience Times Square

After taking some fun photographs in front of a green screen, we entered the theater, aka The Stadium, for a short 13 minutemovie.  This was the favorite attraction for both the kids and adults.  During this interactive film, the audience gets to feel like they’re in the game.  There are screens on both sides of you, on the ceiling, and in front of you with speaker systems all around.  The seats move with what’s happening in the film.  If there’s a tackle, you feel it.  When we were watching games take place in snow, it began “snowing” in the the theater and I swear, it felt like snow.NFL Experience Times Square

After exiting the movie onto the third floor, you and the kids can take part in all the skills games.  The kids rushed forward to the tackling dummies and tried with all their might to try to move them.  They tried their hands at the quarterback throwing contest and the vertical jump challenge.  These were the 2nd and 3rd favorites for the kids as their competitive sides were now in full force as they ran around to all the games.  NFL Experience Times SquareThey created or suited up their own football player on screen and then had that player mimic their movements.  They weighed themselves together to compare to offensive linemen.  They stood next to a height chart to see if they could reach Julian Edelman.  Note, short is still tall in sports.NFL Experience Times Square

A Jon Gruden video taught us one of his actual game plays, which he drew up on a visit here.  We walked through the victory tunnel and celebrated our Super Bowl win.  There was another photo op in front of a green screen in which a bucket of Gatorade is spilling you.  The kids loved it!  It was very cool was seeing all of the Super Bowl rings and the Lombardi Trophy in person.  Also, Good Morning Football ends filming at 10AM and players have been known to hang around.  We didn’t see any NFL players during our visit but Sterling Shepard stopped by the day after and posed with lucky fans.  Next time!

NFL Experience Times Square

And we will visit again because the cafe broadcasts games during the season, as well as, other sporting events such as March Madness during the rest of the year,  The location is fantastic on Times Square and the 2nd floor had a perfect view of all the action.  And they serve a full menu (and bar) along with lots of kid friendly options.  My son was also interested in the idea of a birthday party here.  See below for details.

NFL Experience Times Square

Kidz Tips:

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Birthdays at NFL Experience Times Square

ALL PRO – $800

  • Admission for 21 (kids and adults)
  • Kids Lunch Package Options
  • A Birthday Cake! Choice of chocolate, vanilla or Fruity Pebble Marshmallow
  • Paper Goods (plates, cups, utensils)
  • Commemorative photo for all children
  • Dedicated Tour Guide
  • Bounceback return visit admission to NFLX for all children!

Birthday MVP Child will also receive:

  • One NFL Team Mini Helmet (Team of Choice)
  • One NFLX Credential & Lanyard

MVP – $1100

  • Full ALL PRO Package benefits PLUS:
  • Birthday Child’s Name Listed on Select Screens
  • NFLX Goody Bags

HALL OF FAME – $1400

  • Full MVP Package benefits PLUS:
  • Birthday Child’s Name Listed on Select Screens
  • Upgrade to Premium NFLX Goody Bags (includes Junior Leather NFL Team Logo Football
  • One Adult Menu Food Platter (feeds five)
  • Open Bar for One Hour

NFL Experience Times SquareTo reserve your party, please request info here.

Great Sports Summer Camp Options

Not many years ago the best way for a young athlete in NYC to get a solid summer sports camp experience was to attend a sleep away camp outside of the city. Not anymore! In today’s robust youth sports scene, NYC is home to a wide array of summer sports day camps for kids of every age and skill level. Here are some great choices for this summer. As with other sought after programs spots are filling up quickly so don’t wait!

Downtown Giants
A mainstay of the Lower Manhattan youth sports scene since 2006, Downtown Giants runs two football camps for players ages 7-17. The June camp at the Battery Park fields focuses on flag football with drills, skills and games. A July camp, held at Chelsea Waterside field adds some tackle football drills to its flag football lineup. Whether your child is looking to get better for the fall flag or tackle football seasons or is just looking for a fun time, both camps will meet your needs. Highly skilled and energetic DTG coaches run both weeklong camps.

