02/21/17 10:33am
Photo: Brooklyn Scouts

Photo: Brooklyn Scouts

Let me introduce you to the 5th Brooklyn Scouts, where their motto is “traditional scouting for everyone.”

Don’t be fooled by the word “traditional.” Part of the Baden-Powell Service Association (BPSA), an all-inclusive scouting organization that has been in existence worldwide since 1907, the 5th Brooklyn Scouts is not the gender-segregated experience that you remember from being a Cub Scout or a Brownie, and does not have the same history of discrimination against gay and transgender children and leaders. (Last month, The Boy Scouts of America finally announced that they would allow transgender boys to join.)

Just as importantly, Brooklyn Scouts seamlessly blends the joys of forest school, the community service of a social justice club, and outdoors-focused field trips, all for $180 for the entire year. Children spend a lot of time outside, and learn real skills.

The Brooklyn chapter speaks openly about their challenge to diversify in their Park Slope enclave, which is a focus for their organization this year, as well as a historical value of the organization. “Scouting has even transcended and risen above racial divisions and prejudices in the movement’s past,” says scoutmaster Jillian Tate. “Our founder, Lord Robert Baden Powell, refused to allow racial segregation in scouting until his death in 1941–even in countries like South Africa and India where the ruling colonists attempted to create all-white organizations.” (more…)

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02/03/17 10:56am
This book dispenses common sense money advice for parents to pass along to their kids. Photo: Simon & Schuster

This book dispenses common sense money advice (like “don’t raid their piggy banks!”) for parents to pass along to their kids. Photo: Simon & Schuster

Last year when I was complaining about the cost of getting my car towed, my young son said, “Don’t worry! I can pay for it. I’ve got a cash register full of money!” I quizzically watched as he pulled out his Learning Resources toy register hidden under a pile of stuffed animals and old Lego pieces. Although we bought that toy for him in hopes of teaching him about the value of money and learning about interest through imaginary play, he had actually just assumed this was real money collecting dust in his bedroom. Epic fail.

Make Your Kid A Money Genius (Even If You’re Not), a new book by Beth Kobliner (author of New York Times Bestseller Get A Financial Life) is here to hold parents hands as they wade into uncharted conversations about cash with their kids. Beyond just receiving early entry to Stern Business School, financial talks can prevent spoiled behavior, build charitable leanings and set kids up for secure futures. Kobliner divides the book into chapters ranging from “Insurance”, “Giving Back” and “Saving for College” and further divides her chapters into age ranges. Talking to your preschooler about investing will look different than with your teenager, but from the start you can build some pretty strong scaffolding for the importance of financial security. (more…)

02/01/17 11:46am

February is historically the month of love. So, even if there are government acts to stand against, executive orders to roar about, racists to take down, and protests to march your weary legs in, make time this month for self-care. Hug your little ones close and remember to find time for art and humanity. Look for the heroes. Join a community of activists. Reach for tolerance. And whenever you need to, escape for a while into a museum or film to recharge your heart. Remember, love will always trump hate.

Show kids that making a statement doesn't have to be done on paper. 1) Charles Eisenmann (1855–1927). Nora Hildebrandt, ca. 1880. Albumen photograph mounted on cardboard. Collection of Adam Woodward. 2) Samuel O’Reilly (1854–1909). Eagle and shield, ca. 1875–1905. Watercolor, ink, and pencil on paper. Courtesy of Lift Trucks Project

Show kids that making a statement doesn’t have to be done on paper.
1) Charles Eisenmann (1855–1927). Nora Hildebrandt, ca. 1880. Albumen photograph mounted on cardboard. Collection of Adam Woodward. 2) Samuel O’Reilly (1854–1909). Eagle and shield, ca. 1875–1905. Watercolor, ink, and pencil on paper. Courtesy of Lift Trucks Project

GO: If your kids are already interested in getting some tats (or at least interested in looking at yours), let them find out more at Tattooed New York at the New York Historical Society. Highlights of the exhibit will include Thomas Edison’s electric pen and early tattoo machine, sideshow banners and lots of modern and historical tattoo art. This isn’t an interactive exhibit geared toward children, but you can easily find parts that your kids will enjoy. Bring a pocketful of temporary tattoos for your kids to choose from sothey can get in on the fun (in a less permanent way). Feb. 2 through April 29 Tattooed New York- NY Historical Society  170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday – 10am-6pm, Friday – 10am-8pm, Sunday – 11am-5pm, Monday – CLOSED; adults: $20, students: $12, kids (5-13 years old) $6, kids 4 and under: free. (more…)

01/30/17 11:05am
Kira Smith, Pete Sinjin (center) and friends leading families in their election response sing-along and find raiser, "Rise Up And Sing!”

