Four Free, Kid-Friendly Attractions in New York City

A visit to the Big Apple is a great way to spend a family vacation. While the city may seem like it is more geared toward adults, there are tons of fun things that you can do with children as well. And though New York can be expensive, it certainly doesn’t have to be if you know where to go. If your next family vacation includes a stop in New York City, consider checking out these four kid-friendly attractions which are absolutely free.

New York Libraries

The New York library system is one of the best in the world and offers plenty of fun activities for youngsters. With great family programming and tons to explore, the children’s sections at many libraries in the city as worth the visit. Top branches include the Children’s Center at the main branch of the New York Public Library, the Children’s Library Discovery Center in Queens, and the Central Branch in Prospect Heights.

NEW YORK CITY, NY - DEC 30: New York Public Library and street on December 30, 2011 New York City. It is the 2nd largest public library in US and managed with both private and public financing.

Sing for Hope Pianos

If you happen to be in New York during June, you should definitely check out the Sing for Hope Pianos. These pop up pianos in New York serve as a form of interactive street art. Organized by the Sing for Hope charity, this annual project puts 50 handpainted pianos in the parks and public spaces of all five New York boroughs for public use. Painted by local artists, the pianos are there for anyone to enjoy. Whether you happen upon a delightful performance or have your children play a number, this is a great activity for the whole family.

Sing for Hope

New York Museums

It is no secret that New York is home to some of the world’s greatest museums. Luckily some of them are free and great for the family. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan features a number of interactive learning exhibits. You can visit for free on the first Friday of the month. The Museum of the Moving Image is also a great choice, which offers free admission on Friday afternoons. Here you can learn about all about the history of movies, television, and digital media.

New York City - January 31, 2016: American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. The museum collections contain over 32 million specimens.

Staten Island Ferry

One of the hidden gems of New York is the Staten Island Ferry. This free ferry takes passengers back and forth between Manhattan and Staten Island all day, providing an outstanding and absolutely free view of the Statue of Liberty. Once there, you might enjoy exploring the area, including the Staten Island Zoo, which is free on Wednesdays afternoons.

NEW YORK - JULY 2: People taking the Staten Island Ferry on July 2, 2012 in New York. The S. I. Ferry has been a municipal service since 1905, and carries over 21 million passengers annually.

Making the Most Out of Holiday Parties for Kids

Parties for children are often much different than they are for parents. Instead of just meandering and interacting with others while holding a drink, kids love to delve right in and play. So, why not make holiday parties something the little ones can get into? In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t take a lot to engage a child. For example, official cornhole boards may keep their attention for hours on end.

Fun and Games

Adding fun and games to any party makes it a memorable experience. When setting things up for the kids, simple games can turn into intriguing activities. As long as you can stay true to the holiday in question, games can be quite easy to organize. For instance, a bucket of pumpkin innards with a prize at the bottom could be a fun and disgusting game of “Hide and Seek” when a child’s eyes are blind folded. Obviously, this is one you’d want to reserve for Halloween.

The main thing to understand about children when it comes to games is that they are easy to please. As long as the game isn’t too difficult, a child could be enthralled for hours.

Arts and Crafts

A lot of parents host a party with arts and crafts the kids can do on their own. Most of the time, this can be done without spending a great deal of money. Perhaps your little guests could make their own snow-people with a bag of cotton balls and dollar-store stickers during the winter holidays. Maybe you could help the kids make animals out of pine cones you find in the yard during Thanksgiving.

Arts and crafts can be an excellent way to engage a child’s imagination while giving them a chance to build something on their own. As a result, these crafts often find themselves in keep-sake boxes of parents for decades on end.

Prizes and Rewards

Giving out prizes and rewards doesn’t have to be an expensive project. Remember, kids are easy to please. Most of them would be happy with little plastic trophies from the dollar store. At any rate, prizes and rewards can also be beneficial for the child’s social development. Winning something can inspire confidence within the little one, which can be a boost to self-esteem as well as social interaction. As simple as it may sound, something as small as a fifty-cent prize could be more impressionable than you might think.

The more engaging the party is for children, the more control you retain of the experience. Having a structured layout for activities will help reduce the chaos and mayhem that may ensue.

Image by Stuart Miles /

Images by Stuart Miles from

From Privileged to VIP with My New Robinsons Card

Before all the hustle and bustle of summer activities, a quaint little red box was delivered to our house.  Inside was a glimmering gold card – my new Robinsons VIP Card.  It couldn’t have come at a better time because my Robinsons Privilege Card had just expired.

VIP Gold Card

I know frugal moms like me would agree that membership and privilege cards provide us tons of savings.  I have a cardholder full of such cards but it’s often cumbersome to have to always carry so many cards.  This is among the many reasons why I love my Robinsons VIP Card.  With just one card, I get to enjoy tons of perks and discounts from over 600 tenants of Robinsons Malls, Robinsons Movieworld, Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, Robinsons Handyman and True Value.

New and Improved Robinsons Card

What’s better than having privileges? Being a VIP! We all know that VIPs get all the nice stuff and are treated like royalty.  This special treatment is what Robinsons Malls had in mind when they rebranded the Privilege Card to the VIP Card.

