Long Island Family - May 2024

Page 1

What is Book tok?

What parents need to know the Win-Win of Caregiver support

Your Explorer
speCialty Camps & summer programs The Arts, STEM, Sports & More! For



This summer, see your young artists shine as they learn from the best professional teachers and artists in a magical woodland campus.

This summer, see your young artists shine as they learn from the best professional teachers and artists in a magical woodland campus.

Choose from 1-, 4-,and 8-week day programs for K–12 with 50 classes in music, dance, creative writing, chess, theater, recreation, and more!

Choose from 1-, 4-,and 8-week day programs for K–12 with 50 classes in music, dance, creative writing, chess, theater, recreation, and more!

Bus transportation from NYC and Long Island included with tuition.

Bus transportation from NYC and Long Island included with tuition.

www.usdan.org |

www.usdan.org |



Wheatley Heights, Long Island

Wheatley Heights, Long Island

Register for a free campus tour on May 5 and 19

Register for a free campus tour on May 5 and 19

May 2024 | Long Island Family 3


F eatures

8 | Tech

5 Substack newsletters to follow

14 | childcare

New study shows how to support employers with caregiving benefits

20 | m om Stories

My battle with postpartum depression

26 | Profile

Glow Maven Latham Thomas

30 | Tech

What parents need to know about BookTok

stories & Columns

6 | editor’s letter

16 | family fun

Long Island Game Farm expands

18 | family Day o ut

Summer at Wildplay

22 | c amps

Specialty Camps for your summer explorer

Family F un

28 | c alendar

All the fun activities for May

Profile: Glow m aven

Photo: Yumi Matsuo | yumimatsuostudio.com

Hair & Makeup: Buffy Saint Marie Hernandez | buffysaintmarie.com

Produced by: Donna Duarte- Ladd

Shot on location at: The Soft Space by Mama Glow

4 NewYorkFamily.com | May 2024 M Ay 2024 NewYorkFamily.com
pg. 26 pg. 30 pg. 22 pg. 28 pg. 20
May 2024 | Long Island Family 5 C olumbia u niversity t ea C hers C ollege a ffiliate s C hool Buckley Country Day School Opening The Eyes And Awakening The Mind SCAN TO SIGN UP! OPEN HOUSE P re -N ursery - G rade 8 limited sPots still available for the school Wednesday May 15 at 9:00 a.m. 2 I.U. Willets Road, Roslyn, NY • 516-627-1910 www.buckleycountryday.com @buckleycountrydayschool

The Art of Mothering

May is a busy month, and it is also includes Mother’s Day.

Many know becoming a mom affects us all differently. In Mom Stories (page 20), our Deputy Editor, Jeannine Cintron, shares her Battle with Postpartum Depression and how she still works through the struggle of depression and anxiety.

What would parents’ work lives look like if all employers up the ante. A study reveals why Caregiving Benefits Improve the Family and the Employer (page 14).

We are excited for the expansion Long Island Game Farm recently announced, check out what is coming to every Long Islander’s favorite spot (page 16).

The month of May also means summer is near; if you are looking for a unique camp we have a helpful roundup of Specialty Camps and Programs and more in this issue (page 22)!

Publi S her: Clifford Luster

eD iTorial Direc Tor: Donna Duarte-Ladd

aSSociaTe Publi S her: Erin Brof

aDver Ti S in G Direc Tor: Stacie Goldberg

DePuT y eDiTor: Jeannine Cintron

DiGiTal eDiTor: Kaitlyn Riggio

e venTS manaG er: Shara Levine

aSSociaTe Di G iTal eD iTor: Thalia Fernandez

eD iTorial aSS i STanT: Alexa Lutter

Par Tner S hi P manaG er S : Lauren Alperin, Lauren Anchin, Joan Bergman, Mary Cassidy, Suzanne Cirigliano, Chris Cunnington, Lori Falco, Shelli Goldberg-Peck, LynnMarie Hanley, Lisa Herlihy, Nicole Miller, Janine Mulé, Nina Spiegelman, Gwen Tomaselli

marke Tin G & S TraTe Gy Direc Tor: Rosalia Bobé

marke Tin G & e venTS aSS i STanT: Ashley Rivera

Sale S & marke Tin G a SS i STanT: Elana Cantor

marke Tin G aSS i STanT: Tilejah Gilead

m e D ia Sale S aSS i STanT: Anastasia Aktipis

ar T Direc Tor: Leah Mitch

web Develo P er: Sylvan Migdal

Gra P hic De S i G ner S : Arthur Arutyunov, Connie Sulsenti

eD iTor S aT larG e: Serena Norr, Cris Pearlstein

eD iTorial conTribuTor S : Jana Beauchamp, Mia Salas

eD iTorial inTern: Avital Kessner

ContaC t inFormation aDver


Share your feedback and ideas about family life in New York!

Email us at editorial@newyorkfamily.com and tag us at #newyorkfamily

6 NewYorkFamily.com | May 2024 editor’s note
get i N touch
S in G: (718) 260-4554
Tina@NewYorkFamily.com aDD re SS : New York Family Media/Schneps Media 1 MetroTech Center North, Third Floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 Pre S i D enT: Victoria Schneps-Yunis ceo : Joshua Schneps coo : Clifford Luster New York Family has been awarded the PMA Gold Award for for Overall Design and Bronze for Website General Excellence. New York Family is published monthly by Queens Family Media, LLC. Reproduction of New York Family Media in whole or part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. All rights reserved. ©2024 Queens Family Media, LLC n ina Gallo Photography 2023
(718) 260-8336







NEW FOR 2024

NEW Gaga Stadium: 4 Gaga Pits with Viewing Decks

Sky Trail: NEW elements

NEW Spray Park

NEW Special Events

NEW Travel Trips NEW Preschool Water Play Area

May 2024 | Long Island Family 7
631-499-8580 parkshoredaycamp.com
AGES 2 – 15

5 Substack Newsletters to Follow Written by Women tech

During the pandemic, a lot unfolded. Sure, it was a chaotic time, but it also sparked creativity, leading many of us to cultivate or seek genuineness while we schooled kids, worked, and juggled our day-to-day. Amidst this, digital newsletters emerged. Sure, there are those newsletters we never signed up for that mysteriously plant themselves in our inbox that do not relate to our lives. Go away! Yes, those newsletters. These were different. These offered authenticity as the main narrative, and while some have started before the pandemic or post-lockdown, we have begun to hear more about these exceptional newsletters.

Some are from our favorite sites or podcasts, where newsletters are an opportunity to provide you with valuable and helpful content daily or weekly. Sign up for those and read them because they are most likely being curated by an editor with excellent credentials- gathering and sending this valuable content your way.

Another form is Substack, where you can browse a variety of newsletters, sign up for one or more, and manage what is sent to your inbox.

What is Substack

Substack emerged around 2017 and allows writers to publish and circulate their newsletters. Most come from working editors, journalists, or people who wish to share more about a particular subject; this is a welcoming forum where they can do it.

It’s a revolution for many writers as it allows journalists, editors, and authors to do what they are passionate about (writing) while being provided tools to create and manage their subscriber lists. Authors can even charge subscriptions for access to their content, and

fans can read beyond what is shared on a writer’s social media handle. It is a way to stan out on someone you admire while not flooding your beloved mailbox with content you don’t want to read, a win win for all involved.

