Newsflash

What you need to know about ticks!

With summer starting it is worth talking about ticks. Lyme disease can be misdiagnosed, so if you have any of the symptoms (even if you don’t see a tick or bite), talk to your doctor. Be sure to read the PSP guide to what you need to know about ticks on the PSP website here.

ticks sign

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How To Talk To Kids About Death: Overview

 

This is an overview from the 2018 talk, "How To Talk with Kids About Death" Park Slope Parents and Green-wood Cemetery co-sponsored. 

Presenters:

Amy Cunningham The Inspired Funeral

Liana Smith-Murphy, play, child and adolescent therapist at BrooklynPlayTherapy.com

GW-kids-event

 

Age appropriate honesty is important. Kids know more than we think they do. If you’re not honest kids can come up with fantasized explanations of death (“I made grandma get sick and die”). Using concrete things like “X has died. Their body is no longer working” (rather than “Nana is ‘sleeping’” which can freak young kids out and lead to, “when is she going to wake up?”). You can also talk about your beliefs: “Our family believes that after someone dies you go to heaven.”

Let kids ask questions. Many adults have issues about talking about death so kids can believe it’s not okay to talk about being sad or the death. Everyone experiences death differently.

 

Read more...

Resources for Coping with Park Slope's Tragedy

For many, the crash at 9th Street and 5th Avenue on March 5th, 2018 was very emotional. For people on the scene it was even more traumatic.  We're working with some trauma and grief therapists (thanks to them for reaching out) to put together sessions that may help folks deal with the emotional aftermath of today's scene. Here are those resources:

Whether you were a witness, heard about it and were impacted, or had another experience that was retriggered by last week’s neighborhood (local? 5th Avenue?) tragedy, your feelings around this matter.

Below is a list of therapists who have offered support or have been listed as specializing in trauma/grief. We appreciate their stepping forward to help. (As a reminder—this is not an endorsement of any one therapist or approach to therapy.)

It's important to be supportive of the people who were there; it can help with their recovery.  We are going to gather a list of resources and post those as well.  

Please share these resources with your nanny-- some were at the scene and others know someone who has been impacted.

Resources about coping with this traumatic event:

 

 

Read more...

The Doughnut Fix Launch Party

Bring your child (8-years-old and up) to the Brooklyn Public Library to celebrate the publication of The Doughnut Fix, the first book in a fun new series by New York author Jessie Janowitz.
Meet the author and hear her read an excerpt from the book!


Enjoy hands-on activities!

There will be a book sale and signing!

Doughnuts will be served!


What: The Doughnut Fix Launch Party
When: Saturday, April 21st
Time: 1:00pm
Where: Brooklyn Public Library, Dweck Center

More Info HERE

Donut Fix

 

This event is recommended for ages 8 and up.

 

Top Twenty Baby on the Beach Tips

 

 

beachsc

 

Basics:
Swimsuit – depending on the age, either a float suit with adjustable buoyancy or “puddle-jumper” floaties
Rashguard – longer-sleeved suits that protect best from sun
Sun Hat – with tie and long back
Beach Towels (2/child) – reserve one for an end-of-the-beach-day-scrub
Sunscreen (check the use-by date and get a baby-friendly one)**
Swim diapers (even if kids don’t go in the water these are good)
Wipes
Water bottle/cup – Yeti or Thinkbaby make good ones
Washable Beach Bag with wet bags or large Ziplocs
Bucket – good for transporting items (including drinks and ice) to the beach and then for beach play 

 

Read more...

Stroller March Sunday!

 

Stroller March June 24th, 2018

 

NOTE DATE AND TIME CHANGE! Now Sunday @ 5pm!

 

RSVP HERE

2018.Stroller-March-Sunday-Eng-up

 

TOP 25 TODDLER TOYS & ACTIVITIES

 

Looking for ideas for Toddler Toys and Activities? Here ya go (Courtesy of great discussions on some of our PSP Toddler Groups). Not a member and are a parent living in Brooklyn? Join PSP here!

ToddlerToysmall

ACTIVITIES

Use an old wallet stuffed with expired credit cards ­ take out and put back in, repeat indefinitely! 
Put some old toys out of sight - they'll usually show interest again after they’ve been on vacation for a week or two! 
A small wooden kitchen with doors
– used or new, this is evergreen
A hand broom, Swiffer sheet, and a cordless vacuum cleaner
Any and all Read-Aloud Board Books.
A small Jar with a Treat Inside.
A Baby Piano/Xylophone
Any Activity Table or Box that comes apart and has lots of “things” on it to move and make noise with!
Put Duplo Pieces (or anything that will fit!) into an Empty Tea Tin and take them out again!
A small Tea Set.
Make your own Toddler Busy Board - here are some great ideas.

 

SPECIFIC TOYS

Pockets of Learning Quiet Book – Indestructible books great for toddlers
Soft foam magnetic letters for the fridge
Skip, Hop & Explore Animal Car – Any “pull back” toy
Oball Rattle & Roll – or any Oball toy
Read Aloud Songs – listen to the song and follow along in the book
Magic Music Cubes
Peek-a-Boo Tunnels
Pop Toobs! – continue to be fun for years to come
Funky Moon Light with remote control! 
Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Piggy Bank

Melissa & Doug gets lots of shout outs!

