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.
It's not every day that The Standard High Line hosts a petting zoo...but it's certainly happening this weekend, and for that we're totally excited! On Saturday April 15 and Sunday April 16, The Standard will allow adults and kids to pet ducklings, bunnies, goats and turtles on the Standard High Line Plaza from 10am–5pm each day (open to the public!). Meanwhile, Standard Grill Executive Chef Kevin Chojnowski will be serving a "Best of the Grill" Easter Brunch menu that includes treats like almond-crusted French toast and huevos rancheros (call 212-784-4100 to make a brunch reservation). Easter egg hunt at The Standard Biergarten Photograph: Joy Jacobs Photography/ The Standard High Line Additional fun includes an Easter egg hunt for children on Sunday April 16 at 10am at the Standard Biergarten. To RSVP for the egg hunt and petting zoo, click here. Don't miss it! Looking for more great things to do as a family? Check out our top free things to do with kids and our ultimate guide to Easter for kids.
What was once a forbidden treat swiped from the kitchen is now a full-on raw dessert, thanks to cookie-dough brand DŌ. This online company opened its first shop in January in Greenwich Village, and families cannot get enough of its customizable flavors, which are both safe to eat and incredibly yummy. DŌ founder Kristen Tomlan was inspired to launch her gourmet cookie-dough company in 2014 after visiting a cookie shop with her girlfriends. Instead of buying fresh cookies, the women opted for a batch of dough straight from the freezer. “We then sat in our car passing around a tub of cookie dough, and I thought, why is this not a thing? Why can’t I go into a store and order cookie dough without feeling bad about it or worrying that I would get sick from it?” DŌ is made with pasteurized egg product and heat-treated flour—along with all-natural ingredients and no preservatives. With fan-favorite flavors like Signature Chocolate Chip, Sugar Cookie, Brownie Batter, Oatmeal M&M, and Comman DŌ, anyone with a serious sweet tooth would be hard-pressed to find a variety they didn’t love. The brand even offers vegan and gluten-free options! “I hope every customer has an amazing experience, from the moment they step in line to their last bite of dough,” says Tomlan. “Our goal is to bring a smile to people’s faces. We allow our guests to eat cookie dough the way they have been sneaking it for years—straight from the mixing bowl!” DŌ carries on the theme with other cookie-dough–bas
The opening of Luna Park & Deno's Wonder Wheel Park every season means the true beginning of spring and other great Coney Island activities (and hope for summer)! There's plenty to celebrate during this 2017 season, including a handful of free rides for those motivated enough to get them. Luna Park opens for the season on Sat April 8 but holds its Opening Day Ceremony on Sun April 9 from 10am–2pm (rides start at noon). Its the 90th birthday of the Coney Island Cyclone, which will get its customary egg cream christening at 11:30am Sun April 9, and the first hundred people on line for that ride will ride free. Use the hashtag #JoinThe100 for a chance to win a VIP experience during the Opening Day Ceremony, and be sure to partake in other great family-friendly entertainment at the Park that morning. You'll also want to get to Deno's Wonder Wheel as early as possible, because in celebration of the ride's 97th year, the first 97 folks in line will get their ride for free. New to Deno's this year is a new 7D Dark Ride virtual reality ride called Stop the Zombies. Last but not least, you'll certainly want to stop in on Fridays for Friday Night Fireworks on the Boardwalk starting at the end of June. Happy exploring!