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Fun Ideas For Play Dates With Children

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New York City is more than a place for adults to play. It’s also a great place to explore with kids as there’s seemingly no end of things to do that are of interest or designed for the younger crowd. Make a play date for a group of kids and turn the day into an adventure that they’re going to talk about for weeks. Remember that you need to keep safety as your number one priority when leading a group of youngsters around the city, especially during wet weather. You don’t want someone to slip and fall only to get seriously hurt. Use a buddy system, keep a headcount, but most of all, enjoy yourselves on your day out.

The Playroom NYC

The Playroom NYC is a 3,000 square foot facility designed for children five years and younger and offers a free-for-all creative play experience. Children get to play on a climbing structure, shop in a bodega, dress up in fancy clothes, ride on cars and climb around a playground made from vinyl-covered foam shapes and blocks. Hours are limited to the day time during the week and in the morning on the weekends so plan your visit accordingly.

Modern Pinball NYC Interactive Museum and Party Place

Modern Pinball NYC is great for older kids who are seeking more engagement in their playtime but still have short attention spans. Each admission fee includes no time limit on play and all games are free. No tokens or coins needed for kids to play to their heart’s delight. There’s also an interactive pinball exhibit that shows the mechanics and electronics of a pinball machine. The museum features two multi arcade machines that have over 250 games for those who get tired of pinball. 

Brooklyn Bridge Park Environmental Ed Center

The Ed Center, as it’s called, is a great place for kids to experience the flora and fauna of the East River in an intimate setting. The center features a 250-gallon aquarium full of creatures that were recent residents of the East River. A small rock pool in front of the aquarium is also a touch tank featuring starfish, rocks, plants, and shells that children can touch and hold. Kids can look through a microscope to view water samples and the tiny organisms that live within. The Ed Center has limited hours during the week, but it is free to visit and the adjacent Brooklyn Bridge Park offers more kid-friendly activities when everyone’s tired of the center.

Belvedere Castle

This folly found in Central Park by 79th Street has been fully restored and is a great place for kids to go exploring. It’s located on the second-highest point in Central Park which gives it an amazing vantage point to see the surrounding land and cityscape. Kids are allowed to play on the castle steps with abandon. Make sure to take them up the tower and let their imaginations go where they will go. Be forewarned: there are no public restrooms at the castle, so plan accordingly.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, or CMOM, is a playground that’s disguised as a museum. It’s a place where kids from 0 to 10 are welcome and has plenty of interactive exhibits that are designed to engage kids no matter what their age. The museum also seeks to stimulate children’s interest in the arts and sciences by showing them how every day things work, how the body functions, and go on adventures with famous cartoon characters. Opening hours and days at CMOM vary throughout the year so make sure to check before putting together a play date. 

Good Day Play Café

Good Day Play Café is located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and is representative of a trend that’s springing up around NYC. Adults can sit back and drink coffee while their kids play together in the indoor playground. Good Day Play Café’ offers a climbing wall, ball pit with slide, a matted area with toys for the younger set, a wood cube pit (think indoor sandpit but cubes instead of sand) and more. There’s an hourly charge per child, but parents and babies under 8 months are free with a purchase from the drink menu. 

The Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo is a wonderful destination for a play date. It’s got exotic animals living in their native habitats in an urban setting, a butterfly garden, a carousel, and even a monorail. The zoo allows visitors to bring their own food and has picnic areas so everyone can sit down, relax, and eat before heading off to the next exhibit. You can also bring a stroller, but be mindful that some buildings require that the stroller be left in a designated area before entering. The zoo does have an entry fee for visitors except for Wednesdays when it’s free. Save some money by planning a play date on a Wednesday, but consider donating something to help support the zoo with its ongoing costs.

Queens County Farm Museum

Show kids what life was once like in New York City at the Queens County Farm Museum. The farm traces its existence as far back as 1697 and has been continuously farmed up until the present day. The 47-acre property features historic farm buildings, livestock, farm vehicles, fields for crops, an orchard, and more. Children can visit with the livestock and learn about the jobs they perform in and around the farm. The farm museum focuses on sustainable agriculture techniques and demonstrates that it’s capable of being historical and modern at the same time. 