Play Cleaning Supplies
Door Puzzle with magnets
Shape Sorters

 

 

Unlimited Vacation Time Pros and Cons

image003_1.png
 
 
Unlimited Vacation Time Pros and Cons Compilation 2018
 
I was wondering if anyone actually has experience with "unlimited vacation". When I first heard of it on this list, I thought it was too good to be true, and I was right, at least according to this article I read:
 
https://medium.com/@wwalser/unlimited-vacation-is-a-dark-perk-and-you-should-use-that-to-your-advantage-f30495f0df23>
 
I am wondering on average how many vacations people actually end up taking. Anyone dared to take more than 4 weeks (real ones, not work-vacations) and not fear retributions.
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I worked in multiple companies that has such policy. The actual vacation length and frequecy culture varied from company to company and was just not clearly stated, one had to kind ask around to see what's appropriate. It varied from 2 weeks in a row being a very long vacation to 3 weeks + 2 weeks later in the year of being totally fine + some single days here and there.
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Our company went from unlimited vacation to 20 days annually, partially because there was the perception that the policy was being violated, or at the very least being taken advantage of disproportionately. We're a relatively small team so it felt like fairness was paramount to avoiding intra-office mutiny :) 
 
I think the size of the team matters a lot, as well as cultural expectations (of course). We're part of an international company so in a sense it felt fair to mimic the parent company's vacation policy, but that doesn't really work in practice. 
 
I much prefer mandatory office closures for certain periods. My last employer had an office closure the week between Christmas and New Year's, and the thing I liked most about it is that people tended to actually travel during that time, and it felt very much like school when they returned because everyone would share stories from their time off. 
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Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts. What I am still unclear about is how this unlimited vacation policy is beneficial to the employee? It is sold as something cool but so far I haven't heard that it adds value compared to the traditional way of stating plain and simple what the vacation days are. So when I am considering joining a company, I have not seen reasons to believe that as a selling point, but rather, just yet another thing to have to deal with within a company culture I don't know yet.
 
I must be missing something here
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I like set vacation policies better, in theory . Devil is in the details. I just switched firms and my former firm cut me a check for the two weeks I hadn’t used. That meant I didn’t have a pay gap for the time I took between jobs. Very generous of them and since i’m a lawyer in a firm it wasn’t necessary since I wasn’t working at full  capacity so I felt strange taking the accrued time (but didn’t complain). I’m in an area that gives 4 weeks of vacation and assumes we are working hard when not away. If I only got a week or two then I might prefer a more “honor” system type of vacation policy. And I wouldn’t abuse it. I don’t take 4 weeks off. I take about 2
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I'm currently interviewing and a few places mentioned their unlimited policy as a selling point. I would prefer a specific amount of days as well because you can get paid out when you leave. 
 
I generally take at least 4 weeks throughout the year because that's what I've had so far at all my jobs and most of that is to visit family overseas. 
 
If we got to the offer stage do you think this is something to bring up to let them know ahead of time? Since I won't know the culture and I don't want them to think I'm taking advantage once I accept. 
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My experience with unlimited vacation is:
 
1. I am on the work-life team of our organization. Research shows that overall people do not take advantage of the policy and in fact overall people take LESS time then if there was a set policy. People NEED vacation to recharge and be productive but there is anxiety around what is the right amount of vacation to take? Most people err on the side of caution and take less in order to fit in with the culture.
 
2. My husband's company had unlimited vacation. Most people were taking 2 weeks or none. Some of the high powered workahaulics in the org of course are in senior management and they were not taking vacation. Employees took their cue from them and were not utilizing vacation. Now they have 4 weeks PTO and everyone uses it. 
 
And just an FYI, many orgs KNOW that people will not use unlimited vacation but that it sounds great on paper to millennials for recruitment. 
 
I have 4 weeks paid and 1 week personal and the week off between Christmas and New Year's and I use every minute of my vacation and am a really productive employee  
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I’ve read analysis that agrees with the feedback above. Typically flexible vacation policies look good on paper but are less favorable for employees and save the employer money.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We went from a policy of x number of days per year to unlimited. From a corporate perspective it was good because holding millions of dollars in cash is difficult. From an individual perspective (I looked at my days off) and I'm just at 4 weeks from before and after. I also happen to have taken two paternal leave, which for me was 8 weeks each. I had less time off before the policy, for reference.
 
It comes to how you manage the unlimited policy. I work for StreetEasy, part of Zillow Group, and I encourage people to take time off. Am appropriate work-life balance is encouraged.
 
I can't say that I've observed much of a difference, though I've seen that some are able to take 5 weeks now without much issue.
 
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I think it depends on the culture of the organization - at my company, people do indeed take 4 weeks or more of vacation. On top of the actual days off, this policy has affected the culture in that people feel comfortable working from home a lot. Now, when I consider other opportunities, if they offer 3 weeks of vacation, I feel very restricted. 
 
As for how an employer benefits, they do not have to pay for any days not taken and given that empirically, people do not take a ton of time off, that means they're saving money. 
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I second these comments (although I worked at the same company as her!). When I started there, I thought the unlimited PTO policy must be too good to be true, but in reality it turned out to be everything I would have hoped. It definitely varied by team but I'd say I took over 4 weeks every year, and one year was 6 weeks. They had a caveat that anything over 30 days in a calendar year was supposed to be approved by your manager's manager.
 
I'm sure it varied by team, but with a supportive and flexible manager (and after proving your value and working hard!) it was taken seriously and I never sensed any judgment. For a while I wouldn't even consider interviewing anywhere else that didn't have the same policy. At my new job, I have 3 weeks a year and the only way that works for me is with a very flexible culture around working remotely. 
 
I hope to see more companies move in this direction!
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Motherless Mother Resources

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Motherless Mother Resources

Park Slope Parents has a Motherless Mothers group:

If you are not yet a PSP memer join us here

If you're already a member and would like to be added email

StackedRocks.jpg

Website Resources

Theimaginarylibrary on Instagram is a 100 day project on grief and loss created by a woman who recently lost her mother.