Aside from the host of privileges given to loyal patrons, the new rebranded card now promises to make them feel like the true VIPs they are in Robinsons Malls.  All the features and benefits have been upgraded and improved to provide us with utmost shopping satisfaction. [Read more…]

7 Boat Safety Tips

Don’t play around with the safety of your kids. Before you take that family trip on the water, consider these seven boat safety tips.

1. Check the Weather

Are there any storms on the horizon? Will there be strong winds or big waves when you’re setting off on the water? It’s important to know what the weather has in store for you and your family before you sail away in your boat.

2. Prepare Your First-Aid Kit

1,000 people will have 1,000 opinions about what makes a well-stocked first-aid kit, but how you pack it is less important than the fact that you packed it in the first place. You never know when someone will get hurt while you’re miles from civilization.

3. Count Your Flotation Devices

Personal flotation devices (PFDs) come in a variety of forms, including life jackets and inflatable rings. Make sure you have enough for every single passenger on board. Do a head count before every trip.

4. Have Emergency Supplies on Hand

Are you prepared for loose screws and broken ropes? What will you do if your boat lift winch goes overboard? Prepare for every possibility by always having back-up equipment at the ready.

5. Ensure Communication with the Coast

There are several ways to communicate with those back on land. Some people just use their smartphones; others prefer old-school gadgets like radios. Again, the what is less important than the fact that you have communication devices at all. Never be at sea without a way of contacting others on shore.

6. Share Your Plans

Let someone know where you’re going and when you plan on coming back. It can be someone as official as a coast guard or someone as informal as your cousin; just make sure that at least one person understands to sound the alarm if you go missing.

7. Make Checklists

Parents, you’re probably already familiar with the power of a checklist, so don’t be afraid to wield your wand when it comes to boat safety as well. Make checklists for pre- and post-departure, and follow them to the letter every time.

These are just a few things to keep in mind if you’re serious about boat safety. As you can see, there’s a lot to prepare before you go out on the water, but you’ll appreciate your diligence in the event of an emergency.

Jasmine’s Top 5 Fave Disney Princesses

“A bow. And arrows!”  This was what my daughter replied when I asked her what she wanted for Christmas.  Was I surprised? Nah! She had been asking for a “REAL” bow since she first saw the movie BRAVE.

Ask her who her fave Disney Princesses are and Merida will always be the first one she’ll say.  My little girl definitely isn’t the prim and proper little miss princess type who loves dressing up and playing with dolls.  You can say that she’s quite the opposite of that. This is perhaps why she relates well with Merida’s character.  Her other princess choices are also not your typical “damsel-in-distress” “pretty-as-a-bow” princesses.  Here’s her top 5 list and the values that she has learned from each princess.

5.  Tiana

So, I’m trying to think of any other child I know who has Princess Tiana on her fave princess list and …. I can’t think of any!  Jade says she likes Tiana because she looks like her.  Although I told her that she looks more like Mulan,  she still thinks her skin color is closer to Tiana’s color. Also, she can relate with her because Tiana comes from a poor family and had to work hard to make her dream come true.  Tiana is 5th on her list because she likes her story a lot. 🙂

Jasmine’s Learnings: Work hard for your dreams to come true.

princess tiana

4. Mulan

“I want to fight the Huns! And I want a lucky Cricket even if it doesn’t really bring good luck.”  My daughter may be afraid of cockroaches and other small flying insects but she’d courageously fight bad guys much bigger than her! Like Mulan, she wants to be a soldier so she could protect her family and her country. 🙂

Jasmine’s Learnings: Do not leave your family. Do not be afraid of big bad people.

princess mulan

3. Anna

What’s not to like about this bubbly princess?! She may have been naive and gullible to the false pretenses of a dashing prince but  other than that, you have got to love this princess’ bravery. Imagine everything she had to go through just to reach her sister and to save Arendelle.

Jasmine’s Learnings: To be kind. To love your sister or brother always. 

princess anna

2. Elsa

She’s Queen Elsa now but she was a princess before that so she still gets to be on the “princess” list. ;D She comes second on Jade’s list because ……  she can make an awesome ice castle and create snow!

Jasmine’s Learnings: Never run away. Face your fears.

princess elsa

1. Merida

Need I say more about this? Jade loves Merida because she’s good at aiming targets and because she’s not afraid to go into the forest.  I find Merida too strong-willed though. But my li’l Jade is definitely as brave and as spunky as the Princess of DunBroch. I just hope she won’t ever wish for me to be somebody – or something – else, ever!

Jasmine’s Learnings: Don’t talk rudely to your mother.

princess merida

As you may have noticed, my little girl’s fave Disney princesses are all brave and they all love adventure.  This is why we are not missing this year’s Disney On Ice!  Merida may not be there but Ariel, Rapunzel, Belle promises to delight us with their adventurous and comical stories. Moreover, we’ll be seeing Elsa and Anna on ice for the first time.  The Disney On Ice presents Magical Ice Festival will definitely be a great Christmas gift for our kids (and for the kids at heart!).

2015 DOI flyer 9x6in back