Kira Smith, Pete Sinjin (center) and friends leading families in their election response sing-along and fundraiser, “Rise Up And Sing!” Photo: Hootenanny Art House

The Women’s March felt like a ray of hope in an otherwise dark start to 2017. But as this past week has proven, we had no idea how dark it could get, or how nimble we would need to be to protest this administration’s unAmerican edicts. For parents, it will never be easy, on weekends filled with birthday parties and basketball games, to join an impromptu rally. But Hootenanny Art House in Park Slope is making it possible to for families to be politically active at times they can plan for–Monday afternoons and evenings, starting today. Their Monday Activist Coffee Hour from 3:30 to 4:30pm, and BYOB Activist Happy Hour from 6 to 7pm will provide a kid-friendly space and guidance to make calls, write letters and take action together. (more…)

01/05/17 12:11pm

New Year’s resolutions are full of rules and regulations that no one wants to do. It might be nice to lose 15 pounds, but who really wants to run with the jogging stroller every morning? These sorts of resolutions don’t even last until February. What if our resolutions skewed towards what we (and our children) really want to do? Here are 10 easy-to-stick-to resolutions for January that your kids will love you for.

Photo: Invisible Dog Art Center

Photo: Invisible Dog Art Center

Resolution 1: Let your kids smash something

Worktable by Brussels-based artist Kate McIntosh is a live interactive installation at Invisible Dog Art Center. Visitors are given tools and safety goggles and are instructed to select something to destruct and put back together. Finally a place where your kids can see what happens if they smash a ceramic sculpture or cut apart a shoe! Although there is no age limit specified, it is probably better for older children or with strict adult supervision. Visitors can stay as long as they want rebuilding their items, which will then be on display at the gallery. January 5-12th, The Invisible Dog Art Center, 51 Bergen St., Cobble Hill. $20. (more…)

12/08/16 8:48am
Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim is highbrow children's theater at its best. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim is highbrow children’s theater at its best. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Part of living in NYC means navigating the holidays precariously toeing the line between time honored traditions and tourist traps. You won’t find many true New Yorkers braving the cold and the crowds at the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. March up Fifth Avenue on a weekend looking for New Yorkers, and you will never find one. (They know to wait for the out-of-towners to go to sleep before they make the pilgrimage.) Any New Yorkers lining up for The Christmas Spectacular? Nope. Tea with Eloise at the Plaza? No way. Where are they all? Over the weekend, my 7-year-old son and I found them…they’re watching Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim.

Isaac Mizrahi is a National Treasure. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Isaac Mizrahi is a national treasure. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

For the past 10 years, Isaac Mizrahi, fashion designer, TV presenter, Project Runway judge, author and a master of quips has been narrating and (since 2013) directing, a production of the beloved fable. The Peter B. Lewis Theater at the Guggenheim is an intimate setting of light and ivory, like being encased in an oyster shell. Instead of the polished pearl of a show you might expect on Broadway, this has a bit more edge. The musicians stroll in slowly, and start warming up their instruments seemingly haphazardly while the audience finds their seats. We sat next to the string section behind the conductor. As new instruments started playing, my son and I swerved our heads around the room for an aural version of “I Spy.” On stage, a giant garbage can, chainlink fence, enormous tree and NYC skyline represented Central Park. An actress playing the bird perched in the tree, and then the wolf took a seat on the park bench to read the newspaper before the show started. (more…)

12/01/16 8:53am
Let the Holiday madness begin. Here's 12 way to keep sane and enjoy the month. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Let the holiday madness begin. Here are 12 way to keep sane and enjoy the month. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

December is finally here. The days of breathtaking performances, dazzling snowfalls, and holiday cheer fill the month with magic. Here are 12 ways to enjoy the winter wonderland of NYC with your family, before the deep freeze of January forces you to hibernate in your home with just the TV remote to warm you. From free events to expensive new holiday traditions, there’s holiday cheer for everyone on this kids calendar.

Receive the ultimate gift from BAX: a free kids theater class. Photo: BAX

Receive the ultimate gift from BAX: a free kids theater class. Photo: BAX

1. Learn: Enjoy the gift of a free class. Many children in the audience of the Nutcracker or Miracle on 34th Street wish they were the ones onstage. Capitalizing on that allure are theater classes, ballet tutors and singing sessions. But if your child is 8 or older, they can attend Youthworks at BAX, a FREE program for kids interested in developing their own play, dance or original song or poetry performance. A mandatory orientation is taking place Saturday, Dec. 3 from 3-4:30pm at BAX. Then there is a six week Sunday rehearsal schedule resulting in a fully staged production with lighting, sound design, costumes and props at the end of January. BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange 421 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope. For children 8 + up. FREE.