Modern Loss is new website offering candid content, resources and community on loss and grief.

Articles Shared by PSP members

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/21/style/how-to-overcome-grief.html

http://therumpus.net/2011/03/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-67-the-black-arc-of-it/

https://alovelywoman.wordpress.com/2017/05/05/12-ideas-for-motherless-daughters-on-mothers-day/

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/10/23/opinion/sunday/children-dont-always-live.html

Why Grief Is A Series of Contractions and Expansions

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/read-youre-grieving/

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/letter-from-your-mother-mothers-day

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/03/we-dont-lose-our-mothers-reality-more-violent-that-that

http://www.scarymommy.com/overcoming-waves-grief-when-youre-motherless-mother/?utm_source=FB

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/surviving-the-grief-of-mothering_b_9757374.html

 

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

 

 

In this article:

Outdoors:

Parks & Playgrounds

Ferries, Transport & Islands

Pools

Beaches

Zoos

Indoors:

Museums & Libraries

Local Businesses

Useful Resources:

From NYC.gov: Beat the Heat

Outdoor Activities:

 manhattan-1674404 640

Parks & Playgrounds

One parent says, "go to a Splash Pad or Playground with water features (the LeFrak Center in Prospect Park, Harmony Playground, Imagination Playground, Brooklyn Bridge Park)."

Other parks and playground suggestions:

Botanical Gardens - "is free on Tuesday and before noon on Saturday!"

Prospect Park -  "Pretend to be explorers in Prospect Park! As one parent shares: “One of my favorite free places to take my boys (2.5 and 4.5) is the woods in prospect park.  the whole east side of the park has random trails that are fun to get lost on.  I usually just let them lead the way and I follow.  Yes, sometimes we walk in circles but that's actually really fun when they realize that we've just come back to where we were.”

 Pier 6 -  “Pier 6 is awesome. Has super huge sand park, water area and climbing gyms.”

Battery Park City -  "I really like Battery Park City in the summer. There is so much there you can spend a whole day...the slides, the mini golf, the older playground with trapeze nets and interesting pedal horse toy, the poetry library, a cool Irish monument/installation, tribeca playground is well shaded and has water play and whole foods is a great place to eat. I always have a good time. Plus you are right on the water and can just feel the breeze."

Hudson south of 14th Street - “If in Manhattan, playground on Hudson just south of 14th street is small but has nice playground, water, and sand combination (and free star gazing--saw Hugh Jackson there)

Coney Island - HERE is an article from a local mom shared about her trip to Coney Island.

32641939260 72b1ed23f2 z

Ferries, Transport & Islands

Staten Island Ferry - "The Staten Island ferry is free and, while not indoors, cool and comfortable, with great views. There's also the ferry to Ikea from lower Manhattan, or the bus to Ikea (Ikea has very cheap kids' meals)."

Governors Island -  "The ferry leaves from pier 6 in Brooklyn."

Roosevelt Island -  one parents recently took the tramway to Roosevelt Island and reported: “My daughter loved it.” This parent also shares that “no food is allowed at new FDR memorial.”

The Subway - "Also want to mention that for us, just riding the subways is a great way to stay cool and have fun.  My young son is completely entranced by the train and actually cries when we leave the subway platform."

 young-swimmer-2494904 640

Public Pools 

Go HERE for read more tips PSP about local pools and Brooklyn and be sure to check the NYC Parks website HERE for opening and closing times (often city pools close for an hour in the afternoon for cleaning).

7391651508 543f7c3e19 z

 Beaches

Jacob Riis - "There's a whole food court complete with hammocks, tables with shade and bands/djs. A fun scene. Info here."

Brighton Beach - "I love Brighton Beach- easy drive, I always find parking, and have been taking my girl (now 8) almost since she was born"

Robert Moses Beach - "Robert Moses Beach is an hour away on Long Island but gorgeous and worth it. It had parking, showers, rentals for chairs and umbrellas and a concession stand. I just went Monday for the day. Sometimes a little traffic heading back of you leave between 5 and 6 but again worth it.

Rockaways (pictured) - "Easy access by the A train."

 discus-fish-1943755 640

Zoos & Acquariums

Wildlife Conservation Society -  "My best recommendation for your kid's ages is to get a membership from WCS  - a membership to them gets you free admission to all the zoos in NYC and the aquarium. The Aquarium has parking and it is on the coney island walkway so you have beach (not the nicest beach in the world but suitable for a little running around and splashing) and an amusement park, plus the baseball field all nearby. The aquariums and the zoos all have indoor and outdoor spaces so you can get out of the heat. You can even take the kids to a 3D movie at the zoos. We are also members of the Natural History Museum - rain or heat - its a great place to skip the lines, let the kids wander, and learn a thing or two - from dinosaurs to space this is the best kids museum in the city. Most the big museums in NY are priced for SUGGESTED DONATION so feel free to pay what you can afford not what they ask. But the reason you get a membership is to skip the lines - and its worth every penny."

Indoor Activities

natural-history-museum 

Museums & Libraries

Brooklyn Museum - Check out the free first Saturday events. One parent also suggestion the "Egyptian Collection at The Brooklyn Museum."

New York Transit Museum

Natural History Museum - “Go up to the Ross Terrace, where there are dancing fountains kids can play in.”

The Children's Museum of the Arts - "I am also a big fan of Childrens Museum of the Arts in Soho. It is not an affiliate of the above museums, so you pay per visit or can become a member. They have a very hands on art program. They also have free hands-on classes on Governor's Island (the calendar for governor's island - you get the ferry for free at the playground at the pier where Atlantic avenue ends)."