Here are 5 worth checking out Resilence with Alexa Wilding . New York Family’s former cover mom (October 2022), Alexa Wilding, is also a great writer. After years of sharing her life via Instagram as a writer, singer-songwriter, twin mom, cancer mom, survivor, and advocate, she has started a Substack.

When I was just a fan of her IG handle, her raw essays led me to get to know her, which led to an NYF cover. Whether she shared from her earthy home upstate or at the hospital while one of her twins and then herself fought (and won) their cancer battles,

her writings were profound. Even in the saddest moments, there were layers of hope and a love for the energy and mystique of life. I am excited to read more about her journey and, most importantly, resilience in her new newsletter!

Gratitude Journal by Alex Elle. Alex is my therapist; she doesn’t know it, but she may since she has a following of over a million plus on Instagram alone, and most of her followers hang on to her every phrase, wordfor-word. This New York Times bestselling author, breath coach and more- has posted words that have lifted, consoled, and given me hope. Her newsletter, Gratitude Journal, is a resource of hope and growth where you can find posts on Growing through Grief and Gratitude , Lessons are Blessings and Gratitude for Boundaries , and more. This is for all

8 NewYorkFamily.com | May 2024

Let your life speak. We are Friends Academy.

Since 1876, Friends Academy has set the standard of academic excellence on Long Island.

We are the #1 ranked private school on Long Island and an independent, college-preparatory Quaker school, serving age 3 - Grade 12.

Our timeless values elevate our outstanding academic program to create a unique educational experience, where your student will be empowered to inquire, reflect, and engage in real-world, life-changing ways.

May 2024 | Long Island Family 9
270 Duck Pond Road, Locust Valley, NY 11560 516-676-0393 | friendsacademy.org

her free subscribers; Alex also offers paid subscriptions from $7 a month to $70 a year, which provides different benefits.

Scraps by Carolina Gelen. It all started with a can of tuna for me with Carolina Gelen. I was searching for a suggested feed on Ig, and this delicious (and affordable!) recipe where one can make tuna benedicts, tuna burger, and more in just a few minutes became my lunch and dinner staple. Her newsletter is full of delicious recipes that feel easy to make and doable for my family in this expensive food economy; her newsletter is called SCRAPS, and her goal is to work hard to churn out recipes that won’t break the bank. I want to, and so will you, make everything she cooks up, like her Sweet & Saucy Apricot Chicken and her 30-Minute Creamy Caramelized Fennel Pasta

Les Undressed. There used to be a time when I dressed pretty cute; as I write this post, my big toe wiggles out of the hole of my well-worn sock. While I still have my style moments, they have become few and far

Substack is a way to stan out on someone you admire while not flooding your beloved mailbox with content you don’t want to read — a win win for all involved.

between as I now work full-time remotely. Sure, not having to worry about getting dressed up daily has its financial and time benefits, but I grew up loving style. While New Yorkers are pretty stylish, Parisian style hits differently. They have that je ne sais quoi when it comes to their wardrobe.

Someone I found who inspires me is Sylvie Mus. This human could wear a sack and look fabulous, so let’s get that right out in the open. Her twist on classics reminds me of what quiet elegance looks like. Initially from Rwanda and now living in Paris, Sylvie’s newsletter focuses on wardrobe building and

insider tips, and her approach to dressing is more simplified, which is where I am personally at right now in my life. It also doesn’t hurt that she shares some of her day-to-day life, which gives me a dose of everything France I adore.

Hi, It’s Your Older Sister. One of the coolest things about newsletters authored by a friend or colleague is that they offer a unique glimpse into the things you already admire about that person and a window into their thoughts and experiences. Whether it’s a heartfelt reflection on life, insider tips, or candid musings on motherhood, it is refreshing to read authentic content. It harks back to the days when blogs first started to pop -up, before people became influencers, and the waters began to get mucked with what is real and what is staged.

Hi, It’s Your Older Sister. Cris Pearlstein shares genuine tips and honest mom advice, such as rejection and identities. Many of us can relate to these subjects while adulting and mothering. It is also nice to know that your older sister still has your back.

10 NewYorkFamily.com | May 2024

Kids live their best life learning new skills, building confidence and making forever friends!

Locations: New Hyde Park, Wantagh, Jericho, Commack, Islip Terrace, Stony Brook, Farmingville, East Yaphank, Westhampton Beach Did your child not qualify for in-school services? We can help! Most major health insurances accepted. Evening and weekend hours available!

SPOT PAL! A clear, custom-fit, tongue training appliance designed to teach proper tongue resting posture. Tongue Thruster? Nail Biter? Mouth Breather? TMJ? Lisp? Snorer? Thumb Sucker? SPOT PAL CAN HELP! THESPOTPAL.COM

May 2024 | Long Island Family 11
THE SUMMER! Please visit YMCALI.org/camp for details. Financial assistance is available! CAMP 2024: JULY 1 - AUG 23
Speech LongSpeech Island Long Island

STEAM the Summer Slide Away at Extreme STEAM Science Kids Camp

the “summer slide” is a common concern among educators and parents, where students can lose academic skills during the summer break. Studies suggest that about a third of the science and math knowledge gained during the school year may dissipate over the summer months. In today’s technologydriven world, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects are vital for children’s academic and overall life success.

However, it’s equally important for kids to have a fun and fulfilling summer break. Balancing academic retention with enjoyable experiences is key. This is where programs like the Extreme STEAM Science Kids Camp play a crucial role.

Operated as part of Park Shore Country Day Camp in Dix Hills, the Extreme STEAM Science Kids Camp caters to students completing first through fifth grades. The camp provides a blend of indoor and outdoor classrooms, including a hydroponic grow lab, multiple gardens, a robotics room, an engineering room, and a unique space called the ESSK cave, housing reptiles, fish, and a pond ecosystem. Campers engage in diverse activities such as coding robots, designing and engineering projects, conducting experiments, caring for animals, and tending to gardens on a daily basis.

One noteworthy aspect of ESSK is its integration of the arts with STEM subjects, forming a holistic approach known as STEAM. This integration aims to make learning both enjoyable and educational, fostering essential skills like collaboration, communication, problemsolving, and critical thinking.

The camp is staffed by experienced instructors who guide campers through a journey of critical thinking and discovery. Each day, children participate in age-appropriate activities designed to stimulate their minds and fuel their imaginations.

In 2023, for example, campers

designed tents and engineered protective shelters for butterfly eggs and baby caterpillars they found in their butterfly garden. When it was time for the nascent butterflies to emerge, one camper suggested they invite other campers to watch, “because it makes you feel good and free.”

“That is the exact kind of compassion and kindness we need in science and engineering education,” says Extreme STEAM Science Kids director Stacey Susinno. “Summer is a time in which our campers can discover true fulfillment in learning for the purpose of helping our Earth.”

In 2024, the Extreme STEAM Science

Kids Camp offers four blocks of camps throughout the summer to accommodate varying schedules and interests:

Block One: Energy Explorers (July 1-12): Activities include coding robots, studying energy exchanges, and creating hands-on terrariums.

Block Two: Patterns in Nature Adventure (July 15-26): Campers explore patterns in nature, engineer habitats, and code robots to mimic animal behaviors.

