Best of Philly: Kids 2006


Hipster baby boutique
Genes
Just about the coolest thing to happen to Philly parents since sex. Kristina Ferrari, mother of two, opened this über-urban kids’ lifestyle shop last year so that having children wouldn’t drown your life in pink, blue and plastic. She stocks chic L.A. and New York clothing labels (Claude, Lucy Sykes, Paul Frank, Trunk Ltd.), and has a denim bar with 10 premium brands, cool Italtrikes, double-wide Ultrasuede Nurseryworks rockers, the loft-worthy NettoCollection furniture line, Paula Quintana fashion diaper bags, Dwell bedding, and Bon Jovi’s Rock Star Baby strollers that you’ll actually want to tool around in yourself. 122 East Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, 610-902-0208; shopgenes.com.

Website
GoCityKids
If you do nothing else, sign up for the weekly calendar. Yes, there are listings on this website for stores, classes, restaurants, parks, activities and party ideas in the Delaware Valley (organized by neighborhood and age). Yes, there’s a place to recommend the great stuff you know about. But there’s this calendar. This thorough, helpful, free calendar of kid events all over the area, e-mailed every Thursday, that makes you wish you and your kids could be in about five places at once. gocitykids.com.

Bookstore
Chris’ Corner Books
We searched everywhere. Literally. And we ended up back at our old fave on Pine Street, where there are tomes for every occasion, from board books for babies to sci-fi novels for teens to — our favorite — the ones with parent-friendly messages (i.e., Hands Are Not for Hitting). Plus DVDs, puzzles, toys, cards, story time, and free gift wrapping. 1940 Pine Street; 215-790-1727.

Party entertainer
Ken Fink and Wondergy
He electrocutes hot dogs. He makes ice cream using liquid nitrogen. He hammers a nail … with a banana! Who wants a clown (booooring!) when you can have Ken Fink, a former scientist and theater lighting designer who’ll turn your kid’s birthday into a science show? Maniacal mad-scientist laugh extra. $300 for up to 25 guests; 866-653-2853; wondergy.com.

Party planner
Valerie Felgoise
If punch and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey don’t cut it anymore, ring up this party gal to throw an event your kids (and friends) won’t forget. She does everything — dreams up the theme, chooses crafts, finds a caterer, rents carnival rides — and if you ask, she’ll even show up in costume. (For a party last winter, she made 25 individual gingerbread houses for the kids to decorate.) Her schedule is tight, so call six to eight weeks in advance. From $20 per child for 1 1/2 hours; 610-213-5675.

Family hangout
Baby loves Disco Velvet ropes
, guest list, VIP (stroller) parking, cover charges — this dance party held on the first Sunday of the month at South Street’s Fluid rocks. The DJ spins ’80s and ’90s hits (no Raffi here) while revelers groove on the dance floor, nosh on healthy snacks (Whole Foods is a sponsor), and fuel up — juice boxes for kids and (oh yes) a full bar for adults. 2 to 5 p.m. 613 South 4th Street, 215-629-3686; babylovesdisco.com.

Mommy group
Time Out! Moms No kids.
That’s the genius of this mom-group started by Friends Select alums Alyson Schwartz and Magen Kauffman. Every six weeks or so, the two plan a night out, usually in Center City or on the Main Line — wine-tasting, manis and pedis, a photo-taking workshop, author readings — to help moms recharge. All you have to do is show up. And mingle. And drink wine. $35-$50 per event; 215-850-4846; time-out-moms.com.

Practical gifts
BE Monograms
When the second one comes around, what you really need is a way to tell their ridiculous amounts of stuff apart. This chic Chestnut Hill monogramming shop makes life ­easier — it personalizes anything, from Built NY neoprene lunch sacks and bottle totes to chalkboard place mats, diaper covers, cloth-covered baby books, Lucite picture frames and, of course, bibs, burp cloths and onesies. 8127 Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill, 215-247-8787; bemonograms.com.

Fun gifts
Cutie P. Tootie
It’s worth the drive all the way out to this quaint new boutique in Collegeville for the pretty dresses. There’s Zyno, Baby Lulu, Zutano, Frankie and Davi, Cach Cach, Betsy and Babs, and Max and Maddie. You’ll want to buy one of each. (If you’re like us, you may just do that.) Plus there’s a whole room of boys’ clothes and a whole room of baby clothes and a whole room of christening/communion dresses. 389 West Main Street, Collegeville; 610-831-0123.

Kid-friendly coffee shop
Chestnut Hill Coffee Company
The authentic Seattle coffee may be the big draw (or maybe it’s the Miel pastries … or the cool decor with exposed brick walls … ), but we go for the second floor. On any given day, you’ll find tables full of moms with kids, making this an ideal meeting spot, with tons of room for your toddlers to toddle around. 8620 Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill; 215-242-8600.