Start a new holiday tradition with live theater. Photo: Works & Process/ Guggenheim

 

2. Go: Start a new holiday tradition. There are so many holiday events in NYC that come with a cost: Long lines to visit Santa, crowds at Rockefeller Center, and sold out Lincoln Center matinees. Luckily, there are experiences that are every bit as special that don’t come with as many tourists. Starting Dec. 3, bring the kids to see Peter & The Wolf with Isaac Mizrahi at The Guggenheim. Although you can check back for our longer review on Dec. 5, it’s a safe bet to buy the tickets now. The schedule is as follows: Dec. 3, 4, 10, and 11 at 2:30pm and 4pm, and Dec. 9 at 5pm and 6:30pm.  Peter B. Lewis Theater, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York For ages 5 and up. $40, $35 Guggenheim members. For the littler ones who may not be able to sit through a long performance, The Swedish Marionette Theater in Central Park has the perfect solution. The Three Bears Holiday Bash is a wonderful experience without the headache of a high-priced ticket. We’ve reviewed their shows before, but this holiday-themed fairy tale performance incorporates stories of Hanukkah, The Night Before Christmas, and Kwanzaa, making it a perfect for all your festivities. Swedish Marionette Theater, Central Park, W. 79th and West Drive. Through Dec. 30. Tickets are $7/children and $10/adults.   (more…)

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10/27/16 8:26am

Autumn in New York is the quintessential season. With the leaves changing color in Central Park, the steam rising from the subway grates, and the magic of the holidays right around the corner, November is the perfect time for families to crush on the city we call home…before temperatures drop and we can go back to complaining about the weather again. Here are 11 ways to appreciate the great city we live in, with kids in tow.

Drop in to play at this new playspace/ museum outpost. Photo: The Brooklyn Children's Museum

Drop in to play at this new playspace/ museum outpost. Photo: The Brooklyn Children’s Museum

1.Visit: We have the first children’s museum. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum of Crown Heights has been engaging children since 1899. It’s considered one of the first (if not THE first) museum specifically for children. Obviously, it’s a historic event, when this classic museum opens their first new offshoot. SPARK by Brooklyn Children’s Museum opened for business on Oct. 15 on Pier 1 in DUMBO. The 1850-square-foot space offers semester-long classes and drop-in play (that you can reserve ahead online) for kids 6 months to 6 years old.

SPARK by The Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 1 John Street, DUMBO  $15 for one hour of play; class prices vary. Passport Members are free: $195/ year. Open play hours: Tuesday: 1-5pm, Wednesday: 1-3pm, Thursday: 1-6pm, Friday-Sunday: 1-5pm


(more…)

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10/21/16 12:49pm
We want you to play with your food at One More Bite! Private Picassos is just one of the participants that will be encouraging kids to. Photo: Shellburne Farms

We want you to play with your food at One More Bite! (And Private Picassos is just one of the participants that will be encouraging kids to.) Photo: Shellburne Farms

We are beyond excited for our first family food fair, One More Bite, this Sunday at The Green Building.

As moms, we’re fully aware of the joy—and the frustration—that comes from feeding our kids. With that in mind, we’ve planned a day that (we hope) will make trying new foods fun. As your children work their way around the room, sampling local charcuterie, Vermont cheese, chana masala, pickles of every variety, brownies made from beans, and more yummy, healthy foods, they’ll collect stamps in their One More Bite passbooks, then pick a treat at the end for being so adventurous. (We don’t want to make this high-stakes, though, so parents, we’re expecting you to do a lot of tasting too!)

Farmers and food educators will also be leading hands-on activities to teach kids about pollinators, edible plants, and the sugar in processed foods, along with art projects that will encourage them to play with their fruits and veggies!

For the grownups, we’ll have talks on raising good eaters and putting the joy into mealtime from noon till 3pm, and throughout you can purchase burgers and beverages, from juice to mimosas, from Cassette restaurant.

Get a ticket in advance—you’ll save time and money at the door—and while you’re there enter our online raffle for cooking classes and more.

And come early! The first 100 families get a bag of goodies from our vendors. Then show your ticket to Ample Hills down the block afterward, you’ll get a $1 off a cone.

Here are a few of the things we’re looking forward to tasting and trying at One More Bite. (more…)

10/14/16 8:42am

If dinner with kids meant pancakes and syrup, you would get no complaints. Photo: Ryan McGuire

There will be lots of great food to sample at One More Bite next weekend, from Umi’s homecooked meals to pickles from McClure’s and Rick’s Picks to delicious (really!) garbanzo-bean-based brownies from Pure Genius Provisions. But what if you have a picky eater in tow? But what if you have a picky eater in tow?

You should definitely plan on attending our conversation with two chefs who specialize in helping, ahem, discerning young diners branch out at 2pm. Andrea Kapner of Tiny Turnips Kitchen and Kate Homes of Carried Away Chefs will be chatting with us about the strategies they’ve discovered cooking for busy families and for their own kids, that help take the agony out of trying to please every eater at the table.

To tide you over until then, we’ve asked them both, as well as the two nutritionists on another panel–How Nutrition Pros Feed Their Own Kids–for their best family mealtime tips. Here’s what they had to say: (more…)