Ultimate Summer Staycation Planner for NYC Kids: 50 Things To Do in Summer 2020
After months of remote learning and quarantine, summer is finally here. With many summer camps going online, NYC parents are staring down weeks of mostly unstructured time with kids who—like their parents—are tired of being cooped up. We've rounded up 50 summer activities for kids that are sure to take the edge off a little.
With the city and state taking a cautious approach to reopening, many of our favorite summer haunts (like industrially cooled museums!) are still dark, but we've managed to find plenty of things to do in NYC with kids this summer. From fun, at-home summer activities for those rainy days, to plenty of action in our favorite playgrounds, and enjoying the sand and surf on our newly reopened seashores, here are 50 things to do with kids in NYC during summer 2020. Find more seasonal fun in our Summer Fun Guide for NYC Kids.
You might not be able to jump in the fountain in Central Park's Conservatory Garden, but you can enjoy its mist and the nearby shade trees. Photo by Jody Mercier
Summer Activities for Kids in NYC Parks
1. Explore the playgrounds of Central Park and let us know if your rankings match our own.
2. Pack your picnic blanket and head out for an alfresco meal in one of our favorite underrated parks.
3. Pedal your way through NYC's five boroughs on one of these family-friendly bike paths.
4. Explore the paths and piers of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Don't forget about the ultra-cool playgrounds.
5. Visit one of the 18 playgrounds in our playground hall of fame.
6. Explore the large-scale art installations at Socrates Sculpture Park on the LIC waterfront.
7. Hit up the greenmarket at Grand Army Plaza, or one of the city's other farmers markets to pick up supplies for a farm-to-table meal.
8. Explore a new-to-you corner of Central Park. We're particularly partial to its northern edge!
9. Brooklyn more your style? Spend a day exploring Prospect Park with kids, and check out its cadre of cool playgrounds.
10. Stroll along the Long Island City Waterfront, enjoying its kid-friendly perks, playgrounds, and stunning skyline views.
Things To Do in NYC During a Heatwave
11. Cool off in one of our favorite play fountains where kids can get totally soaked.
12. Dive into these 25 water games.
13. Lucky enough to have an outdoor space of your own? Invest in one of our favorite sprinklers or inflatable pools.
14. Enjoy the sea breeze by taking one of these kid-friendly ferry rides.
15. Explore one of our favorite shade-drenched playgrounds.
16. Hit one of our favorite scoop shops for a refreshing treat.
17. Splash your way through these Brooklyn spraygrounds.
18. We've got best-of sprinkler lists for Queens and the Bronx, too.
19. Hit one of our favorite city shores; NYC has 14 miles of beachfront to explore, after all.
Fake a getaway by taking advantage of your fire escape for an impromptu picnic. Photo by Jody Mercier
Summer Activities to Enjoy in Your Neighborhood
20. Take the night off from cooking and visit one of these 20 restaurants with outdoor diningacross NYC.
21. Explore the Cool It! NYC map, which details the city blocks with the most shade, drinking fountains and water refilling stations, plus spraygrounds, and open hydrants.
22. Whip up an icy fresh summer cocktail and matching mocktail, and enjoy it on your fire escape.
23. Walk, scoot, skate, or bike down the more than 40 miles of open streets citywide. Some of these now closed-to-traffic blocks will even serve as dining plazas.
24. Gather some supplies and a patch of sidewalk to try one of these backyard science experiments.
Listen to famous actors read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Photo courtesy of Wizarding World
Virtual and Online Summer Activities for Kids
25. Enjoy classic tales from the Hans Christian Andersen storytellers with its Virtual Stories at the Statue program on select Saturday mornings.
26. No matter your kid's interest, we've found a virtual camp catering to them with this giant list of online summer camps.
27. Big kids might appreciate a history-in-the-making lesson learned by tuning into the Supreme Court's oral arguments.
28. Let your kid create their own superhero in this weeklong online STEM-inspired camp.
29. If an IRL trip to a national park is out of the question this year, enjoy a virtual visit courtesy of California State University Northridge, which is taking viewers on live virtual tours.
30. Little ones, ages 2 to 6, can get in the kitchen with Butterbeans Cafe Summer Fruit & Veggies Magic Virtual Cooking Class.
31. Listen along to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, as read by actors from the famed movie series. A new chapter is read each day.
32. Tweens and teens can develop their coding skills with classes in Python, TinkerCAD, and 3-D Animation with the Digital Arts Experience.
33. Explore the rest of the classes, virtual camps, and entertainment options on Poppins@Home.
Brighten the gloomiest of days with this DIY rainbow. Photo by Ally Noel
Indoor Summer Activities for Rainy Days
34. Clear the clouds up by crafting a walking rainbow indoors.
35. Craft an easy bird feeder and hang it from the fire escape to attract the neighborhood flock.
36. Curl up on the sofa and watch a family-friendly movie.
37. Get in the kitchen and whip up one of these famous restaurant eats.
38. Make some good, clean slime with this soap silly putty recipe.
39. Grow some tasty rock candy crystals in your kitchen.
40. Work your way through all 64 of our favorite science experiments. Bonus: No trip to the store necessary; these all require everyday household items!
41. If you've got little kids, this list of at-home STEM activities is perfect for preschoolers.
42. Invest in one of these time-tested toys that occupy kids for hours.
43. Put on your creative hat and craft one of these awesome creative projects.
Escape the city for a day of fresh air and farm-fresh berry picking. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala
Summer Activities Near NYC for a Quick Day Trip
44. Pack up the family station wagon for a wild safari at Six Flags in New Jersey. You might even be able to score tickets to the theme park, which reopens for reservations on July 4.
45. Spend a day in the fields picking perfectly ripe summer blueberries.
46. Or, wait for the peaches to ripen and pluck the perfect juicy pick from the branches.
47. Hit up a drive-in movie theater for a retro family movie night; there are even popup options within city limits.
48. Hike to the top of Bear Mountain and explore the rest of this state park's perks.
49. Take a family dip at one of these swimming holes nearby.
50. Explore our nearby state parks on a family-friendly hike.
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