These ideas are merely scratching the surface of things to do in New York City for playdates. The city is full of museums, points of interest, parks, and even hiking trails that are great for kids of all ages. You’ll never run out of interesting things to do. In fact, the only problem you’ll have is finding enough time to get to these destinations before the kids grow up. 

Hey all! Big thanks to Katy Blevins for handing over the reins to me at the end of 2017 to fulfill my new years resolution to write...often! Based in Miami, you can find me blogging about family life as a mother of two young kids. But i'll also continue the Chaos and Kiddos theme of business, fashion, parenting, product reviews, and...well, I could go on and on.

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Spotlight Features

How to Organize Hand-Me-Down Clothes – Guest Blogger: Brittany Bullen

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Organize Hand-Me-Down Clothes | Brittany Bullen | Chaos & Kiddos
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A big welcome to guest blogger, awesome mama and social media extraordinaire, Brittany Bullen! She’s with us today sharing some great tips and tricks to keeping those kiddo closets in order. And once your hand-me-downs are ready for sale, be sure to check out Using Your Resources: How to Resell Your Used Items and Buy Second Hand and How to Store and Prepare Your Used Items for Resale for the next steps to the craze that is kiddo wardrobes.
 
Looking for the easy button for how to organize hand-me-down clothes for multiple kids– without pulling your hair out? Look no further, people!
 
How to Organize Hand-Me-Down Clothes - Guest Blogger: Brittany Bullen

Now that we’re on our third boy, we’ve finally got this clothes organization thing down to a science. Here are some easy steps you can follow to set up a storage system you’ll love to use for years to come.

 

1. Invest in a fabric box storage system. Mine is from ikea and I can’t say enough how much I love it! More on that later.

 

2. When you can afford it, buy more of the same kind of storage system. I know this might sound like a lot, but we currently have 20 separate boxes of clothes in the rotation.

 

3. Choose your “current size” box placement for the kids’ room. Our 8-box shelf is organized as follows: Top Row– underwear, 5T shirts, 18m shirts, dress clothes. Bottom Row– socks, 5T pants, 18m pants, Jammies.

 

4. When the kids outgrow a size, squeeze all of the outgrown clothes into the same kind of fabric box. I have a rule that we don’t keep any more clothes than we can fit into one box, the ikea fabric boxes are the perfect size for this. Put an index card with the size on top of the clothes so you can identify it quickly.

 

How to Organize Hand-Me-Down Clothes - Guest Blogger: Brittany Bullen

 

5. Put the boxes not currently in use in a place other than the kids’ room, but preferably not too far away or you’ll never want to rotate them. Ours are in the hall closet next to the boys’ room. That way, when we need a new size, we just switch out the boxes. Easy as that!

 

It’s taken us 6 years to figure it out, but I can definitely say that this is the best, easiest, most efficient system we’ve used and we’ll be sticking with it.

 

What tips do you have for keeping your kids’ clothes organized? Leave them in the comments!


headshot.jpgBrittany lives with her husband and three sons in Utah. She is a playwright, composer, actress, singer, thrift shop lover, Mormon and aspiring vegan. She is the founder of the International Bloggers Association, is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science and the Cognitive Behavioral Society (’cause why not). Brittany has a B.A. in English-Writing from Denison University and has an imaginary Ph.d. in Googling stuff she wants to know. You can keep up with her at BrittanyBullen.com.

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Going After The Job You Really Want

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In the years that my children were in grade school, I enjoyed getting to know the support people in their buildings – the custodial staff, the secretaries, the para-professionals – and it never ceased to amaze me how the two latter groups consisted, in large part, of former lawyers, accountants, and business executives.

Similarly, many of the women stacking shelves at our local Gap store and manning the counter at the spin and barre studios were former accomplished professionals, too.

The pull of a low-stress job and a school-hours or flexible schedule must be strong, I used to assume.

But I was wrong.

True, working the same hours as your children is convenient, and having a job that you don’t ‘take home’ with you at night and over weekends, has its advantages. However, I learned through two decades of coaching and placing these women that it wasn’t the schedule or the workload that drew them to these positions. It was the safety.

