Everyone knows that Harlem is a thriving playground for adults with its abundance of top-rated restaurants, great boutiques and exciting nightlife, but Harlem is also REAL playground for children and their families as well. Aside from the community and cultural activities hosted in Harlem nearly every day, there are a number of different places and programs for kids to learn, play and grow.

-       Harlem4Kids was established in 2006 by a group of neighborhood parents as a way for young children to connect and interact with other kids in the community. Every Saturday, Harlem4Kids offers two 45-minute storytime sessions, the first for infants and toddlers and the later tailored to preschoolers. Storytime features lively reading sessions often combined with sing-a-longs, musical instruments and movement which are led by “Storytime Leaders” volunteers.  Harlem4Kids also offers additional seasonal events that include children beyond the preschool age, that reflect the cultural diversity of the community. Harlem4Kids storytime is located at the Harlem Center PAL Building at 441 Manhattan Avenue and 119th Street. For more information and scheduling please visit their website or email: info@harlem4kids.com.

 -       Kidberry, which opened in 2010, is co-owned by two Harlem moms: Mekia Denby and Pamela  Flood Morrison and features a range of activities for kids up to age 10. “Devoted to promoting physical, intellectual, emotional, and social skills,” Kidberry offers classes from music to art to ballet and “hippitee-hop” dance, as well as foreign language classes and more! Each class takes up to 10 kids and lasts for between 10 and 12 weeks. Kidberry also features drop-in classes for those who can’t participate in a full semester and even offers special birthday party packages. Kidberry is located at 2046 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. For more information and scheduling please visit their website or call: 212-866-KIDS.

Cooper-Hewitt Design Center (Harlem) is a new, 1,500-square-foot space dedicated to events, workshops, and activities for students, families, educators, and adults. The Center is located 111 Central Park at 110th Street. The interior of the space is designed by American-born designer and president of L-7 Designs Inc., Todd Oldham, in collaboration with teens from the museum’s DesignPrep program.

The Center provides high quality and innovative program to the public in regular scheduled classes free of cost.  Current program highlights include a storytelling program with Jonathan Kruk, voted “Best Storyteller in the Hudson Valley”, by Hudson Valley Magazine. Using varied voices, creative dramatics, and language of the senses, Jonathan’s performance features animal tales and fables. Another favorite is the Target Design Kids Tuesday and Thursday Toddler Programs that explore design basics for preschoolers between the ages of 2 – 5. Caregivers are invited to participate in interactive reading sessions that focus on design based books. These sessions will engage your littlest designers in visualization, creative play and inspire hands-on activities lead by a museum educator. For more information on programming see the Center’s website at http://www.cooperhewitt.org/learning/designcenter.

 -       Sol La Ti’s Music Together of Morningside Heights and Harlem was started in 1997 when  Gabriele Tranchina, a world-renowned jazz vocalist, decided to share her love of music with the next generation by training to become a Music Together teacher. Music Together is recognized as an international leader in early childhood music education and offers music and movement classes for parents and children from newborn to five years. Since 1997, Sol La Ti’s branch has expanded to three different locations with three additional teachers. Classes are offered at Grace Congregational Church at 310 West 139th Street, Morningside Gardens at 100 La Salle Street and Broadway Presbyterian Church at 601 West 114th Street. For more information and scheduling please visit their website or call: 212-592-4627.

 

What are your kids’ favorite places to play, learn and grow?