Activities Advice Articles

Classes & Activities for Kids & Families

Looking for activities for your kids, tween or teen?  From afterschool programs to sports classes, ideas for fun in the winter/ fall/ summer, this page points you in the right direction of where you can get ideas & suggestions from fellow PSP members!

 

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Music Classes--Advice from a Music Teacher

Words of wisdom about choosing music classes from PSP member who is a music teacher, a former violinist and opera singer.

 

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Summer Activities - Suggested by members

What to do with all this free time!

 

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Apple Picking via Public Transportation?

Want to go Apple Picking but you don't have a car?  Here are a few options

 

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IPhone Apps for kids

Recommendations from the PSP community on iPhone apps their kids love.

 

 

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Snow Fun Advice

12 tips of making snow days manageable in Brooklyn!

 

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Thinking Outside the Sand Box

Tips for playing in the sandbox, from the expert nannies in the Slope!

 

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Subway by Christoph Niemann

A book review of Subway, by Christop Niemann

 

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Tips for Snowy Fun-- 2013

Here's the best of our collective wisdom to help make your snow day nuthin' but fun.

 

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Foul Weather Friends - Fun Ideas For Yucky Days

Indoor Activity Ideas for those bad weather days in Park Slope!

 

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We ♥ Winter

A Park Slope parents shares her tips for playing in the snow in Prospect Park.

 

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Brooklyn Tours

Here are a few tours ideas and NYC activites suggested by PSP Members on how to get to learn more about Brooklyn.

 

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Kid-approved Art, Museum & Music Events

PSP members share the cultural experiences their family has enjoyed!  

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Hot in the City! Cheap (or free!) Activities To Do With Kids of All Ages in NYC during the summer

Are you looking for fun ideas with what to do with your toddlers & Kids this summer? Here are some tips & suggestions that PSP Members have shared. Do you have any you would like to add? Let us know!

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PSP Member Recommended Family Friendly Day Hikes

Lake Minnewaska
Lake Minnewaska is a favorite hiking destination for PSP members. Photo via here.

PSP Member Recommended Family Friendly Day Hikes!

 

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Coney Island

PSP member, blog writer and photographer Amber Ceffalio visited the aquarium & Coney Island last weekend, and post Sandy, is still an ideal outing for young ones.

 

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NYC Public Swimming Pools

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NYC's outdoor public swimming pools open the Friday after NYC public schools start their summer vacation. Here is important information of what to bring, where to go, and more.

When:

Outdoor pool hours are from 11:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m., with a break for pool cleaning between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Early bird and night owl lap swim hours are also available at select sites.

What to Bring:

- Don't forget a sturdy combination lock. Everything other than water, a towel and bound summer reading material is required to be locked away. You are required to lock your belongings up with a sturdy combination lock when you head out to the pool.

What Not to Bring:

- Leave food, glass bottles, electronic devices, and newspapers at home (according to the NYC parks and recreation website, "unbound periodicals tend to blow around and create litter, food can be messy to clean up after, and there’s too much water around to make sure your electronics stay safe.  Just to be on the safe side, we also recommend leaving valuables like jewelry and credit cards at home.")

- No floaties, If you are thinking of bringing floaties, it’s safer to leave them at home and have your little one stay in the shallow end of the pool until everyone they learns to swim (if you are looking for swimming lessons, here are PSP member recommendations for classes)

What to Wear:

- A swimsuit is required to enter the pool area. NYC parks and recreation may check men’s shorts for a lining if they can’t tell if they are wearing a bathing suit. If you need to cover up from the sun, NYC Parks and Recreation recommends you "throw on a plain white shirt or white hat and you’re set. We don’t allow shirts with colors on them on the deck."

For the Kids:

- Babies or toddlers should wear swim diapers

- Some recreation centers may be able to find a place for you to park your stroller, but they can’t keep an eye on it for you. Park at your own risk.

From our members:

What parents have to say about Public Swimming Pools

Where to take Swimming Lessons

Important Links:

NYC Parks & Recreation information about pools

General Safety Reminders About Drowning

 

Note:

Indoor pools are open year-round. YAY!

