Spring is in the air! It’s only mid-March but early summertime temperatures are already hitting New York City! With the success of our new teen program at The Meeting House, and spring break right around the corner, I wanted to write about some of the great things you can do with your kids during their time off from school. Over the past few years, more and more people are opting to stay and play “tourist” in their own city. Spring happens to be one of the most beautiful times in the city (and there is so much to do here) so why not stay?
There are lots of great bakeries in NYC, but there’s something about cupcakes that make a person happy! A fun and engaging activity to do is choose cupcakes from several different bakeries and have your own Cupcake Showdown at home! And check out this fun collection of cupcake recipes that are great for kids to bake at home (with supervision of course).
You could plan your whole spring break around these bakeries:
May The Force Be With You
Do you have a Star Wars fan in your house? Head to Times Square and check out the Star Wars costume exhibit at Discovery Times Square where you can see 70-hand crafted costumes from the first six Star Wars films, including Darth Vader’s mask, the C-3PO suit and Princess Leia’s famous bikini!
After you check out the costumes, there are a lot of great places to go to for fun and food. If you have a kid with a sweet tooth, be sure to check out the M&M’s World Store for some treats. Bryant Square Park is just a short walk and has tons of fun things happening at all times. Between the carousel, game cart (not open until later in the spring) and the delicious food offerings, it's a wonderful place to spend some time with your friends.
Looking for a good place to eat after? Here are some ideas in the Times Square area:
Indoor rock-climbing is a great way to get active during the winter and early spring when the weather won’t cooperate for outdoor playing! Rock-climbing is great for both a group outing with friends, but also working on motor planning, strength, coordination and increasing confidence and self-esteem. A couple of weeks ago, we took our City Smart Teens group for a rock climbing adventure at Brooklyn Boulders. It was 100% worth the trek and the kids had a great time. Other kid friendly options are:
- The Fieldhouse at Chelsea Piers
- Klub 4 Kids in Williamsburg
- Manhattan Plaza Health Club
- Aviator Sports & Events Center in Marine Park
Karaoke with Kids
Music is such an important part of the kid experience! Talking about, listening to and singing your favorite songs is a wonderful social activity and can help connect a group of kids. A number of NYC karaoke spots have family-friendly hours during the daytime, plus grown-ups will have their own fun too! If the weather isn’t cooperating and you are looking for something to do with a group of kids, consider some of these fun spots:
Brooklyn Bridge Fun
If the weather is right (meaning sunshine and no rain) a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is a perfect spring break activity. Take a selfie with a friend, or better yet, take a selfie with a friend with the Empire State Building behind you! Once you cross the bridge from Manhattan, there are a lot of fun stores to check out. Additionally, there are a lot of great things happening at the parks right on the water under the bridge to explore. One of my favorite things to do, even without kids, is to take a ride on Jane’s Carousel. This historic carousel was moved from its original location to the Brooklyn Bridge Park in 2011 and offers you one of the most amazing views of Manhattan you can ask for.
If coming from Manhattan to Brooklyn, there are a lot of great places to eat on the other side of your walk.
Do you think it’s intentional that Coney Island and its attractions open just before the week of spring break? It's funny how many New Yorkers haven't been to Coney Island, when it’s so easy to get there: hop on the Q and just ride it to the end! Once there, there are a ton of things to do. Grab a hot dog from Nathan's Famous who are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year, or take a walk along the boardwalk (and if it’s really nice, you can even dip your feet into the Atlantic Ocean.) Luna Park, which opens on Sunday, March 20th, is the home of the famous Cyclone Roller Coaster, the Wonderwheel and many other games, go-karts, rides and food stands. If you want to make a real day out of it, walk along the boardwalk and check out the NY Aquarium. While the aquarium continues to undergo reconstruction after Hurricane Sandy, there is plenty to look at and explore.
For anyone living in New York City, you know how lucky you are to have so many wonderful things to do to keep your kids entertained. Wishing you a happy and fun-filled Spring Break!
Megan Corridan, OT, is the Co-Director of Juniors' and Weekend Programs at The Meeting House