Living in a shelter instead of in a home of one's own can have a deep impact on a child, especially when she goes off to school and sees how her life compares to her classmates. For instance, she might feel left out when she's unable to participate in experiences that are a big part of growing up due her family's financial difficulties. Girl Scouts of Greater New York has stepped in to remind these children that they can still have those same opportunities regardless of where they live. Girl Scout Troop 6000, which was created in February, is New York City’s first troop that serves girls living in shelters to empower them and offer lessons—and badges!—for courage and confidence. In a period of uncertainty, Troop 6000 hopes to become a place of stability for these girls by meeting at the same time every week to learn, play, explore and meet other girls who share their experiences. Girl Scout Troop 6000 not only serves girls living in shelters, but is led by women also living in shelters to create a strong support system of friends and role models the girls can turn to for guidance. Troop 6000 is currently running out of the Sleep Inn with approximately 20 girls, and costs are covered by the Girl Scouts of Greater New York. The goal is to expand into shelters across the city and teach kids that community can be found no matter where a child rests their head. To learn more about Troop 6000 and how you can support their mission, visit girlscoutsnyc.org. For other ways your fam
When Bill de Blasio ran for mayor of New York City in 2013, his platform included a proposal to offer free pre-kindergarten to all 4-year-olds. Now that he’s accomplished that mission, he’s looking at the next step—providing the same publicly-funded pre-kindergarten to 3-year-olds! The new plan, titled “3-K for All,” will be rolled out first in two school districts—District 7 in the Bronx and District 23 in Brooklyn—beginning September 2017 with a goal to have all interested 3-year-olds in those districts enrolled within the year. According to The New York Times, that would triple the number of children currently enrolled in those two districts. The program will then expand to six more districts by 2020 and hopes to offer universal pre-K access to all 3-year-olds by 2021. While the jury is still out on whether these steps will have a positive impact on performance, test scores and graduation rates down the road, there’s little question that introducing children to a good education earlier in life will reap more benefits than if they wait until they're older. And since he’s already on the subject of free schooling, hopefully Mayor de Blasio pushes for another proposal from each borough’s president: offering universal free school lunches in every NYC public school by 2018. Then NYC’s children would really be propped up for a head start!
If you’ve ever wanted to let your inner unicorn come out and play, you've come to the right place. This magical Brooklyn store was made just for you! On May 6, Brooklyn Owl, a company that focuses on handmade unicorn horns and other accessories, will open the doors to its first brick-and-mortar shop in Park Slope (252 Flatbush Ave), and it’s set to be so much more delicious than a Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino. Owner Annie Bruce first launched Brooklyn Owl in 2010 with cute animal hair clips made of felt, but when her daughter Bee requested a unicorn-themed birthday party for her fourth birthday and she saw how much praise her handmade unicorn horns received, Bruce decided to take to the skies with her new product. A Park Slope resident herself, Bruce has seen her company blossom from an online storefront on Etsy to having her unicorn horns sold in more than 200 shops around the world. Now Brooklyn Owl will have its own boutique shop, but it will offer more than sparkly unicorn horns headbands, clothing and other accessories; its goal is to create an entire experience as shoppers make their metamorphosis from mere mortal to unstoppable unicorn. Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Owl On opening day, a scavenger hunt will have kids searching for hidden messages around the shop; a mirror lights up and congratulates them on their successful unicorn transformation at the end. They’ll also get to witness some of the magic that goes into creating these horn headbands too, as B
Children’s Book Week will be here in just a couple of weeks, and with it comes a lineup of fun events and activities that will get kids excited about reading. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even put down their electronics long enough to get hooked on a fantastical story. Below, five awesome events taking place around the city that you and your budding reader will absolutely love. 1. Drag Queen Story Hour! The New York Public Library will host a Drag Queen Story Hour (just what is sounds like!) in which a drag queen will to read to your little ones, exposing them to gender fluidity, inclusivity and LGBTQ role models. Heck yeah! Afterwards, your pint-sized crew will participate in a simple craft activity. Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, 476 Fifth Ave (212-621-0208, nypl.org). May 6 3pm–4pm. Ages 3 and up. 2. New York Therapy Dogs R.E.A.D. Did you know that the New York Public Library has licensed therapy dogs on hand so that kids can read them stories? Reading to an animal rather than an adult takes the pressure off of the child and allows them to enjoy the experience more. Ahoy there, blossoming bookworms! Webster Library on the Upper East Side will have sessions May 1 beginning at 3pm and the Yorkville Library will have a meet-and-read with its therapy dog, Chucky, May 3 at 4pm. Pre-register for a 15-minute slot for some one-on-one time with these furry companions. Webster Library, 1465 York Ave (212-288-5049, nypl.org). May 1 3pm. Ages 5–10. * Yorkville Library, 222 E 79th
Raise your hand if Jim Henson and his colorful cast of Muppets were a huge part of your childhood. Ours, too! And even though the beloved creator passed away in 1990, his furry monsters continue to live on in our hearts and televisions. Now, the Museum of the Moving Image wants to celebrate his legacy with a permanent exhibit of items donated by Henson’s family and showcase more than 40 of his original puppets. In order to raise funds for this conservation mission, the museum launched a Kickstarter campaign, and the great news is that it met its $40,000 goal in just two days! MoMI has now extended their goal to $100,000 to restore even more of the 175 Jim Henson puppets in its collection. "The Jim Henson Exhibition" is set to open later this year and will feature the director-puppeteer’s work beyond his finished puppets. Nearly 500 objects from Henson’s career will be on display, including puppet prototypes, costumes, character sketches, scripts, early works for television and film in the 1950s and ‘60s, behind-the-scenes footage and interactive experiences. This exhibit will be a walk through memory lane for adults (anyone else remember the awesomeness that was Fraggle Rock?) and children will get to see the work the went into creating some of their favorite characters on TV, including Big Bird, Elmo, the Cookie Monster, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and so many others. MoMI will also host educational programs, family workshops, and film screenings and will launch a travel
