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19 Free Things to Do in New York with Kids

There’s no denying it — we’re in the dog days of summer. With the heat merely rising, we’re guessing you’ve exhausted many of your indoor play options, some of your go-to spots for outdoor cool-down fun, as well as errr…some of your extra pocket change. Luckily for us, the city features a bevy of amazing activities just for kids. The best part? They’re all free! From free museum days to festivals that celebrate the end of summer and easy-on-the-pocketbook outdoor movies, we’ve rounded up our picks for free activities in New York for your antsy kids. Share the love with our parents in the comment section below and let us know your picks for free activities in the city.

1. Visit the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on the first Friday of every month from 5:00pm – 8:00pm when admission is free thanks to Target.

2. Battle the summer heat by hanging out at one of our favorite parks in Brooklyn. All you need is a picnic blanket, some munchies, and shade. If it’s a sizzling day, be sure to check out the Water Lab at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 6.

3. Head to Pier 25 for a free hands-on art program hosted by the Children’s Museum of the Arts on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:00pm-6:00pm until August 30, 2012.

4. Take a stroll on the High Line where awesome views and great people watching await.

5. If you haven’t attended any free SummerStage performances this summer, it’s not too late. There are a few left and best of all, these kid-friendly events are totally free.

6. Explore the city from the water as you glide along with your family in a kayak.

7. Every Thursday in August 2012, the Prospect Park Carousel is free. Go ahead, take a spin!

8.  Take advantage of the warm summer nights and introduce your kids to classical music with a free concert on August 21 at the picturesque Hudson River Park.

9. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is offering free admission every Friday from July 6 through August 24 from, 5:00-7:30pm, every third thursday of the month from 4:00pm–7:00pm and on the first full weekend of every month 2:00–5:00pm.

10. There’s nothing like dipping into a refreshing swimming pool to really cool off. Here are some of our favorites pools and beaches, many of which will cost you nothing!

11. The amazing Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, which is an idyllic place to let your kids expunge some energy, offer free admission every Tuesday. If you can’t make it on Tuesdays, all other days kids 12 and under get in for free.

12. Many boroughs are still hosting weekend walks throughout the summer. These free weekends, where streets are closed off to cars, is a great way to explore your neighborhood on foot and connect with your community.

13. If you’d prefer to head indoors, check out the National Museum of American Indian, which is always free.

14. From Cars to The Smurfs there are tons of free family movies yet to be seen this summer. Grab a blanket, pack some snacks, and enjoy a summer flick.

15. Did you know your local library hosts a bevy of free library readings and activities for the kiddos? Check out our picks here.

16. Check out some new eats at Prospect Park’s food truck rally at Grand Army Plaza on August 19. Afterwards, head to Park Slope, Prospect Heights, or Prospect Park for some family explorations and adventures.

17. One of our all-time favorite destinations, Central Park, boasts a secret garden. Have you been here? 

18. Get the wiggles out and that booty shaking at free summer concerts just for kids. 

19. Take a cue from Mary Poppins and enjoy a sweet Kite Festival at Pier 70 on August 18 from 11:00am-3:00pm.

What’s your family #1 free activity in New York? We’re just scratching the surface here so let us know in the comment section below your fave free activity and we’ll add it to our list!

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