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10 Fun Winter Break Activities for Kids in NYC, Westchester, and Long Island

10 Fun Winter Break Activities for Kids in NYC, Westchester, and Long Island

Wondering what to do on winter break with your kids in NYC, Long Island, and Westchester? Check out these winter break activities for families!

We love all things holiday season, but when it comes to finding things to do during winter break in NYC, Westchester, and Long Island, we can get a little holiday-ed out! And who can blame you? After all, Christmas decorations hit the stores before the kids finished trick-or-treating! So, to balance everything out, here’s our top list of family activities to keep your kids—and you!—having fun while school is closed for winter break (for most of the schools in our area, that’s Dec. 24-31). None of these winter activities for kids in NYC, Westchester, and Long Island are holiday-related, but if you’re looking for holiday fun, we’ve got you covered with holiday lights in our area, Christmas events, holiday train rides, and more.

What to Do on Winter Break with Kids in NYC, Westchester, and Long Island

1. Take a spin on an ice-skating rink.

Nothing says winter fun like gliding freely on the ice! Excuse us while we live out our Winter Olympic dreams (in our heads, at least…). There are plenty of ice-skating rinks in NYC, Long Island, and Westchester, you’re guaranteed to find a skating rink near you. 

2. Head to an observation deck to see the view of NYC from above.

We live in (and near!) the greatest city in the world, and NYC’s observation decks will remind you of that wonder when you feast your eyes on some amazing views. Old favorites are the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock, but have you been to the Edge yet? Or NYC’s newest observation deck at Summit? It’s an experience you won’t believe until you see it.

3. Treat the kids to a family-friendly Broadway show!

What’s more quintessential NYC than heading to Broadway?! There are so many shows that are great for families, including The Lion King, Wicked, Dear Evan Hanson, and Aladdin. What’s more?

4. Help your kids flex their DIY skills.

Whether you pick up a craft kit at the store or find a cute and easy DIY on Pinterest, spending some time crafting is a joy! Bonus: Your kids will be so proud of what they made from scratch; it’ll make your heart smile.

5. Get lost in a museum.

Our area has such an abundance of museums that you’re 100-percent guaranteed to find a museum that your family loves. Whether it’s the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cradle of Aviation Museum, or Westchester Children’s Museum, time spent at a museum is not wasted. Want something exciting to entice your kids with? The American Museum of Natural History (one of our absolute favorites!) has a new exhibit that opened Dec. 15: Sharks. It features dozens of life-size shark models ranging from the enormous megalodon to the adorably tiny pocket shark that fits in the palm of your hand!

6. Spend an afternoon sledding.

If there’s enough snow on the ground, of course! Bundle up, grab your sled, and head over to one of our favorite sledding spots for an afternoon of downhill fun! Want a little more thrill? Head to a nearby snow tubing park, like Mount Peter in Warwick or Mountain Creek Resort in Vernon, NJ. (Many of the snow tubing locations make their own snow, so you can still go tubing if there still isn’t snow on the ground!)

7. Have a movie marathon.

Sometimes you just want to stay in your pajamas and lounge on the couch all day, especially when it’s freezing outside. And there’s nothing wrong with that! After all, Winter Break is the perfect time to slow down, spend uninterrupted time with your kids, and just relax. Let each member of the family pick out a movie or decide on a theme. The options are endless!

Need some ideas? Check out these roundups:

8. Bowl a strike!

Or spare, or just try to knock some pins down…whatever your score ends up being, your family is sure to have a blast when you visit one of the bowling alleys in our area

9. Explore the ocean at a nearby aquarium.

Sure, it’s winter. But that doesn’t mean you can’t explore sea life (you’ll just have to do it at a nearby aquarium instead of the beach). Head to Coney Island’s New York Aquarium, where you can check out weird and wonderful invertebrates in the Spineless exhibit. Or plan a day trip to American Dream, where you can visit New Jersey SEA LIFE Aquarium, an NYC-themed experience. And don’t forget about the Long Island Aquarium! It has one of the largest all-living closed-system coral reef displays in the Western Hemisphere.

10. Check out our online calendar for things happening during winter break in your neighborhood.

Seriously. We strive to have the most robust of things happening in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester, and Long Island that are great for kids and the whole family. Whether you’re looking for a fun event at a library, a show, or something going on at one of our area’s museums, you’ll find it in our calendar. Below, you’ll find a selection of what’s going on in the NY metro area during winter break:

Winter Break Activities in Manhattan

Petunia's Playhouse Live: Petunia's Big Day
Dec. 22-Jan. 1, 2022, see website for schedule
WHERE: New Ohio Theatre, 154 Christopher St., Meatpacking District
AGE: 6-12
WHAT: This live theatrical experience about self-care features original music, a colorful cast of characters, and of course Petunia and her best pal, Pumpkin Duck!
WANT TO GO? $25. 

