Brookline Kid Spots

Shop Talk by Kitty Kaufman

There is nothing quite like the switched-on force of preschool kids at play. These junior executives with their paint brushes and easels, instruments and music, books, trucks and blocks, climbing, jumping, watching a play, moving to the rhythms of yoga, or simply listening to a story captivate our attention. We watch, hear their laughter and when we're very lucky, we get to join in.

We have left our mittens at home as these warm May days stretch before us in unending enchantment. We are giddily awash in longer days and ready for something new. So to celebrate the return of spring, we've rounded up a variety of fun places just for you and your baby up to three. We limited our choices here to activities for you and your preschooler to do together. You'll help them work out; they'll watch you work out; they'll sleep while you watch movies. They'll learn art, music, signing, and how to play nicely with others. They'll learn show business and you'll be jealous. Storytelling abounds; theatre too. Nearly everything requires registration or tickets. Please note: this list was compiled in 2006. Call ahead.
StrollerFit®
Brookline Recreation
Indoor/outdoor locations
617. 429. 6369
Diane Pokorny Wilson, instructor/owner, about her not-for-sissies workout, "You will definitely sweat!" Moms and dads with kids six weeks to 4 years turn strollers into fitness machines with cool aerobic and strength building routines: "Classes are tailored to any exercise level and you're never behind." Bonus: the kids are totally engaged with the music and goings-on that so there's no time for crying. Take your fitness to a new level and connect with other new parents in these small one-hour classes. StrollerFit® pass cards: 10 classes for 0; 15 for 0; and 25 are 0 (ask about monthly passes). Indoor locations: Pine Manor College, Newton Lower Falls Community Center, and Soule Recreation Center in Chestnut Hill. Once good weather arrives, look for outdoor programs at local parks. Contact diane@strollerfit.com.

Box Office Babies
Coolidge Corner Theatre
290 Harvard St
617. 734. 2500
http://www.coolidge.org

Take movies! In the daytime! Bring your babies under 12 months to matinees on Harvard Street every other Friday at 11 a.m. Former film maker and aptly named Elizabeth Taylor-Mead, events and membership director, started the bi-weekly program several years ago because: "Parents are people who used to go to the movies and this is a great way for them to be able to keep up with new films." There's stroller parking and changing tables at the back. You'll see whatever film is showing in the evening on the theatre's main screen. Check website for coming attractions. Municipal parking is available behind the theatre.

Brookline Public Library
Main Branch
361 Washington St
617. 730. 2340
http://www.brooklinelibrary.com

At the main library, storytelling for two year-olds is Wednesday mornings at 10:15 (Register for this free series.) Catch Friday Flicks, ½ hour movies for preschoolers 3 and up, Fridays at 10:30. On the website under children's services you'll find links to other fun sites for preschoolers along with the American Library Association's Caldecott and Newbery award-winning books and listing for other upcoming library events. The library's books, magazine, cassettes, CDs, and books on tape circulate for four weeks; DVDs and videos for one week. Get your own library card when you're three.

Brookline Library
Coolidge Branch
31 Pleasant St
617. 730. 2380
"Wonderful Ones," storytelling just for one year-olds, is Wednesday mornings at 10:15. "Terrific Two's" meets Tuesdays at 10:15. Registration is needed for these free sessions. Other preschool story times, Tuesday afternoons at 3:00, are drop-in.

Brookline Library
Putterham Branch
959 West Roxbury Parkway
617. 730. 2385
Storytelling for two year-olds is Tuesday mornings at 10:15. Register for this free series. Preschool drop-in storytelling is Tuesdays at 3:30.

Artbarn Community Theater
50 Sewall Ave
Temple Sinai Building
617. 975. 0050
http://www.artbarn.org

Executive director Jackie Borck's performance troupes; and jazz, vocal, and theatre workshops offer kids 4 and up a variety of show business training. If your preschooler can sit for 45 minutes, see Duck Soup Troupe shows. Borck brings her Traveling Ducks performance programs to local libraries and nursing homes. (Your kids can be Ducks once they reach 1st grade.) And the Beansprout theater workshops, where her staff goes out to nursery schools, work well for very young children, with storytelling, singing, dancing, costumes, and props.

Temple Sinai
Preschool Programs
50 Sewall Ave
617. 277. 5888
http://www.sinaibrookline.org
Rabbi Andy Vogel and education director Heidi Smith Hyde offer two preschool programs. Tot Shabbat services are one Friday evening a month, 6:30-7:15 pm, for ages 2-7 including a brief service, singing, and storytelling followed by a reception. Their K'tonton program introduces three and four year-olds to holiday traditions with arts and crafts, songs, stories, and games one Sunday morning a month, 10-12 noon. Both are free and open to the community.

Preschool 1 and 2 Infant/Toddler Daycare
Brookline Recreation
Soule Early Childhood Center
652 Hammond St
617. 739. 7598
Christine Glendon, center director, offers three programs. Preschool 1: kids 2.9 - 3.8 years and Preschool 2: for kids 3.9 - 4.11 years meets five mornings a week, 8:00 - 12:30 from September through June. Extended day program: 12:30 - 6:00. Activities: blocks, music, art, games, storytelling, cooking, outdoor play and field trips. Class size is limited to 20 with three teachers. The infant/toddler daycare program is for kids 12 months - 2.8 years. Activities: music, art, storytelling, cooking, field trips and gym time. Both programs, which do operate during school vacations, are for Brookline residents and require registration.

Isis Maternity
617.264. 4747
Certified instructor Maggie Magner runs three Itsy Bitsy Yoga® classes just for babies, mobile tots, and tykes. You guide baby's simple stretches. Tot's level is a high-energy 60 minutes and tykes get a 45 minute workout in these six-eight week series. Magner's baby signs program facilitates pre-verbal speech by teaching parents and babies to sign. Magner says, "Babies can sign before they can talk." Register for this 60-minute, full parent participation six-week series for kids up to 18 months. Baby music classes with singing and dancing using the Kindermusik® Village curriculum include warm-up massage and traditional world folk music.

Puppet Showplace Theatre
32 Station St
617. 731. 6400
Executive director Abby Subak, with two kids of her own, says summer shows Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. are geared to 4-6 year-olds but they'll help with specific show age-appropriate recommendations. So how great are puppets? "Live theatre is the best way to get young kids away from electronic media. It's magical for them to see these characters come to life. A kid who won't talk to a real person about how they're feeling will engage with a puppet."

© Spring 2006 for Our Town Brookline
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