NYC Winter: Fun Things To Do With Kids Inside


With the days getting shorter and the weather getting colder, New York City parents and tourists coming to the city are all wondering: what can I do to keep my kids busy?!

I’ll preface this by saying that I’m a huge believer in letting kids play outside as much as possible. In fact, unless it’s thundering and lightning (or he’s sick), I make a point of taking Augusten out at least once a day–it helps regulate his abundance of energy, making for better mealtimes, sleeps, and a happier little man in general.

But for those times you just can’t bear the thought of another frigid afternoon spent in Central Park, I’ve corralled up ways to keep your littles engaged, indoors! These all have the Augusten stamp of approval–enjoy!

new york city family activities

Gazillion Bubble Show, credit

Visit the Transit Museum in Brooklyn

The New York Transit Museum is not only the epitome of NYC (how else would we get from Harlem to Prospect Heights in a single afternoon?!), but it’s perfect for all ages of kids, and just as informative and entertaining for their caregivers. I first took Augusten here when he was 18 months and he had a ball running through the subway cars!

Watch a performance of the Gazillion Bubble Show in Midtown!

Whether your little one is just a few months or entering pre-teens, chances are there is one thing that puts a smile on children of all age groups: BUBBLES! The Gazillion Bubble Show is a total must-see, showcasing bubble magic, light shows, soapy masterpieces, music, and an all around unBUBBLElievable afternoon! Seriously guys, there are SO. MANY. BUBBLES. And it’s SO. MUCH. FUN!!! A true can’t miss event for both locals and tourists (and their kiddos, of course!)

Paint your own pottery in Tribeca!

Paint your own pottery studios have been around since I was a kid, and I was glad to see they are still going strong in NYC! Color Me Mine is a studio located in Tribeca, and has specific activities for caregivers and even the littlest of littles (as in, you can actually take your newborn to have their tiny little toes painted on a mug for grandma and grandpa–adorable!) Of course, this is a hit amongst older guys as well.

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Burn off energy at the Field House at Chelsea Piers

Being cooped up inside all day is tough for kids, and the Field House at Chelsea Piers is an excellent outlet. Unlike other kids gyms around the city where you have to purchase expensive monthly memberships, the Field House has drop-in hours for toddlers up through teens!

We’re currently huge fans of the Toddler Gym, for its space as well as its price (only $12 for a session!) They have tons of other age appropriate activities such as drop-in gymnastics, rock climbing, soccer, and free play.

Take a cooking class together in Chelsea!

Leave it to NYC to have a cooking class that’s appropriate for kids as young as 2…all the way up through teenagehood! Taste Buds Kitchen hosts regular weekly classes, which are themed for the current holidays, (think: gingerbread houses in December, confetti cupcakes for January, etc.) Fun fact: they also host Adult BYOB Cooking Classes in the evening!

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Explore Dylan’s Candy Bar on a Tour!

You know the expression…”I feel like a kid in a candy store!” Well, I can say from first hand experience, kids in candy stores are REALLY something to behold! I’ve never seen Augusten bolt out of his stroller so quickly as when we visited the Upper East Side flagship store of Dylan’s Candy Bar for the Tour De Sweet!

For $50, you get your own candy tour specialist to guide you around the store for an hour and fill you with fun facts and unlimited candy, fudge, and ice cream tastings, as well as one pound of candy to take home with you, all of your choice. It’s about as close as you can get to being an extra on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

What I love about Dylan’s is they really let it be a hands-on experience for littles, so your kids are free to roam and touch and play, much like they would in an interactive children’s museum. Even if you don’t go for a tour, pop in for some candy nibbles, delicious bites at the upstairs cafe, and fantastic Instagrams. Such an easy and fun way to spend a winter’s afternoon!

What’s your go-to NYC indoor activity with kids? Share below!

Jessica Tiare Bowen
Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He's the inspiration for her first published children's book, "Park Avenue Pound Puppy." The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.

Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.

She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.
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