Brooklyn Heights’ reputation as a family-friendly neighborhood is well earned, as proved by its wealth of enrichment programs for kids. Babies and toddlers can clap their hands at sing-alongs or roll around on mats. Older kids can take lessons in everything from parkour to ballet, chess to art.
119-121 Pierrepont Street (at Morgan Place)
The Constellation School of Music holds toddler sing-alongs several times a week at the First Unitarian Congregational Society. Image: Beyond My Ken/Wikimedia
The instructors of the Constellation School of Music will come to students’ homes to provide one-on-one instruction on a variety of instruments, including guitar, keyboards, drums, saxophone, and ukulele, along with music enrichment classes for little ones ages two to four. The school also leads sing-alongs at the First Unitarian Congregational Society (as well as in Williamsburg) Tuesdays through Fridays. Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers are strongly encouraged to bop, sing, and shake their rattles.
130 Clinton Street (between Joralemon Street and Aitken Place)
360 Furman Street (One Brooklyn Bridge Park, between Piers 5 and 6)
This climbing studio recently opened a second facility at One Brooklyn Bridge Park, just a few blocks from its original location. The Clinton Street studio features a 17-foot climbing wall; in addition to open climbing sessions for adults as well as kids, it teaches climbing to students as young as three. The Brooklyn Bridge Park center offers skateboarding classes, for 4- to 7-year-olds and for those ages 8 to 10. Parkour classes are available for those age groups too, as well as for older kids. And though its ninja classes do not teach the art of guerrilla warfare, they do allow kids as young as 4 to hone their gymnastics, climbing, parkour, and overall athletic skills via obstacle courses. Everyday Athlete has an after-school program too, where in addition to playing, kids can receive help with their homework from an on-site tutor. Once school is out for summer, kids can participate in Everyday Athlete’s summer camp; along with climbing, parkour, skateboarding, and gymnastics, attendees will get messy with arts and crafts and play classic games such as Capture the Flag. Weeklong single-activity camps are offered as well.
221 Atlantic Avenue (between Court Street and Boerum Place)
Is four months old too young for a child to start classes at a gym? Not according to the Little Gym—though rest assured that its sessions for babies and toddlers up to three years old are in the “parent and me” vein, with an emphasis on rolling around on mats, sharing toys, and trying to catch soap bubbles. Once kids reach their third birthday, they can enroll in introductory gymnastics and dance classes; in the latter, no single discipline is emphasized and instead students are exposed to ballet, tap, and hip-hop alike. Kids can continue with their gymnastics and dance lessons up through age 12, as well as participate in summer programs.
117 Remsen Street (between Henry and Clinton Streets)
Even newborns are welcome at Naomi’s Music. In fact, the studio offers sessions just for babies up to eight months old (and their caregivers, of course), where they can be exposed early on to music and movement. Toddlers and kids up to the age of four graduate into the mixed-age music classes, where along with their caregivers they’ll sing, sway, and learn the fundamentals of making and appreciating music.
182 Henry Street (between Pierrepont and Montague Streets)
NY Kids Club. Image: Marco/Flickr
The Brooklyn Heights outpost of this locally based chain has classes to interest athletic kids, artistic kids, bookish kids, and kids who just want to play. Introductory music and movement classes are open for babies as young as two months old (along with their caregivers). Once they reach the toddler years, up until age six, they have a wealth of classes to choose from. STEM Juniors, for instance, introduces two- and three-year-olds to math, science, and engineering via hand-on experiments, games, and songs; these young scientists and mathematicians can then proceed into STEM I or Architects & Engineers classes. The Famous Artists class introduces kids to artists as diverse as Claude Monet and Annie Leibovitz, though little ones eager to get their hands dirty might opt for the Paint ‘n’ Glue class instead. Ballet, chess, cooking, gymnastics, hip-hop, and karate are among the other options.
195 Montague Street (between Clinton Street and Cadman Plaza West)
Girls and boys learn and play side by side in Soccer Shots’ programs, which are broken out by age. Two-and three-year-olds are introduced to the fundamental skills and rules through games and songs. Three- to five-year-olds are taught the basics such as dribbling, passing, and shooting, along with the importance of sportsmanship. And players ages five to eight sharpen their skills and participate in their first competitions.
147 Remsen Street (between Clinton and Court Streets)
Most kids have a natural flair for the dramatic. At Treasure Trunk Theatre they learn how to wield that talent constructively. In the flagship class, Imagination Adventure, kids create a new play each week, based on the contents of a treasure-filled trunk, with instructors guiding them on the fundamentals of storytelling, movement, acting, and cooperation. The summer camp follows a similar modus operandi, with the theme changing weekly and with arts and crafts added to the mix. This summer the weekly themes are based on popular movies including “Inside Out” and “The Wizard of Oz.”