Spring is here (even if it doesn’t quite feel like it) and the city is blooming — with awesome, kid-friendly events, that is. Free NYC events are in full-swing, and this month is chock-full of fun things for the whole family, including festive parades, community events, space ponies, robots, and much more. Read on to find out what kids and families can do for free this month (and lament at your inability to be in three places at the same time)!

Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

Break out your fanciest hats, and join the procession that's been around for over 200 years. Or just visit any part of the parade's route to marvel at the gorgeous and often outlandish bonnets as they pass by (the St. Patrick's Cathedral is a great place to hang out and just people-watch).

Sun., Apr. 1
10 a.m.-4 p.m.
5th Ave. from 49th St. to 57th St.
Midtown

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Ensemble Signal Pop-Up Concert at the Miller Theatre

Relax and unwind with Ensemble Signal's free pop-up concert this month. Violinist Lauren Cauley and pianist David Friend will join the concert in bringing to life classical music from modern composers Tonia Ko, Christopher Cerrone, and David Lang. This change of pace may not be every kid's cup of tea, but it's a wonderful chance to introduce a more musically-inclined child to the vibrant world of modern composers.

Tues., Apr. 3
6 p.m.
Columbia University School of the Arts
2960 Broadway Ave. (at 116th St.)
Upper West Side
Online: millertheatre.com
212-854-7799

Robotics Competition at the Armory Track

Do your kids love robots? Give them a chance to see some real robots in action at the FIRST Robotics Competition, where 51 teams from all over the world (and some local favorites as well) put their robots to the test in a series of games and challenges. Show up at any point during the weekend to check out this event, which is free and open to the public.

Apr. 5-8
The Armory
216 Fort Washington Ave.
Upper West Side
Online: nycfirst.org

Opening Weekend at Prospect Park

There's so much to do at the Prospect Park Spring opening weekend, we don't even know where to start! Visit for a chock-full event and enjoy family yoga, a 1860s-style exhibition baseball game and parade, bird watching, freshly grilled meat, a scavenger, music and kid-friendly games and activities… all free (or recommended donation) and all festive! We just know Spring will finally show up after an introduction like this one.

Apr. 7-8
Various times and locations
Prospect Park
Online: prospectpark.org

Tartan Day Parade

Come watch the NYC Tartan Day parade, where all things Scottish will be on display. This year's parade will be led by singer KT Tunstall, and it sure to be full of festivities, dancing, bagpipe music, and plenty of Scottish pride. And check the website for more Scotland-related things to do the week leading up to the parade (like learning the traditional dancing style of Ceilidh with the family).

Sat., Apr. 7
6th Ave., from 44th St. to 55th St,
Midtown
Online: nyctartanweek.org

Pillow Fight at Washington Square Park

Bring a pillow to Washington Square Park and join the huge community pillow fight that ensues! The event does get crowded, but attendees are encouraged to swing softly and use only soft, feather-free pillows, so bring the whole family for some silly fun. Pajamas are welcome, and following the event, attendees can donate their pillows in a nearby donation truck. Don't forget to wear or bring something that fits this year's theme: space ponies!!

Sat., Apr. 7
3-5 p.m.
Washington Square Park
Greenwich Village
Online: facebook.com

Hawk Nest Watch at Central Park

Take bird watching up a notch with this hawk nest watch brought to you by the NYC Naturalist Club. Join some Urban Rangers on a visual hunt for hawk nests, meeting plenty of other wildlife along the way. Bring your own binoculars, or ask a Ranger to borrow some for some up-close-and-personal nature time to remind us that even in the middle of the city, nature is all around us.

Sat., Apr. 14
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Central Park
East 72nd St. and 5th Ave.
Upper West Side
Online: nycgovparks.org

Earth Day at Union Square

Celebrate our planet at the Union Square Earth Day Initiative. This annual outdoor event features exhibitions on going green, protecting the earth, and educate yourself about what you can do. Kids are welcome to join, with free themes activities set up for them to participate in and learn from.

Sun., Apr. 15
12-7 p.m.
Union Square West
Online: earthdayinitiative.org

Family Science Night at the Greenbelt

Dig up some fossils at this family science night at the Greenbelt. Families will become paleontologists for a night as they study and identify dinosaur bones, petrified wood, and other fossils — then create their own fossils and (weather permitting) head outside to search for real fossils! Then, families will work together on a Geologic Timeline activity to wrap up what they learned.

Wed., Apr. 18, 2018
6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Greenbelt Nature Center
700 Rockland Ave. at Brielle Ave.
Staten Island
Online: nycgovparks.org

photo: Kevin Coles via Flickr

Greek Independence Day Parade

April has lots of parades in the works! Visit the Greek Independence Day Parade, which dates back to 1938, and experience Greek culture and heritage through music, dancing, flags, and traditional costumes. Be prepared for crowds and lots of loud noise!

Sun., Apr. 22
1:30 p.m.
Down 5th Ave
Midtown
Online: hellenicsocieties.org

Community Day at the 911 Memorial Plaza

Whether you're participating in the 5k Run/Walk or not, everyone can enjoy the accompanying community events. There will be entertainment, music, and activities for all ages, free for anyone to participate in, as well as a variety of food from local vendors. Run/Walk participants can also get discounted entry to the 9/11 museum following the race.

Sun., Apr. 22
9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
September 11 Memorial Plaza
180 Greenwich St.
Financial District
Online: 911memorial.org

Big Swim Big Kick at Asphalt Green

Kids ages 6 to 10 (accompanied by adults) are invited to swim and race in the Olympic-sized pool or play soccer at Asphalt Green. Bring your own swim gear and soccer outfits, or just stay in the sidelines and observe. The event also features meet-and-greets with Olympic swimming gold medalist Dana Vollmer and University of Florida women's head soccer coach Becky Burleigh. Visit and watch or register your child/ren in advance (for free).

Sat., Apr. 28
11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Asphalt Green
1750 York Ave.
Upper East Side
Online: asphaltgreen.org

Street Games in Harlem

What did people ever do before electronics? Plenty of fun stuff, of course! Take a trip back in time with the Street Games, which feature outdoor games and entertainment for all ages. Play classics like pogo sticks and hula hoops, try your skill at the box car derby or the obstacle course, and more. The fun and games will be accompanied by performances from break-dancers and yo-yo masters, and the Dance Theater of Harlem.

Sat., Apr. 28
11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Thomas Jefferson Park
114th St. & Pleasant Ave.
Harlem
Online: nycgovparks.org

World Voices Festival at PEN America

Introduce the little ones to the literary world of writers and stories with this festival, which features many events for children all over the city through April and May. Kids can join authors in learning the power of words, telling an engaging story, and many more fun but educational topics for young boys and girls. Check the website for the full list of events (both free and paid).

Various times and locations
Online: worldvoices.pen.org

What’s your favorite free event for families this month? Tell us about it in the comments! 

—Yuliya Geikhman

main photo: The All-Nite Images via Flickr