Block Three: Systems and Interactions Safari (July 29-August 9): Campers design gardens, program robots, and delve into systems thinking.

Block Four: Ideals and VisionariesStructure and Function Quest (August 1223): Activities include engineering virtual gardens, enhancing robot functions, and exploring structural design.

The camp not only nurtures confidence in STEM abilities but also provides ample outdoor time under the guidance of caring counselors and teachers. To learn more about how Extreme STEAM Science Kids Camp can offer a fun and enriching summer experience while preventing the summer slide, visit extremesteamcamp.com for more information or to schedule a tour. Join us in making this summer both educational and memorable for your child!

12 NewYorkFamily.com | May 2024 New York FamilY partN er
May 2024 | Long Island Family 13

Caregiving Benefits childcare

New study shows how support from employers strengthens families — and businesses

The phrase ‘caregiver benefits’ might seem completely foreign to many parents. Unfortunately, the modern parent has to contend with a barrage of work/home confluences as they navigate childcare, work schedules, kids’ schedules, illness, and much more. While hybrid/remote work has become a part of the norm since COVID, many parents still have to piece together childcare, which sometimes feels like piecing together an impossible puzzle. From using vacation time for kids’ illness to using PTO days, many parents simply need flexibility – and employers who value and understand that –to make it all work.

On top of figuring out schedules, parents also have to allocate enough funds – and make enough money – to pay for childcare. In some instances, childcare is so costly where some parents may find themselves working to essentially pay for childcare. This causes many parents stress and unease. Many even leave the workforce and/or can’t take on challenging roles such as leadership roles because the stress outweighs the potential positives.

However, a recent white paper study, “The R.O.I.(Return of Investment) of Caregiving Benefits” from Vivvi, a company that provides child care and early learning for children and families, in collaboration with The Fifth Trimester, found that family-friendly caregiving practices can boost earnings, productivity, and leadership potential. Thus, caregiving benefits can lead to an improved work environment and profit to employers. In fact, childcare benefits are so vital, respondents from this recent study said they ranked having childcare benefits more than having a 401k!

“In 2024, support for caregivers at work – benefits, training, culture, or all three – is no longer ‘bells and whistles’ but a vital

pillar of profitability, with calculable R.O.I.,” says Lauren Smith Brody, founder of The Fifth Trimester, and author of the report. “For years, we’ve known that this progress is the right thing to do, but now we can see – with real numbers – that it’s a business imperative.”

Featuring six months of quantitative and qualitative research and data, the survey measured more than 300 caregivers and 10

individual case studies in a diverse range of industries, demonstrating how support can drive profits. Read on to check out more about the survey and its surprising findings.

Quite simply, caregiving benefits can include non-monetary and monetary benefits such as offering flexible schedules, providing discounted or complimentary childcare services, offering extended leave time, and/or offering respite care, to name a few options.

14 NewYorkFamily.com | May 2024
cottonbro studio/pexels.com

Key Findings in The R.O.I. of Caregiving Benefit

Caregiving benefits not only benefit parents but provide retention for all. When parents are treated with belonging and equity in a company, other employers also benefit. The survey found that 42% of respondents who considered leaving their job in the last year say that they stayed because of their employer’s support of their caregiving; while 59% of respondents say that if they had back-up or subsidized child care they would be likely to stay in their job for at least four years.

Candidates are actively looking for family benefits. Being a parent is no longer something caregivers have to hide or figure out on their own. Survey findings show that 9 out of 10 respondents say that they’d rather have an ongoing child care subsidy of $10,000 than an immediate $10,000 cash bonus. Incredibly, respondents ranked having child care benefits more important to them than having a 401k. Candidates are also looking for paid family leave, on-ramping programs,

Caregiving benefits can include non-monetary and monetary benefits such as offering flexible schedules, providing discounted or complimentary childcare services, offering extended leave time, and/or offering respite care.

and fertility benefits when looking for a new role, even if they won’t use them yet.

Productivity is boosted with parent-friendly policies. Quite simply, when parents don’t have to worry about childcare they are better able to be focused and motivated. According to the survey, 69% of respondents said if their employer had backup or subsidized child care they would work in person more often than required. Additionally, 57% of respondents said that if their employer had backup or subsidized child care they would take on higher-level work.

Leadership can be unlocked with childcare benefits. The survey also found that childcare benefits may offer companies better gender balance. Thus, allowing more women in

leadership positions.

Improvement of ROI and profits. One case study showed that every $1 invested in caregiving benefits drives $18.93, for an R.O.I. of nearly 18x.

“This new report makes it clear that parents are driven to stay, grow, and create progress and profit for their employer,” says Lauren Hobbs, Chief Marketing Officer at Vivvi.

“There is no single way to support caregivers in the workforce; but rather, so many accessible strategies—each with measurable R.O.I.—that companies can implement regardless of their size, structure or industry.”

The full survey results of “The R.O.I. of Caregiving Benefits” and the 10 case studies can be found here.

May 2024 | Long Island Family 15
Now Registering for Camp

Long Island Game Farm Expands

Big plans are afoot for a LI gem

Long Island Game Farm, the largest combined children’s zoo and wildlife park on Long Island, has some big plans thanks to a grant from Suffolk County’s JumpSMART Small Business Downtown Investment Program.

Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone, legislator James Mazzarella, legislator Nick Caracappa, and legislator minority leader Jason Richberg presented a check for $568,000 to Melinda Novak, president of the game farm, and daughter of founder Stanley Novak, will use it to expand and improve the iconic zoo.

“I am sincerely grateful for the generous support from Suffolk County and JumpSMART program awarded to the Long Island Game Farm,” said Novak. “This grant will enable us to renovate our amphitheater and develop a universal access trail, which has been a long-time dream for us to be able to share with all members of our community. This expansion coincides with the efforts of our new nonprofit arm, the Foundation for Wildlife Sustainability, as it develops programs in the cultural, educational, and wellness categories. Knowing Suffolk County believes in us gives us great hope for our future aspirations as the Long Island Game Farm continues to grow.”

Island Game Farm this summer for a day out the whole family will enjoy.

For over 51 years the amphitheater was home to animal presentations, educational programs, a theater, and music performances, but has been closed since the start of the pandemic. With these new funds the revamped stage will make animal interactions easier with the goal of having visitors be able to hold Madagascar hissing cockroaches, get up close to an American alligator, take part in interactive animal shows, and more. Novak also imagines “hosting Wild Weddings for animal-loving couples, and family-friendly, animal-centric music performances.”

When the Long Island Game Farm first opened it had a nature path built in from the start called the Woodland Trail. Thanks to JumpSMART, the trail will be revamped to include five acres of unused land with a blacktop path making it universally accessible to wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers, giving all visitors the opportunity to commune with nature. The newly imagined path has plans to include a labyrinth, benches, and more native plants with plant markers making these new additions easy to identify.

Along with these exciting developments, the game farm recently introduced their non-profit arm, Foundation for Wildlife Sustainability, with a mission to connect people with wildlife and the natural environment. The Foundation plans to host a variety of activities and engaging experiences including the Wild Treasures Market, a monthly flea market that will take place from June through October, a family fun day on August 22, and Twilight in the Wild, a fundraising benefit.

With all of these changes and new programming, make sure to visit the Long

what to k now about visiting the long i sland Game farm

The Long Island Game Farm is located at 489 Chapman Boulevard in Manorville.