Brooklyn Children's Museum - "Get a membership to the Childrens Museums - now there are two Childrens museums in NYC - one is the Childrens Museum of Manhattan  and one is the Brooklyn Childrens Museum - they are both members of the same museum society so you should be able to buy one membership and go to Both BUT THAT IS NOT HOW IT WORKS - they have created a special exception so you cant use your card at both places BUT you can become a member of an affiliated museum - Like Port Discovery in Baltimore and then you get free admission to both NYC museums. You do not however get to skip the lines like members of the NYC museum can, and you dont get discounts on classes etc. But, it saves you money and gives you options. If you already had a membership in your old location, it may be valid here - I know we have used ours in Atlanta, Houston and CA."

Museum of Mathematics - 6th St btwn 5th/Madison - "Yes, many of the concepts would be lost on a toddler but it's an amazing place and there were so many fun things for my 18mo to do.  A plus is that Madison Square Park is just around the corner and on Tues/Thurs mornings (10:30AM) they host free kid concerts, art and more until Aug 8th.  We saw Recess Monkey last week and they were awesome! There's also a nice playground (w/overhead sprinkler!) in the park."

The Brooklyn Public Library - view what PSP members say about BPL here for the central branch, the Park Slope branch, and the Brooklyn Public Library Cafe!

More on PSP:  Kid Approved Art, Museum & Music Events 

 popcorn-1433327 640

Local & Private Businesses

Ikea - “Sounds odd, but if you can get there, there's a lot of good playing to be had in the kids' room vignettes and toy department, and the food is super cheap.” and another parent also suggests it for being "Cheap! Ferry! Kids' meals in the restaurant are seriously cheap (and even free on Tuesdays)."  And as another parent says, "there is plenty of space to play (and there is a child play area) in the IKEA in Red Hook, and its lovely to have lunch at the Fairway in Red Hook and then walk along the water to one of the near by Parks."

 Toys-R-Us - "Toys R Us Times Square (has an indoor Ferris wheel and life-sized T-Rex dinosaur, in addition to a train table and gigantic Barbie dollhouse)."

 Barnes & Noble - "has story times during the week."

 Scholastic Store

World Financial Center - One parents describes how it "has lots of great restaurants and stores. Plus, they offer free arts programming."

 AMC Theaters - Go see a movie!  "AMC Theaters offer half-price movies before noon, every day. There are none in our neighborhood, but some in Manhattan are easily reachable."

Coffee shops and restaurants - see PSP reviews HERE for local restaurants and cafes. 

Further Reading:

Click HERE to read more reviews and recommendations on PSP about Play Spaces in Brooklyn

 Got a Teenager and looking for things to do?  Get some ideas HERE.

Photo credits: Staten Island photo via here: https://flic.kr/p/RJstjd, Rockaway photo via here: https://flic.kr/p/cgb9to, Natural History Museum via here: https://flic.kr/p/SaMwQp, all other photos via Pixabay

In this article:

Outdoors:

Parks & Playgrounds

Ferries, Transport & Islands

Pools

Beaches

Zoos

 

Indoors:

Museums & Libraries

Local Businesses

 

Useful Resources:

From NYC.gov: Beat the Heat

 

 

 

Outdoor Activities: 

 manhattan-1674404 640

Parks & Playgrounds

One parent says, "go to a Splash Pad or Playground with water features (the LeFrak Center in Prospect Park, Harmony Playground, Imagination Playground, Brooklyn Bridge Park)."

Other parks and playground suggestions:

Botanical Gardens - "is free on Tuesday and before noon on Saturday!"

Prospect Park -  "Pretend to be explorers in Prospect Park! As one parent shares: “One of my favorite free places to take my boys (2.5 and 4.5) is the woods in prospect park.  the whole east side of the park has random trails that are fun to get lost on.  I usually just let them lead the way and I follow.  Yes, sometimes we walk in circles but that's actually really fun when they realize that we've just come back to where we were.”

 Pier 6 -  “Pier 6 is awesome. Has super huge sand park, water area and climbing gyms.”

Battery Park City -  "I really like Battery Park City in the summer. There is so much there you can spend a whole day...the slides, the mini golf, the older playground with trapeze nets and interesting pedal horse toy, the poetry library, a cool Irish monument/installation, tribeca playground is well shaded and has water play and whole foods is a great place to eat. I always have a good time. Plus you are right on the water and can just feel the breeze."

Hudson south of 14th Street - “If in Manhattan, playground on Hudson just south of 14th street is small but has nice playground, water, and sand combination (and free star gazing--saw Hugh Jackson there)

Coney Island - HERE is an article from a local mom shared about her trip to Coney Island.

 

32641939260 72b1ed23f2 z

Ferries, Transport & Islands

Staten Island Ferry - "The Staten Island ferry is free and, while not indoors, cool and comfortable, with great views. There's also the ferry to Ikea from lower Manhattan, or the bus to Ikea (Ikea has very cheap kids' meals)."

Governors Island -  "The ferry leaves from pier 6 in Brooklyn."

Roosevelt Island -  one parents recently took the tramway to Roosevelt Island and reported: “My daughter loved it.” This parent also shares that “no food is allowed at new FDR memorial.”

The Subway - "Also want to mention that for us, just riding the subways is a great way to stay cool and have fun.  My young son is completely entranced by the train and actually cries when we leave the subway platform."

 young-swimmer-2494904 640

Public Pools 

Go HERE for read more tips PSP about local pools and Brooklyn and be sure to check the NYC Parks website HERE for opening and closing times (often city pools close for an hour in the afternoon for cleaning).

