A note about COVID 19 - this page has not been fully updated to reflect COVID safety and closures. We always recommend checking in with primary sources to see what is open and what activities are running.
SPORTS & CAMPS
Camps: Tompkins County Youth Services has a very comprehensive guide to summer camps (and camps the rest of the year) that they publish every spring available in papers like the Ithaca Times. Their yearly camp guide can be found here: http://tompkinscountyny.gov/youth/publications
Basketball, baseball, lacrosse, soccer, wrestling, track, and more! Information on various sports programs can be found here:
Little Red Lax -This is a youth girls lacrosse program for grades 3-8th
Soccer Shots - This program teaches kids as young as 3 soccer skills in a fun, less competitive environment. Classes take place in 10 week sessions all over Tompkins County, in parks or at local schools and childcares.
Ultimate Athletics in the mall has lots of great classes for kids.
Cornell Big Red sports calendar -Cornell has lots of fun sporting events to watch, many of which are free.
PLAYGROUPS & ORGANIZATIONS
This page contains information on organizations and public playgroups that meet regularly.
Book Club - The Tompkins County Public Library hosts a mother-daughter book club for kids ages 8-12 throughout the year.
Mama's Comfort Camp is a refueling station for moms of kids of any age.They use a Facebook group where hundreds of mothers from around the world get to share their ups and downs and support each other deeply in a judgement-free safe space: what the members post can only be seen inside the group, not anywhere else on Facebook. Locally Mama's Comfort Camp hosts a monthly support meeting for moms on the first Thursday of the month at 12:30 pm in Downtown Ithaca, as well as various play-dates, mama's nights out, classes and outings.
MOPS Ithaca -MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers and is an international Christian based support group that exists to encourage, equip, and help women become the best moms that they can be. Women who are pregnant or have young children (birth through kindergarten) are all invited to join MOPS.
Candor MOPS - Summer play dates Thursdays from 10-noon at the Candor Elementary School play ground on Academy Street in Candor. Those who desire to do so can bring a packed lunch. First meeting is Sept 20th and then we will meet the 1st and 3rd Thursdays from 9:30-11:30 when school is in session following the Candor School Calendar. We'll meet at the Candor Congregational Church at 134 Main Street, Candor. Those wishing for more information can contact or 659-5191
Dryden MOPS - Drydon MOPS meet at the Methodist Church in Dryden the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month.
FREEBIES, DEALS & OTHER TIPS
DEALS ON DINNER
Summer Meals for kids 2017:
Ithaca area meal sites:
Southside Community Center 305 S Plain St Ithaca NY 14850. Open: 7/3/17-8/25/17 M T W TH F for bfast 08:30AM-10:30AM lunch/supper 12:00PM-02:00PM
Newfield Elementary School 247 Main St Newfield NY 14867. Open: 6/26/17-8/4/17 M T W TH F for bfast 08:00AM-09:00AM lunch/supper 11:30AM-01:00PM
Dryden Middle School 118 Freeville Rd Dryden NY 13053. Open: 7/10/17-8/18/17 M T W TH F for lunch/supper 12:15PM-01:00PM
*Agava - kids eat free with purchase of adult meal (one kid per adult meal) on Tuesdays
*The Boatyard - has free kids meals on Monday nights with purchase of certain adult entrees
*Buffalo Wild Wings - kid's meals are $1.99 on Wednesdays
*Denny's - kids eat free on Tuesdays 4-10pm
*Maxie's - kids meals are $2 on Wednesday nights
*Moe's Southwest Grill - Kids eat free - one kid per adult meal all day on Sundays and Tuesdays
*Panera has a drive through where you can get not just coffee, but food too! Their kids meals include picky-kid friendly mac & cheese and PB&J on soft bread
*State Street Diner - Kids eat free with purchase of adult meals on Tuesdays.
Out To Eat With Kids is a great website to find deals on dinner wherever you are.
TIPS & FREEBIES
*Alphabet Soup toy store has a ton of great toys, including lots of small, cheap toys that work well for novel toys when traveling.
*Car Pride Classic Car group displays their cool old cars for others to see for free at the far end of the Walmart parking lot every Tuesday evening from about 5-7.
*Cat's Pajamas toy store has lots of great toys.
