What is more DeLysscious than the beginning of spring in Manhattan, namely Central Park? April is special and extra-fun for many reasons: April Fool’s Day, the beckoning of May flowers (you know the rhyme!), more time is spent outdoors, and Easter! Spring is a perfect time to get outdoors with your DivaTots and maybe even teach them a thing or two about nature, or explore new parts of our wonderful city!
You and your little ones can kick off the month with some laughs with a few cute (harmless!) pranks for April Fool’s Day.
• Put a few drops of food coloring — choose your kid’s fave shade — in a pitcher of milk. For my boys, I know I will be dying their milk blue, green or red! Make sure you are nearby with your camera when he or she sits down to eat breakfast.
• Change the language on your kids’ smart devices to a different one! My kids love movies like “Karate Kid” and “Kung Fu Panda,” so I will change their languages on the iPads to Chinese or Japanese. I cannot wait to see their faces as they try to figure out what went wrong with their lists of movies and music! But make sure you know how to change it back!
• This one’s good for the kid who checks his messages, game scores, and e-mails every morning, or is always playing some type of computer game. Put part of a Post-It note over the tracking ball on a computer mouse to stop it from working altogether. Sit and watch his priceless expression; I can’t wait to see Jackson, my oldest son, when he can’t check his stats on Angry Birds!
• Use a pin or knife to make a few very small holes in a plastic cup, and make sure to put it back on the top of the stack or on the shelf. Watch as Dad gets a drink, and it ends up all over his shirt. And make sure the kids are there to watch with you to laugh their heads off. But make sure that A) you’re not the one doing the laundry that day, and B) it isn’t something irreparable when spilled, like wine!
• End the day on a fun note. After dinner, send the kids up for a bath. When they get there, they’ll find the tub has been turned into a ball pit! This is the most fun and generous “prank” if you ask me! My boys will be in heaven :)
So, about April showers bringing those beautiful May flowers. Where should you go in the city to see the flowers bloom? Here are my family’s favorite flower-spotting spots!
• The Brooklyn Botanic Garden: My boys and I absolutely love the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for its creativity with the designs and display of the beautiful looking — and smelling — flowers! We always stroll around for hours, and then, eventually, make our way to the gift shop to get a nature-themed cute little something to remember our special day. I can’t wait to stroll my new daughter Blake around this year; I will definitely be dressing her in something floral and bright!
[1000 Washington Ave. in Brooklyn, (718) 623–7200, www.bbg.org]
• Conservatory Garden: Located at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street and open daily from 8 am until dusk, Conservatory Garden is the only formal garden found in Central Park. This garden is so beautifully and impressively kept, and just gets more and more luscious and gorgeous every spring! The flowers, water, and trees all come together to make you feel like you are somewhere far outside the city. My boys can kick their soccer ball around with my husband, while I sit and enjoy the views and unpack some DeLysscious snacks.
[Fifth Avenue and 105th Street in Central Park, Manhattan, (212) 628–1036, www.centra
• Bartow-Pell Mansion: Located in Pelham Bay Park, the Bronx, this place is a MUST-SEE! The grounds alone are breathtaking, but add the sprawling, fit-for-a-princess mansion, and you will never want to leave! I hope one of my three children decides to get married here one day. It is free for children under 6, and very cheap otherwise ($3 for kids and seniors, $5 for adults). You can even take a tour of the carriage, mansion and grounds so as not to miss a thing!
[895 Shore Rd in the Bronx, (718) 885–1461, www.bartow
• Wave Hill: Wave Hill is the perfect place to picnic with your kids. With water views and a mansion just as beautiful as Bartow-Pell, this is another perfect urban escape. In fact, the first blooms of the spring season were just spotted here! I can’t wait to have my first mommy-daughter-day with Blake here this month.
[675 W. 252nd St. in Manhattan, (718) 549-3200, www.wavehill.org]
• The Bryant Park Flower Garden: Right near the New York Public Library, this little gem of a garden boasts more than 30,000 square feet of cultivated plantings with 100,000 daffodils, which begin to sprout green foliage in February and are in full bloom in March. Compared with most other parks in New York City, Bryant Park enjoys a relatively early spring. (The shelter of the surrounding buildings the lawn create a warm zone. And some of the more recently constructed high-rises, such as the Bank of America Tower, are sheathed in reflective glass, which bounces sunlight, like a heat lamp, back into the park. Yes, that’s right; you can enjoy what will feel like an early summer with your family!) While you’re there, too, why not take your little ones to do some reading at the most beautiful library in the world?
[Between Fifth and Sixth avenues and W. 40th and W. 42nd streets in Manhattan, (212) 768–4242, www.bryantpark.org]
Living in the city, it may be difficult to find a safe place to set up a great Easter egg hunt for your little ones, or it may just not be in your family’s tradition. Here are some bunny-themed, fun, free, family-friendly Easter egg hunts.
• The Great Easter Egg Hunt: The Lower Manhattan Community Church sponsors this Easter Fest, featuring egg hunts for children of different ages, photo ops with the Big Bunny and other holiday activities. This year’s 10th annual event is on April 12 at 2 pm at PS 89 on Warren Street and is free.
At PS 89 [201 Warren St. at West Street in Tribeca, (646) 397–7051, lowermanha
• Carl Schurz Park Egg Hunt on the Upper East Side: Families can decorate egg-collection bags before participating in one of three hunts, on April 12 from noon to 2 pm. The rain date is April 13 at the Mayor’s Lawn in the park off of E. 87th Street.
Carl Schurz Park is one of my family’s favorites, as there is just so much going on! Jackson likes to watch the hockey and basketball players practice in the big sports arena, while my little Oliver likes to play with our puppy, Jedi, in the little dog park. Adding an egg-hunt and some arts and crafts will be more than enough springtime fun!
[E. 87th Street and East End Avenue in Manhattan, (212) 459–4455, carlschurz
• Easter at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan: The tot spot offers a trio of holiday activities on April 20. Preschoolers can create Easter collages while school-age kids decorate actual eggs. The museum also hosts a twist on the usual egg hunt: Visitors search for half a dozen paper eggs that are hidden throughout the museum. Once located, kids can redeem their completed hunt sheets for Easter prizes! Not to mention, you are at the museum! You can spend the rest of the day exploring and learning with your little ones.
[212 W. 83rd St. between Broadway and Amsterdam avenues in Manhattan, (212) 721–1223, www.cmom.org]
Lyss Stern is the founder of DivaLysscious Moms (www.divamoms.com).