RECOMMENDED: Babysitter guide for families in NYC
New York parents, leaving your kids for the day or even the afternoon can be daunting. Luckily, great day care centers around the city make things a little easier, providing trained teachers, safe environments and engaging curriculums for your kiddos. Here are a few picks to get you started—and if your favorite center is missing from our list, don't hesitate to share your recommendations! On weekends when you have your little ones all to yourselves, be sure to check out our favorite NYC museums, 50 best family restaurants and free things to do with kids.
Day care in Manhattan
Parents can be confident that their little ones are in good hands at the Manhattan branch of a nationwide chain of early education centers. With locations in all five boroughs and operating hour from 6:30am–6:30pm on weekdays year round, this spot is reliable for parents with constantly changing schedules. Kids from six weeks to 5 years old are divided into specialized classrooms based on age and development which are equipped personal cribs and cubbies for infants and plenty of toys, art supplies, blocks and books for the older groups. Academic and rotating enrichment programs keep them learning throughout the day via hands-on activities involving music, dance, art, math and phonics. After-school care is available for kids ages 8 and under as well.
Round the Clock Nursery offers stress-free drop-off care 24 hours a day, seven days a week—perfect for moms and dads with non-traditional work schedules. Children ages 6 weeks to 12 years can spend the day in a colorful learning environment, complete with indoor play areas and an outdoor playground. Tots are provided with breakfast, lunch and a snack during the day and the program offers hourly, daily and weekly rates to keep things flexible for parents. Choose between traditional daycare at all locations or, additionally at the W 130th St location, family daycare—a smaller, close-knit group which allows personal attention for each little one, due to specific child-to-caregiver ratios.
Dropping your youngster off at this nurturing child care center will be a breeze, thanks to engaging monthly themes and fun classroom activities like music, art and storytelling to keep them excited about learning. The center provides full-time child care Monday through Friday, from 8am–6pm each day. Little ones from ages six weeks to 5 years will have a blast getting involved in hands-on movement workshops, gymnastics lessons, group sports and other recreational activities, both indoors and outdoors. Parents are encouraged to visit their child whenever they wish and the kids are treated to field trips to nearby parks and other locations in the area from time to time.
Touting multiple locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, Bright Horizons offers quality child care for infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children. For all children, caretakers focus on math, language, science and art activities throughout the day. Expect kids to have a full curriculum of counting and sorting, reading and singing and even creating amazing art projects to take home for mom and dad. Be on the lookout for many more NYC locations opening soon!
Day care in Brooklyn
Two Brooklyn facilities are equipped with pristine play and learning spaces, dividing youngsters from 3 months to 5 years old into appropriate age groups. Infants and young toddlers (ages 2 and under) receive a full day of top-notch entertainment facilitated by trained caregivers. From 8am to 6pm, they’ll be busy with arts and crafts, reading, math, music, songs and dance activities that encourage social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. Through child-directed activities (think soft blocks, puzzles and play dough), plus group games, little ones gain mobility and begin to develop social skills. The indoor space is stocked with all the toys and book imaginable as well as an indoor gym with tarapeze, trampoline and climbing dome and the kids get to run off energy outdoors as well.
At this chain of centers in outer Brooklyn, it’s easy for tots to get in the swing of things when they follow daily routines, combining playtime with age-appropriate toys, educational activities and ample time for frolicing outdoors. The cozy space welcomes kids ages 3 and up to take part in the structured programs at Bambi’s four Brooklyn locations. They’ll have plenty of free time to play with toys, explore books and get craft with art supplies, plus caregivers will lead the group in storytimes, movement and music. All children eligible for free transportation services from Brooklyn Queens and Staten Island.
The little love of your life is guaranteed to get specially tailored care according to their needs at this Park Slope spot. Babies from 8 weeks old are welcomed into a nurturing environment, designed with each child’s age and stage of development in mind. The first and third floors are dedicated to infants, while toddlers have the 2nd floor all to themselves. Infants’ daily routine is flexible—involving circle time, naptime, a learning activity, free play and outdoor play—while toddlers have a more regimented schedule with emphasis on creative playtime, group activities with arts and music and structured learning activities like puzzle time. The day runs from 7:30am–6:30pm and all kids get breakfast, lunch and snacks to fuel them until pickup time.
Day care in Queens
First aid and CPR-certified teachers help kids build mental, emotional and social skills through exciting group activities. A typical day for younger ones might include basic reading, counting and shape/color identifying games, while older kids can focus in on homework and other age-appropriate activities in a supportive environment. There’s also a beautiful backyard with several mini playgrounds and houses for fun in the sun when it warms up!
Founded by a mom who understands how hard it is for parents to find affordable quality childcare, this Jamaica center day care offers a cozy space and an exciting curriculum. Early learners (toddlers and pre-schoolers) will explore activities that help build literacy, such as letter games, stories and daily activities. Classes also incorporate art, science, fine-motor and gross motor activities. For school-age children, Tots and Beyond offers indoor and outdoor play, movie/story time, snack time and homework time.
Day care in the Bronx
Treat your tot to top-notch care at this learning center, boasting locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. Infants and toddlers are the focus here, with daily programs designed to suit the needs of each individual based on their stage of development. Infant feeding and napping is carefully scheduled to coincide with home routines, and in between, little ones can enjoy themselves with tummy time fun, music time and sensory exploration. The toddler program involves circle time, music and dance, yoga sessions and teaches self-help skills like sign language, washing hands, picking up and sharing.
Though Silver Spoons does not have a website (you’ll need to call or visit for details), it’s received plenty of rave reviews from happy parents online. At this daycare, your kids won’t be hanging out doing Play Doh all day long–they’ll participate in a structured academic schedule with exciting educational activities to help prepare them for school. With teacher training, weekly homework pages and parent-teacher conferences, your little ones will be totally prepared when Kindergarten rolls around. Ages 2–4.
Following the “Creative Curriculum” method of early childhood education, Tender Tots offers daycare, preschool and elementary/afterschool programs. During the infant programs, little ones spend time singing, playing with puppets and making sounds, while toddlers explore music, art and story time through play. Its preschool program is also chock full of fun and games…kids won’t even realize they’re learning basic math, science and pre-reading skills. Last, Tender Tots’ elementary/afterschool program offer school age children a supportive setting for doing homework plus special activities like art, games and free play.
Day care on Staten Island
The Jewish Community Center of Staten Island offers all kinds of great programs for kids (Universal Pre-K, Preschool, after school programming), and their expert daycare is manned by New York State-certified teachers. Your infants and toddlers will keep busy with age-appropriate games that help build creative problem solving and decision making skills. Plus, class sizes are small and there’s space for outdoor play in nice weather.
BumblebeesRus offers an infant program and a toddler program for your loved little ones. For the infant program, instructors will facilitate thoughtful interaction through story time, cuddling and playing. Don’t worry—naptime is a must. Bumblebees’ toddler program encourages kids to learn and explore through tumbling/climbing, parachute play, exercise, library time, mathematics, circle time and more!
Big Bird Playhouse Day Care offers a structured schedule of activities for kids, ranging from arts & crafts to music and outside play. They’ll enjoy daily story time, free play time, naptime and circle time with the instructors, too. By the time they head home, your kiddos will be more than ready to crash. As a bonus, free breakfast and hot lunch are included.