 

7391651508 543f7c3e19 z

 Beaches

Jacob Riis - "There's a whole food court complete with hammocks, tables with shade and bands/djs. A fun scene. Info here."

Brighton Beach - "I love Brighton Beach- easy drive, I always find parking, and have been taking my girl (now 8) almost since she was born"

Robert Moses Beach - "Robert Moses Beach is an hour away on Long Island but gorgeous and worth it. It had parking, showers, rentals for chairs and umbrellas and a concession stand. I just went Monday for the day. Sometimes a little traffic heading back of you leave between 5 and 6 but again worth it.

Rockaways (pictured) - "Easy access by the A train."

 discus-fish-1943755 640

Zoos & Acquariums

Wildlife Conservation Society -  "My best recommendation for your kid's ages is to get a membership from WCS  - a membership to them gets you free admission to all the zoos in NYC and the aquarium. The Aquarium has parking and it is on the coney island walkway so you have beach (not the nicest beach in the world but suitable for a little running around and splashing) and an amusement park, plus the baseball field all nearby. The aquariums and the zoos all have indoor and outdoor spaces so you can get out of the heat. You can even take the kids to a 3D movie at the zoos. We are also members of the Natural History Museum - rain or heat - its a great place to skip the lines, let the kids wander, and learn a thing or two - from dinosaurs to space this is the best kids museum in the city. Most the big museums in NY are priced for SUGGESTED DONATION so feel free to pay what you can afford not what they ask. But the reason you get a membership is to skip the lines - and its worth every penny."

 

Indoor Activities 

 

natural-history-museum 

Museums & Libraries

Brooklyn Museum - Check out the free first Saturday events. One parent also suggestion the "Egyptian Collection at The Brooklyn Museum."

New York Transit Museum

Natural History Museum - “Go up to the Ross Terrace, where there are dancing fountains kids can play in.”

The Children's Museum of the Arts - "I am also a big fan of Childrens Museum of the Arts in Soho. It is not an affiliate of the above museums, so you pay per visit or can become a member. They have a very hands on art program. They also have free hands-on classes on Governor's Island (the calendar for governor's island - you get the ferry for free at the playground at the pier where Atlantic avenue ends)."

Brooklyn Children's Museum - "Get a membership to the Childrens Museums - now there are two Childrens museums in NYC - one is the Childrens Museum of Manhattan  and one is the Brooklyn Childrens Museum - they are both members of the same museum society so you should be able to buy one membership and go to Both BUT THAT IS NOT HOW IT WORKS - they have created a special exception so you cant use your card at both places BUT you can become a member of an affiliated museum - Like Port Discovery in Baltimore and then you get free admission to both NYC museums. You do not however get to skip the lines like members of the NYC museum can, and you dont get discounts on classes etc. But, it saves you money and gives you options. If you already had a membership in your old location, it may be valid here - I know we have used ours in Atlanta, Houston and CA."

Museum of Mathematics - 6th St btwn 5th/Madison - "Yes, many of the concepts would be lost on a toddler but it's an amazing place and there were so many fun things for my 18mo to do.  A plus is that Madison Square Park is just around the corner and on Tues/Thurs mornings (10:30AM) they host free kid concerts, art and more until Aug 8th.  We saw Recess Monkey last week and they were awesome! There's also a nice playground (w/overhead sprinkler!) in the park."

The Brooklyn Public Library - view what PSP members say about BPL here for the central branch, the Park Slope branch, and the Brooklyn Public Library Cafe!

More on PSP:  Kid Approved Art, Museum & Music Events 

 popcorn-1433327 640

Local & Private Businesses

Ikea - “Sounds odd, but if you can get there, there's a lot of good playing to be had in the kids' room vignettes and toy department, and the food is super cheap.” and another parent also suggests it for being "Cheap! Ferry! Kids' meals in the restaurant are seriously cheap (and even free on Tuesdays)."  And as another parent says, "there is plenty of space to play (and there is a child play area) in the IKEA in Red Hook, and its lovely to have lunch at the Fairway in Red Hook and then walk along the water to one of the near by Parks."

 Toys-R-Us - "Toys R Us Times Square (has an indoor Ferris wheel and life-sized T-Rex dinosaur, in addition to a train table and gigantic Barbie dollhouse)."

 Barnes & Noble - "has story times during the week."

 Scholastic Store

World Financial Center - One parents describes how it "has lots of great restaurants and stores. Plus, they offer free arts programming."

 AMC Theaters - Go see a movie!  "AMC Theaters offer half-price movies before noon, every day. There are none in our neighborhood, but some in Manhattan are easily reachable."

Coffee shops and restaurants - see PSP reviews HERE for local restaurants and cafes. 

 

Further Reading:

Click HERE to read more reviews and recommendations on PSP about Play Spaces in Brooklyn

 Got a Teenager and looking for things to do?  Get some ideas HERE.

 

Photo credits: Staten Island photo via here: https://flic.kr/p/RJstjd, Rockaway photo via here: https://flic.kr/p/cgb9to, Natural History Museum via here: https://flic.kr/p/SaMwQp, all other photos via Pixabay

 

How to End the Summer with a Splash

We’ve got a few more weeks of summer; let’s make it the best of it! Here are some ideas to make it great.

