Current Events (temporary series, one-time events)

Robert Messore hosts "Toddler Tunes" every Wednesday at 11:15 for about 30 minutes of sing-alongs. St. John's is at the corner of Orange and Humphrey in the East Rock section of New Haven; the entrance is on Humphrey, where there is non-permit 2-hour parking. Information: 787-9642.

The New Haven Free Public Library system offers a wealth of activities this and every season. See also the schedule of its events, including special events (crafts and movies) during the school holidays.

The Hamden library offers programs at its main library and its branches:

The North Haven library has been recently redone and has a good children's section, with toys, puzzles, and a deep collection of books, including some sorted by specific topics (e.g. the arrival of younger siblings). There is a set of programs for kids up to 5, and they're good enough to make the trek up there (late-breaking news: these programs appear now to be closed to non-residents). The library is at 17 Elm Street, close to both exit 63 from the Wilbur Cross and exit 11 off of 91. Information: 239-5803.

The Cheshire library has special children's programs. Residents are given preference for registration. The library also sponsors a series of occasional shows by musicians and magicians. The library is at 104 Main Street (Whitney way north, left on 68/70 west). Information: 272-2245.

The PACK program for kids is advertised for ages 6-11, but it skews much younger. The events feature a light supper and a performance or activity. The events are at the Keefe Community Center at 11 Pine Street, Hamden (enter at George Street), occasional Fridays (once a month or so) at 6pm. Info: 562-5129.

The Keefe Center also offers Free Family Movie nights, with free popcorn, too. These recent DVDs are projected in the main gym/cafeteria. Next shows are January 20, 2006, February 17, and March 17. Info: 562-5129 or 287-2546.

The Hamden Parks and Recreation Department starts children's programs in 2005. The programs run each day, for various ages 2-6. Some are crafts; some are movement. This is the group that runs "Squeaky Sneakers" and "Wiggles and Giggles"; with titles like those, you've got to try these programs once. Fees are about $5/session, but pre-registration and pre-payment are required. Info: 287-2579.

Playgroups and Support Groups

The Round the World Women group brings together international women to discuss current events, work on English, make friends, get to know the area, and learn about other subjects. It meets Tuesdays at 9:30 at the First Baptist Church. Child care is available in the nursery downstairs. It is associated with the International Center. The loosely-associated Round the World Women Playgroup sponsors informal gatherings for parents and their children aged 5 and under. On Fridays, the usual time and location is 9:30 at the Bassett Park playground. In the event of rain, and during the cold of autumn and winter, the place is the First Baptist Church on the corner of Edward and Livingston in New Haven. Snacks and drinks are provided. On the fourth Friday of each month, we meet at 10:30 and have a potluck lunch. For information, call Meg (230-5833). The group has very small yearly dues. Here is a picture of the group on a typical day.

The Yale Medical Partners is a group that supports the spouses and families of people working grueling hours in the Yale medical complex. It supports several activities, including a kids' playgroup (on Mondays). For information, contact Cynthia at 230-9632. The group has modest yearly dues. Here is a sample newsletter (in Word format).

The Yale Office of International Students and Scholars site includes information on the ISPY group, which offers additional support to families and spouses of international students.

The Nurture by Nature group offers classes, playgroups, and events for parents and expectant parents. More information is at 387-0297.

The Mommy and Me Playgroup is sponsored by the Hamden Youth Services Bureau. It offers snacks, toys, and crafts for kids up to 3. Meetings are currently Friday 9:30-11 at the Keefe Community Center (Dixwell and Pine). There is a yearly registration fee. For information, call Susan Rubino at 777-2610.

Yale folks in the School of Management have a playgroup Wednesdays 10-12, usually at Bassett Park. You can email for the schedule.

Yale folks associated with the McDougal Center and the Office of International Students and Scholars at Yale have a playgroup Thursdays 10-12. You can email for info or check the website.

Mothers and More, a support group and networking organization, has started up in the greater New Haven area. For more info, call 288-2053, or email


Ongoing Events and Places to Visit, Great Local Institutions

The Barnes and Noble store at the Yale Bookstore (77 Broadway, New Haven) often has a story-time, usually at 12am on Saturdays. 777-8440. The Barnes & Noble in the Yale bookstore has a children's section that features a train set.

The Barnes and Noble store in North Haven (on Universal Drive) has a kids program which includes occasional appearances in the store by characters from books, Friday evening 7pm readings, and crafts programs for kids 3 and up (scheduled for 4pm every Tuesday except the holiday season). Call 234-1805 for information and reservations.

The Peabody Museum has events that are listed elsewhere, but I should add that it is free with a Yale badge or a spouse badge, which makes quick visits feasible.

The Neighborhood Music School at 100 Audubon Street, New Haven, offers classes for kids. They're pricey, as is the preschool program. But the NMS also has occasional concerts, which are usually free -- which means you can slip out the back early without feeling guilty. Information: 624-5189.