 

2014 NYC Youth Guide to Summer Fun

a PSP member shared that the NYC Guide is now available to download! "This indispensable guide is a collaborative effort between New York City
Agencies, museums, youth groups, libraries, arts organizations and cultural institutions. Many of these events are free or low cost.

Download it HERE.

And for some more PSP member suggestions of summer activities for kids, tweens and teens, go HERE.

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Coney Island - what the kids say!

Sabrina and Samantha Van Putten had a recent adventure to Coney Island...

 

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Camping with Babies and Toddlers

Our outdoors-y members share what they like best and least about camping with babies - and share a few tips about making a camping trip a success.

 

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Hot Weather Food Strike

I got a great response to my question about good foods for a hot weather food strike - some won't work for my pasta-hating, cheese-rejecting vegetarians, but I got several requests to post to list and I've included all responses below, from Mom to Two who subsist on breakfast and air...

 

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Fall Fun: It is Apple Picking Time!

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image made available here via a Creative Commons license

Park Slope Parents has an extensive list of apple and fruit picking destinations HERE with tips & suggestions from fellow parents. Make sure to call these places before you trek out (we got to one place and they were out of apples in one field and not opening another one for a few hours!).

Monday, October 12h is Columbus Day and public schools are off, so if you don't make it out in the next few weekends, perhaps that's a day for an adventure!

 Don't have a car?  We've got a list of places you can get to by public transport here.

Now all we need is the perfect Apple Pie recipe...

 

Taking Fall Photos of your Kids

Tips:

- Take photos of leaf fights and kids throwing leaves up in the air.

- Look for contrasting colors (bright yellow leaves against a dark colored rock).

- Have the kids lay down in the leaves or buried in the leaves. (For older subjects take photos from head to toe to avoid double chins!)

- Kids don't have to be in fall colors-- other colors such as blue and green "pop."

- Photograph during sunrise or sunset for the best light and color.

- Photograph outdoors when your shadow is longer than you are, usually in the afternoon (Today near the 9th Street Playground the sun was going behind the buildings around 4:00)

- Take photos with the sun coming through the leaves but use a tree trunk or something else so so there's no direct light going into your lens.

- If you are taking portraits, consider turning on your flash to get both the leaf color AND your kids faces. Okay, it's a bit 80s, but use the sun to backlight your hair from behind (using a flash to light up your face-- but stand back so the flash isn't too stark. Lay on the ground with your subject above you so you get the leaves and tree limbs as part of the background. (Double check that there's not a big limb as a horn).

 

Okay-- more techy stuff:

 

- Use a Polarizing lens if you've got one.

- Underexpose your shots slightly

- Use your macro setting to shoot close shots of light shining through the leaf with the veins showing through.

- Use a short depth of field in order to blur the leaves and JUST get the color while keeping the person in focus.

 

FINALLY-- Go with another family and swap taking a family portrait-- it's good to have the WHOLE bunch of you. And Moms-- make sure to get photos of yourself!

 

ENJOY!!!

- Susan Fox

 

Fall, Apple Picking and More!

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(photo credit)

Welcome Fall!!

Time for apple and pumpkin picking, Halloween and hay rides!

Check out Park Slope Parents' extensive list of apple and fruit picking destinations HERE. September 25th/26th (Rosh Hashanah) and October 13th (Columbus Day) are DOE school holidays, so beat the weekend crowds if you can make those days work.Tip: Before you trek out, make sure they still have an open field for pickers.

No Car? HERE are some apple picking options via public transportation.

Reminder: PSP Members get $35 off a Zipcar memberships to ZipCar-- so you can skip public transportation. Sign up here. Contact to switch over your existing account or ask questions.

Did you know that PSP has over 700 discounts (and more every month)?
Check them out here! Ask your local stores if they have a PSP discount--have them email if they want to sign up!

Save the date: The 2014 Halloween Parade is Friday, October 31st.

unnamedThis year's theme: Monster Mash! (Note: Elsa calls herself a monster in Frozen - so that costume counts too!)