Watson Adventures’ Wizard School Scavenger Hunt
Thursday, Dec. 30, 10:30am-12:30pm
WHERE: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., Upper East Side
AGE: 10 and older
WHAT: Follow in the footsteps of young wizards on a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in search of art that echoes characters, places, and enchanted objects in the Harry Potter books and movies. Keep your trusty wand handy as you track down a powerful sorceress, a Snape-like potions master, Hagrid-like giants, and cloaked and masked figures as scary as any Death Eater or Dementor.
WANT TO GO? $27.50-$39. Advanced registration required. Price includes museum admission. Kids must be accompanied by an adult, but all-adult teams can compete separately. The game is played on smartphones using a browser-based app. 

The PAW Patrol™ Experience: Only at CAMP
Through Jan. 2, 2022: daily, 11am-7pm.
WHERE: CAMP at Hudson Yards, 20 Hudson Yards, Chelsea
AGE: 2-12
WHAT: This immersive experience celebrates PAW Patrol: The Movie™ and is filled with interactive games, skill-based activities, themed crafts, and action-packed missions. NYC families will be able to live out their rescue team dreams through themed environments, counselor-led games, and activities celebrating their favorite group of adventurous canines.
WANT TO GO? $30. Advanced registration required. 

Rescue Rue
Through Jan. 16, 2022: See website for schedule
WHERE: DR2 Theatre, 103 E. 15th St., Union Square
AGE: All
WHAT: See this family-friendly musical about a little dog named Rue who realizes life is really about finding your happy beginnings, not endings! Told by a colorful cast of puppets and people!
WANT TO GO? $39-$99

Disney Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation
Through Jan. 30, 2022: See website for schedule
WHERE: Theater Row, 410 W. 42nd St., Midtown
AGE: All
WHAT: This beautifully crafted musical stage adaptation is set deep in the Hundred Acre Wood and told with stunning life-size puppetry through the eyes of the Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, and their best friends Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, and Owl (and Tigger too!).
WANT TO GO? Tickets start at $41.50.

The Big Apple Circus
Through Jan. 30, 2022: See website for schedule
WHERE: Lincoln Center, 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, Upper West Side
AGE: All
WHAT: This all-new production features an international company of gold-medal, award-winning, world-class circus artists from Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Germany, Russia, and the United States in this re-energized, reimagined, and reinvigorated production of circus artistry.
WANT TO GO? Tickets start at $25.

Gazillion Bubble Show
Through May 29, 2022: See website for schedule
WHERE: New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St., Stage 2, Hell's Kitchen
AGE: All
WHAT: Audiences are delighted with an unbubblievable experience, awashed with a bubble tide, and some even find themselves INSIDE a bubble. Mind-blowing bubble magic, spectacular laser lighting effects, and momentary soapy masterpieces will make you smile, laugh, and feel like a kid again.
WANT TO GO? $59-$99.50.

Winter Break Activities in Brooklyn

The Parent Trap (1998)
Saturday, Dec. 26, 5:15pm
WHERE: Skyline Drive-In NYC, 1 Oak St., Greenpoint
AGE: All
WHAT: Pack up the kids for a night at the drive-in! See identical twins Annie and Hallie, separated at birth and each raised by one of their biological parents, discover each other for the first time at summer camp and make a plan to bring their wayward parents back together.
WANT TO GO? $44.99 per car up to 7 passengers

FREE Statsraad Lehmkuhl Open Ship Day
Monday, Dec. 27, 12-3pm
WHERE: Brooklyn Bridge Park, 334 Furman St., Brooklyn Heights
AGE: All
WHAT: Explore the Statsraad Lehmkuhl, Norway’s oldest and largest square-rigged tall ship, docked in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Now a state-of-the-art mobile research laboratory, the 107-year-old Lehmkuhl is circumnavigating the globe until April 2023 under the flag of The One Ocean Expedition, a part of the United Nations’ Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Traveling 55,000 nautical miles to 36 ports worldwide, the ship will continuously collect data on ocean physics, chemistry, and biology throughout its journey and serve as a floating university for crews of scientists, students, and young leaders.
WANT TO GO? The ship will be docked Dec.18-Jan. 4, 2022.

New York Aquarium Family Camp: Wild Winter Wonders
Thursday, Dec. 30, 9:30-11am
WHERE: New York Aquarium, 602 Surf Ave., Coney Island
AGE: All
WHAT: Bring your crew to enjoy a morning of fun activities and unique animal experiences.
WANT TO GO? $30; $24 members. Advanced registration required.

FREE Kids Week: Build a Birdfeeder
Friday, Dec. 31, 1-2pm
WHERE: Fort Greene Park Visitor Center, Myrtle Avenue and Washington Park, Fort Greene
AGE: All
WHAT: Learn about winter birds in your neighborhood and what they like to eat. Build your very own bird feeder from recycled materials.
WANT TO GO? 646-398-1479.