The farm is open in June MondaysFridays from 10am-4pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am -5 pm. In July and August they are open daily from 10 am- 5pm.

Admission is $26.95 for ages 13-61, $22.95 for seniors 62 and older and military personnel, $19.95 for children ages 3-12, and free admission for ages 2 and younger.

Most of the Long Island Game Farm is wheelchair accessible, with the exception of the Nursery and Bambiland due to the uneven terrain.

The Long Island Game Farm has been a staple on the Island since 1970 and will be celebrating their 55th anniversary next year. With so many memories made on the farm, they are asking visitors to submit their stories to wildlifesustainability.org to be included in this milestone event.

For more information, visit longislandgamefarm.com.

16 NewYorkFamily.com | May 2024
family fun
May 2024 | Long Island Family 17 PREPARE YOUR FAMILY NOW FOR SUMMER FUN! LA Fitness Lake Success LA Fitness Garden City Park 24 Hour Fitness Valley Stream Visit britishswimschool.com today to sign up

Summer at WildPlay!

Plan a family adventure now

This summer, experience fun from new heights at WildPlay Element Parks, Jones Beach. This fun, action-packed outdoor adventure reopened on April 19th and is ready to welcome families today. At WildPlay, families can experience Jones Beach from an entirely different point of view by launching into some incredible sights of one of the best beaches in New York. Enjoy a ride on its 700ft long zipline, traverse through one of its adventure courses, or get your blood flowing from its jump line; there’s something enjoyable for every family filled with thrill seekers.

about wildPlay

WildPlay was founded by Tom Benson and Gord Ross to help people improve their health through fun and challenging activities. Their vision is to ‘Evolve the Human,’ Encouraging us to step out of our comfort zones and embrace the unknown. Families can push their boundaries at this adventure park, knowing that safety is a top priority. They adhere to best-of-breed practices, ensuring everyone’s safety while encouraging people to take chances.

At WildPlay, visitors can take chances from various intensity levels, depending on their interests. Each WildPlay park offers its own unique course and experience. WildPlay park locations include Jones Beach, Maple Ridge, Nanaimo, Niagara Falls, Thacher, and Victoria.

wildPlay at Jones b each

The course at WildPlay Jones Beach is one every family should experience. With their 700ft long zipline that you can enjoy next to a friend or family member, you’ll see beautiful coastline views at affordable prices. The zipline experience ranges from $14.99-$24.99.

Guests can also choose from a variety of adventure courses. On these adventure courses, you can move from platform to platform, across tightropes, climb cargo nets, slide down zip lines, take flight on rope swings,

and test your balance on swinging logs and wobbly bridges. Families can choose from their classic course (from $44.99-$62.99), extreme course (an add-on to the classic course for $14.99), or even give a chance at adventure to their little ones on their kid’s course ($24.99-$34.99). The kids course is recommended for children between 5 and 12.

Need more adventure? Don’t worry; WildPlay’s ‘What’s To Fear Jump’ might be the perfect plunge for you. This 40-foot leap off a platform will surely get your heart pumping. Start by climbing up a rope ladder. Once you’re at the top, a guide will begin to prepare you for the giant leap of faith. This exhilarating jump can be added to your adventure for just $14.99.

WildPlay has a range of various packages and bundles that are suitable for anyone looking to visit and get more bang for their buck. Their Zipline Family Rate is perfect for big families. Book with six or more people, and you save $5 for each person. Or experience all that their adventure courses have to offer by getting the Triple Play Bundle, with a time estimate of 3-4 hours; you’ll get to pack in all the fun of their

courses, ziplines, and their ‘What’s to Fear Jump’ for just $69.99, saving $20.

Check out their site for more details on their experiences, packages, and special offers. We also recommend you browse their FAQ section to ensure you’re adequately prepared for all the fun.

Getting There

WildPlay at Jones Beach 2600 Ocean Parkway Wantagh, NY 11793, is accessible by car and is available in Field 4. WildPlay suggests visitors walk to the Jones Beach Boardwalk and locate WildPlay Jones Beach Guest Services in the Boardwalk Cafe. Those taking public transit can get to Jones Beach by taking the LIRR Babylon* branch or bus to Freeport to catch the n88 NICE bus to Jones Beach.

WildPlay suggests arriving with a few minutes to spare, which will give you and your family time to find parking and walk to the park.

For every family seeking an exhilarating new experience, WildPlay is a must. It’s a place where memories are made, boundaries are pushed, and fun is redefined. So, why wait? Start planning your adventure today!

18 NewYorkFamily.com | May 2024
family fun

is now part of

Mommybites.com provides expertly curated resources for all parents in the New York area, including our most popular feature — our mom-generated nanny board — the best online source for parents to find vetted (by other parents), experienced nannies and childcare providers who want to work in New York City, Westchester, Long Island and Northern New Jersey.

Visit Mommybites.com; we can’t wait to see you there!

May 2024 | Long Island Family 19

My Battle with Postpartum Depression

Depression is a funny little illness. Because you look and feel like you’ve been through the spin cycle of a washing machine, yet everyone keeps telling you that you’re totally fine. You’re fine, your family says. You’re fine, your friends say. You’re fine, the doctor says. You’re healthy, your family is healthy, and everything is perfectly fine in your life.

If you’re supposedly so fine, then why don’t you feel fine?

Why, instead, do you feel like every moment awake is an assault on your mind and body, like the very act of taking air into your lungs is earth-shatteringly terrifying, and like you are no longer even living inside of yourself, but instead just functioning as a separate, mindless entity, numbly hovering over your former self in the meager hope that someday you can return and feel, dare I say, normal again?

And all the while, as you’re feeling increasingly un-fine, the world around you is spinning away. People are still living their lives, still going to work, still caring for their children, still eating and sleeping and smiling and laughing every day. They’re doing all the things you did back when you really were

fine. Except now, everyone else is fine. They go right on living while you teeter dangerously on the brink of insanity, wondering how you’ll make it another day, another hour, even another minute.

I had my miscarriage in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner. I had watched the parade in the morning, dressed my son in his holiday finest, then drove over to my mom’s house in Brooklyn and sat down with my family at the table to eat. Sometime between my first stuffed mushroom and second slice of turkey, I began to feel the stabbing pangs of labor pain. Two terrifying hours later, I emerged from an emergency room bathroom stall with a tiny, balled-up fetus wrapped inside of a sanitary napkin. Horrified and shaking, I handed it to the triage nurse, who told me I was running a fever and needed to calm down.

Please don’t feel sorry for me. My story is only seemingly dramatic because hospitals, blood, and death tend to fill me with dread, and retelling the events of that day is simply impossible to do without conveying just how dramatic it all felt at the time. But in reality, I’d been only eight weeks along, was quite optimistic that I could conceive again soon, and honestly thought I was going to be okay. I mean, much worse things have happened to

people much more misfortunate than myself. So after about ten miserable hours in a dim hospital room, I went home and crawled into bed, exhausted and sad but feeling that the worst of it was over.

Or so I thought.

I did not know, at that point, that postpartum depression could happen after a miscarriage, even one occurring in just the first trimester. I didn’t know that the overflow of hormones coursing through my body after this event – combined with the severe loneliness brought on by a harsh winter, a young child who needed more from me than I could possibly give at the time, and a hardworking husband who was never home – would lead me into a frightening downward spiral so intense that I am still recovering from it today.

