It’s easy to understand why some New York parents feel they spend their days and nights getting (or figuring out how to get) the kids from one point to another. School is one place, the play space is in that neighborhood, dance is at the studio and robotics is at the place downtown. City Tots, a sparkling new 8,000-square-foot membership-based enrichment center and Pre-K alternative school gets it, and wants to be your home away from home for fun, learning or both.

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City Tots 101

Located on the Upper East Side (at 62nd Street and 2nd Avenue), City Tots, which describes itself as “an educational country club for children,” debuted in April of this year. The massive facility is all new, custom construction and it feels it — the space is airy and pristine. Occupying two floors, City Tots is home to impressive play environments on the first floor, and classrooms, special event spaces and a café area on the second. To use City Tots, you must be a member, and families can join at a variety of levels that range from access to the just play space and café to enrollment in the Pre-K program with additional  concierge services.

Regardless of a family’s membership level, the goal at City Tots is to provide continuity in a child’s environment with a community of parents, teachers, educators and fellow students or playmates. In addition to believing that consistent and safe surroundings encourage social and academic development, City Tots is built on the idea that children learn through play, and gives kids plenty of environments to do so.

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Play Spaces

There’s lots of space at City Tots, and they put it to good use. The first floor is home to six different “adventure areas,” including a dress-up area stocked with costumes representing historical periods, acting/puppet stage, kitchen and grocery store. If the different play areas (particularly the mini kitchen and market) remind you of top-notch children’s museums, it’s because City Tots enlisted designers of kids’ spaces to create them. Not only is everything to scale and appropriately miniaturized for little ones, there’s a special emphasis on realism: the faucet in the kitchen makes the sound of running water when turned “on”, the refrigerator makes noise, the pizza over in the wall turns “on” as well. In the market area, scales measure the produce available for “purchase.”

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Gyms for Both Little and Big Kids

The first floor is also equipped a special gym for toddlers and babies, as well as a two-story gym outfitted with a ball crawl, stairs and three slides.

An additional open and padded space dubbed the “Imaginarium” is where different classes and special features (like a bouncy house) are held.

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Classes at City Tots

City Tots offers enrichment classes galore for members, with options for the tiniest of kids, toddlers, pre-K and grade school age children, up to age 12.  Its “Tiny Tots” program starts as young as three months and includes activities such as Tummy Time, Baby and Me Yoga, interactive games and mini obstacle courses.

Classes for older kids include “Junior Engineers”, Arts and Crafts, Music, Mini Emotional Intelligence (via Theater Games), Arts and Crafts, Gymnastics, Time Traveler, Chef Apprentice, Creative Movement and many more.

City Tots also offers a full Pre-K alternative program (classrooms are located on the second floor) and special classes for parents and caregivers, such as dealing with sleep issues, finicky eaters and finding the right kind of childcare for your family.

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photo: City Tots

Parties  and Events at City Tots

Even if you’re not a member, City Tots can help you throw a birthday party or other special event in its facility. Parties can make use of the downstairs play space if they so choose, or stay upstairs in a party room. If you’d like some help creating a special celebration, you can choose from a menu of turnkey party themes ranging from Superhero Bash to Outer Space to Not-So-Pink Princess Party. Additional entertainment can be arranged as well, from face-painting and a magician to a mad scientist, balloonist or drum circle leader. (Want to host a meetup with fellow parents and kids and need a safe and big space? You can do that at City Tots, too.)

Enrollment for classes, Pre-K alternative, and membership is open now; call City Tots to arrange a tour of the space.

City Tots
315 East. 62nd St.
Upper East Side
212-248-9868
Online: city-tots.com

Have you visited City Tots? Tell us what you thought in the comments!

—Mimi O’Connor