Every year since 1986 the Park Slope Civic Council organizes the Children's Halloween Parade (with some help from PSP!). It's an all volunteer organized event and may be the largest children's Halloween march in the nation.

More details to come, but get those monstrous costumes ready!

(image here is the 2008 "so Park Slope" Halloween Poster!)

Clothing Swap! Get out your hand me downs

Sunday, October 5th is set for our Fall Clothing Swap so get ready to purge your old stuff and get some new!

Can't make the Swap? Stoop sales are a great way to get rid of or get great recycled stuff. Here is information about Hosting a Stoop Sale and Shopping at Stoop Sales from the PSP Website.

OR Donate to Little Essentials, our go to place for donations. They are once again doing pickups (Tuesdays 3-6) and have a huge need for your extra or old gear!

Have a GREAT Start to FALL and Happy New Year!

Rachel, Susan, Melissa and Colleen
The Park Slope Parents Membership Team

You can always reach us at

 

Fall and Halloween Events

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Here are some of the many Fall and Halloween events happening in the neighborhood and beyond.

 We’ll be updating this page regularly so check back for updates!   

Is there a kid-friendly, community event you would like to see added? Email Melissa (pspasst [at] parkslopeparents [dot] com) with the event information (event name, where, when, what, how much and event webpage link - see format below).

 

FALL STUFF:

 

Looking to go apple & pumpkin picking? Check out PSP-member recommended destinations here >

 

ONGOING EVENTS:

 

Fishkill Farms’ Fall Harvest Festival Weekend 
Where: Fishkill Farms, Hopewell JCT, NY 12533
When: every weekend until October 29, noon – 4 pm
What: Live music, wagon rides, fresh donuts and apple picking. Their farm store is filled with your fall favorites such as homemade pies and treats, fresh fruits and veggies right from the farm, artisanal cheeses, local meats, honey and maple syrup, and a full stock of local NY state produced cider, wine, beer and liquor. PYO times are 9am-5pm (Entrance to the orchard closes at 5pm). Read PSP reviews of Fishkill Farms here.
How much: $5 per person, kids 12 and under are free.
More info >

 

Halloween Harvest at Luna Park
Where: Coney Island
When begins Saturday, September 16!
What:  Enjoy your favorite Halloween Harvest Experience activities like:
Face Painting, Pony Rides Pumpkin Patch, Magic Shows, Arts & Crafts, Story Time, Music & Games, Marching Bands, plus their their annual Halloween Harvest Dog Parade & Costume Contest (October 14) and carving of their Giant Pumpkin by Maniac Pumpkin Carvers  (October 22).
How much: prices vary, check website link below.
More info >

 

SEPT 23:

 

Brooklyn Children’s Museum Harvest Day!
Where: Brooklyn Children’s Museum
When: Saturday September 23, events taking place 10 - 5pm
What: Activities include pumpkin picking, learning how to make scarecrow dolls and more.
How much: $11, adults and children, $10 grandparent, babies under 12 months, free.
More info >

 

OCT 8:

 

2017 Autumn in Austerlitz Festival
Where: Austerlitz, NY, 12017
When: Sunday October 8th, 2017 from 11am – 4pm
What: The Autumn in Austerlitz Festival is held on the Sunday before Columbus Day. Rain or Shine. With attendance averaging at well over 750, the event features antiques, live music, entertainment for children, many different vendors, silent auction, quilt raffle and a variety of hot and cold foods. AGAIN THIS YEAR:  We are featuring a bountiful Farmers’ Market and Tasting Area.
How much: Admission is $7 for adults and children under 12 are free.
More info >

 

OCT 16:

 

Kids Create: Pumpkin Painting 
When: Monday, October 16 2017, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm  
Where: East Flatbush Library  East Flatbush Library 9612 Church Ave. at. Rockaway Pkwy. Brooklyn, NY 11212
What: Paint a unique face on your pumpkin, or transform your pumpkin into anything that you want.  Registration is required so sign up at 718-922-0927 or come to the East Flatbush Library Reference Desk!
More info >

 

OCT 27:

 