My husband used to leave for work around 6a.m., and I’d wake up at 5a.m. just to savor the only adult company I’d enjoy all day until he returned, already half-asleep, around 9p.m. Those mornings I’d sit on the floor of the foggy bathroom while he showered for work and we’d chitchat back and forth. It was the closest to normal that I would feel all day. Then I’d climb back into bed when he left, around the same time my son would usually wake up, and we’d watch cartoons together until the sun came up. And then I’d brace

20 NewYorkFamily.com | May 2024
mom stories

myself for a very long, lonely, dreary, anxietyridden day.

The darkest period of my life was like one, long, drawn-out anxiety attack. I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life, but never like this. My days were spent pacing the floors of my three-room apartment for hours at a time, fingers tearing at the hair behind my neck and pulling until it bled. I’d clutch the phone in my hands and cry, praying for it to ring, wishing for someone to talk to, anyone at all who could distract me from my personal hell for a moment or two. I’d open every shade and curtain in the house, hoping the daylight might flood my home and chase my shadowy demons away. I’d wait by the window, praying, begging, pleading for my husband to pull up in his car and save me from the bitter, paralyzing loneliness.

One morning, after I’d gotten out of bed, I fainted as I poured my son’s breakfast cereal. It could have been from dehydration, or anxiety, or maybe just plain hunger, as I hadn’t been able to force down more than a slice or two of bread in about two days. I quickly awoke to find my son, confused and

I’d open every shade and curtain in the house, hoping the daylight might flood my home and chase my shadowy demons away.

visibly upset, pleading with me to get up. At that point, I really needed help. For my little boy, my sweet, innocent, scared little child, I had to come out of this. I simply had to. There was just no other way.

Recovery was a gradual process. With the help of my family, some medication, and a whole lot of self-discovery, I eventually began to feel like myself again.

The following March, I was thrilled to learn that my daughter was on the way. This was a blessing for more than just the obvious reasons, because it forced me to stop taking my medication and learn to heal entirely on my own. Honestly, I didn’t even think I was capable of healing on my own until I had no

other choice. So I believe my little girl saved me from what might have been a different kind of downward spiral.

You don’t need to be a parent to find yourself coping with depression, although I know many are. You don’t need to be married, divorced, employed, unemployed, grieving, sick, healthy, rich, or poor. You don’t need to have any reason at all. For many of us, depression and anxiety are simply things we struggle with every single day. They’re as real to us as breathing. Today, I still battle depression and anxiety, although it looks and feels much different when hormones aren’t involved as much.

Your depression affects everyone around you, whether you realize it or not: your family, your children, your friends, your job. Sometimes people understand, but most of the time, they don’t. If you’re lucky, someone will see you struggling, and they’ll reach out to you. If you’re really lucky, you’ll find a place within yourself where healing can begin on its own – where you can realize how much the people in your life need you – and you can learn to be you again.

May 2024 | Long Island Family 21

Specialty Camps and Summer Programs

Summer is near, and you may still be searching for the perfect camp for your child. We get it! We all want that memorable experience for our kids. Summer is about creating memories, connecting, and making new friends. It is about providing your child an opportunity to build on a hobby or skill or introducing them to something new that you know will be an incredible adventure.

We have some unique specialty camps and programs in the Arts, STEM, sports, and theatre right in and around Long Island and worth checking out!

Camp Level Up

48 Pocono Springs Way East Stroudsburg, PA 18302 gamer@camplevelup.com


Camp Level Up is a 1-week sleepaway camp experience for campers entering 4th to 11th grade who want to improve on their gaming skills, all while enjoying the traditional camp activities that a sleepaway camp facility can offer. Located and powered by the team at Pocono Springs - a premiere private sleepaway camp in the Poconos (75 miles from NYC), Camp Level Up offers a hybrid program of esports gameplay and traditional camp activities. Campers spend 50% of their day participating in competitive gaming and the other 50% immersed in an assortment of traditional camp activities including sports, adventure, arts and aquatics/lakefront. Campers of all gaming skill levels are welcome!

Camps ‘R’ Us Summer Stage

SSPJ School, 359 Clinton Avenue, St. James


campsrus.org/camper-programs/ summer-stage

Camps ‘R’ Us Summer Stage is a premier summer musical theatre camp, expertly directed by renowned local theatre professionals. It offers a dynamic and immersive

learning experience with daily workshops in acting, singing, and dance, complemented by masterclasses featuring current Broadway stars. Open to kids in grades 3-8 of all skill levels, the camp provides flexible 2, 4, 6, or 8-week session options. This summer features two major showcases: a cabaret-style revue and a full-scale production of the Wizard of Oz. Participants can choose from a half-day program focusing exclusively on musical theatre or a full-day option that combines theatre arts with traditional camp activities. This unforgettable summer adventure enhances artistic skills in a fun, inclusive environment.

Destination Science

Multiple Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Camp Locations 888-909-2822



Destination Science is the fun science day camp for curious kids, with over 15 STEM activities and make-and-take projects weekly, three science stations per day, plus games, challenges, silly songs and all the friendship and fun of camp! Destination Science’s energetic, professional educators make learning fun. Summer STEM learning through science-based activities

promotes year-round learning. Choose 1, 2 or all 3 exciting hands-on, science camps! At Superhero Physics Fun Camp, kids build a soupedup superhero car and dive into superpower science; at DinoBot Builders & Crazy Chem Lab, kids build a motorized dino-robot and stir up chemistry fun; at Space Base Astronaut Camp, campers build an astro space colony and a solar motorized Mars rover. Enroll today for early bird and multi-week discounts.

DNA Learning Center Summer Camps

1 Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor dnalc-camps@cshl.edu, 516-367-5170 summercamps.dnalc.org

The DNA Learning Center is the world’s first science center devoted entirely to genetics education. They offer fun and challenging camps for science enthusiasts entering 6th–12th grades. Guided by experienced instructors, students use sophisticated laboratory and computer equipment to perform experiments several grade levels ahead of their peers. In-person summer programs at their facilities in Brooklyn, Sleepy Hollow, and Cold Spring Harbor, New York include hands-on labs that give learners the opportunity to use modern molecular biology

22 NewYorkFamily.com | May 2024
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techniques and tools. Their science camps are more than just fun activities. They incorporate technology used by real scientists in their experiments, allowing students to develop their understanding of biology and genetics concepts through lab investigations. The next scientific adventure starts at a DNALC camp!

Extreme STEAM Science Kids at Park Shore

450 Deer Park Road, Dix Hills info@parkshoredaycamp.com


Their summer program is ideal for young science and technology enthusiasts! Tailored for grades 1-5, it immerses children in robotics, engineering, coding, and more at their STEAM Science Center. The thematic 2-week sessions ignite curiosity and nurture essential 21st-century skills. Through hands-on experiments, projects, and scientific field trips, children explore real-world applications and deepen their understanding. Their state-ofthe-art facilities, including the three-story STEAM Science Center and Hydroponics Grow Lab on a 15-acre campus, offer a dynamic and supportive learning environment. Beyond the classroom, kids can extend their day with outdoor adventures, creative arts, and athletic activities. Enroll now for Summer 2024, ensuring an enriching and affordable experience that sparks a lifelong love for learning and discovery.

