The balmy days of August never really materialized, and September is already upon us. Maybe your kids had plans they didn’t get to yet, like learning to ride a bike without training wheels? Or maybe you haven’t had a chance to pick up a new backpack? Quite possibly, there’s no time at all to work off all those lobster rolls and you need a quick health update? OK, maybe that’s just me. Here are nine ways to ease you and your family back into the school year, and make the most of this glorious weather.
1-Taking A Labor Day Trip? Family Podcasts for All Ages
If you are new to the world of podcasts, or even if you are a podcast fanatic, you may not realize that there are great options for kids. We’re planning a long weekend road trip in September and will be perusing this handy list from Common Sense Media that lists 20 podcasts for kids of all ages. From short story read alouds to kid-approved music shows to weird science, this list is broken down by interests so there’s definitely something for anyone. If your family is lucky enough to be taking a cross-Atlantic flight instead of a drive, then this long flight playbook in the NY Times is the answer you have been looking for to prevent all meltdowns (no Xanax required.)
2-Go See $1 Performances at the Met
Embracing the culture that NYC has to offer is part of the fun of living here. But spending beaucoup bucks for your child to fidget and fall asleep is hardly worth the admission. The MET feels your pain. This September, their “Bring The Kids” initiative allows kids (ages 7-16) to attend performances ranging from techno multimedia art shows to opera. Ryoji Ikeda: supercodex is a “wildly innovative new stage show” brought to life September 7th or 8th at 7pm. Or see a Congolese dance performance on September 9th or 10th. Looking to introduce your children to opera? The Shanghai Peking Opera will present “Farewell My Concubine” on September 15-24th. Or listen to award-winning Abhishek Raghuram, a Carnatic vocalist, on September 24th. Check website for times and adult ticket prices which start at $40. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, NYC
3-Get them on a bike: It’s Easier Than It Looks with Learn To Ride NYC
If your child is old enough to ride a bike without training wheels, but just can’t make the jump from training wheels or balance bike, then this FREE bike riding class put on by Bike NYC could be for them. On Sunday, September 10 from 2:00pm-4:00pm, register for the next Brooklyn class at McCarren Park in Williamsburg. (They have rotating classes all over the five boroughs.) You just bring your child’s bike and helmet, and let the teachers do the rest. The small class (8-10 kids on average) will start with a helmet fitting, ensuring the protection of little skulls, and then move onto taking off the training wheels and safely learn to balance, pedal, steep and stop on their bike. They claim that most kids pick it up in one session, but if not, you’ll have the tools to practice at home. Or you can always sign up for another free class next month! Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org FREE
4-Turn Over A New Eating Leaf with Daily Harvest
If the unstructured summer schedule has had you eating more junk food than usual, and you just need to replace the family’s freak sundae with a smoothie, this new delivery service could save you time and energy this school year. I’ve already placed my orders for these superfood smoothies, overnight oats, chia parfaits, soups and healthy sundaes. Started by a busy New York mom, these instagram-worthy foods are delivered directly to your door every week with freezable cups that just need to be mixed with almond milk or coconut milk in a blender. You can drink them right away or take them to go with a handy lid. Flavors like Mulberry & Dragonfruit or Pineapple & Matcha will get you out of any food rut, and will definitely get you out of the door faster than you can say “Breakfast Bowl, Activate!” 6 Cup Delivery costs $47.94 www.dailyharvest.com
5- Still Need School Supplies? Embrace the Dark Side
These bright backpacks have been favorites of thoughtful parents and kids for years. For each bag purchased, the company delivers “a fully stocked backpack” to an American child in need. Beyond the sparkly, colorful and bold prints, this year they have also created a limited edition Star Wars line of backpacks based on Darth Vader or Stormtroopers. These well made packs can withstand great amounts of wear and stains are easily wiped off. For young Skywalkers in training, this may be a dream come true worth the extra splurge. May the force be with you in the new school year. www.statebags.com
If your child’s fandom goes way beyond just a new backpack, then also think about getting tickets for the Star Wars Film Concert Series presented by the New York Philharmonic. Star Wars: A New Hope (September 15th and 16th at 8pm) and The Empire Strikes Back (September 26th and 27th at 7:30pm) will be screened accompanied by live music. It is bound to be epic. Tickets start at $65. NY Philharmonic, David Geffen Hall, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, NYC
6-Get reading at the Brooklyn Book Festival on Children’s Day
Calling all bookworms! Saturday September 16th is the best day in Brooklyn for kids who love reading. This FREE festival has an incredible line up of storytimes, writing workshops and demonstrations. Some highlights include the “Raise Your Voice” workshop (11am) with author Leila Sales, of The Little Book of Activists for ages 4-7, a musical performance (12pm) and reading with Laurie Berkner, story time (1:30pm) with picture book author and illustrator duo, Sean Qualls and Selina Alko,and a Origami workshop (2pm) where kids can make their own origami Yoda. Plus, there are always wonderful books for sale so leave ample time for browsing! Check schedule for more details. Brooklyn Book Festival, Children’s Day, MetroTech Commons, Downtown Brooklyn. FREE
7-Take a peek behind the curtain at Harlem Stage.
Feel like leaving Brooklyn? Harlem Stage is having their first ever open house on Saturday September 16th from 3:00pm- 6:00pm. This arts institution is opening their doors for a FREE all ages day to kick off the Fall 2017 season. Families are invited to “Bring your tambourines, djembes, congas, cajone, hand percussion and joy!” Everyone will get a chance to participate in a drum circle led by jazz star Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, tour the historic Gatehouse theater space, meet the artists, enjoy activities and dance their heart out to the beats of DJ Stormin Norman. Harlem Stage Gatehouse, 150 Convent Avenue (at West 135th Street), Harlem. FREE
8-Plan a Weekend of Making
The Maker Faire returns to NYC for another year on Saturday September 23rd and Sunday September 24th, and it seems jam packed with over 750 makers coming to share their projects. The family friendly event will feature a pop up farm, Virtual Reality,so many kinds of robots, a smell machine that you can play like a piano and even a metal dragon that shoots fireballs! Plus, there are so many opportunities for hands on learning like picking locks, crafting, printing in 3D, and making beautiful prints from mud dyeing, that your family may want to explore the entire weekend. Still on the fence? Read this article from TIME on “Why You Should Take Your Kids To A Maker Fair.” Tickets start at $25. Children under 2 are free. New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th St, Corona, Queens
9-Revisit the Atlantic Antic
If you like large crowds, loud music, and extreme lines for the bouncy castle, then you are in luck on Sunday September 24th from 12pm-6pm. For the rest of us, this yearly street fair is a tradition that we uphold. It’s a chance to check out the great shopping on Atlantic Avenue, run into friends you haven’t seen in a minute, and support local businesses. For the kids, there is a never ending stream of food vendors (we always get a Swindle from Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie), children’s concerts, Touch-A-Truck with the Transit Museum and (of course!) bouncy houses. This is the 43rd year of the Atlantic Antic. It’s Brooklyn’s largest and oldest street fair and it is still going stronger than ever. This is a free Brooklyn tradition; it’s the borough’s way to welcome in Autumn (along with over a million other Brooklynites.) Atlantic Avenue between 3rd Avenue and the river. FREE.