1.websitepage.2.splash

 

Things to do in and around NYC

  • Walk around the Lullwater at Prospect Park

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Lullwater.Summer

  • Get water squirters and have a water fight

 

  • Visit a playground with a water feature (Imagination Playground, 3rd Street or Harmony Playground)

 

Harmony Playground

  • Look for bats at dusk by the Prospect Park baseball fields
  • Head to one of the Farmer’s Markets around the hood and make dinner
  • Watch the sunset together as a family (Red Hook, Bear Mountain and Coney Island all have great views)
  • Swim at one of the local pools or take a trip to Bear Mountain pool

Things to do anywhere

  • Blow bubbles or make giant bubbles (find the recipe for giant bubbles below)
  • Get the kids out of bed early in the morning and go to the beach to watch the sunrise (Coney Island works!).

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  • Go through your photos. Print out great ones to put up on the walls. Create an online album and print one out for each of your kids so they all have their own copy.
  • Have an End of Summer Celebration and come up with some lifelong traditions (using some of the ideas above).
  • Start a gratitude routine. Go around the room (dining table, campfire, etc.) and say what you are thankful for. You can start with “I’m grateful,” “I’m thankful” or “I appreciate” and choose anything about your life, family, friends, or summer highlights. Put these in a jar and read them at the end of the year.
  • Have an "I’m excited for" routine where you can express what things you are looking forward to in the future.

OH!  And square up with Summer Camp Counselors if you want to thank them for their hard work!

With school on the horizon
Talk about the upcoming school year to make the transition easier. Discuss with your kids how they'll make new friends, go to fun playdates, and have a great school year. If you have a PreK or Kindergartener there are dedicated groups on PSP with meetups by school. See our Tips for the First Day of School (including preparations!)

 

*Giant Bubble Recipe

  1 cup Simply Dawn (not concentrated- very important!). some of the bodegas have this as does Home Depot (a big one cheap!)
  1 tsp baking soda
  1 tsp powered J Lube (maybe something you have on hand will work?) You can order this on Amazon (I don’t know of a local resource)

Giant Bubble Wand
  Wooden dowels (our local hardware stores have these but so do Lowe’s and Home Depot)
  String- baker’s twine works, but cotton clothe’s line works really well if you take out the center.
  Rubber bands to attach string to the end of the dowels.

 

There are 3 basic types of wands on THIS page.

 

HAPPY END OF SUMMER!

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Top 10 Questions to Ask on Your Preschool Tour

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 Top 10 Questions to Ask on Your Preschool Tour

  1. What is the school’s educational philosophy? Preschools have many different educational philosophies and approaches. That’s why it’s vitally important for you to understand the philosophy and approach of each preschool you are considering and how that aligns with the personality of your child and family. 

  2. How long has this school been in existence? How long has the director been here? Get a sense of the school’s history and how long they’ve been operating. A director with a long tenure may indicate a more stable educational environment and this is good information to have when comparing schools. 

  3. How experienced are the teachers? Preschool teachers’ training requirements vary by state, but it’s important to know some details. Did the teachers study early childhood development? Do they have a college degree? How long have they been working with children? Not all staff need to have formal credentials, but the head teacher should be certified in early childhood education and hold a B.A. or M.A. 

  4. How much play time do the children have? Depending on the preschool’s educational philosophy, your child could have abundant or limited play time. Decide what’s best for your child’s personality, growth, and development. Make sure you tour the entire facility including the play areas. Well-maintained classroom and play spaces show a commitment to the children’s entire experience. 

  5. How much parental involvement do you expect or want? Parental fundraising and volunteering is often expected. Find out exactly what is required regarding parental support. If you want to get really involved, cooperative preschools require parents to volunteer in the classroom. If it’s not a co-op, ask if the school has an open-door policy so you can visit whenever you’d like. 

  6. What is the school’s separation policy? Preschool might be the first time your child will experience an extended separation from you or a caregiver. Depending on the child, being dropped off for school in the morning can be overwhelming. Find out what the separation policy is so you know how involved you’ll need to be at the start and to determine what will work best for your child. You could be required to stick around for the first few days, or the school may take a more cold-turkey approach.

  7. What is the school’s approach to discipline? It’s important that the school’s disciplinary style works with your beliefs, and that you have an understanding of when and why you may be called in. At many preschools, learning how to play with others is core to the curriculum. Social emotional development is the backbone of any good preschool's work, so getting a full understanding of how the school provides this is key.

  8. What does a typical day look like? What in the world will your child be doing all day? This is an important question to ask and the answer will inspire additional questions you may have regarding the daily school experience like: How much time will your child spend outside? Will they be fed lunch/snacks or do you need to pack these? Will the children be leaving the school building often? What does rest/quiet-time look like?  

  9. Will my child be safe here? This may be the most important question. What is the school’s protocol in case of accidents and emergencies? Where are the first aid kits and emergency defibrillators (or lack thereof)? Are the teachers certified in CPR and pediatric first aid? What is the policy regarding drop-off/pick-up and ensuring that the school knows exactly where your child is at all times? If your child has any allergies, now’s the time to ask about allergy protocol and experience. 

  10. Does the school meet my family’s basic needs? Every family is different. You may look at a highly regarded school and decide that it is the wrong fit for your family. Can you afford it? Is the location convenient? Do the hours work with your schedule? Are you comfortable with the nutritional approach? What’s your gut feeling right after the tour? Picking a school is a deeply personal family decision–don’t base it on popularity or what your friends are doing.

Thanks to our article sponsor, The Early Childhood Center at Congregation Beth Elohim; a preschool that fosters growth, curiosity, and self-esteem.

 

 

 

Fall and Halloween Events -- 2018 Edition

Here's a sampling of the local events happening around Brownstone Brooklyn. (Are we missing something?  Email us at .)

