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Mom ListServs

Why you need a mom listserv and 4 of the best in Manhattan.

Mom ListServs

When I joined my first moms' group, I was pregnant with our first child. I didn’t join to meet other moms or to ask advice. I joined because I wanted to find a new apartment. It was hard to believe at the time, but our neighbor swore that I could get leads that way, so I did it. It was intimidating at first. When someone posts a question, it’s posed to the whole board. I didn’t want to post a “dumb” question, and I wasn’t exactly sure how to navigate the Yahoo group. Slowly, I figured it out, though, and I learned to love mothers’ groups.

Being a new mom can be scary, and in a large city like New York, it can also be isolating. Mothers’ groups are a safe place for moms to ask questions, get advice, meet other mothers with children of similar ages, make friends, and so much more. Don’t let the fees or application processes deter you; there are good reasons for these requirements, and they add a level of safety, security and trust for members. So do some research, and find a local group in your neighborhood. These boards are invaluable and have made my experience as a mother so much more positive.

Here is the 411 on four of the mothers’ groups in downtown Manhattan.

Hudson River Park Mamas

Group personality: My go-to group to find a personal chef or a great haircut downtown.

This yahoo group has almost 2,000 members living in Tribeca, the Financial District, and Battery Park City. New members need referrals from an existing member and must live in the designated group area. Otherwise, a new member can interview with the group’s founder. In addition to the main board and classified board, the group offers a number of sub-groups varying from age based play date groups to an entrepreneur group for mothers.

Costs: $55 membership fee, and a $35 yearly renewal fee.

Bowery Babes

Group Personality: My go-to group to find volunteering opportunities for kids or where to donate my outgrown car seat.

This tent group of almost 2,000 members covers the East Village and downtown Manhattan. Every applicant must attend an in-person interview as part of the application process. In addition to the main board and classified board, Bowery Babes offers educational seminars and philanthropy opportunities. Members can also join sub-groups based upon their children’s ages, which makes things like play dates easier to organize.

Costs: The group is free to join.

West Village Parents

Group Personality: My go-to group to find an evening babysitter.

Serving the West Village, this smaller group has several hundred members. In addition to the main board, this group has a great nanny exchange board for members.

Costs: Membership is an annual fee of $35.

Westside Moms

Group Personality: My go-to group to find a local kid’s class or when the carousel at Pier 62 will open for the summer.

This google group covers the Chelsea area. It is a smaller group with several hundred members. You must be recommended by an existing member and added by the group administrator. This is a Chelsea-centric group that focuses on activities in the local neighborhood.

Costs: There is no fee to join.

In This Article

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

    $120

    Detective set

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    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

    $30

    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $100

    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

    $40

    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

    $100

    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

    $45

    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

    $179

    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

    $100

    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $33

    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $88

    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

    $75

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $30

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