Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Set for August 23 + Giveaway

In less than a week, on August 23, the 19th Annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Presented by Hess is set to take center court at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens. 



As in years past, the day promises a lineup of the hottest up and coming musicians including Hunter Hayes, Shawn Mendes, MKTO, McClain, The Vamps and Madison Beer & DJ Salerno. 

9869 2014 AAKD Media Wall Talent Annouce


Last year, we enjoyed the likes of Ariana Grande and Austin Mahone, not to mention an awesome intro from none other than the First Lady, Michelle Obama.  

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And because it’s a family-centric prelude to a grand slam event, tennis greats Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are expected to help kick off the 2014 US Open.  

According to reports, defending champ, Rafael Nadal, pulled out of this year’s US Open due to a wrist injury, but here’s hoping that last year’s defending champ will be onhand this Saturday for festivities.


Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day is not only an entertaining day with musical acts, but it’s also a fun day for families with plenty of free interactive activities. Starting at 9:30, throughout the grounds at the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center, there will be free face painting, juggling workshops, 10 and under tennis, hair beading and braiding, balloon artists, Nickelodeon characters and The US Open Express Fan Experience. In addition to watching the tennis pros practice, our favorite activities include the tennis and skills activity course sponsored by Nike and Tennis education clinic.



Because I grew up watching my dad and brother play tennis and watch the sport on tv religiously, tennis runs deep in our family.  Both of my boys have started practicing with my dad, so it’s even more special that my dad will be joining us this year for Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day.  


This is absolutely one of my favorite events to cover all year, so I’m even more excited to be giving away a set of four tickets to this year’s Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day! Enter below for a chance to win tickets to this fun family event in Flushing, NY on 8/23!


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The First Lady and an All Star Lineup will Headline Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day 2013

It’s the end of the summer and one of my favorite events is upon us. The 18th Annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day will take place Saturday, August 24 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. The popular fun festival for both children and adults features games, tennis events and the hottest musical acts. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day is always a fun way to kick off the 2013 US Open, which runs from August 26 – September 9.

This year’s talent line-up includes:
· Ariana Grande, who had the breakout single for Republic  Records, “The Way” featuring Mac Miller
· Fifth Harmony, girl group finalist in the most recent season of X Factor
· Austin Mahone, rising star who is dubbed as the “Next Justin Bieber” and named as the “Ultimate Breakout Star – Biggest Viral Artist” at the Radio Disney Music Awards
· Coco Jones, who was a finalist on Disney Channel’s “Next Big Thing” and whose video, “Holla at the DJ,” has surpassed 2.2 million YouTube views
· Lawson, breakout boy band who racked up 4 top ten hits in their native U.K.
· Cazzette, Swedish DJ duo who is a constant at EDM festivals, making them the only group to have ever play the Ultra Music Festival’s headline stage three times in two years and whose most famous song is “Beam Me Up”
· World No. 1 Novak Djokovic
· Reigning US Open champion Serena Williams
· Greatest tennis player of all-time Roger Federer
· World No. 1 Wheelchair Tennis Champion David Wagner

And as if that lineup wasn’t impressive enough, the First Lady, Michelle Obama will be onhand for the festivities. The First Lady, who has been a champion of leading healthy lifestyles and encouraging kids to Just Move, is expected to emphasize her message at the athletic event that attracts hundreds of thousands of families from near and far.

Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day will be televised on Sunday, August 25 from noon -1:30pm. In the meantime, feel free to check out my photos from last year’s event! Our family will be onhand to hopefully catch a glimpse of the above stars and to tweet/Instagram live. Follow along at #AAKidsDay

Sesame Street Debuts What I Am, Anthem for Little Children, Big Challenges

It may have been the unofficial start to summer, but beyond BBQs and beach time, this past weekend was a time to celebrate those who serve and have served in our military. A product of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Merchant Marines, military service was the glue that held my family together. My dad’s service brought him to the U.S., provided for our family and ultimately, put me through college. I count my lucky stars every day, and now that the Big Kid is old enough to comprehend the military and our service men and women, I felt that it was our duty to help better educate him on the topic.