*Jillian's Drawers has a small bounce house and ball pit for kids under 8 that's only $1 an hour! They also have a gently used section, as sometimes hosts diaper and kids goods swap and sale (sort of an indoor, high end garage sale). They have many free and cheap classes in their community room, and they qualify as an indoor play space. Any family with a WIC card can receive cloth diapers from their cloth diaper bank for free. (They also take donations to this diaper bank)
*Mama Goose is the biggest kids consignment place in town. They have a great selection of gently used kids clothes, toys and more, plus a maternity section. Sometimes they have big sales, like a bag full of bargain bin items for $6. They buy every day except Mondays. And they qualify as an indoor play space.
*Sciencenter - the Sciencenter has free admission days first Sunday of December, January, February and March, as regular discounts to military families and AAA Members and families that qualify for SNAP: http://www.sciencenter.org/plan-your-visit.html. They also have sunglasses and noise reduction headphones are available for sensitive eyes and ears to borrow.
*Stewart Park Carousel - This Carousel is open in the summer, every day but Tuesday, approximately 11-6:45 and on holidays. Rides are just 75 cents per kid.
*TOPS - has free cake for baby's 1st birthday.
*Trader K's on the commons and Trader K's 2 in the Lansing Village Plaza (in front of the mall) have a large selection of used kid's clothes and toys, as well as clothes and accessories for parents.
*Wegmans has free cookies & apples for kids in the bakery section, plus W kids, a safe play area for 3+ up potty trained kids. They also have a free service where you can drive up and have your groceries loaded into your car for you.
MOMS club of Ithaca - The MOMS Club of Ithaca, New York is a support group for women including stay at home Moms, Moms who work full time, part-time and those who work from home. They are women desiring a variety of activities for both themselves and their children.
The Lantern School The Lantern School is a cooperative educational opportunity for homeschooled children aged 5 to 8 years at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year. We will offer a two- and three-day option, from 9am to 3pm.
Northern Light Learning Center, a cooperative home-school learning center located in downtown Ithaca, is accepting member families with children five and older. We’re a group of about 60 homeschooling families that work together to offer a regular schedule of classes and events for all ages of children, along with social clubs, gatherings and community events. Past classes have included everything from Beginning Spanish to Mandarin Chinese, Social Justice Films to Plant and Animal Biology, Anime Club to Algebra, and that’s just a sampling. To find out more about NLLC, visit http://nllchs.org/.
Primitive Pursuits - Primitive Pursuits has outdoor recreation programs for kids of various ages, including their new Forest Preschool and free outdoor preschool playgroup at 4-H acres.
TAFFI - Transracial Adoptive and Foster Families of Ithaca. Peer support group of Ithaca-area families with adopted or foster children of any age whose race is different from the adoptive parent(s). We currently have kids aged newborn to teens. Adult transracially adopted individuals are welcome too. Visit them at sites.google.com/site/taffiplaygroup
Twins Group - play/support group in the community room at Jillian's Drawers for parents or soon-to-be-parents of twins. Come connect with other parents. Play, discuss, and support each other. They meet the first Tuesday of every month from 10 am – 12 pm. For more info, contact Robert at email@example.com
Family Resource Connection - Tompkins The Family Resource Connection is a collaboration of organizations who provide services for families with young children in the home, includng Ithaca Family Fun. Through this online hub, we hope to provide parents, grandparents and other caregivers better access to and basic information about the many resources our community provides. Find the Family Resource Connection - Tompkins at www.FRCT.org.
Directory of Local Food including CSAs and U-pick Farms where you can find berries, apples and more can be found on the Cornell Cooperative Extension website.
2-1-1: 211 is the number to call if you need help or would like to give help. The Human Services Coalition can help you!
4-H of Tompkins County - 4-H is much more than livestock! Arts, Camp, Rocket Science, Youth Leadership, and so much more can be discovered. For youth 5-19.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Ithaca -Find a mentor, become a mentor
Breastfeeding support at Cornell Cooperative Extension - FREE for women who are eligible for WIC, Medicaid, Food Stamps or similar programs; $30 for the 6-class series for everyone else! Join any time - classes are ongoing and topics are repeated in the next set of workshops!
Breastfeeding support at Jillian's Drawers Nursing? FREE weekly breastfeeding clinic is in the Jillian's Drawers community room every Wednesday at 10am.
