For budding artists there is no better city to inspire the imagination than NYC. Our world-class museums and galleries are packed from the ancient classics to up-to-date modern. But the no-touch policy might be restrictive for little hands that just want to get busy. For the itchy wee fingers of great minds, the Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA) is an ideal destination to get interactive.

A fixture in SoHo for over 20 years, CMA moved last fall to a new space in a renovated warehouse building on the west end of the neighborhood. The permanent collection hosts over 2000 works from children from all over the world, including The International Collection––the first of its kind––and a historic collection of WPA-sponsored works by children from the 1930s. Check in on main gallery exhibits, which change three to four times a year, and are always geared to holding the attention of the littlest of critics.

What sets the CMA apart from hushed, adult-geared museums are the hands-on studio spaces with Artists-in-Residence led activities. Kids five and under can paint, mold clay, sing and play young architect with the giant blocks in the WEE Arts Studio. The Fine Arts Studio––an open, airy creative zone featuring painting, sculpture, drawing and textiles––will make older kids feel like Picasso-in-training. Plus, check hours for the other projects for kids five and up like the Clay Bar and The Media Lab. And, when kids just need some good old-fashioned play, they can bounce around on the giant yoga balls in The Ball Pond before zipping down the indoor slide.

Not just tied to their home base either, be sure to check out roving CMA sponsored art appreciation projects this summer on Governors Island, the River to River Festival and Pier Pop Ups at various piers over the course of the summer. Paint on!

Cost: Adults and children 1+, $10; Infants, Seniors and Members, free; Thursdays 4-6, Pay as You Wish.

Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm; Saturday & Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm; Closed Tuesday.

103 Charlton Street
between Hudson & Greenwich Street
Phone: 212-274-0986
Online: cmany.org

Do you have any tips for bringing your kiddos to CMA? We think this is an ideal indoor activity for these hot summer days!

— Laura House

Photo credit: Hannah Sawhney courtesy of Children’s Museum of the Arts Facebook page.