The Rock and Roll Playhouse plays the Music of Phish for Kids & More
Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, 12pm
WHERE: Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Ave, Williamsburg
AGE: 10 and younger
WHAT: The Rock and Roll Playhouse performs songs created by the most iconic musicians in rock history. The band offers its audience games, movement, stories, and an opportunity to rock out in an effort to educate children and explore their creativity. The Rock and Roll Playhouse is an early and often first introduction to a child's lifelong journey with live music and rock and roll.
WANT TO GO? $12-15; free for kids younger than 1.

Art Rink
Through March 31, 2022: Thursday-Friday, 2-5pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10am-1pm and 2-5pm
WHERE: Brooklyn Children's Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave., Crown Heights
AGE: All
WHAT: This eco-friendly 3,200-square-foot outdoor ice-skating rink is specially designed for skaters of all ages and skills. Visitors can lace up their skates and glide around under the sparkling lights of BCM's rooftop canopy. While on-site, guests can also enjoy festive music and explore a mini-village of winter playhouses, designed for open-ended play.
WANT TO GO? $23. Advanced registration required.

Winter Break Activities in Queens

FREE Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, Dec. 25, 10-11am
WHERE: Juniper Valley Tennis Courts in Juniper Valley Park, 80th Street Juniper Valley Park, Middle Village
AGE: All
WHAT: This guided hike will challenge your photography skills as you work to complete a photo scavenger hunt.
WANT TO GO? Bring your own digital camera or smartphone.

Winter Kids Totally Chill Program
Monday, Dec. 27, 10:30am-12pm
WHERE: Alley Pond Environmental Center, 224-65 76th Ave., Oakland Gardens
AGE: 7-10
WHAT: Participate in some cool winter outdoor activities during this all outdoor program. Hula Hoop obstacle course, snow bucket relay game, snow yoga, identifying animal tracks, and more will be part of the morning fun. Warm up with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy a sweet and healthy treat (banana popsicles), while you listen to a winter story and meet an animal ambassador on the front deck.
WANT TO GO? $24. Advanced registration required. Dress your child for the weather.

FREE Kids Week: Nature Exploration Hike and Craft
Thursday, Dec. 30, 1-2pm
WHERE: Forest Park Visitor Center, Woodhaven Boulevard and Forest Park Drive, Woodhaven
AGE: All
WHAT: Kids will get to experience nature in a hands-on and fun way. Get creative while using the park as an inspiration to construct a nature-based craft.
WANT TO GO? 718-846-2731.

FREE Kids Week: Ranger Games
Tuesday, Dec. 28, 1-2pm
WHERE: Astoria Park, Hoyt Avenue North and 19th Street, Astoria
AGE: All
WHAT: Spend an afternoon of fun with the Urban Park Rangers playing and learning new and exciting nature games.
WANT TO GO? 718-352-1769.

Holiday Puppetry Fun: Recreating Classic Puppet Scenes
  Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, 1pm
WHERE: Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave., Astoria
WHAT: In this media puppetry showcase, the Education Department’s puppeteer in residence, Brian Carson, will demonstrate the re-creation of classic scenes from Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. 
WANT TO GO? Included with admission: $15; $11 seniors 65 and older and students ages 18 and older; $9 ages 3-17.

Winter Break Activities in Westchester

The Harlem Globetrotters
Monday, Dec. 27, 2pm and 7pm
WHERE: Webster Bank Arena, 600 Main St., Bridgeport, CT
AGE: All
WHAT: The World-Famous Harlem Globetrotters are bringing you their newly reimagined Spread Game Tour featuring ankle-breaking moves, jaw-dropping swag, and rim-rattling dunks are only some of the thrill you can expect from this fully modernized show. Part streetball from the players who defined it, part interactive family entertainment, the new tour will show off the best of the Globetrotters in a dazzling exhibition of talent and game.
WANT TO GO? Tickets start at $20

Kids Yoga
Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2-2:45pm
WHERE: Wainwright House, Inc., 260 Stuyvesant Ave., Rye
AGE: 3-4
WHAT: Toddlers and preschoolers will engage in fun and dynamic breathing techniques, mantras, and yoga poses to promote creativity and play, self- and social awareness, and self-regulation.
WANT TO GO? $25; $20 members. 

