Sports

Free and Cheap After-School Programs for NYC Kids and Teens

Tis the season for after-school program enrollment. Families looking for reasonably priced enriching and fun programs for their children have tons of sports, arts, academics, and other kinds of classes to choose from. In fact, a handful of high-quality after-school programs are actually free or super inexpensive!

Some places, like the New York City Parks Department, offer after-school coverage Monday through Friday. Other programs like those found at the Children’s Museum of Art (CMA) only meet once or twice a week. We've rounded up organizations that offer complimentary or reasonably-priced classes to kids, tweens and teens throughout the five boroughs. Lots of the programs on this list have multiple enrollment periods per year. Check in with Mommy Poppins regularly to stay on top of enrollment options during the fall, winter, and spring.

Bounce Houses and Trampoline Spots Where NYC Kids Can Jump

As any veteran NYC parent knows, there's only so much in-apartment bouncing your downstairs neighbor can handle. If you've got active kids and hop-happy toddlers to entertain during spring's showers, summer's heat, or winter's freeze, what's a parent to do? Nothing cures the bad-weather blues like a trip to a big old bounce house.

These inflatable favorites are a staple of outdoor festivals and street fairs, but it's such a bummer waiting on a long line to shell out several dollars for a two-minute session. Luckily NYC is home to several high-flying play spaces. You'll find all kinds of fun, including trampolines, long bouncy slides, tunnels, and obstacle courses at these spots. Best of all each location hosts regular open-bounce sessions, so your kids jump all they want for one low price.

Girl Power: Classes, Camps, and Workshops Just for Girls in NYC

One of my greatest priorities in raising a young girl is to give her a strong foundation, so that she has a positive self-image and feels empowered to be herself. Part of that work involves seeking out girls-only spaces across the city where she feels heard, valued, and has the opportunity to meet strong-minded, brilliant female role models.

There are more than enough opportunities to keep kiddos busy in the city, but girls-focused programs are specifically designed to allow girls to explore their world freely. From STEM to sports, many of these programs are run by women who, of course, know what it’s like to be a young girl coming into her own.

We've rounded up our favorite activities, camps, and programs that pack major girl power. Be sure to click through to the listings for all the details, including times, locations and recommended ages. You can search through dozens of classes by type or location in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings as well.

Best Kid-Friendly Fishing Spots Around Houston

Looking for a FREE outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike? Grab a pole and head to one of these fabulous fishing spots where the fish are plentiful and families can enjoy being outdoors together. Fishing can foster a sense of achievement and accomplishment in kids. It's a great way to teach patience and persistence while having fun and connecting either one on one or with the whole family. Most of the fishing spots listed here are at local parks, so it's easy to pack a picnic, let kids burn off some steam at awesome playgrounds, and spend the day with a fishing pole in hand.  

While these ponds and lakes offer free fishing, please note that adults ages 17 and older must possess a valid fishing license unless fishing inside of a state park per the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife. Be sure to note any posted regulations for specific parks relating to catch limits or catch and release requirements. 

Best Bike Riding Paths for NYC Families

When our family moved back to NYC from Boston last summer, we sadly left our bicycles behind and removed the bike rack from the car, believing that we had to trade in our bike wheels for scooters (which at least are compact, foldable, and easy to store in our apartment). Even though we have embraced rollerblading, skateboarding, rip sticking, and scooting like every NYC family, there is still nothing like a good old fashioned bike ride.

Imagine my delight when I rediscovered bike paths for NYC families—many of which can be used not only on bikes but on scooters, rollerblades, and skateboards, too. This summer as part of our August staycation, I planned a week of excursions exploring NYC bike paths with my growing family of five.

Bounce Houses and Trampoline Parks for Long Island Kids

If you find your high-energy kids are bouncing off the walls, it might be time to head to one of the many bounce houses and trampoline parks on Long Island.

From inflatable slides to obstacle courses and high-flying trampolines, these play spaces are great ways for kids to work off their energy and have some indoor fun when it’s too hot, cold, or wet to play outdoors. Whether you’re looking for an impromptu bouncing session or want to schedule a birthday party, most of these venues offer a variety of play options. Just be sure to check out their websites for all the specifics.

The sky might be the limit at these venues, but be advised that most of them require socks and some require completed parental waivers before participating.  

Momentum Indoor Climbing: Adventure & Fun For Climbers of All Sizes

For any rock-climbing enthusiast, entering Momentum Indoor Climbing makes you feel like a kid entering a candy shop. This recent addition to Houston's indoor gym scene has two locations in the city - Silver Street and Katy - and both offer challenging and fun routes and amenities for both kids and adults. Plus, it doesn't hurt that the facilities are extremely nice: clean, colorful, and well air-conditioned! Each location has a bit of a different flair, so you can visit both and your kids will find something new to do each time.

Free and Cheap After-school Classes and Programs for LA Kids

Back-to-school season is also back-to-after-school season, when families look for enriching and fun programs for their children. Options for arts, sports, and other recreational classes for kids in the LA area are numerous and varied—lucky us!—but many are tough to manage on a budget. The good news is there are also several free and cheap ways to engage students’ minds and bodies in the hours after school lets out.

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