Mo’ Motion
Mo’ Motion offers several exciting summer camp options including its full-day Camp Motion Hoop & Travel (boys grades 4-8), Multi-Sport (co-ed grades K-6), Overtime (co-ed grades 5 and up) and its Camp Motion Hoops half-day camp (co-ed grades k-4 in AM and grades 5-10 in PM sessions). The camps provide targeted basketball training, top-level instruction, games and exercise as well as visits to other parks, ping-pong tournaments, bowling and boxing. Camps are held outdoors in Riverside Park and indoors at the Brearley Field house on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Columbia Sports Camps
Not only do attendees of Columbia University’s Little Lions Day Camp (co-ed ages 6-12) get to enjoy the school’s historic campus in Morningside Heights, they also have access to its top-notch athletic facilities. Little Lions is a kid-centered, fun-based camp that aims to keep kids physically and creatively active with a combination of classic PE games, backyard favorites, sports, arts and crafts, and special surprises run by a highly trained, eclectic staff. For older kids Columbia also runs 17 specialized sport-specific camps run by Division I coaches and Columbia student athletes.

Grapplin’ Gorillas
Grapplin’ Gorillas’ is one of the few youth wrestling programs in New York City, but it’s summer camp is about more than grappling and takedowns. In fact, it’s all about movement. In addition to teaching wrestling fundamentals, the camp incorporates non-wrestling games, dance and yoga into each day’s activities. Wrestling groups are created by both age and skill. The camp is open to boys and girls ages 4-13 and takes place at The Center at West Park on West 86th Street in Manhattan. Outdoor activities such as nuke ‘em, kickball and capture the flag are played in Central Park.

Riverside Parks
Taking advantage of the scenic fields and courts in Riverside Park between 96th and 110th streets, the Riverside Parks Conservancy offers a weekly low-cost, high-quality sports camp experience for children ages 4 to 14. Sport choices include baseball (run by Kids of Summer), basketball, soccer (run by the Carlos Oliveira Soccer Academy), tennis (Riverside Clay Tennis Association), flag football and multi sport. The camps run from June 4 – August 24.

Dutch Total Soccer
For budding soccer stars, Dutch Total Soccer is running a series of camps that offer instructional training and game play. Camps are held at Aviator Sports in Brooklyn and are for boys and girls ages 5 – 15 (camp for players ages 5-7 are half-days).  All camps are geared to help players progress through team play and age-appropriate individual skill development and to challenge them mentally, all in a fun camp experience.  A low staff to camper ratio means all participants will have the benefits of a personalized training environment.

PGA Golf Camp
Just a short drive to the Dunwoodie Golf Course in Yonkers offers beginner to intermediate golfers (ages 8-14) the opportunity to participate in a four-day PGA Junior Golf Camp.  There are four sessions running from July 9 to Aug. 23. Each day includes three hours of hands-on instruction lead by certified PGA Professionals who focus on developing golf skills (full swing, short game, rules and etiquette) while keeping the experience fun and engaging (games and activities). Half-day camps are designed to inspire new golfers and further the development of those playing at an intermediate level. Campers are always grouped by age and playing level. Students will also receive on-course playing time.

PSG Academy NY
Given their belief that the US has many talented soccer players with promising futures, PSG NY works to provide those players with high-quality practices led by certified and experienced coaches from countries that built world champions. As such, PSG Academy’s NY summer camps offer training similar to top European academies with emphasis on technical work, small-sided game and scrimmages. In addition to NYC camps on Randall’s Island and in Brooklyn, PSG also holds camps in New Rochelle and the Hamptons. Coaches provide players with personal evaluations on technical and physical skills at the beginning and the end of each week.

Kids in Sports
Kids in Sports summer camps are filled with the sports and activities kids love including baseball, basketball, floor hockey, football, lacrosse, soccer and volleyball. Cooperative games emphasizing the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship are a staple of all camps and all ages.  Camps always feature a low ratio of coaches to campers.  Younger campers also participate in arts and crafts, story-time and other free-play activities.  Choose from indoor camp in Manhattan (ages 2.5-6) and outdoors on Randall’s Island (ages 4-8 with transportation included)

Kids in the Game
Kids in the Game runs weekly camps for kids ages 4-14 in Park Slope, the Upper West and East Sides, Inwood and Riverdale. Camp counselors include current and former college athletes, teachers, and fitness coaches to ensure kids get the most fulfilling and enriching experience possible. Activities include sports, arts & crafts, zumba, and swimming.  Offsite field trips have included visits to a NY Yankees/Mets games, Bronx Zoo, LEGOLAND, and area museums.

