Summer activities for children abound in New York City. The key to family fun in New York City is keeping the cost down. These children’s activities in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens will keep our busy this summer, and they’re all wallet-friendly (or free!) and offer something for kids of all ages.
1. An excellent free summer activity in New York City is the Queens County Farm Museum. Let the littles explore this historical working farm in Queens. Animals, orchards and an herb garden supply the museum’s farm stand. Daily 10 a.m to 5 p.m.
73-50 Little Neck Parkway Glen Oaks, NY 11004
2. New York City beaches are now open for the season. What is more classic New York than hitting Coney Island for a Nathan’s hotdog and some time in the waves?
Surf Ave from Corbin Pl to W 37th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn (nycgovparks.org). Subway: D, F, N, Q to Coney Island–Stillwell Ave.
3. Smorgasburg on the Williamsburg waterfront packs tons of artisian food into one outdoor eating festival. Kid-friendly foods such as popsicles, ice cream and hog dogs are on tap. Make time to check out the crafts for kids, too!
27 North 6th St between Kent Ave and the East River, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
4. Escape the humid NYC weather in the fantastic and very kid-friendly Schoolastic Store. Located in Soho, this store packs literature for children, educational toys, plenty of LEGO. Favorite children’s books including the ever-popular Harry Potter series. The store also hosts popular children’s events and weekly story time.
557 Broadway between Prince and Spring Sts; 212-343-6166
5. Combine two excellent adventures into one great weekend afternoon at Govenor’s Island. Two ferries serve the island and Governor’s Island’s 2012 Summer hours are Saturdays and Sundays Governers Island is home to the Figment Mini Golf Course and bicycle rentals. Take advantage of what history Governor’s Island offers by exploring by bike.
6. Cloud City at the Metropolitan Museum of Art allows children to climb into artist Tomás Saraceno’s installation of fanciful bubbles constructed from steel and plastic. Check out the view from the Met rooftop and have a drink while you’re exploring. Note that children must be ten years old and at least 48 inches tall. There are additional rules and information at metmuseum.org
1000 Fifth Ave (at 82nd St) Subway: 4, 5, 6 to 86th St
7. The popular Riverflicks for Kids film series kicks off July 13 at 8:30pm with Kung Fu Panda 2. This summer, the series hosts a number of other family flicks. Pack a picnic dinner and make an evening of it. The rest of the schedule and additional information, including the family-friendly movies are listed at riverflicksnyc.com
Charles St (at the Hudson River) Subway: 1 to Christopher St–Sheridan Sq
8. The New York City Parks department offers free swim lessons for children ages 2 to 17. Water safety and swimming skills are taught at indoor pools citywide. Registration lottery for free NYC swim lesson begins on Friday, June 15, online. Check out http://www.nycgovparks.org/programs/aquatics for more information about swim registration.
9. Who doesn’t like candy? Sometimes, there’s nothing like visiting a giant sugar emporium, such as Dylan’s Candy Bar. Close by is famous Serendipity 3, home of the world-famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate and mega-shopping emporium Bloomingdale’s, making this area a triple-threat! A little sugar, some shopping and more sugar are sure to please even the most grumpy NYC teens. Of course, it might be hard to keep your teen on a budget!
Dylan’s Candy Bar: 1011 Third Avenue
Bloomingdale’s: 1000 Third Avenue
Serendipity 3: 225 East 60th Street
10. NYC playgrounds are in a league of their own. There’s nothing more free than enjoying the city’s extensive network of public playgrounds. Some of the best are the Moira Ann Smith Playground at the north end of Madison Square Park and the Hudson River Park Pier 15 Playground, both feature excellent water play areas.
Moira Ann Smith Playground: Madison Square Park, W. 23rd Street and Madison Avenue
Hudson River Peir 15 Playground: Hudson River Park at Jane St