The Creative Arts Workshop, next-door to the music school, offers arts classes for kids.

The Rascals gym, in the Spring Glen section of Hamden, off Whitney Avenue, offers various music-and-motion sessions for toddlers.

There are rumors of a crafts workshop (ages 4 and up) at the Home Depot (Universal Drive) Saturday mornings.

The A.C. Moore crafts store offers a "Make it and Take it" program for kids every Tuesday and Thursday from 3 to 4:45pm. The store is in the Christmas Tree plaza off Route 1 in Orange, near exit 41 off I95. Call 795-9450 for confirmation and directions. (The web site, by the way, has some clever projects to do with older kids or for younger kids.)

The New Haven Ecology Project's programs are held at the Common Ground High School at 358 Springside Avenue. The Farm hosts regular "country breakfasts" and pet-the-animals days. All ages are welcome. Pre-registration at 389-4333 is useful but not required.

The Hamden YMCA (Sherman Avenue) offers a "Sing and Swim" class for parents of tots aged 2-3. I don't know exactly how this works, but the program offers 45 minutes of songs and stories and then 45 minutes of water play. Perhaps everyone hangs around in bathing suits. Information is from Mary at 248-6361ext11; she can probably also explain the complicated pricing structure. There are also swim classes for kids 6 months and up. The pricing structure is unusual -- there is a separate registration fee, but you don't need to become a member of the Y. Depending on the option you choose, you can visit the pool during the week with your child.

There are children's swim classes offered by the LEAP program at 773-0770. The program includes infants' classes as well as those for toddlers and pre-schoolers.

The Yale School of Music offers a variety of concerts during the academic year, most classical-ish music. Some are at lunchtimes, which is convenient, but even the evening concerts are approachable with kids. Most concerts are free, which means that we can expose our kids to music and leave at the first intermission, without feeling too guilty about missing the music -- and a bit of kid-added noise isn't so bad when no-one else has paid, either . More information is at 203-432-4157 and at the concert web site.

The New Haven trolleys are great fun for kids. The orange-and-green, old-style buses make loops around downtown every 10 or 15 minutes.

The City of New Haven is holding a few events at the Edgewood Park Ranger Station (on Edgewood Avenue near the Ella T. Grasso Blvd; 946-8028). There is usually an open house, with feeding of reptiles and fish, a story, and a craft. Call for schedule.

A late 19th Century Farm Museum built in 1844 by Erastus Dudley, a prosperous North Guilford farmer, gristmill and tannery owner, the Dudley Farm sits on the remaining ten picturesque acres farmed by the Dudley family for close to 300 years. Tours of the farmhouse introduce visitors to life in the year 1900. The barns, outbuildings and animals representative of the period give a unique glimpse into life and work on a family farm. The grounds of the Dudley Farm include period flower and herb gardens, a farm garden, crop land, meadows and woods. Farm market on Saturday mornings June to October. They are open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Admission is $3 for adults, children (under 16) are free. 2351 Durham Road (which is Route 77) JUST north of Rte. 80.

The New Haven Connecticut Children's Museum, on Wall at Orange, is rumored to be great, but it is open to the public only for limited hours -- just Friday and Saturday, and then only in the afternoons, 12-5. Information: 562-5437. It also appears to sponsor a regular book club reading Saturdays at 2pm.

The KidCity Museum isn't a museum so much as an indoor playspace for kids up to 10 years old. It has a dozen themed rooms with toys and play structures. Call 1-860-347-0495; the web site has directions.

Closer to home, the Eli Whitney Museum, on Whitney Avenue on the Hamden/New Haven line, offers an outdoor water park for splashing (free) and an indoor crafts area (with admission).

And the Eli Whitney Museum is close to Edgerton Park, which has no playground but is a nice space for kids to run around in. There are greenhouses and a cooperative garden that is very calming to walk through.

The Brooksvale Park is in the northernmost part of Hamden, near the Cheshire border. It's at 524 Brooksvale Avenue, off of Whitney. The park offers its own paved and unpaved trails -- and they nearly connect to the Farmington Canal multi-use paths. There's a lot of running-around space. And there's a very small playground. But the big feature for toddlers are the animals -- chickens, peacocks, sheep, rabbits, and goats, all in easily-visitable outdoor pens.

The McDonald's in the Hamden shopping district offers an indoor playground, and there is apparently someone who cleans it daily, going through the tubes with a washcloth like an oversized hamster.

The Yale Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art have occasional kid's programs. Both are free, in any case, so we can easily acclimate the kids to the idea of going to museums.

The big JCC (Amity Road, Woodbridge) offers day care and also occasional kids festivals. Call 203-387-2522#223 for details.

Last updated: 15 December 2005

Related pages on this site: A Guide to Playgrounds, Where to Find Events and Activities.