Family Studio Science Workshop: Can You Fold a Space Telescope?
Dec. 27-31, Monday-Friday, 1-4pm
WHERE: Hudson River Museum, 511 Warburton Ave., Yonkers
AGE: Recommended for ages 8 and older
WHAT: The James Webb Space Telescope is set for launch this month. It is so large it has to be folded up to fit inside its launch vehicle. Try your hand at packing a telescope into a rocket—mirror, sunshield, instruments, and all—so it will deploy successfully in orbit.
WANT TO GO? Included with admission: $8; $5 seniors 62 and older, students and veterans; $4 children ages 3-18; free for members

Cirque de Light LED Show
Friday, Dec. 31, 11am-12pm or 1:30-2:30pm
WHERE: Stepping Stones Museum for Children, 303 West Ave., Norwalk, CT
AGE: All
WHAT: New England-based entertainment company Cirque de Light will delight kids of all ages with its high-energy, circus-themed light performance featuring amazing choreography, high-end light technology, and custom costuming. Performers will light up the Multimedia Gallery stage with logo-displaying LED poi, Hula Hoop tricks, and other visually-inspiring light manipulations.
WANT TO GO? Free with museum admission: $16; $12 seniors.

Winter Break Activities in Long Island

Cradle of Aviation Museum 'Colors of the Universe'
Dec. 26-Jan. 2, 2022, Tuesday-Sunday, 12-4pm
WHERE: Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, Garden City
AGE: All
WHAT: When space telescopes, like Hubble or James Webb, take photographs of the universe, we usually think that they produce gorgeously colored photos showing incredible detail but the truth is a bit different: The actual photos these telescopes send back to Earth are black and white. In this self-guided activity, learn how the telescopes take their photographs and how scientists and artists take those pictures to create the beautiful imagery we see. Children and their grown-ups can then color in their own Nebula pictures based on real space telescope data.
WANT TO GO? Free with Museum Admission: $16; $14 children 2-12 and seniors.

Cocoa & Crafts
Dec. 27-Dec. 29, Monday-Wednesday, 10am-4pm, every 30 minutes
WHERE: Garvies Point Museum, 50 Barry Drive, Glen Cove
AGE: All
WHAT: Join the museum each day for a fun craft inspired by nature; plus enjoy complimentary hot cocoa and an educational film!
WANT TO GO? $5; $3 children 5-12 years.

Mouse on the Move
Dec. 27-30, Monday-Thursday, 11am and 1:30pm
WHERE: Long Island Children's Museum, 11 Davis Ave., Garden City
AGE: 1-5
WHAT: Two adventurous mice are ready to explore the world beyond their little mouse-hole. They decide to go to the moon because they believe it is made entirely of delicious, mouth-watering cheese. The pair learns to be resourceful, creative, and brave as they discover a beautiful garden, navigate uncharted waters, and travel through space in search of cheese. Created especially for young audience members, this multi-sensory and fantastically physical experience offers a wonderful introduction to the world of theater. In this interactive piece, audience members become active in the storytelling as they use props and their imagination to help the mice.
WANT TO GO? $12 theater only or $9; $7 members plus museum admission: $14; free for members. Advanced registration required.

Build a Boat Workshop
Tuesday, Dec. 28 and Thursday, Dec. 30, 1-3pm
WHERE: The Whaling Museum and Education Center, 301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor
AGE: All
WHAT: Drop in any time to imagine, design, and create unique wooden vessel models out of a variety of materials in this open-ended workshop. Go home with your creation!
WANT TO GO? $10 or $5 members plus admission: $6; $5 seniors 62 and older and children 4-18; free for children 3 and younger and those with ?Active Military with ID.

Long Island Nets vs Capital City Go-Go
Thursday, Dec. 30, 1pm
WHERE: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale
AGE: All
WHAT: Experience the future stars of the NBA and Brooklyn Nets with the Long Island Nets of the NBA G League at Nassau Coliseum. Affordable prices and family-friendly fun with an accessible and community-driven organization.
WANT TO GO? Starting at $20.

Trout Birthday Party
Friday, Dec. 31, 10am-5pm
WHERE: Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium, 1660 Route 25A, Cold Spring Harbor
AGE: All
WHAT: Join Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium to meet their baby trout. Don’t forget to bring a birthday card for the fish!
WANT TO GO? $7; $6 seniors 65 and older; $5 ages 3-12.

Frozen, Jr.
Through Jan. 17, 2022: See website for schedule.
WHERE: Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. Main St., Smithtown
AGE: All
WHAT: A story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Frozen Jr. expands upon the emotional relationship and journey between Princesses Anna and Elsa. When faced with danger, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humor, Frozen Jr. is sure to thaw even the coldest heart!
WANT TO GO? $25.

Main image by Aleksei Potov/

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Katelin Walling

Author: Katelin Walling is the former editorial director for NYMetroParents. She has been writing about parenting, health, finance, education, fun things to do in NYC and the surrounding area, and more for nearly 10 years. She also has 20+ years of child care experience and was a babysitter in NYC for 8 years. Katelin graduated from the University of Maine in 2011 and attended the NYU Summer Publishing Institute during the summer of 2011. To unplug in her free time, she can often be found reading, knitting (or general crafting), or whipping up a vegan treat—all with a cup of coffee nearby. See More

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