In line with Memorial Day celebrations, this past Saturday, some characters from Sesame Street performed on The Intrepid, as part of the launch of its newest outreach initiative, Little Children, Big Challenges. This educational message is quite relevant for military, veteran, and other families with young children, to help increase self-awareness, boost self-esteem, and help children persevere through changes.

Rosita, Elmo and Gordon chat about Little Children, Big Challenges

With my dad in the Navy, as a young girl, saying goodbye for months at a time was quite common.  As a result, separation and uncertainty are issues that still sting to this day, but as a parent now, I’m so glad to know there are helpful outlets that can cushion the blow. In the reality that is our world, military families face so many adversities, and sadly, separation is sometimes the smallest of their worries; it’s comforting to know that Sesame Street provides an outlet that embraces these feelings that sometimes only military families can understand.

Matt Rogers, Rosita, Elmo and Gordon sing What I Am

I was honored to be onhand on the Intrepid with my own family to capture the debut of the anthem of this latest outreach, What I Am, sung by American Idol alum, Matt Rogers. As fun as it was to cheer and laugh along with Elmo, Rosita, Gordon and Matt, it was the Quantico Marine Corps Band accompaniment that gave us all the chills. Listening to the band accompany this Sesame Street performance, penned for families going through changes, I have to say, was quite moving and memorable, to say the least.
Quantico Marine Corps Band accompanies Sesame Street What I Am performance

Because Fleet Week festivities were wrapping up at the Intrepid, we were able to take part in a few educational activities. The Big Kids most favorite activity was building his own boat, with supplies and directions supplied by the Navy’s ONR. The Big Kid crafted his boat with Play-Doh, an oversized straw and construction paper mast, as best as a four year old could do, but let’s just say, he wont be a naval architect any time soon.


Our day at the Intrepid, listening to the Sesame Street performance and checking out all the military-related activities was a fun outing; but most importantly, it was the beginning of a dialogue with our children about the importance of our military, and just how much our service men and women and their families mean to us. We will always salute you.

Check it

To learn more about Sesame Street’s newest outreach initiative, Little Children, Big Challenges, be sure to check out their online resources, which includes printables, games and a video.

Want to view the video of What I Am that features Rosita, Elmo, Gordon, Matt Rogers and the Quantico Marine Corps Band?  The video is posted below the jump.
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Yo Gabba Gabba Live Hits NYC and NJ + Giveaway

DJ Lance, Muno, Brobee, Foofa, Toodee, Plex and their friends are at it again!  The crew from the wildly popular Nickelodeon Show, Yo Gabba Gabba are on the road once again, this time hitting 50 stops across the U.S. for their Yo Gabba Gabba Live Show.

If you’ve been following NKT for the past few years, then you already know that our whole family are big time YGG fans.  From entire family Halloween costumes to interviewing Christian Jacobs, one of the creators of the show, who is also the lead singer of the Aquabats, Yo Gabba Gabba is near and dear to our hearts.  And judging from the show’s ongoing popularity, many of you probably feel the same!

We reference “There’s a Party in My Tummy” more times than we can count, not to mention, the music featured on the show has found its way onto our playlist.  So, needless to say, we’re beyond thrilled that Yo Gabba Gabba will be in NYC/NJ within the next few weeks!  On their first tour, we absolutely enjoyed seeing them at Beacon Theatre in NYC, where quite a few super cool celebs made cameos at the live NYC show!  I can’t wait to see who will be visiting the Gabba Friends’ live tour when they make their stops at NYC and NJ.  And speaking of the Garden State…


And since the Yo Gabba Gabba Live show is making a stop in NJ, my homestate, I’m thrilled to announce a giveaway for a family 4-pack of tickets to the Wednesday, October 12th show at noon in New Brunswick, NJ!

To enter to win, please comment below and let me know who is your kid’s favorite Yo Gabba Gabba character!