Le Leche League - Support groups meet on a regular basis and lactation consultants who can come to your home to help.
Family Reading Partnership - The Family Reading Partnership provides books at birth, through doctor's well visits, during the holidays and so much more! The Bright Red Bookshelf program recirculates gently used children's books back into the community where they are made available free for families to own. Books are collected in red crates at community locations and through book drives organized by service groups, congregations and campus organizations.
Child Development Council promotes the healthy development of children and families at home, in child care and in the community. The Child Development Council can help you find childcare and parenting resources. They have training opportunities for childcare providers, and parenting programs. The Child Development Council "Warm Line" provides specialists who can help parents and childcare providers through difficult issues and help prevent crisis. The Warm Line is a free, confidential and anonymous telephone guidance service for parents and childcare providers? You can speak with a specialist about behavior, discipline, development & more, 9am-4:30 pm, or leave a message after hours and someone will get back to you the next business day. (607) 273 - 0259.
Cornell students with families Cornell has wonderful resources for students (and staff) with families. They have a listserv, with a weekly newsletter, and facebook that includes tons of great things going on in the Ithaca area.
Facebook - contains many Ithaca based pages. Those especially helpful for moms include: Ithaca Mama, Ithaca Mamas, Mama's Comfort Camp and for all parents, Ithaca Families Gift Economy and of course the Ithaca Family Fun Facebook page.
Family and Children's Service of Ithaca -dedicated to providing affordable, professional services that support children, families, and organizations in finding solutions to the challenges of life today.
Food Shelves and Food Distribution in Tompkins County - area Food Panty information and days they are open. Another list can be found on Ithaca's Food Web.
Free Summer Meals: Our community has free meals for all kids 18 each weekday during the summer, breakfast and lunch. The webpage link changes each summer.
Ithaca Child - A great free publication for parents, also online, answering the age old question "What are we going to do?"
Ithaca Free Clinic - free access to health care for all with a focus on the needs of the uninsured.
Ithaca Pregnancy Center - compassionate Pregnancy Counseling and support with pregnancy and parenting needs (clothing, diapering, etc). IPC does not perform abortions or arrange adoptions.
Jillian's Drawers Diaper Service - Cloth diaper service providing and washing prefolds for you.
Jillian's Drawers Diaper Bank -Jillian's has started Central New York's first cloth diaper bank. Present your WIC card at the store and receive 18 free cloth diapers. They accept donations of cloth diapers for the bank too! Just bring your laundered diapers into the store
Mama's Comfort Camp - Mama's Comfort Camp is a refueling station for moms of kids of any age. We use a Facebook group where hundreds of mothers from around the world get to share their ups and downs and support each other deeply in a judgement-free safe space: what the members post can only be seen inside the group, not anywhere else on Facebook. Locally Mama's Comfort Camp hosts a monthly support meeting for moms on the first Thursday of the month at 12:30 pm in Downtown Ithaca, as well as various play-dates, mama's nights out, classes and outings
Parenting workshops - Cornell Cooperative Extension such as "Parents Apart" for parents going through separation or divorce (or those never together to start with) and "Parenting is the Hardest Job in the World" which says it all.
Rose's Home Dish - Great homemade food delivered to your door.
MOVING TO ITHACA RESOURCES
It seems like Ithaca is in the news every year as one of the best places in the country to live, and between the colleges, industries and quality of life, new families are moving to Ithaca all the time. Here are some links that may help newcomers and those planning on moving to town.
Cornell's moving to Ithaca page is full of good information
Ithaca Journal -The daily newspaper
Ithaca Times - a weekly alternative newspaper
Ithaca Voice -an online only Ithaca news resource
Craigslist - buy, sell, trade, etc
IthacaRealtors.com - A site that works with all real estate agencies to show all houses for sale
The Family Resource Connection -Tompkins - a collaborative website connecting families with agencies that can help with various needs.
Child Development Council- can help you find childcare and parenting resources. They have training opportunities for childcare providers and parenting programs.
VisitIthaca.com, Downtown Ithaca, Ithaca Events and Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce - Ithaca has no Welcome Wagon, but these organizations will send you a ton of information on things to do and place to eat, drink & play in our area.
Hulafrog Macroni Kid