Free Activities

Indoor Activity: Lefferts Historic House

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Reader, Carmen, submitted this great indoor activity tip. Thanks, Carmen!

Take a trip back to the late 1700's without ever leaving Brooklyn. The Lefferts House is one of a very small number of farmhouses to survive from Brooklyn's Dutch settlement period, over 300 years ago. This family-friendly destination features hands-on craft activities, a gardening program and furnished rooms to reflect daily life in the 18th century.

What my daughter and I enjoy best is the child's room, just off the entrance. Here, young ones can dress as they did on days past, play 'I Spy', color a mural, and play with toys and games from that time.

Free Bicycle Rental in Lower Manhattan

You can now rent bicycles in Lower Manhattan for FREE! Perfect for families, you can even get bikes with baby seats or Tag-a-longs (those kid bike add-ons that turn a bike into a tandem perfect for young bikers to safely ride with a parent). They have wagons too!?

Bike Around Downtown is a new program that lets you borrow a bike for a two to three-hour window. You can register online and pick up your free bike at the South Street Seaport Bike and Roll booth. From there you can bike up the Greenway up the East or West sides, or even head over to Governor's Island. (By the way, I noticed that they are also renting-not for free- bikes on Governor's Island now, with tag-a-longs available there too.)

The Best Grown-Up Outdoor Music Festivals for Families

The great thing about New York City's outdoor festivals is that everyone can enjoy them. If it's kids music, at least the grown ups can enjoy being outdoors on a lovely day or evening, relaxing. And, generally kids will put up with an outdoor concert or performance if they can run around, dance, play and picnic while you enjoy a little grown up entertainment for once.

The following (mostly) free outdoor festivals are not specifically children's festivals, but they, for the most part, each have at least one kids performance and otherwise offer great performances in great outdoor environments around NYC, making a fun day or evening out with the kids either way.

Free Fun Friday: ID Day, Music Festivals, Medieval Gardens

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Audra Rox

Outside of the Father's Day selections, these are the events that I thought were the most interesting and worth heading out to this weekend:

The Museum of Natural History hosts an Identification Day. Like a natural history Antiques Roadshow, bring in your backyard finds (shells, rocks, insects, arrowheads, feathers, fossils, bones, pottery, textiles) and have museum scientists tell you what it really is. FREE with museum admission.*

New York City Police Museum is hosting its 4th Annual Family Fair, a fun-filled day of activities including visits by members of NYPD Special Units such as the Mounted Unit and the Emergency Services Unit, games and prizes, face painting, and special appearances by McGruff the Crime Dog and PC the Patrol Car. Children and adults can pose for pictures in police uniforms. And, younger children can practice calling 9-1-1 on the Museum’s emergency simulator. Plus balloons, a Super Slide, hot dogs, popcorn, and cotton candy! FREE.

Father's Day Activities for NYC Dads of Every Stripe

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Reader, Brigette, who won our Mother and Child Portrait Session Giveaway and got all spoiled wants us to equally hook her up for Father's Day.

Brigette says:

I need help coming up with ideas of what to do with my kids for my husband on Father's Day. I can come up with gift ideas, but seem to have lost all creative ability to come up with something to do with/for dad that day.

Since I don't know what kind of Baby Daddy Brigette rolls with I figured I'd cover all the bases. Here's our suggestions for Father's Day activities for dads of every stripe. A bunch of these activities are this weekend, in case you actually just want to let dad chill on the day of, as many of our commenters suggested.

Father's Day Activities for NYC Dads of Every Stripe:

Come Out And Play! Street Game Festival

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Experience Random Acts of Fun at this street game festival. Come Out & Play, the all-free event which runs from June 6-8 turns the city into a playground with everything from massive multi-player scavenger hunts to real life video games to competitive picnicking. Their call is to rediscover the city through play and their lineup is wacky and really fun to read.

This would definitely make a memorable early Father's Day activity for any New York City dad. But, since some games start at 9pm and others include skills you may not be ready to have your kid learn, we have some suggestions for the kid friendly games:

Free Exercise Spots in NYC

Exercise. Something you know is good for you, but yet, so easy to avoid. And, when you have to pay through the nose for a gym or yoga class it can feel like adding insult to injury. But, no more excuses, here are some great free exercise opportunities all over the city, so - just do it! Bryant Park Free yoga and tai chi on Tuesday mornings and yoga on Thursday evenings. Make a whole day of it; bring your laptop and enjoy the free wireless before or after your downward dog!

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