For additional entries:

  • Become a fan of The Next Kid Thing on Facebook
  • Tweet about this giveaway and be sure to @jenrab
  • Share on any social networking site
  • Comment below for each entry.

This giveaway ends on Monday, October 10 2pm!  Good luck!

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Yo Gabba Gabba Live: There’s a Party in My City will be stopping at the following cities:

Friday, October 7 Philadelphia Tower Theatre
Saturday, October 8 Pittsburgh Petersen Events Center
Sunday, October 9 Hershey Hershey Theatre
Tuesday, October 11 New Brunswick State Theatre
Wednesday, October 12 New Brunswick State Theatre
Friday, October 14 New York Beacon Theatre
Saturday, October 15 New York Beacon Theatre
Sunday, October 16 New York Beacon Theatre
Tuesday, October 18 Scranton, PA Scranton Cultural Center
Wednesday, October 19 Norfolk Chrysler Hall
Friday, October 21 Charleston, WV Municipal Auditorium
Saturday, October 22 Richmond Landmark Theater
Sunday, October 23 Greensboro War Memorial Auditorium
Tuesday, October 25 North Charleston, SC North Charleston Performing Arts Center
Wednesday, October 26 Columbia, SC Township Auditorium
Friday, October 28 Charlotte Ovens Auditorium
Saturday, October 29 Charlotte Ovens Auditorium
Sunday, October 30 Atlanta Fox Theatre
Tuesday, November 1 Raleigh Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Wednesday, November 2 Knoxville Tennessee Theatre
Friday, November 4 Memphis Orpheum Theatre
Saturday, November 5 Tulsa BOK Center
Sunday, November 6 Kansas City Music Hall
Tuesday, November 8 Denver 1st Bank Center
Wednesday, November 9 Salt Lake City Kingsbury Hall
Friday, November 11 Vancouver Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Saturday, November 12 Seattle Paramount Theatre
Sunday, November 13 Seattle Paramount Theatre
Tuesday, November 15 Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
Wednesday, November 16 Reno Reno Events Center
Friday, November 18 Fresno Save Mart Center
Saturday, November 19 San Jose San Jose Civic Auditorium
Sunday, November 20 San Diego San Diego Civic Theatre
Tuesday, November 22 Bakersfield Rabobank Theater
Friday, November 25 Los Angeles Nokia Theatre
Saturday, November 26 Los Angeles Nokia Theatre
Sunday, November 27 Las Vegas Orleans Arena
Tuesday, November 29 El Paso Abraham Chavez Theatre
Wednesday, November 30 San Antonio Lila Cockrell Theatre
Friday, December 2 Houston Verizon Wireless Theatre
Saturday, December 3 Dallas Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
Sunday, December 4 Austin Cedar Park Center
Tuesday, December 6 New Orleans Mahalia Jackson Theatre
Wednesday, December 7 Tallahassee Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center
Friday, December 9 St. Petersburg, FL Mahaffey Theater
Saturday, December 10 Fort Lauderdale Broward Center
Sunday, December 11 Fort Lauderdale Broward Center

Exclusive: Nickelodeon Mega Music Fest Full of Fun Energy

Nickelodeon is set to air the much-hyped Mega Music Fest tonight at 8pm—and what a mega fest it is!  Back in May, NKT was onhand at the Brooklyn Academy of music for the taping of the powerhouse kiddie music show which brought the likes of The Roots, Colbie Calliat and Wyclef Jean onstage for a variety of musical performances.


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Sweet and Silly: The Best of The Laurie Berkner Band

Parents Magazine said it best when they described Laurie Berkner as “the Pied Piper of the Preschool Set.”  With her melodic tunes and unforgettable harmonies, The Laurie Berkner Band are just as much magicians as they are musicians—at least for my music-obsessed kid.