Hofstra Summer Camps

101 Oak St



Discover an unforgettable summer experience at Hofstra Summer Camps, where campers create a summer that is completely unique to them and their interests. Located on the beautiful 240-acre Hofstra University campus, these Specialty Camps offer an array of programs designed to inspire creativity, foster friendships, and cultivate new skills. From video game enthusiasts developing their own games to young scientists conducting experiments in state-of-the-art labs, there’s something for every interest and passion. Led by experienced instructors, campers delve into a diverse range of activities, blending the

traditional day camp experience with the fun of learning something new within in their specialty seamlessly. Campers can attend for one through four sessions; with lunch included and transportation options are available.

Long Island STEAM Group

Nassau County


LiSTEAMGroup.com, 516-620-6768

At Long Island STEAM Group, children can enjoy weekly themed half-day STEAM programs that spark their imaginative learning when school is out! Long Island STEAM Group’s Mad Science®, Brixology, and Crayola® Imagine Arts Academy™ camps offer a daily combination of in-class discovery, exploration and hands-on activities. These unique experiences include phenomenal take-homes and fun and exciting curriculum you come to expect from a great specialty camp. Children will design, create, build, and assemble a variety of interesting projects every day. Robotic camps also include a robot as a take-home on the last day. Children have so much fun, they’ll forget they are learning! There are so many choices of themes, parents will surely find something that will excite and interest their child.

Planting Fields Summer Camp

1395 Planting Fields Road, Oyster Bay 516-922-8666

erenwick@plantingfields.org plantingfields.org/happenings/summercamp-2024

Celebrate a fun-filled summer of STEAM at Planting Fields Summer Camp! Earth Artists, (ages 4 – 7, July 8 – 12), will be encouraged to dive into their imaginations through nature art experiences as they explore the park and participate in natural science activities, classic camp fun, and create their own materials for a culminating performance! Earth Engineers, (ages 8 – 11, July 29 – August 2) will celebrate the natural rhythm of the season with handson engineering projects , natural arts, sciences, thought-provoking activities, and engaging games. Both camp sessions provide the unique experience of being fully immersed in the historic and environmental spaces Planting Fields offers, including the Education Center,

woodland trails, greenhouses, Olmsted Brothers-designed landscapes, the bird sanctuary, and historic Coe Hall!

TGA Premier Sports Summer Camp

73 De Sibio Place, Inwood 516-202-0763



TGA is the #1 youth sports provider for golf, tennis, and athletics in the country, making it easy and fun for kids ages 5-15 years old to learn and play a new sport. TGA of Northern Nassau County offers a weeklong summer camp where kids can learn the fundamentals of golf, tennis and pickleball, develop and hone skills in a non-competitive environment while building confidence, having fun and making friends. Trusted by families and schools across the country for over 20 years, TGA’s curriculum combines athletic skill development, academic learning, and life lessons to provide an unforgettable camp experience. All equipment is provided. Coaches are experienced, trained and vetted. Ignite your child’s passion for play!

Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts

185 Colonial Springs Rd, Wheatley Heights 631-643-7900



From the moment you enter the 140-acre wooded campus, you realize there’s nothing quite like Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts. This award-winning day camp provides young artists the freedom to joyfully express their creativity in a safe, welcoming environment. Founded in 1968, Natalie Portman and Mariah Carey are among its notable alumni. Offering 1-, 4-, and 8-week programs for K-12, Usdan brings together highly trained professional artists and teachers to collaborate with students in music, dance, theater, creative writing, and visual arts. Each day also includes a live performance and a recreation period with swimming, yoga, and more. Usdan is committed to making camp affordable and offers tuition assistance. Bus transportation from NYC and Long Island is included with tuition.

24 NewYorkFamily.com | May 2024
c amps We’re so Social Follow us @newyorkfamily on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and tag us #newyorkfamily in your New York adventures!
May 2024 | Long Island Family 25 CUSTOMIZE YOUR CAMP EXPERIENCE @HOFSTRA It’s not too late to register for summer camp! A favorite of Long Island families for 40 years, Hofstra Summer Camps provides campers in grades K through 12 with an opportunity to participate in programs that inspire creativity, foster new friendships, and improve their skills in any of our Specialty Camps. From video game enthusiasts developing their own games to young scientists conducting experiments, and so much more, there is something for every interest and passion. Learn more about Hofstra Summer Camps by visiting hofstra.edu/camp or call 516-463-CAMP

Glow Maven Latham Thomas

on The Soft Space, advancing maternal health via community and academia, watching her young adult son soar, and how she is an Open Nest, not an Empty Nester

Our cover this month is by happenstance. Latham Thomas of Mama Glow unveiled a stunning new space and I was eager to feature it. The Soft Space embodies community, education, and support, among other things—but more on that later.

Our New York Family team had quite the agenda on the day of the shoot at this new space. Our Events Editor, Shara Levine, kicked off her day celebrating Women’s International Day in a movement class. Then, our crew arrived to photograph the space and our April mom. While our cover mom, was getting glammed up, photographer Yumi Matsuo and I got to work, absorbing the energy of the space, capturing its loveliness and Latham’s infectious energy.

After we saw the captured pics, we couldn’t resist featuring this new space and celebrating Latham on the cover.

A champion of maternal health through advocacy and teaching- Latham knows support is crucial at the beginning of becoming a mother and even more vital as we journey through the many phases of being women.

We are excited about this new space and one doesn't have to live in Brooklyn to enjoy the space. The community is for all and is there to support you.

I chatted with Latham about expanding Mama Glow, watching her young adult son soar, and how she is an Open Nest , not an Empty Nester.

For all the parents new to Mama Glow,

can you share how Mama Glow supports mothers and families?

I’m the founder of Mama Glow, a global maternal health and education platform that educates and professionally develops doulas and nurse care managers to serve in our healthcare system to improve maternal health outcomes. We have trained nearly 3,000 doulas across the USA and 6 continents. Our market leading training program, the Mama Glow Doula Homeschool Professional Training Program is the first of its kind to be embedded as an Ivy League University course where I was appointed Visiting Professor of the Practice of Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brown University. My commitment to advancing maternal health is grounded in community and academia. We recently wrapped a national Doula Competency training program we designed for CVS Health and Aetna nurse care managers for CEUs. This means that nurses are also learning how to integrate the doula model of care to support families.

We offer doula matching services to families in different ways, some are private pay, others come to us through the Mama Glow Foundation for pro bono doula services. We also offer educational programs for parents.

The Mama Glow Foundation leads efforts in education, advocacy and the arts as well as research and scholarship. At the Foundation we welcome and mentor University fellows through our partnership with Brown University and support Doula clubs on 5 campuses, supporting university doula collectives. The Mama Glow Foundation also provides pro bono doula services across the country

through partnerships with companies like Carol’s Daughter and the Love Delivered Initiative, and through the Citywide Doula Initiative, where the Mama Glow Foundation is the largest provider of pro bono doula services in New York City.

It’s been a deep pleasure to elevate and celebrate this work through our platform, including: The Doula Expo by Mama Glow, our annual culture shifting festival that celebrates a vision for the future of birth work, this past Spring, we held the Doula Expo at Hudson Yards in a 60,000 square foot space and welcomed nearly 2,000 guests. This is how we show up in the community and now folks will be able to also join us for lectures, workshops and events and community support at The Soft Space by Mama Glow as well.