Teach Your Kids How to Win (and Lose) Like an Olympian

learn-to-skate-429537_1920Starting next week, viewers around the world will turn their attention to Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. If your children are watching the Games, they may aspire to compete themselves one day. If they haven’t already shown interest, your kids may suddenly want to try their hand at bobsledding, skiing, or skating.

There is a lot of conflicting data about competitive activities for children, but for the most part experts agree: it’s not about the competition itself, but about the values placed upon it.

Let your children try a variety of activities. Today’s kids have many specialty and school teams available, but focusing on a single activity too soon can lead to burn out and injuries. Even if they start out loving basketball, have them try baseball or dance or swimming, too. Young bodies shouldn’t repeat the same intense movements over and over; they should move in a variety of ways while they grow.

Don’t protect your kids from failure. The value of losing is a concept many of us struggle with even as adults, so start now helping your kids become comfortable with it. We’ve learned that children afraid of losing will quickly cease trying to challenge themselves. Instead they’ll “stick with what they know,” and only aim for goals they know they can achieve. Growth happens when children aren’t afraid to try something challenging just because they might fail.

Teach your children to value effort, responsibility, kindness, and discipline, rather than “talent” or “skill.” When a player on the other team scores, remind your child to celebrate his effort. When a member of the relay team lags behind, have your child thank her for never giving up.

You might ask, how do I do that? How do I acknowledge my child’s efforts without focusing on the win? What if my kid loses or gets embarrassed? We enroll our kids in activities so they’ll have fun, be active, and socialize, but if we aren’t careful, kids often end up playing to please their parents. Instead of celebrating their own tenacity and drive, kids begin to expect our celebration of them—and to be devastated when they don’t get it.

There are two types of praise that you can give your children. The first is called person-centered praise and includes phrases such as “you’re so smart!” or “you’re a good kid!” This type of praise places emphasis on traits that are assumed to be inherent and concrete—you are either smart, or you are not. You are a good athlete, or you are not. It does not leave room for skill-building, second-place trophies, or a failed exam.

These trait-based compliments become internalized by our kids, especially at a young age. Any result that doesn’t support the internalized narrative—say, a lost race—leaves kids questioning their inherent worthiness. (Am I a terrible athlete because I didn’t win?) This damages their sense of self-worth and creates a heightened sense of vulnerability. In short, kids who receive mostly person-centered praise are terrified of failure because failing might mean they really aren’t [smart/talented/an athlete/an artist]. So stop telling your kids how great they are!

Wait, what? Yep! Science tells us to stop with all of the “person praise” and switch to what we call process praise. It takes some time to develop this skill, but the results are invaluable. To do it:
1. Praise the strategy (e.g., “You found a creative solution to that problem even when you felt frustrated.”)
2. Praise with specificity (e.g., “I noticed you were very careful when you carried your friend’s bag to the car.”)
3. Praise the effort (e.g., “I can tell you’ve been practicing your leaps and turns!”)

With process praise, neither the trait (goodness, talent, intelligence, etc.) nor the outcome (a winning game or the aesthetics of the painting) are mentioned. With process praise kids learn that a terrible game doesn’t mean “I’m a bad athlete,” it means, “I tried really hard but I didn’t practice last week – how can I try differently?”

Remember, most of your children won’t ever compete at the highest level of sport, and even if they do, they won’t be able to do it forever. The values you instill in them now will long outlast their ability to play.

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

Hayley Adkisson, LCSW, is the senior social worker for the Divisions of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Rheumatology, Nephrology, and Infectious Disease at the Fink Children’s Ambulatory Care Center, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone. She also serves as a clinical social worker for NYU Langone’s Adolescent Gender Clinic and NYU Langone’s Pediatric Celiac Disease and Gluten-Related Disorders Program. Ms. Adkisson specializes in adolescent medicine, chronic illness, survivorship of sexual trauma, and mood disorders.