Gym
Summit sportstraining centers

You may not be able to get them away from their MySpace/Play­Station/cell phones — but the chance to work out alongside such pro athletes as Jameer Nelson will. And that’s the beauty of Steve Mountain’s three Summit Sports Training Centers: Tricked out with the highest of high-tech fitness gadgets and gizmos, they draw the pros — but the staff is just as passionate about attracting teens to the small-group workout sessions and helping them build the skills, confidence and habits that will make them want to make fitness part of their lives long after they outgrow high school, instant messaging and teen angst. Multiple locations; summitsportstc.com.

Restaurant, breakfast
The pop shop Kids eat free on Saturday mornings at this bright, loud, always-packed diner in Collingswood, but only if they wear PJs. And the Shop is strict about what passes for jammies: “Nightgown or matching top and bottom PJ set. No sweatsuits, shorts or t-shirts.” No matter. The blueberry-stuffed French toast sandwich is worth a new pair of Garanimals. 729 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood, 856-869-0111; thepopshopusa.com.

Restaurant, lunch
The Talking Teacup
So cute, you’ll want to pet it: a 250-year-old farmhouse filled with tables covered in mismatched teacups and teapots, where kids can order PB&J or ham-and-cheese tea sandwiches (and moms can get salads and scones) served with their very own pot of tea. The best part? A dress-up room upstairs where everyone can bejewel and befur and behat for high tea. 301 West Butler Avenue, Chalfont, 215-997-8441; thetalkingteacup.com.

Restaurant, dinner
Jones
There is no kid’s menu — and that’s exactly why Stephen Starr’s four-year-old super-cool, retro, diner-esque spot is so perfect. Kids will find stuff they love on the real menu (fried chicken and waffles, tomato soup with grilled cheese, and a baked macaroni-and-cheese that you may have to thumb-wrestle little Sammy for a taste of). You can be a kid again yourself — with the to-die-for meatloaf and whipped potatoes — or more grown-up and refined, with the sesame-seared tuna and coconut rice. 700 Chestnut Street, 215-223-5663; jones-restaurant.com.

Discount clothes
The Attic at First Impressions
The second floor of this Lafayette Hill boutique has the best bargains on select high-end kids’ lines, including C+C California, Flowers by Zoe, and Gold. Erica Katz Willner, who owns the hip children’s boutique Down to Earth Kids up the road, sells her overstock here at her mom Pamela Katz’s store for a fraction of the original price. (Super-soft Splendid tees are only $10!) Inventory changes as frequently as your kid’s size. 470 East Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill; 610-828-6775.

Secondhand clothes
Butterflies and Blossoms
It’s not just that the gear, clothes and toys at the small but crowded consignment shop are lovely and cheap, but also that the owner is conscientious about ensuring they have all their parts, haven’t been recalled, and are in good working order. The store has racks of stylish clothes from infant through junior, some for just a few dollars, as well as wooden toys and a take-one-give-one book exchange. 3 North Five Points Road, West Chester; 610-430-7601.

Kids’ department store
The Children’s Boutique
Nowhere else in town is even remotely like this three-story mecca devoted to all things chic and sophisticated for newborns to 12-year-olds. The first floor houses the expansive layette collection (lines like Petit Bateau, Burberry and Bonpoint) and an unparalleled shoe department. Upstairs is the toy section — think FAO Schwarz on a smaller scale — with everything from ride-in fire engines and retro tricycles to toy kitchens, Hohner drum sets, books, life-size stuffed animals and Thomas train sets. Juicy Couture and Seven Jeans for the preteen set are on the top floor. 1702 Walnut Street, 215-732-2661; thechildrensboutique.com.

Classes, baby
Sign With Me
After she took her nine-month-old daughter to this class (held at the Hall-Mercer Child and Parent Center at Pennsylvania Hospital and the Maternal Wellness Center in Mount Airy), one mom said, “We never had another outburst that seemed related to her needing something she couldn’t express.” To which we replied, “You’re kidding. Right?” Wrong. There’s a reason why teaching babies (10 to 22 months) sign language is the trend of the moment — and watching oh-so-patient and down-to-earth instructor Davi Chandrasekaran perform signs in 3-D is much more effective than fumbling to learn from a book. $130 and up for a six-week session; 215-843-1902; signwithmephilly.com.

Furniture
Piccolini
All those ultra-modern lines you wish you could check out in person? They’re here, including hard-to-find Ducduc, Oeuf, Nurseryworks, Argington, OFFI and Magis. Be the first on the block to own an EVA foam chair (available this month) or the beautiful Nest Collection Bassinet by Ooba. Plus, there are fab accessories like the ubiquitous Bugaboo stroller, colorful bedding by Pixel, and the Marimekko-esque Angel Pack baby carrier — all too cool for drool. 922 West Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, 610-527-4505; piccolinionline.com.

Classes, preschool
Youth Movement Fitness
This kid-focused gym with child-oriented trainers holds rollicking classes every weekday for three-to-six-year-olds — from a basic gymnastics class to a pre-dance class to a sports-prep class — that harness all of their spinning-top energy and introduce them to fitness while priming them for the next level of classes (creative dance), and the next (cheerleading, hip-hop, sports skills and drills). After Youth Movement, they’ll never understand the “work” part of working out. 1111 West Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, 610-520-2222; youthmovementfitness.com.