It's true: NYC is ultra expensive, and beyond a free ice cream scoop or sprinkle-covered donut every once in a while, it's hard to imagine "free" and "NYC" in the same sentence. This being said, free resources for city kids do exist, and are (by far) one of the most important things our city has to offer. After all, kids are the future! The topic of discussion today is how we take care of our kids at school, and whether or not all NYC kids have enough energy to focus on their studies. Could free lunch for all city public school students be on the horizon? Each of NYC's borough presidents recently signed a letter to Mayor de Blasio asking for budget to be used for universal free lunches in every NYC public school in 2018. Substantial meals are proven to help kids concentrate and perform academically, and this new movement could help those who choose not to accept free or discounted meals for fear of being judged by their classmates. According to NY1, a portion of the letter sent to de Blasio contends: "The schools that offer universal free lunch see an increased participation rate across all grade levels, including a 15 percent difference in high school, a 20 percent difference in middle schools, and a 10 percent difference in elementary schools." What do you think? Is free lunch actually feasible in NYC public schools, and should it happen next year? For more ways to explore your city, see our NYC kids' events calendar, plus our favorite things to do with kids this spr
If you and your pint-sized crew frequent NYC's best kids' playgrounds, you'll definitely be delighted to know that Central Park's Billy Johnson Playground and Bernard Family Playground are potentially undergoing renovations this year. And never fear: You'll still have the summer to play! According to Patch, each playground will begin undergoing repairs and additions in fall of 2017 if the renovation project is approved by local community boards. The East 108th/Bernard Family Playground will see a reconfigured swing area with new swings for safety compliance (which includes bucket swings and an adaptive swing), a new sandbox with a sand table and water-sand area, a new spray feature and other play equipment in addition to new benches and landscaping. At East 67th St/Billy Johnson Playground—best known for its famous slide that kids zoom down on cardboard—there will also be quite a few new additions. Most importantly (to us, anyway), there will be a second granite embankment slide installed that is both accessible and better-suited to the playground's youngest guests. It is also getting a water feature at the amphitheater (to bring an original design concept to life) with spray jets and user-activated features, plus a net climbing area, sand area, tire swing and updated bucket swings. Parents and caregivers will also be please to hear that additional seating will be added around the playground, too. We also hear that Belvedere Castle may be getting some updates this fall as
We thought it might be worth pointing out that the New York Historical Society has been up to some pretty cool stuff for families lately. And after cruising its event lineup for the next few months, we've highlighted some programming and new features that your kids will really love—and you'll really want to know about! See below for our top five favorites! 1. Fourth floor opening (April 29, 2017, free with museum admission) In celebration of the reopening of the Luce Center on the Museum's fourth floor, kids can interact with living historians in the galleries (known here as "New Yorkers of the Past"), meet a reenacting troop that demos military drills with equipment and explore artwork and artifacts. You'll also be able to try out History Detective Briefcases for the first time (see #2). 2. History Detective Briefcases for Families (Begins April 29, avail on weekends, holidays and public school vacation weeks, free with museum admission) Head to the fourth floor and sign out a History Detective briefcase to take around during your visit. You'll be learning about the past through games, sketching and fun family challenges. Just be sure to return it before you leave! 3. Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge Concert (May 6 11am, $15, members $12) It's time to celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge! Families will love this live musical adapted from the book, which tells the story of a Little Red Lighthouse who felt
World-famous glass artist Dale Chihuly is bringing his stunning artwork to NYBG this month, and you definitely won't want to miss it. We can envision your gobsmacked kids gazing at his beautiful sculptures now! Chihuly's work will be displayed from April 22 through October 29, and pieces will be found around spots like the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the conservatory's pools, the Leon Levy Visitor Center, the Lillian and Amy Goldman Fountain of Life, the Native Plant Garden and the Arthur and Janet Ross Conifer Arboretum. Additionally, Chihuly's drawings will also be on display in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library’s Art Gallery, and the Everett Children's Garden will host regular children's programs that are influenced by his work. "Chihuly Nights" will be held for adults throughout the run of Chihuly's show and will include performance art, cocktails and shopping opportunities. Date night, anyone? For more fun things to do this season, explore our favorite free things to do with kids and top 101 things to do with kids in NYC.
Macy's Herald Square is hosting some pretty great reading circles in their kids' department (7th Fl) this spring and summer, including one with a Peppa Pig theme! Here's the full lineup for the next three months below. They're totally free! Peppa Pig - April 22 at 1pm Enjoy a reading of Peppa Pig and the Vegetable Garden in honor of Earth Day and snack on Earth's Best organic treats during the event. You'll also be able to enter to win free tickets to Peppa Pig Live!, take pictures with a costumed Peppa and, if you spend $35 in the kids' department, you'll leave with a very special Peppa gift bag. Martellus Bennett - May 6 at 1pm Football pro Martellus Bennett will read his children's story Hey A.J., It's Saturday accompanied by a fun kids' activity. Spend $35 or more in the kids' department for a free copy of the book signed by Martellus! PJ Masks - June 10 at 1pm Meet and take pictures with PJ Masks characters like Catboy, Owlette and Gekko while you hear a reading from books in the series. Spend $35 or more in the kids' department and take home PJ Masks Saves the Library. Anyone who attends the event in their own superhero costume leaves with a $10 Macy's Gift Card while supplies last. For more information on other local reading circles, check out our list of the best story time events in NYC.