Any advice for an overwhelmed mother on how she can make space for herself?

It’s really important to listen to your body. Self-care is about checking in with yourself on a moment-to-moment basis and meeting your personal needs. Community is so critical as we navigate the challenges of new parenthood. I encourage folks who are feeling overwhelmed to tap into their support system, your sister circle, and practice asking for help - by the way; it can be difficult to ask for help when you’re the person everyone depends on. Having a group text check-in having some folks you can ask to come over and watch the kids while you go for a walk alone, can be really helpful in reducing stress. All of the self-care and stress management tools I use are free: I journal, practice deep breathing, turn on the music and move my body, I water my plants, I go outside

26 NewYorkFamily.com | May 2024

for a walk… all of this helps me stay calibrated. I would invite you to pour energy into the small things that bring you pleasure and punctuate moments of pleasure throughout the day, even those of us who are busy can choose to make this time for ourselves.

It is no secret that New York Family loves you; this is your third cover! Your first cover featured you and your then-tween son. How is parenting evolving for you as your son transitions into adulthood?

I’m honored for my third cover! Parenting

is amazing at every stage. My son is now 20 years alive and I have an Open Nest. I wrote a post when Fulano headed off to school where I spoke about the potency of this new life phase and what it was like to move away from birthing and caring for someone for nearly two decades and then sending them out into the world. My son went on to attend Berklee School of Music in Boston and is now a junior in college. While it’s just a 3 hour train or car ride away from Brooklyn, it’s still far enough away that I am reminded of the distance. It’s good for him because it allows him to spread his wings. I learn so much as a parent about trust. When your children begin to soar, you have to activate your trust and faith in ways previously unimagined, you have to trust that all of the lessons you gave and the messages you shared were encoded. You have to believe that you have raised a person who carries their values in their heart and makes good decisions without your direct and daily influence. And that mutual trust is the pulse of your relationship. I am an evolved version of myself, I became anew when I gave birth to my son and I shed a layer of myself when he entered this new life phase. I don’t say ‘Empty’ nest because I don’t feel empty; I feel whole, alive, and full. I have been so creative during this time, and I’ve given birth to so many projects during my open nesting phase. Open nesting is a rite of passage that I honor and celebrate.

What types of programming are available at The Soft Space?

The programing is really special, we have everything from our professional doula training programs, to wellness and self-care programming like, Full Moon Sound Baths, Crystals for Fertility, Sacred Belly Dance, Womb Healing and more. What’s been really great is that a lot of brand partners have come to the space to activate, so we have hosted events with folks like Juliane Hough and KINRGY, CVS Aetna, where we hosted a retreat for their Women’s Health team, Nanit hosted a day long activation for parents. We are hosting a Retreat for Doulas and Caregivers, something we love to do most, is pour into our community. The space is really versatile and we look forward to bringing even more amazing offerings to the community as we head into the Summer months! Stay tuned to our site and mailing list for program updates!

Handles: @Glowmaven, @thesoftspace.bk @mamaglow

May 2024 | Long Island Family 27
Photo by Yumi Matsuo



Don’t let The Pigeon Drive the bus! The musical!

when : Through June 23, see website for complete schedule where : Long Island Children’s Museum, 11 Davis Ave., Garden City

aGeS: 3 – 8

whaT: Join The Pigeon, Bus Driver, and some zany passengers as they sing and dance their way to helping The Pigeon find his “thing” in this play based on Mo Willems’ Pigeon books.

wanT To Go?: $10 with $17 museum admission; $8 Members; $14 Theater only. licm.org

The 7th annual Springfest

when : Sunday, May 5, 10 am – 4 pm

where : Mid-Island Y JCC, 45 Manetto Hill Road, Plainview

aGeS: All

whaT: Explore 80-plus artisans and merchandise vendors, a traveling food truck rodeo, and a giant Kidz Funzone featuring huge inflatable slides, bouncers and obstacle courses, and more.

wanT To Go?: Free admission. lifairs.com

children’s author night with bonnie Grubman

when : Friday, May 17, 5 – 7 pm

where : Old Westbury Gardens, 71 Old Westbury Road, Old Westbury

aGeS: 3 – 9

whaT: Listen to Bonnie Grubman read her book, Trees Are Not Just for Birds, and other stories.

wanT To Go?: Included with admission $8-$15; free for ages 6 and younger. oldwestburygardens.org

nassau reptile expo

when : Saturday, May 18, 9:30

t he Big Bounce a merica jumps into Broadway commons in hicksville starting may 25.

am – 4 pm

where : Globall Sports Centers, 1 Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City

aGeS: All

whaT: This interactive experience features dozens of reptiles, amphibians, vendors, and games at the kids zone.

wanT To Go?: $10; $5 ages 9 and younger. eventbrite.com

alice’s afternoon Tea

when : Sunday, May 19, 1 – 3 pm

where : Rock Hall Museum, 199 Broadway, Lawrence

aGeS: All

whaT: Enjoy “high tea” in the gardens circa 1767 with a variety of tea flavors, finger sandwiches, miniature desserts, fun etiquette lessons, raffles, door prizes, photo ops and more.

wanT To Go?: $45; $25 ages 6 and older. friendsofrockhall. org


when : Sunday, May 19, 1 – 2:30 pm

where : Center for Science Teaching and LearningTanglewood Preserve, 1450 Tanglewood Road, Rockville Centre

aGeS: 5 – 12

whaT: Take part in a terrarium-building workshop where families can explore nature and then create a miniature world of nature to bring home.

wanT To Go?: $20 per child; free for adults. cstl.org


when : Sunday, May 19, 1 – 6 pm

where : Leeds Pond Preserve, 1526 N. Plandome Road, Manhasset

aGeS: All

whaT: Explore, learn, and get inspired by the world around

us with live music, food trucks, hands-on science and nature activities, and more.

wanT To Go?: $15. smli.org

The big bounce america

when : May 25-June 16, see website for complete schedule

where : Broadway Commons, 358 N Broadway, Hicksville

aGeS: All

whaT: Check out the biggest touring inflatable event in the world with eight massive inflatable attractions including a brand-new 24,000 sq. ft. bounce house!

wanT To Go?: Tickets start at $22. thebigbounceamerica.com

2024 bethpage air Show

when : May 25-26, Saturday and Sunday, 10 am – 3 pm. where : Jones Beach State Park, 1 Ocean Pkwy, Wantagh

aGeS: All

28 NewYorkFamily.com | May 2024

whaT: This Long Island tradition features performances by The United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other military performers!

wanT To Go?: Free. bethpageairshow.com

little neck-Douglaston memorial Day Parade

when : Monday, May 27, 2 pm where : The parade starts at Northern Blvd. and Jayson Ave., Great Neck

aGeS: All

whaT: This quintessentially American home town tradition features local leaders, floats, and businesses honoring those that made that ultimate sacrifice to protect our country.

wanT To Go?: Free. lndmemorialday.org

Su FFo L k

fl!P circus

when : May 3-14, Weekdays, 7:30 pm, Saturdays and Sundays, 1 pm, 4 pm, and 7 pm

where : Smith Haven Mall, 313 Smith Haven Mall, Lake Grove

aGeS: All

whaT: See the great motorcycles inside the Globe of Steel and laugh like you never have before with gleeful clowns.