Most of the aspiring women-returners I’ve met in the last 20+ years arrived at my office already defeated. When, after having a child, they were faced with the “all or nothing” choice to work 60 hours a week, or quit and stay home, they chose the latter, leaving behind careers that they loved and becoming part of the female brain drain that plagued (and still plagues) the U.S. Then, when they’re ready to opt back into the workplace, résumé gaps and related biases have made it difficult for these women to land.

By the time they come to me – a kindred spirit, having been one of them myself – they are discouraged and fully expect rejection as ‘punishment’ for taking years off to raise their children. Which, of course, is ludicrous, and I get right to work helping them erase that narrative from their heads.

But in the heads of the ones who don’t come to me, that narrative is on a continuous loop. Many of them are now helping our kids in the classroom and signing us in to spin class because they settled for ‘safer’ jobs.

A 2015 Women in the Workplace study conducted by LeanIn.Org and management consulting firm McKinsey found that 43% of leadership-track women derail themselves for child rearing at some point; 90% of them with the intention of returning. These women should be assuming leadership roles, growing companies’ bottom lines, and changing workplace culture, yet many are stuck. They don’t know how to properly prepare for their career re-launches and they get quickly discouraged by early rejections.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Women-returners are unquestionably employable. Employers my partners and I polled consider them the best hiring demographic. I’ve personally witnessed hundreds – probably over 1,000 – of them find fulfilling work in my small corner of the world (Connecticut).

Some things make it easier, of course, like keeping up with industry trends, staying current with certifications and licensure, and maintaining relationships with old clients and co-workers. But even women with significant skill deficiencies and long-lapsed credentials can return to work successfully if they have these five things:

1 – realistic expectations based on thorough research and honest self-assessment

2 – a compelling résumé that meaningfully accounts for her opt-out years

3 – a commitment to remediating skill gaps on the job or through inexpensive means like online classes or local continuing education courses

4 – aggressive (not a popular word among women, but spot-on here) networking to get in front of connectors and hiring managers

5 – flexibility and the willingness to consider unconventional offerings like temporary projects or low-paying internships as a way to get a foot in the door.

The economy is improving. The labor market is tight. The voluntary quit rate is at a 17-year high. Employers are competing to hire good people. And, these days, you don’t have to be perfect to be ‘good people’.

Your gapped résumé, your ‘not entirely perfect’ experience, your application that meets only 60% of the job criteria, are all plenty good enough now.

So, if you are wistful for more challenge (and money) than your current job can provide; if you want to get back on the corporate track, but are playing it safe working for minimum wage; listen up. Your time at home was valuable; its impact will be long-lasting, but you have an opportunity now to take advantage of favorable economic timing and get back to the work that you really want to do. Go for it.

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Spotlight Features

FREE Online Conference Alert! A Don’t Miss Opp for Small Biz Owners

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Fit, Focused & Effective: Health Summit for Busy Women
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I made the announcement last week to mark your calendars for May 12-14, 2016 for Modern Femme Movement (Seriously, do NOT miss this!!). More coming on that front (Stay tuned!), and a teeny, tiny reminder that subscribers to this blog (Fill me out over there!! —–>) and members of the Facebook community will get the first shot at early registration. I have a few other surprises in the works, but I wanted to take a quick moment to share a fabulous free online conference opportunity for busy women.

Next week, Fit, Focused & Effective: Health Summit for Busy Women, will kick off with an honest look from top women in health, wellness, and fitness as we all aim for a more balanced, fulfilled life. This free online conference is packed with insight, wisdom and takeaways from 20 of the busiest women on this planet! And I’m thrilled to say, quite honored actually, that I’m included in this bunch of fabulous ladies.

FitFocused

Bryn from coachbryn.com interviewed me several weeks ago for this summit, and I can’t wait for my own podcast to run for a 48 hour stretch beginning May 29. We may have run down a few rabbit trails talking about my tattoos and why they are therapy for me, and I finish off with the one question you should be asking yourself every, single day as a small business owner and busy working woman.

There are very few free online conference opportunities that offer such rich insight to attendees. These ladies are not “phoning it in.” There is a real heart passion for women finding peace and contentment in good health, good business and great family. The podcasts allow you the flexibility to tune in when is best for you. I hope you’ll join us!

Fit, Focused & Effective: Health Summit for Busy Women

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