Mommy Poppins – Curators of Fun
Arts workshops. Free performances. Hidden gems and where to take energetic city kids on a rainy day. Unearthing info on kid-friendly activities in New York City can be a daunting prospect for parents. Especially those new to the city themselves. This is what drove Anna Fader to create Mommy Poppins, a website devoted to helping families access more exceptional experiences.
Since 2007, Fader has been sharing a more artsy, educational, community-oriented side of New York City for families, with Mommy Poppins’ curated guides and listings written by local parents who love to find cool, often unexpected things to do with their kids.
What began as a New Year’s resolution project (writing for herself) now serves millions of families, not just in New York, but also in Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Houston and many many others —which all have their own Mommy Poppins-curated event calendars. The site also offers city guides for over 100 cities and family travel destinations.
Here, Fader dishes on what makes NYC such a great place for kids, and what she’s looking forward to doing with her own family in the warmer months ahead.
What was the original inspiration behind Mommy Poppins?
I grew up Downtown and realized that a lot more families were staying in the city to raise their children, but many parents didn’t grow up here themselves. So, while they knew about all the coolest bars and restaurants, they didn’t always know how to navigate the city with kids — or all the little things that are different about raising kids in NYC vs in the suburbs or a smaller town or city. Once I started writing about these things, I discovered that I love to curate and organize information. It’s so rewarding, especially helping people find hidden gems that are free or more affordable.
What are some of the best discoveries you’ve made?
I think the best experiences are the surprises. I remember when my kids were little, we were over at the World Financial Center and we just stumbled on this situational dance performance that used the escalators and moved from building to building, with the audience following behind. It was so cool and magical. That’s what I love the most about living in NYC — every time you step outside you’re likely to discover something amazing.
What does Mommy Poppins offer that other media or sites don’t?
Since we’ve been around for 16 years now, we have a lot of information on the site. We have thousands of articles and guides, our directory with listings of camps, classes, and other businesses, and an event calendar — all in multiple cities.
We also keep adding new features, too. For instance, you can explore our event calendar using the map feature on your phone to find events near you, and you can buy tickets for some On- and Off-Broadway shows and other events from our calendar page, without having to navigate to another site.
I think we’re also a little bit unusual in that we are neither a start-up nor owned by a big corporation. This gives us the freedom to be true to our users and ourselves. We just keep thinking of what else we can do to make parents’ lives easier, more fun, and share what we think is cool.
What are your family’s favorite things to do in NYC?
I’m married and have two children, a son and daughter, who have grown up in the Seaport — so these have been our stomping grounds. But we also love to explore different neighborhoods. Our family particularly likes going on food crawls. We’ll research the best bites in a different area and try them all. One day we tried to eat our way through Queens, sampling foods from as many different countries as possible. It was epic and then, of course, I turned it into a Queens food crawl guide to share our experience.
Mommy Poppins has partnered with the Seaport to create some fun family-friendly events. What does the neighborhood mean to you?
As a native New Yorker, I have a sweet spot for anything reminiscent of “old New York” and the Seaport really marries the best of the old and the new. The location is just so magical. Every time I look out at New York Harbor, it reminds me of the history of this place, and how New York continues to evolve and march forward through whatever comes our way. It’s really the essence of the spirit of NYC.
We’re very excited about this partnership because we love creating fun and meaningful events for families and the Seaport is such an iconic location. The Easter event was a huge hit with major attendance and we just did a much smaller graffiti workshop where each kid got to create colorful Pride Month-themed murals. We’re planning Seaport Kids Summer Bash for July right now, which is going to be epic, and then will be doing both large scale and smaller monthly events through October.
What other local family-friendly activities are you looking forward to this summer?
I’m excited to check out the new Gilder Center which just opened at The American Museum of Natural History and The Metropolitan Museum of Art is opening a science and art play space at the end of the summer. Two amazing additions to our city!
What are your top insider tips for parenting in NYC?
We have a whole site full of them! Actually, we have a City Hacks for NYC Parents page that has lots of amazing tips from our editors to parents that are either new to NYC or just new parents in NYC; things like how to get into attractions for free with your library card or how to find a public bathroom anywhere in the city.
For more information on Mommy Poppins, click here, and make sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok . To stay up to date on all Seaport Kids events, bookmark this page and follow us at @theseaportnyc.