Family Movie: Hocus Pocus (1993)
When: Friday, Oct 27 2017   3:30 pm – 5:00 pm  
Where: Windsor Terrace Library, 160 E. 5th St. at Ft. Hamilton Pkwy. Brooklyn, NY 11218
After three centuries, three witch sisters are resurrected in Salem, Massachusetts on Halloween night, and it is up to two teenagers, a young girl, and an immortal cat to put an end to their reign of terror once and for all.
More info >

 

OCT 28:

 

Halloween in Prospect Park
Where: Prospect Park (Audubon Center, Children's Corner, Nethermead)
When: Saturday, October 28, noon – 5 pm
What: Join Prospect Park Alliance at sites around the Park for family-friendly Halloween programming. Specific events throughout the park:

  • Halloween Haunted Walk + Fair
    When: noon – 3 pm
    Where: Lookout Hill
    What: Home of the Prospect Park Alliance’s Annual Halloween Haunted Walk. Ghouls and goblins lurk behind the trees, ready to provide a silly scare! An adult should accompany young children. After the Haunted Walk, head over to this annual treat on the Nethermead, for family-friendly activities and more Halloween fun! Rain or shine.
  • Creepy Crawly Halloween
    Where: Prospect Park Audubon Center
    What: Take a second look at the creatures that give you the creeps, you may find you like them! Participate in fun activities and experiments that will make your spine tingle! Check website (link below) for times of specific events.
  • Scary Stories With Tammy Hall
    When: 2–4pm
    Where: Lefferts Historic House
    What: Make sure you’re sitting next to someone braver than you! Master storyteller Tammy Hall keeps the tradition of scary stories alive with tales told in the village of Flatbush 200 years ago.
  • Haunted Carousel
    When: noon – 5pm
    Where: Don’t be scared when you see the haunted carousel! Take a spin on the spooky ride to your favorite Halloween jams.

How much: free - $3 suggested donation
More info >

 

PSP LGBTQ Halloween Party
Where: All Saints Episcopal Church 286 7th Avenue (at 7th St)
When: Saturday, October 28, 2017, 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm
How much: free to PSP members - registration recommended.
More info >

 

Puppetry Arts: 13th Annual Halloween Carnival in Brooklyn  
Where: 1st Street Recreation Center of PS 372 of Park Slope, Brooklyn 
When: Saturday October 28th 11 am - 3 pm
What: Free admission and is open to the public and great for kids of all ages -rain or shine! The event will host crafts, games, and activities for kids of all ages as well as performances, free giveaways, and a costume contest. The first 200 kids will receive Puppetry Arts Gift Bags filled with tons of goodies. Special guests include Tuffy Tiger and cameos by Star Wars Characters from the 501st Empire City Garrison and the Echo Base Rebel Legion and Empire Saber Guild. Haunted House with a Costume Contest every hour! Wheelchair accessible.
How much: Free admission. Activities include $3.00 Games, Crafts and Snacks, $5.00 Bouncy Moon Walk, $4.00
More info >

 

OCT 29:

 

Park Slope Parents Costume Contest
Where: Washington Park, 5th Ave @ 3rd St
When: October 29, 2017 2- 4 pm
What: Costume Contest with a mini-parade after the contest – especially good for kiddos with bedtimes before the annual larger parade on Halloween itself.  Beja B Phtgrphy will be on hand taking family photos!

 Here are the categories: 

  • Boo Baby Award (Best Infant up to 12 months) 
  • Hot Wheels Award (Best Stroller/Wagon/Pram) 
  • The Creature Award (Best Animal)  
  • Greenest Ghoul Award (Best Use of Recycled/Green Materials)  
  • Infinity & Beyond Award (Best Sci-Fi) 
  • Howling Hipster Award (Best Pop Culture)
  • Devilish Duo Award (Best Couple)   
  • Ghostly Group Award (Best Group/Family/Ensemble)  
  • Big Apple Award (Best NYC) 
  • Old School Award (Best Classic Halloween)
  • Grownup Gruesome Award (Best in Show for Adults)  
  • Whippersnapper Award (Best in Show for Kids)
  • Utterly Awesome Award (Best of Show/Most Creative)

