In its brief six-month life, KidPass has changed the way parents find fun things to do in NYC with kids. Equal parts Angie’s List and OpenTable, the membership service lets parents browse and book interesting kids’ activities, often with as little as an hour’s notice. And it vets the merchants, usually in person, saving parents bushels of time. Throw a whole mess of deep discounts into the bargain, and you’ve got yourself an invaluable resource to parents, especially parents looking for kid-friendly activities they’ll love, too. According to CEO Solomon Liou, “[Co-founder] Aaron [Kauffman] and I had worked together in the tech industry and we had recently become parents. We started KidPass out of our own need. We realized it was still really hard to find activities and book them for children, and we wanted to make it easy to discover and book amazing kids’ activities.” During our chat with the two founders, we also asked them about their favorite hidden gems. What they gave us are the kinds of things that’ll make other parents clench their fists and hiss, “Why didn’t I think of that!?” under their breath, fling a cape in front of their face, and spring away from the room. Chocolate Pizza-Making Class at Chocolate Works Ages: 3–12 years What it is: A cooking class where kids smash graham crackers, pretzels, or Oreos into pizza crust before decorating everything with chocolate sauce and candy toppings Why they’ll love it: Kids get to walk through a real-life chocolate factory without the threat of an eccentric chocolatier humiliating them one by one. Did we mention they get to mangle Oreos and eat candy? While you’re there: Re-enact everyone’s favorite I Love Lucy scene at Chocolate Works’ 30-foot conveyor. Neighborhood: Upper West Side Mad Science at Pine Street School Ages: 3–5 years What it is: Fun-centric after-school program; a mix between Bill Nye the Science Guy and an outright hootenanny Why they’ll love it: Even the most science-jaded kid will find it hard to not fall in love with the astonishing, interactive spectacles—think rocketry, magnets, and things that go boom (safely). And kids leave with their hands as full as their newly blown minds, thanks to projects that have them building periscopes, Mad Science putty, and other science-based toys. While you’re there: Stop in for one of its other programs, such as Art Lab and Kids Capoeira. Neighborhood: Battery Park City and the Financial District Puppetsburg at 80 Metropolitan Ave. Age: Birth to 4 years What it is: Interactive puppet show complete with dancing, puzzles, and one-on-one chats with the puppets; kids might even learn a little Spanish, French, and Mandarin along the way Why they’ll love it: The wild capering of these adorable hand-made puppets provides enough auditory and visual stimulation to keep even the squirmiest kids calm. And with special puppet guests that include Beyoncé, Marina Abramović, and Frida Kahlo, kids learn enough culture to hold their own at Manhattan dinner parties. While you’re there: Since it’s basically Sesame Street for hipsters (their words, not ours), progressive parents will enjoy the antics as much as their kids. Just sit back and enjoy the show. Neighborhood: Williamsburg Manga Drawing and Animation for Kids at Resobox Gallery & Cafe Age: 5–14 years What it is: animation and drawing class that activates a kid’s natural storytelling abilities Why they’ll love it: Rather than creating a pre-designed character by numbers, kids get to dream up their own anime character based on kawaii, the Japanese ideal of cuteness and loveability. Kids not only will take home sound-animation principles to apply to other drawings, but also will learn how to create fully fledged characters. While you’re there: Stick around for a traditional taiyaki (fish-shaped pancake) and matcha green-tea float, or chat with Takashi Ikezawa, the founder of the cultural center and a certified Mount Fuji mountain guide. Resobox also features a wildly popular magic class for kids taught by a professional magician. Neighborhood: Long Island City Infant’s Group Music Class at TLB Music Age: Birth–12 months What it is: Imagine Gymboree with cellos; two childhood friends developed these classes that help infants and parents communicate through music. Why they’ll love it: Little ones get a chance to build language skills by babbling to music, to boost hand-eye coordination by playing instruments, and to build muscle strength by going completely bananas with their flailing little limbs. While you’re there: Enjoy the no-holds-barred cuteness of babies trying to play maracas and tambourines, usually at the same time. Neighborhood: Upper East Side
Read More