Want to go apple or pumpkin picking? Check out PSP-member recommended destinations here

Looking for apple & pumpkin picking destinations that are public transportation friendly? Check out these PSP-member tips here

 

 

78th Precinct’s Halloween Haunted House
When: Thursday, October 26-Monday, October 30, 4pm to 9pm
Where: 65 6th Avenue, Park Slope/Prospect Heights
How Much: Free
What: The 78th Police Precinct’s chilling, third annual Halloween Haunted House here. This is a scary, things jump out at you kind of experience, not for the faint of heart or young of spirit (or me!).

 

Saturday October 27th, 2018

  2018.GhoulsandGourds.BBG

Ghouls & Gourds

Where: Brooklyn Botanical Garden (has three entrances: 150 Eastern Parkway, 455 Flatbush Avenue, 990 Washington Avenue)
When:  Saturday, October 27, 2018 12 –5:30 p.m.
How much: members and kids under 12 free, tickets $10-15
What: Enjoy spectacular shows and weird workshops, meet local authors and illustrators at the book barn, and join in on the day’s grand finale: Brooklyn’s wackiest costume parade, featuring colossal puppets, giant drums, and stilt dancers.

 

 2018.prospectparkhauntedwalk

 

Halloween Haunted Walk & Fair @ Prospect Park --- CANCELLED


Brooklyn BOO!  Prospect Park After Party at City Point.

Where: Citypoint, 445 Albee Square West, Downtown Brooklyn
When: Saturday, October 27,2018 2 – 5 pm
How much: free but registration is recommended
What: Costume contest, photo booth, pumpkin patch, Nail Art, Face painting and more!

 

Spooktacular
When: Sat Oct 27th, 11am - 2pm
Where: Audubon Center, Carousel, Lefferts Historic House, NethermeadPs 282, 180 6th Ave
Get your costumes on and join us at PS 282 for an afternoon of Halloween fun! A sizzling BBQ by one of our fabulous chef dads will entice visitors young and old with burgers, hotdogs and corn, a variety of spooky treats will be available at the cake stall and all children will love the carnival Halloween themed games in the gym, getting their faces painted and rocking out in our costume parade and dance party!
For older children looking for a fright, we are unveiling a frightening spooky room and for the little makers we have a place to chill-out and craft.
Great way to escape the cold, have fun for the whole family and get in the mood for Halloween while supporting our lovely school, can’t wait to see you there!

 

Beyond x Industry City: Kids' Halloween Parade
When: Saturday, October 27, 10am to 4pm 
Where: Industry City, The Frying Pan Wheelhouse, Courtyard 5-6
How Much: Free
What: Beyond and Industry City's second annual Kids' Halloween Parade...

 

Kids’ Halloween Parade & Trick-or-Treat

When: Saturday, October 27, 11:30 am to 3pm
Where: Industry City
What: Not one but two parades at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm. Playhouse, arts and crafts, face painting and trick or treat at the food mall.

 

Sunday October 28th, 2018

18th Annual Fort Greene Park Halloween Festival
When: Saturday, October 27, 11:30 am to 3pm
Where: Fort Greene Park, Fort Greene (Central Lawn)
How much: Suggested $5 donation per day of event entrant.
What: The 17th Annual Fort Greene Park Halloween Festival. Rides, games, prizes, face-painting, crafts, live music, and more!

Pumpkins, Pirates, Pizza and Parades! The PSP Halloween Costume Contest and more!
Where: The Old Stone House & Washington Park
When: Sunday, October 28, 2018 12:00 p.m.–3:30:00 p.m.
How much: free to enter the halloween contest, pumpkins and pizza pay as you go.
What: Wear your Halloween costume, with prizes for best in show! Plus, paint pumpkins and make pizza in the Old Stone House outdoor oven.  The day will end with a mini-parade around the park with band Paprika; great for little ones who can’t make the larger parade on the 31st whch starts at 6:30!  

Sean Casey Animal Rescue's Howl-o-ween Block Party
When: Sunday, October 28th, 12pm-5pm
Where: 153 East 3rd Street, between Caton Ave & Ft Hamilton Pkwy, Windsor Terrace (the entire block!)
How Much: Free
The animal rescue's 11th Annual Howl-o-ween Bark Block Party presents games, crafts, DJ, live entertainment, raffles, animal welfare information booths and pet adoptions. Costume contest and howling contests for kids and dogs. Sign up begins at noon for contests. 

Pierrepont Playground Halloween Parade
When: Sunday, October 28, 10am
Where: Pierrepont Playground, Pierrepont Place, Brooklyn Heights
What: An annual Halloween parade followed by a bake sale, crafts, and playground fun!

The 20th Annual Great PUPkin 2018
When: Sunday, October 28, 11:30am to 1pm
How Much: $10 registration fee per dogWhere: Fort Greene Park (at Washington Park), Fort Greene
What: Fort Greene Pups' 19th annual Great PUPkin—”Brooklyn’s largest and most outrageous dog costume contest." Watch cutie pattutie dogs compete for one of ten Great PUPkin rosettes with prizes donated by local businesses. 

 

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Park Slope Civic Council's Annual Children's Halloween Parade

When: October 31, 2018 at 6:30
Where
:  Parade Start 14th Street and 7th Avenue, ending at the Old Stone House at Washington Park on 5th Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets.
How Much: Free
What: Children of all ages, including the young-at-heart, are welcome to join in the largest children's Halloween parade in the United States. Please let the paraders pass and join at the back!
 

BAMBoo!
When: October 31, 2018 4pm - 7pm
Where
: 30 Lafayette Ave between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St
How Much: Free

What: This is a Ft. Greene based Halloween block party. Family-friendly music and mischief kicks off at 4pm!