First introduced to this well-loved band’s tunes after becoming avid fans of Jack’s Big Music Show on Nick Jr., Laurie Berkner’s song lyrics are now part of our everyday vernacular.  ‘Shaky Egg’, ‘Rainboots, stomp, stomp, stomp’… you name it, Laurie’s lyrics and music have made our entire family fans for the long haul.  Like magic.

Released last month, The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band cd is a comprehensive collection of the band’s best songs.  As their sixth cd, if you’re a longtime fan, such songs on the cd are expected, but for newer fans, this cd is a staple for your budding kindie rock collection.  Unlike the songs recorded for Nickelodeon, Laurie’s Greatest Hits cd have a softer, less processed sound.  Songs like “Shady Tree” exude the sweet, while songs like, “Monster Boogie” reinforces the silly.  But overall, the 20-track cd encompasses the folk sensibility that keeps kids dancing and singing, and their parents humming and smiling.

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Kindiefest Set to Rock Out in Brooklyn

As Brooklyn sets the stage, get ready to rock out this weekend at the second annual Kindiefest.  The three-day kiddie music conference, described by Time Out New York Kids as “a mini South by Southwest for the preschool set,” will feature a public music festival on Sunday.

After growing out of showcases in 2007 and 2008, last year marked Kindiefest’s innaugural year for the family music conference.  The kid-centric music conference, which takes place April 30 through May 2, 2010 at Littlefield NYC in Brooklyn, includes industry-oriented events including the first-night party, keynote, two days of panels and a public festival on Sunday.

Though I try to cover music as much as I can on Monday here on NKT for “Music Monday,” admittedly, I’m such a novice, and am always trying to learn as much as possible about the family music genre.  The conference segment of Kindiefest, geared to artists, producers, labels, and publicists, includes panels such as Old School Meets New School and Gigs and Venues: From Libraries to Festivals and Everywhere in Between. I’m kind of wishing I could sit in on the conference and panels, to learn more about the behind the scenes of the family music industry, and to see what makes these kid music influencers tick.


The Recess Monkeys are among the performers at KindieFest's music festival on Sunday, May 2.


Nevertheless, I’ll be on the lookout for tweets and updates from some of my blogger friends who, I’m sure, will be reporting from the frontlines.  However, I’m most excited about Kindiefest’s festival, which is geared to anyone and everyone that loves music.  The festival will showcase the ecclectic sounds of Bill Harley, Recess Monkey, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Clementown, The Royal Order of Chords and Keys and Ralph Covert.  Tickets cost $15 for an entire family, which is quite a bargain considering that many concerts in the area cost more than that for just one ticket!

If you’re in the NYC area this weekend, be sure to help support the family music industry by checking out the Kindiefest public festival.  If you’re heading to the Kindiefest festival on Sunday, let me know!


Kindiefest– The family music festival

May 2, 2010

Littlefield NYC

622 Degraw

Brooklyn NY, 11217

Tickets are $15 (free for infants)

Doors will open at 11:30

Showtime 12-4


NKT Feature: The 2010 White House Easter Egg Roll

Egg Rolling, DJ Lance, fresh fruit and outdoor activities on the White House South Lawn?  Why, yes, please.

Yesterday, around 30,000 people from all 50 states and DC made their way to the South Lawn of the White House for this year’s Easter Egg Roll. Out of luck, our family won tickets in the online lottery for this year’s event and battled the traffic—cars and people—and let the kid have a go at this Egg Rolling business.

In addition to the generations-old tradition of egg rolling, the event reflected Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative introduced earlier this year. The Egg Roll’s theme, ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ echoed the First Lady’s campaign to educate kids about making healthy choices in an effort to combat childhood obesity.

As the official welcome, as seen in the event program, described, the White House’s South Lawn was transformed into America’s Playground for the day.  The Easter Egg Roll, the largest annual public event held at the White House, featured stations and activities sprawled across the Lawn, which were aimed at entertaining and educating all the kids (and even the parents in attendance.)

