Inexpensive and Free! Fun Things To Do With Your Littles In NYC
Hey Mamas Hey!
So, if you didn't already know from following me on IG here, back in September I was able to spend a month with my boys (Ryan joined us later) in my hometown of NYC. I made it an absolute priority to get my dudes out to experience all the kid friendly activities the city has to offer as much as I could. The weather was pretty cooperative too! As you can imagine, taking the kids to do things all the time can get pretty expensive, so I also had to be sure that everything I brought them to was budget friendly as well. And I'll be the first to give praise to the very MTA that I cursed every day for about 24 years. The bus and train are inexpensive, pretty efficient, get you all over the city, and everyone was so nice to me especially when I was alone with 2 kids, baby wearing Christian and pushing Bryson in the stroller. (BIG UP all the good Samaritans who helped me carry the stroller down the stairs, held doors and especially to lady on the B100 who didn't mind when Bryson took her straw from her iced coffee.) Anyway, I polled in my IG stories who would want me to compile a list of the inexpensive and free fun things to do around the city, and I've finally answered your wishes! Here's our experience:
I am lucky to have spent a lot of my time growing up at BCM Kids because my mom runs the greenhouse with her students. They have something for kids of every age, Totally Tots, World Brooklyn, Neighborhood Nature, a Sensory Room as well as rotating visiting exhibits. There's also tons of animals for them to view and even handle! Field trips, party rentals, after school programs and a summer camp are also available. My kids absolutely love the whole place but were particularly fond of the water and drum exhibits in the Totally Tots area. General Admission is $13 but on Thursdays from 2PM to 6PM, and on Sundays from 4PM to 7PM there is a pay as you wish option, as well as group rates and some may qualify for reduced rates. I also give them huge props for their nursing and pumping station from Mamava!
Bryson in the Totally Tots area, World Brooklyn + the rainbow tunnel
This was my first solo mission to the city with the boys to meet our good friends from IG @mom_uptown (check out her blog here) and her girls to check out the Camp Store on 5th Ave. At this location, the fun is free and open to the public after 11 am but there are membership options with exclusive specials. They make it like a trip for the kids and they got little passports where they could stamp at each different area which makes a really cute souvenir. There was a jungle gym, music, safari, under the sea, soft play areas and a huge wall to color on. I could not get Bryson away from the xylophone or drums! So much cool stuff to get into. Some locations offer different, special activities depending on the day and you can book a group play session. My boys just had a blast there and it is conveniently located near the 14th street subways. PS: they have a Brooklyn and Hudson Yards location too!
Christian in the soft play area + both boys at the Great Wall coloring + Chris at the boombox
DUMBO is one of my favorite areas of Brooklyn, when I was growing up there was nothing down there! Just factories and textiles; well that certainly flipped! A breathtaking view of the city and the bridges and so many landmarks including Jane's Carousel. It was both of my boys first time riding a carousel which makes this extra special for us. For $2.50 a pop your kids can ride this historic and richly crafted horse and chariot ride with all the views. After a few spins around, they can run around the grass park outside or the playground that is a block away, or you can take them to eat at any of the famous restaurants down there: Grimaldis famous pizza (but expect a line), Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory or Ignazios.
Check them out on IG @janescarousel
I give myself a big pat on the back for this local find, not to mention how I wish more of these types of places would open up all over the country. A great way to spend a few hours after school or on a rainy day, Good Day Play Cafe in Park Slope, Brooklyn is sensory heaven for the littles! My boys (and maybe even my big one aka daddy too) LOVED it here. Everything your kids want to play with; a grocery store, kitchen, soft play area, ball pit, slide, life size sensory bin, puzzles, tinker toys, toy cars and bikes to ride - just so much to do! Major bonus points for a delicious and healthy cafe where we indulged in açaí bowls, sandwiches and lattes - well the latte was just me but there are smoothies, granola, just everything is healthy and that makes me happy! It's a great opportunity for them to socialize and you to meet other parents. You pay by the hour, they do offer a sibling discount and parents and babies under 8 months are free. Food is not included in the price but is reasonable enough. Don't forget your socks - it's a shoe free zone!
Chris in the ball pit, Bryson in the sensory bin + Daddy pushing the happiest leprechaun around the place!
Now, we did manage to check out other places like our local park and library, the "beach" in Williamsburg and met our friends @urbanwitchesshop (check out their shop which I LOVE here), the Ghostbusters firehouse in Tribeca and the San Gennaro feast which is in Little Italy every September with the OG city girl, Cathy of @minifixmakeup (shop them here). I'm really proud of how well my boys did on public transportation. I was actually worried about the month long disruption in Bryson's therapy schedule but when we got back, it made my heart sing to hear his therapists say Bryson was more regulated than ever and made massive progression.
I do plan to do a follow up and make this a two part series the next time we visit. You can also check out our adventures from this NYC trip in my IG highlight "NYC 2.0" here.
Thank you to my first city, my home NYC for showing us a great time!