Rocky Horror Picture Show Live Karaoke Revue and Halloween Extravaganza presented by The Occasionalists
Where: The Bell House
When: Weneday, October 31, 2018 Doors at 7pm, Show at 8:00
How much: $12/$15 day of show - VIP tickets available.
What: A 21 and over benefit for The Center for Anti-Violence Education. Every year, on Halloween, The Occasionalists do a special Rocky Horror Picture Show live karaoke night in which they play two complete live karaoke sets of the movie soundtrack with singers from the audience doing all the lead vocals.  In between the two sets, they have a costume contest with some great prizes and there is also a raffle in which one can win, among other things, two round-trip airfares. To make the show even more fun, we have NYC RHPS who are the longest running group of Rocky Horror shadow casters (the people who act out the movie in front of the movie) who perform with the clips. Last but not least, the show is a benefit show for The Center for Anti-Violence Education, a Park Slope-based organization that "develops and implements comprehensive violence prevention programs for underserved individuals and organizations.  https://caeny.org. The band proudly donates all proceeds to CAE.VIP package includes open bar (beer, wine and well cocktails) from 7 -9pm and a gift bag. 

 

 

The Four-Letter Word Your Family Needs

 Sponsored By 

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 TheParentsPlace.Image

Your toddler is spinning around like a headless chicken caught inside a tornado, and your tween is escalating from 3 to 10 on the NOOOOOO scale.

Do you:

(a) Feel your blood pressure rising and respond to your kids at the same level of frenzied energy they’re putting out?

(b) Calm everyone down—starting with yourself—and then address their needs?

(c) Hide?

For most of us, the answer is (a). Our kids are in a tizzy, we are in a tizzy– there is always so much to get done – and we soldier on convinced that doing will lead to getting done, and getting done will lead to rest. That seems like a reasonable assumption… except, it’s wrong.

Intentional, deep REST—purposely de-stimulating yourself at key times during your busy day—is fundamental to your family’s health, productivity, and well-being. We recognize this with babies. We know that good naps make for happier infants and better nighttime sleep. But, we often forget it with older kids, and with ourselves.

That’s not our fault. The pace and technology of 21st century living causes us to live in elevated sympathetic arousal. That’s the “fight, flight, or freeze” part of the nervous system. Excellent for keeping us alive in moments of crisis, but terrible for daily life. The more our stress response activates, the more it becomes our go-to. Having our sympathetic nervous system switched “on” is detrimental to our physical and mental health. The same is even more true for children.

As parents, we can learn to weave REST into our family’s day. This will activate the parasympathetic “rest-digest-repair” nervous system, which fosters qualities like equanimity, organization, and empathy. Believe it or not, intentional rest actually helps you get more done.

Try these simple practices, with kids and by yourself. Go from fight-flight-freeze to rest-digest-repair in two - five minutes.

  • Centering breaths: Inhale 4 counts, exhale 4 counts. Inhale 5, exhale 5. Inhale 6, exhale 6. Now inhale 6, exhale 8. Repeat six more cycles.
  • Jaw de-clencher: Place tongue tip in between top and bottom teeth. Inhale 4, hold 1, exhale 4, hold 1. Repeat 10 times.
  • Regenerator: Set timer for 5 minutes. Lie down on floor. Close eyes. Put both hands on belly. Inhale feel belly rise, exhale feel belly fall. When timer rings, smile before opening eyes.
  • Buddy breaths: Sit back-to-back with your child or partner. Inhale and exhale deeply through the nose. Lean gently on each other and notice your breaths align.


Try one of these practices in the morning before the get-ready rush, exactly when you feel like you don’t have a moment to spare. In the midst of a toddler tornado; on your commute; before homework and dinner prep; after kid bedtime. Notice how just one or two minutes of deep, intentional REST helps deescalate the highest stress times of day—and reduces your need for other four-letter words!

The Parents’ Place designs individualized mindfulness and movement programs that help families build strength and flexibility in mind, body, and spirit to (re)find their centers and live better, together. 

 

 

The Intellectual Vitamin for Kids: Dual Language Preschool

Sponsored by

 

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CBE3

Dual language learning in preschool helps builds executive function, empathy, cognitive flexibility, cultural identity, and fluency.

Executive Function

Executive Function is often stronger in bilingual children. When kids are learning two languages, they really have to focus on which language to speak in the moment. Saying "Goodbye" to Mom and then "Boker Tov" (Hebrew for “good morning”) to your teacher demands close attention! This kind of fluid interaction improves their ability to switch from one task to another. These “task-switching skills” are a true building block of executive function.

Empathy

Young dual language learners have to follow social cues to figure out which language to use and in what setting. This helps build empathy and social engagement skills. In basic social-emotional skills testing, bilingual children as young as three often score higher than their monolingual peers.

Cognitive Flexibility

Children’s brains are like sponges! They are constantly creating connections among different symbols, words, and concepts. Because we know that learning and speaking more than one language makes the brain more flexible, dual language classrooms help to further expand children's mental skills. Specifically in areas like visual problem-solving, pattern recognition, abstract thinking, and logic.

Cultural Connections

Through dual language learning, preschoolers effortlessly develop an understanding of–and deep familiarity with–two cultures. This helps to strengthen their own identities, creates a sense of belonging, and inspires cultural curiosity.

Improved Fluency

Studies have shown that after the age of seven, children start to lose the natural ability to reproduce new sounds. This makes second language acquisition slower and more difficult. The ideal way for a child to learn additional languages is continuous, regular exposure, but this isn’t always possible. For this reason, introducing languages in the early childhood years of education is the best way to make the most of this innate ability.


Thanks to our article sponsor, The Early Childhood Center at Congregation Beth Elohim; a preschool that fosters growth, curiosity, and self-esteem.