Classes, grade school:
Capoeira at Moving Arts of Mount Airy
You think a trip to Gymboree burns up that perpetual kid energy? How about this hour-long class based on an Afro-­Brazilian martial art that mixes dance, gymnastics, theater and improv — and drum-banging? If that’s not enough, kids seven to 13 can also take hip-hop, African dance and fencing. En garde! 550 Carpenter Lane, Mount Airy; 215-842-1040.

Classes, middle school
Music Training Center
While Paul Green’s School of Rock put serious kid-jammin’ on the map, your kid will love after-school lessons at Music Training Center: Students wail on drums (or guitar or bass or piano) in $27-per-half-hour lessons, and worship the young guy teachers. (They all have names like Zack and Nate and resemble the awesome Drake Bell of Drake & Josh/Nickelodeon fame.) Plus, there’s a summer Rock Band Camp for nine-to-16-year-olds. The place has a full recording studio and stage, and puts on karaoke parties for ages seven and up. A second location is opening in Ardmore soon. Ridge and Butler pikes, Plymouth Meeting, 610-238-0300; musictrainingcenter.com.

Classes, teen
Sailing at the Cooper River Yacht Club
The Cooper River isn’t exactly the high seas, and there aren’t 58-footers to steer clear of, which is exactly why it’s the perfect place to learn the basics of sailing. Ten three-hour summer classes taught by certified instructors let kids ages eight and up work toward Small Boat Sailor Certification and captain their own sunfishes. $240; South Park Drive, Collingswood, 856-869-9145; cooperriveryc.org.

  • pcoyle07

    Excellent question. I hope we learn the answer sooner then later.

  • Whiskey Bill

    Didn’t Washburn say that Brandon Graham was his number 1 guy in that draft class or something to that effect?

    • Dave_King

      Yeah he did say that. Washburn is direct and doesn’t lie either, so he was telling us the truth. No question Graham can play in the wide-9.

  • Good Lookin ouT

    Based on today’s practice it doesn’t look like Graham is going anywhere except to the front of the class. He was disruptive today as he was when he was at Michigan. He looked healed and ready to except the task today stepping in for Cole when he was down.

  • ICDogg

    I don’t know but based on what I’ve seen out of practice the last 2 days, Graham has some burst.

  • Good Lookin ouT

    Also, Curry the rookie, if he continues to play like he did today, he’s a lock. And, the Offensive Line in my opinion dominated and the play of Curry and Graham still stood out.

    • tmgates

      Curry is a 2nd round draft pick and would be a lock even if he had a poor training camp. But Curry has shown a good burst off the line and has his highs and lows as he is learning the defense. Curry 2nd year next year will be a big year for him. This year is for Graham to shine and he understand that which is a good sign. You can tell and is well documented the kid has put the work in that is needed to be a very good DE in the league, now it is time for him to stay healthy and flourish in this system. As long as you are in 1 of the 8 spots under Washburn you will get snaps, & Graham if he plays to his potential will force Washburn to give him more snaps alongside Cole & Jenkins & Patterson(once healthy). Babin should only be used for passing downs. Cox will get his reps as well at DT but I am unsure of putting him at NT where he will be double teamed, he is a natural UT in my opinion with his speed and given ability. I want Patterson then Jenkins pushing those OL man into the QB face. Patterson is a beast at doing just this, Hope he skull heals quickly.

      • Good Lookin ouT

        The Eagles don’t play a nose tackle, We have not had a tackle that commands double teaming since Jerome Brown

        Graham is not to well suited to play the run, At best you hope Graham can through is penetration make rushers hesitate behind the line of scrimmage.

  • Good Lookin ouT

    the Eagles web site shows live Training Camp practice sessions, it’s worth watching to come to your own conclusions. DRC is in mid season form, McNutt is going to be hard to cut as it Chad Hall.

    • ICDogg

      Yeah… as great as it is to watch those sessions, it’s hard to follow on the web. Nothing against the way they’re covering it, but it’s not what I would be paying special attention to if I were there. I’m going to try to get up there this week.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anders-Jensen/748307140 Anders Jensen

    I remember when Washburn got here, that Graham was his no. 1 rated DE coming out that year

    • ICDogg

      My attitude going into TC was that anything we got from Graham was a bonus, and while I hadn’t completely wrote him off, I wasn’t too enthused by him either. But you know, yesterday he just kept winning the one-on-one battles. And today he stood out as well. So I still don’t know what we have with Graham, but I can’t help but be encouraged.

      • D3Keith

        I’m still of the opinion anything we get from Graham is a bonus, but it’s sounding increasingly likely that it will be a big bonus.

        At the very least I hope the guy can have a productive career and live down the JPP thing while he helps the Eagles win a Super Bowl. That’s not asking too much, is it?

        BTW I love that we use Disqus over here too. I came from Tommy’s blog but haven’t had to create a new sign-in, just dive right into the discussion.