Menu

Spring Showers: NY Public Library

A fun day is just a subway ride away.

Spring Showers: NY Public Library

We live in NYC, and we’ve got the whole world at our fingertips. But when that spring rain’s a-falling, we wrack our mama brains for the best spots around town that we can let our babes loose to expend a little energy while we await sunnier days.

Sometimes the best places to take our kids in the Big Apple are the same as they are anywhere else. Like the public library, which besides giving the obvious gift of reading, often offers story times, sing-alongs and other kid-friendly activities. Free activities.

Granted, not everyone’s public library is in a historic building on Fifth Avenue filled with marble columns, majestic ceilings and grand chandeliers. And not everyone’s public library is just a short subway (or bus!) ride away. It just so happens though that one of our local public libraries -- the New York Public Library’s main branch -- is all of those things, making it the perfect destination for the next stop in our “Spring Showers” series with Ergobaby.

FEATURED VIDEO

After an action-packed morning at FAO Schwarz’s flagship store, Kaity and I hopped on the downtown bus with Oliver, Libby and Elsie in tow. Using our Ergobaby carriers -- Elsie in the new Ergobaby Four Position 360 Baby Carrier (which launches April 17) and Oliver in Ergobaby’s Original Carrier in the Sea Skipper print -- makes traveling around the city easy, even on a rainy day.

Still, when we stepped foot inside the great hall that serves as the entrance to the historic library, the kids were ready to run around. While Elsie refueled with a bottle, Libby and Oliver played a little tag, their toddler giggles echoing off the arched ceilings above.

The New York Public Library is the perfect spot for mama to wander with a quiet baby alone -- there’s four floors filled with fascinating exhibits and reading materials galore. It’s also a great place to introduce your kiddies to your love of books, so we headed right down to the Children’s Center to dig into some of our favorite titles for the smallest readers we know.

After a long trek down a long hallway and a few flights of stairs, the kids rushed the room like it was a candy store with rows and rows of colorful books to choose from. They finally settled down and dove into some story time between the stacks.

Meanwhile, the Four Position 360’s front outward-facing position was perfect for some quiet reading time for me and Elsie. She had a fully supported front-row seat as we flipped through some classic baby books, then joined the big kids for some group reading.

After a quick snack at the library cafe, and a quick rotate back to front inward-facing for my babe, it was time to head underground once more. Luckily, we all caught the sun peeking out from behind the clouds as our D train crossed the Manhattan Bridge back to Brooklyn. Then Elsie cozied up against my chest inside her Ergobaby carrier and fell asleep.

Destination: New York Public Library main branch, 5th Ave. at 42nd St.

Nearby subway: B/D/F/V train at 42nd St./Bryant Park.

Hours: M,Th, F, Sat: 10-6, T/W: 10-8, Sun: 1-5

Mama Tips: The Children’s Center is located on the ground floor, down the hallway past the Library Shop, and downstairs. Fill up on snacks at the café before entering the kids' room; there’s no food allowed!

Photography by Evan Gubernick of 485 Creative.

This post was sponsored by Ergobaby.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school 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 summer-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.

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

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

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

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

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden 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

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

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less
Shop

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play