wanT To Go?: $30-$80. tickets.flipcircus.com

mother’s Day brunch with the long island Ducks

when : Sunday, May 12, 12:05 pm

where : Fairfield Properties Ballpark, 3 Court House Drive, Central Islip

aGeS: All

whaT: Treat mom to brunch, enjoy a catch on the field, and let the kids run the bases after the game.

wanT To Go?: $45; $40 ages 4-9; free for children ages 3 and younger lap child. liducks. com

fleece & fiber festival

when : Saturday, May 18, 10 am – 4 pm

where : Hallockville Museum Farm, Hallockville Museum Farm, 6038 Sound Ave., Northville

aGeS: All

whaT: Come out for shearing demonstrations, fourlegged guests, special fiberfocused tours of the Hallock Homestead, and more!

wanT To Go?: $10. hallockville.org

country kick-off

when : May 18-19, Saturday and Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm.

where : Lenny Bruno Farms, 740 Wading River Road, Manorville

aGeS: All

whaT: Kickstart the farm’s season with country music, line dancing, delicious food, hayrides, activities, photo opps, and more!

wanT To Go?: $10; free for children younger than 2. (631) 591–3592, lennybrunofarms. com

Science Saturday: The interesting world of insects

when : Saturday, May 18, 1 – 2 pm

where : Long Island Science Center, 401 Tanger Mall Drive, Riverhead

aGeS: All

whaT: Dive into the anatomy and identification of insects with interactive models, and even get a glimpse into how an insect sees the world!

wanT To Go?: $20; $15 accompanying adult. sciencecenterli.org

foodie fest

when : May 24-27, FridayMonday, 12 – 7 pm where : Tanger Outlets – Deer Park, 152 The Arches Cir., Deer Park

aGeS: All whaT: Kick off the unofficial start of summer with 30 food trucks and artisans offering a variety of menus as well as family fun including live music, bounce houses and more!

wanT To Go?: Free admission. (516) 416–5607, tanger.com

harbes baby animal festival

when : May 25-27, SaturdayMonday, 10 am – 6 pm

where : Harbes Family Farm, 715 Sound Ave., Mattituck

aGeS: All ages

whaT: Enjoy the cutest baby goats, lambs, bunnies, and chicks on Long Island!

wanT To Go?: $27.95. harbesfamilyfarm.com

block Party 2024

when : Saturday, May 25, 10 am – 12 pm

where : Children’s Museum of the East End, 376 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton

aGeS: All

whaT: Come out for block building activities, DIY stomp rockets, crafts and games, chalk art, and more.

wanT To Go?: Free. cmee.org

The mystery of The missing ever after

when : May 25-June 15, Saturdays, 11 am – 12 pm and Sunday, June 9, 11 am – 12 pm

where : Theatre Three, 412 Main Street, Port Jefferson

aGeS: All

whaT: Stories collide and mysteries abound as three great princesses come together to solve The Mystery Of The Missing Ever After!

wanT To Go?: $12. (631) 473–5220, theatrethree.com

holbrook memorial Day Parade

when : Monday, May 27, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

where : Holbrook Memorial Day Parade, 1069 Main St., Holbrook

aGeS: All

whaT: Honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice at this annual community parade.

wanT To Go?: Free. holbrookchamber.com

May 2024 | Long Island Family 29 MAY calendar
check out the Bethpage a ir s how on may 25 and 26. hallockville museum farm hosts a fleece & fiber festival on may 18.

What is BookTok?

and what parents need to know

BookTok, a niche community on TikTok focused on books and literature, has been gaining traction recently. Its reach has even expanded beyond the app: you can find displays in Barnes and Noble’s and other book stores dedicated to showcasing BookTok’s current favorites.

With over 29 million videos posted to the BookTok tag, more people than ever are getting book recommendations from TikTok, including plenty of young adult readers.

But there’s no real way of controlling what books get put on your child’s For You Page, and many of the most popular books on BookTok may not be suitable for young adult readers.

What do parents need to know about BookTok? And how involved should parents be in what their children are reading, especially as they get older?

We sat down with Dr. Erin O’Connor, chief of education for parenting platform Cooper, to talk about BookTok, how to find appropriate books, benefits kids of reading books of all kinds and more.

How the rising popularity of BookTok is impacting young adult readers

O’Connor says one of the best things about BookTok is that it’s getting teens and adolescents to read.

Reading helps teens and adolescents develop important emotional and cognitive skills. It allows kids to process more emotionally sophisticated content more easily than if they were accessing this content on the ever-moving world of social media, for example.

There are countless benefits that come with pleasure reading for teens and adolescents, so “there’s just a huge upside” in creating a space “where it’s cool to be discussing books and be engaging in these sorts of interactions,” O’Connor says.

While BookTok is beneficial because it’s getting teens and adolescents to read, it should still be approached with caution.

Like many other social media sites that teens and adolescents use, there’s not a lot of control

over what content is put in front of users. As a result, book recommendations from BookTok don’t have the chance to be vetted by parents.

“Some of these books have a lot of adult, mature themes around unhealthy relationships, violence, things like that, that are hard to judge outside of the context of reading,” O’Connor says.

How much should parents be involved in what their kids are reading

The degree of how much a parent should be involved with what their child is different for every family. But it can never hurt to have knowledge about what your child is choosing to read, especially for adolescents and young teens.

O’Connor recommends sites like Common Sense Media if you’re looking for a more researched opinion on what a book contains.

Or, you can get on BookTok yourself and see what’s out there.

“That’s a good way to just get a quick sort of understanding of what your young adult is seeing and what their interest is in a book,” O’Connor says.

It’s also important to remember that even when young adult readers start to gravitate towards more mature books, O’Connor says it’s “not always the content that we’re worried about that they’re interested in.”

“[Adolescence is] a challenging time in terms of friendships and identity and sexuality and all these things that children are often seeking information out about anyway,” O’Connor says.

When dealing with teenagers, give them some space and privacy about what they’re reading.

“If they seem to be enjoying the book and able to handle the content, you can talk to them

about some of the themes, but you don’t necessarily have to be reading along with them,” O’Connor says.

But for younger children, reading the same book at the same time as them can be a great way to start a conversation with them about themes they may be reading about.

O’Connor recommends being aware of series or books by the same author, where the maturity level and themes might “ramp up” as they go on. For example, maybe the first two books in a series are okay for your 13 year old to read, but you may suggest that they hold off on reading the next books until they’re 16.

While there may be temptation to shield children from more mature themes, remember that censoring what they read may not stop them from encountering them. “A lot of these themes and topics, they’re going to be seeing them on Youtube, TikTok, Instagram,” O’Connor says. “And reading is a good way to digest that material in a little bit more of a removed way.”

O’Connor says it’s important to, as a parent, encourage open communication and be ready to discuss these mature themes when teens and adolescents come across them.

There are many benefits of letting young readers read books of all kinds

O’Connor says reading a variety of books can help with empathy development, especially in teen and adolescent readers.

“I think it’s really the exposure to not only diverse voices in terms of the authors, but also diverse experiences in terms of the characters, and seeing and understanding the thought processes that they go through as they make decisions,” O’Connor says. “And thinking about yourself and how you make decisions can be very viable.”

30 NewYorkFamily.com | May 2024

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