White House Easter Egg Roll

Healthy Activities

Aligned with the Let’s Move initiative, the healthy activities were a welcome addition to the event.  We spent most of our time dancing to the fun music in the Hop to It stage.  We missed out on seeing Yo Gabba Gabba which played during a different timelot, but we had the chance to see our good buddy, DJ Lance hula hooping on the Hop to It Stage.

DJ Lance in the (White) House!

The kid even hammed it up for Ellen Degeneres’ cameraman while dancing to DJ Tony, who just so happened to play a few of his favorite songs, one of which included Black Eyed Peas’ Boom Boom Pow.  It doesn’t get any more memorable than that.

DJ Tony of The Ellen ShowDancing at the Hop to It station

The Family Farmer’s Market was a cool area that gave kids a look at healthy eating with celebrity chef demo stations.  One of the stations was the smoothie station, something that the kid adores, much thanks to one of his favorite shows.  We loved the Make Your Own Garden, which not only used the White House Kitchen Garden as inspiration, but showcased some of the new seed packets from Sesame Street’s new gardening line (more info on this in a different post)  We took home a watermelon seedling and hope to plant some sunflowers in the garden of our new house.

Learning how to plant seedlings


The sports station, geared to the older kids, featured demos on softball, golf, soccer, basketball and tennis.  At later time slots, I heard professional athletes were on hand to offer the demos!

The performers and celebrities were quite the highlight of the day’s events.  In our specific timeslot, the kid managed to sit in on Maria reading a story, with Elmo on hand to help out.  Later in the morning, Reese Witherspoon, one of my favorite actresses, read to the kids as well.

Accessibility and Sustainability

The accessibility and sustainability of the Egg Roll were the two main aspects that impressed me the most.  In years past, the Egg Roll was said to be reserved mainly for Washingtonians and other locals.  This year marked the second year that tickets for the Egg Roll were distributed online.  The White House extended this year’s event, beginning the festivities at 7:45 AM (yawn!) and an end time of 5:45 PM. Each group of 6,000 guests spent two full hours on the White House’s South Lawn.  For the first time, guests from all 50 states and DC were represented at the annual Egg Roll.

Egg Roll!

As a parent who aims to be eco-conscious, I was pleased that sustainability was prevalent throughout the event.   I appreciate that the event geared to teach kids how to garden, to shop at Farmer’s Markets, make healthy foods and much more.  The White House said that it made an effort to minimize the environmental impact of the 2010 Easter Egg Roll.  Some of the highlights include: the “greenest” souvenir egg in Egg Roll history, crafted from Forest Stewardship Council certified U.S. hardwood; goody bags made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic; the use of organically grown fruits and vegetables at the Play with Your Food station; and increased recycling and composting capabilities on the day of the event.

The official Souvenir Egg from the Easter Egg Roll

Winning tickets for the Egg Roll was a special thing, and one that a few of my Twitter followers and friends were sure to remind me about. As opposed to the events that we regularly attend for NKT, this wasn’t a blogger event, it was pure luck:  Out of the 250,000 people who registered to attend, we were one of the lucky few.  In general, we don’t win much at anything, in fact, we usually have the worst luck ever.  So, even if it was an unexpected expense to travel to DC while we’re in the midst of buying our first house, and miss seeing most of our family this Spring, it was incredibly important for us to attend the Egg Roll.  To experience this special event, and also to be a part of the Let’s Move campaign first hand, a topic that I try to cover as often as possible here on NKT, the White House Easter Egg Roll was a fun adventure we won’t soon forget.

White House Easter Egg Roll

Thanks for letting me share this event on NKT, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter.

And here’s more information, in case you guys want to know more:

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Toe Tapping Goodness: Putumayo Kids Jazz Playground Concert Tour

Jazz will endure just as long people hear it through their feet instead of their brains, said John Philip Sousa, the musician who put marching band on the map.

…if only he could see and hear all the tiny little feet tapping and dancing to the rich, vibrant beats at the Putumayo Kids Jazz Playground Concert last Saturday.


a glimpse of the Putumayo Kids Jazz Playground cd's kid-friendly booklet

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