The holidays are done, but the winter is in full frozen swing, making it tricky to keep the kids entertained. Luckily, Long Island has plenty of museums, arts and crafts classes, indoor play venues in Nassau and Suffolk and children's theater. Keeping things indoors might seem restrictive, but winter-friendly (as in warm) can also mean fun.
We've put together a list of 50 fun things to do indoors with kids on Long Island. Be sure to check out our Winter Fun Guide and daily events calendar for more fun ideas.
Dream of summer while exploring the indoor beach at the Long Island Children's Museum. Photo courtesy of LICM
1. Visit the Long Island Children's Museum, one of our recommended family membership spots, to engage in hands-on activities like arts and crafts, bubble making, and block building. Play reporter at the Communication Station, or head to the TotSpot with little ones for everything from a slide and reading nook to a replica of the Long Island Rail Road.
2. Let off some steam in a huge indoor play space like Air Trampoline Sports or Bouncers and Slydos in Suffolk County. Or get some inspiration from our list of indoor play spaces in Nassau County.
3. Lace up your bowling shoes, find the perfect sparkly bowling ball, and engage in some good, old-fashioned family competition at one of Nassau or Suffolk County's premier bowling alleys.
4. Sign your kids up for cooking classes at Kitchen Time's Party Place. Let them show off their new skills in your kitchen as they help you prepare dinner or dessert.
5. Learn about art together at the fun family programs hosted by Nassau County Museum of Art or the Heckscher Museum of Art.
6. Take in a musical or play at one of Long Island's children's theaters. Check the listings in our Event Calendar.
7. If your kids have been bitten by the acting bug, sign them up for one of Long Island's theater and drama classes.
8. Gaze at the stars and learn about constellations and galaxies by becoming a member of the Amateur Observers' Society of New York, which meets monthly and hosts several stargazing events across the Island.
Take a spin on the ice at the family-friendly Port Washington Skating Center. Photo courtesy of the rink
9. Perfect your figure-8s at an ice rink. Long Island has indoor and outdoor skating centers.
10. Explore these space and astronomy hot spots for kids.
11. Who says it has to be warm outside to indulge in an ice cream sundae? These old-fashioned ice cream parlors will warm you up as you dig into classic frozen treats.
12. Although it’s generally a restaurant and tavern for adults, Beginnings in Atlantic Beach has a literary theme, and hosts occasional kid-friendly storytime brunches Reservations are recommended.
13. Play pinball, laser tag, or old-fashioned video games at an indoor arcade.
14. If your children are into go-karts and are lamenting the long wait until spring, take them for a spin at these area indoor tracks.
15. For a simple change of venue, spend an afternoon reading and playing games at your local library. Many offer storytimes and other children's events. Check their websites before you head out.
16. Indulge your train-obsessed child's fascination with steam and diesel engines at one of several train exploration venues.
17. If you have a wannabe firefighter on your hands, learn about the history of firefighting and take part in hands-on exhibitions at the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center.
Putt away under the lights at Glow Golf. Photo courtesy of the venue
18. Believe it or not, some of Long Island's best mini-golf venues are indoors, including Monster Mini Golf in Deer Park and Glowgolf at Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City.
19. Done enough ice skating? Try roller skating at Hot Skates in Lynbrook or United Skates of America in Seaford.
It's a planetarium show for the little ones: One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure headlines at the Vanderbilt Museum planetarium. Photo courtesy of the museum
20. The Vanderbilt Museum's planetarium hosts stargazing events, and currently a program about black holes, and even a show starring Sesame Street characters.
21. Let the talented crew at the Long Island Puppet Theater entertain you with a show featuring their hand-crafted puppets
22. Need a break? Grab a bite and catch up on email while your kids have a blast at a play café such as Sippy Cups Cafe in Seaford or Lolli Bop Cafe & Play in Lawrence.
23. The Children's Museum of the East End is hosting “Musikgarten: Cycle of Seasons" on Thursdays through the winter month. It is designed to introduce children to music from around the world.
24. Keep your kids' creative juices flowing by registering them for art classes.
25. Explore underwater treasures, say hello to the penguins, and feed the stingrays at the Long Island Aquarium.
Warm up with a cup of delicious hot chocolate at Toast. Photo by Thien Nguyen August
26. Set up the ideal winter date with your little ones at one of these Long Island spots that make the richest, yummiest hot cocoa around.
27. Want to go cheap, easy and fun without reservations? Malls such as Roosevelt Field, Westfield Sunrise, Smith Haven and Westfield South Shore all have play areas geared toward children younger than 5. You can grab a snack or beverage and let them run around until they exhaust themselves, which can take a while.
28. Your kids can get their groove on in high-energy hip-hop classes, offered in both Nassau and Suffolk counties.
29. Introduce your children to the beauty of dance (and instill grace and etiquette) with ballroom dance lessons.
30. Relax and stretch at a kids' yoga class.
31. Help kids sharpen their STEM skills by having them participate in Minecraft Build Challenge events held at the Walt Whitman Shops' Microsoft store on Saturdays and Sundays.
32. Give your toddler a chance to explore while you both make new friends at a mommy-and-me class.
33. Create a snuggle bear with your own snuggle bear at Build-A-Bear, which has locations at Walt Whitman Shops, Roosevelt Field, and Smith Haven Mall.
34. Treat your little prince or princess to a spa day they won't forget, complete with sparkly manicures, pedicures, and a brand-new hairstyle (tiara optional).
35. Crafty kids love inventing their own plaster craft pottery creations.
36. Gingerbread University in Riverhead gives families a place where kids and parents can decorate cookies and houses, even after the holiday season has wrapped.
37. Pretend you're tourists and pay a visit to the iconic Big Duck in Riverhead or Sagamore Hill, where President Theodore Roosevelt lived.
38. There's no better time than winter to perfect your swim strokes. These indoor swimming classes give kids the skills they need to have lots of watery fun this summer.
39. If you've got baseball fanatics in your home, try these indoor batting cages that offer clinics covering all aspects of the game for players ages 5 to 12.
The Science Museum of Long Island is a science activity center located on the Leeds Pond Preserve in Nassau County. Photo courtesy of the museum
40. The Science Museum of Long Island boasts after-school workshops, STEM-based events, and even nursery science programs.
41. Reminisce about the simple pleasures of autumn as you warm up with hot apple cider and a piece of pie at Jericho Cider Mill.
42. Register for a themed tour and explore the diversity of exhibits at the African American Museum of Nassau County.
Aspiring aviators will thrill to the life-size planes at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. Photo courtesy of the museum
43. With more than 75 examples of aircraft and spacecraft, a video game exhibit, and a planetarium, you'll find plenty to do and lots to learn at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.
44. Give your children an important lesson about history and compassion at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County.
45. Your kids can learn even more ways to say "frozen" when they take foreign-language classes in Spanish, Italian, French, or German.
46. Load up on popcorn, sit back, and relax at an IMAX theater, where kids will ooh and ahh all the way through a 3-D movie.
47. Take a spin on the gorgeous 100-year-old Nunley's Carousel, which is sandwiched between the Long Island Children's Museum and the Cradle of Aviation Museum.
48. Step back in time to explore dinosaur eggs, fish fossils, and more at the Hicksville Gregory Museum.
49. Laugh out loud at Knock 'Em Dead Comedy, which hosts family-friendly, interactive murder mysteries, game shows, and comedy shows, or "escape" to a kid-friendly LI escape room.
50. Spend the afternoon stocking up on new titles and reading to each other at one of Long Island's kid-friendly bookstores
Top Photo: Bounce away at Bounce! Trampoline Sports. Photo courtesy of Bounce!