More info >

 

Boo at the Zoo
Where: Prospect Park Zoo,  450 Flatbush Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11225
When: Saturday, October 28 and Sunday, October 29 11 am – 4 pm
What: Don't miss this annual Halloween event. This year they're talking about bats, around the world and right here in Brooklyn where they're working to understand their local ecology. The weekend will include a scavenger hunt, face painting, and other Halloween-themed games and crafts. Plus, plenty of animals to visit. A Spooky Barn will delight the older kids and there’ll have sea lion training sessions during the day and get a load of how happy our baboons are when they indulge in tasty treat-filled pumpkins. Boo at the Zoo wouldn't be complete without a kid-friendly dance party at the 4pm sea lion training.
How much: Adults: $8, Children 3-12: $5, Child under 2: free
More info >

 

Ghouls and Gourds
Where: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 990 Washington Avenue  Brooklyn, NY 11225
When: Saturday, October 28, 2017, noon – 5:30 pm
What: Stilt Dancing Insanity! Caterpillar Feedings! Rutabaga Skee-ball! Brooklyn’s Wackiest Costume Parade!
How much: Kids under 12 free, $20 + $2.09 ticket fee for adults.
Register here >
More info >

 

OCT 31

 

Park Slope Civic Council’s Halloween Parade
When: October 31, 2017 6:30 pm
Where: Starting Point is 14th Street and Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215 at 6:30 pm. Google Map
What: Join us for the annual Park Slope Civic Council Halloween Parade on Tuesday, October 31, 2017, kicking off from 14th Street and 7th Avenue at 6:30 pm. The parade will head north on 7th Avenue, turn left on 3rd Street and end in J.J. Byrne Playground at the Old Stone House.  This is a family-friendly event with a focus on children.
More info >

 

Nitehawk/ Pavilion’s Haunted House
Where: Future Nitehawk Prospect Park, 188 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn
When: Halloween. Oct. 31. 3-7 pm
What: It’s no secret that Nitehawk loves Halloween. This year, as they inch very close to our winter 2018 opening, they are bringing Halloween to the future Nitehawk Prospect Park for Park Slope and surrounding areas.Start your Halloween night off with Nitehawk Cinema as they  transform the former Pavilion into a haunted house with scares, snacks, activities and of course, candy. Free beverages (alcoholic for the parents) will be provided. Good for all ages!
How much: free
More info coming soon >

 

Best Science Museums, According to PSP Members

The following quesiton was asked to the Park Slope Parents group: "My rising 6th grader has summer homework to “visit a science museum and write a journal entry describing what you saw and what you learned from it”. What’s your favorite Science Museum?"
Here are their votes!

 

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Family Bucket List: Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival

05.02. Chinese new Year

If you’ve never taken the kids to the Chinese New Year Parade, put it on your bucket list of family excursions in New York City!

Starting in Little Italy and going through Chinatown to Sara D. Roosevelt Park at Canal and Forsyth streets. Dancing dragons and lions, floats and drummers will be part of the parade that ends with craft and food stalls in the park.

 

How Young Is Too Young to Attend Concerts?

Park Slope Parents was invited to take part in a roundtable discussion about whether young children should attend concerts.

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Tourist Activities for Tweens & Teenagers

So you have a teenager (or tween) coming to visit or you are looking for something fun to do with your own energetic young adult.  What are some fun, slightly more grown up and erm, "cooler" things you can do with them?  Here are some suggestions from local moms & dads

 

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Boardgames You Can Actually Play With Your Kids

Park Slope Parents share the favorite boardgames they like to play with their kids.

 

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December staycation? More ideas of what to do with Kids in NYC over the Holidays

Planning a staycation over the December holidays? Here PSP members share ideas of what to do with kids in New York City during the December school break.

 

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Sledding Safety Tips

Sledding can be A LOT of fun.  But it can also cause A LOT of injuries. Each winter, almost 21,000 children or teens end up in the emergency room because of a sledding accident (source: NBC news). Park Slope Parents has pulled together some tips to help you sled SAFELY.

 

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