Free & Fun Things to Do this Weekend for NYC Kids: Rockaway Beach Sandcastle Contest, Lincoln Center Family Day July 27-28

Best Weekend Events & Activities for NYC Kids Families

Sandcastles, carnival rides and great kids' concerts are all on the schedule this summer weekend. Head to Rockaway Beach and get creative at the annual sandcastle competition. Soak up some cool outdoor culture at Lincoln Center Out of Doors Family Day, including a FREE concert by Dan Zanes. Hit Staten Island's Greenbelt for the annual Children's Day Extravaganza at the Carousel for All Children. Or gasp at Quidam, the latest Cirque du Soleil extravaganza, which is playing at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

Looking ahead to next weekend, have you booked your tickets to our Mommy Poppins Family Cruise yet? Our inaugural Manhattan by Sail voyage in June was such a success, we just announced four additional New York Harbor sails on the Clipper City Tall Ship featuring enriching kids' activities and stunning views. Our first excursion, Stories and Tales of the Sea with master storyteller Bill Gordh, takes place next Sunday, August 4. Purchase your tickets today so you don't miss out.

All of our best bets for this weekend are below. You can find additional options in our Event Calendar and our Summer Fun Guide.

All Weekend

Cirque du Soleil: Quidam – Fort Greene
The over-the-top Canadian circus troupe makes its Brooklyn debut at the Barclays Center with Quidam, about a bored young girl who's whisked away to a fantastical dimension. $50-$125 for adults, $36-$101 for children ages 2-12 but you can get discounted tickets through our affiliate partner Goldstar.

Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow Wow – Douglaston
Watch more than 40 Native American tribes perform traditional dances at this annual competition at the Queens County Farm Museum. There will also be a market with ethnic items, including jewelry, crafts and food. Afterward, check out all the other things you can do at NYC's only historic working farm. $10 for adults, $5 for children under 13; weekend passes also available

SpaceFest 2013 – Midtown West
Celebrate the reopening of the Intrepid's Space Shuttle Pavilion with a weekend of STEM-themed fun. Meet former astronauts, learn about the science of space from educators, and check out a variety of displays and workshops. There's even a FREE screening of the original Star Trek: The Motion Picture on Friday night. Free with admission: $31 for adults, $24 for children ages 7-17, $17 for ages 3-6. Save $2 per person by ordering your tickets in advance online.

Pogopalooza – Union Square & East Village
Go pogo crazy! The 10th annual world championship of extreme pogo takes place this weekend in downtown Manhattan. On Friday, keep an eye out for pop-up pogo stick displays; on Saturday, watch top pogoers compete in the qualifiers in Tompkins Square Park and on Sunday, see who wins in Union Square Park. Amateurs can try learning to pogo in the free jump areas at both parks. FREE

Saturday, July 27

Lincoln Center Out of Doors Family Day – Upper West Side
While Lincoln Center Out of Doors offers tons of of cool live performances throughout the summer, Family Day is the best bet for kids. In the afternoon, enjoy alfresco performances by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, folk singer Elena Moon Park and a play-along concert with the classical Kronos Quartet. Stick around until evening to catch Grammy-winning kid rocker Dan Zanes in a tribute to Lead Belly—a great way to introduce the brood to classic blues. FREE

¡Oye Corona! – Corona
The under renovation Queens Museum of Art hosts a festival at nearby Corona Plaza celebrating the diversity of the neighborhood. The multi-culti fun includes Indian dance-inspired workouts, art making, juggling and hula hooping demos, and live Afro-Colombian and Mariachi music. FREE

Family Afternoon Activity Day, Talk and Tour of DiA on the Lilac – Tribeca
Explore a site-specific exhibit in the 1933 steam-powered lighthouse tender Lilac, which is docked at Tribeca's attraction-filled Pier 25. There will also be art workshops and kid-friendly tours. Advance registration required. FREE

Family Art Workshop: Under the Sea with Red, Yellow and Blue – Flatiron
Using Orly Genger's amazing knotted rope public art installation in Madison Square Park as inspiration, children can create a porthole out of different types of paper. FREE

Outdoor Summer Movie Series: Brave – Roosevelt Island
Take a day trip to Roosevelt Island and end your outing with this alfresco screening of last year's Pixar hit starring spunky redheaded heroine Merida. FREE

Cido's Summer Spectacular – Corona
Head to mini-amusement park Fantasy Forest at the Flushing Meadows Carousel for a no-cost interactive show by Cido the Clown. Show is free, rides are $3-$4 each but if you mention Mommy Poppins you can snag an unlimited ride wristband for $15

See all Saturday events.

Sunday, July 28

Rockaway Beach Sandcastle Contest – Rockaway
Pack your shovel and bucket, and show off your creativity in this family-friendly contest. As you can see from these photos of previous entries, competition is fierce, but you can always just come and gawk. Prizes will be awarded for winners in multiple age categories. FREE

Children's Day Extravaganza – Staten Island
Head to Staten Island's gorgeous Greenbelt for this annual celebration of its Carousel for All Children featuring bouncy houses, face painting, arts and crafts, and live music. Free entertainment but rides cost $1.50

Fashion and Fabric Design – Upper East Side
Attention budding fashionistas: Head to the Museum of the City of New York to tour the exhibit Stephen Burrows: When Fashion Danced and make fabric creations inspired by the works on view. Advance registration required. Free with admission: $10 for adults, free for children under age 13

Hip Tot Family Day – South Slope
Put on your dancing shoes and had to Greenwood Park for a concert by Mil's Trills, storytime with local children's author Melanie Hope Greenberg, arts and crafts, and other little-kid fun. FREE

Summer Stoop: A Celebration of Brooklyn's Stoop Culture – Flatbush
Celebrate NYC's old days at the Wyckoff House Museum with classic stoop games, stories of Brooklyn's historic past and live steel drum music. FREE

Summer Family Film Series City Sundays: Newsies – Upper West Side
See the movie that inspired the Broadway smash of the same name at the New-York Historical Society. Afterward, hit the institution's wonderful DiMenna Children's Museum to learn more about the NYC newspaperboy strike of 1899. Free with admission: $15 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-13

See all Sunday events.

Outside NYC

Up, up and away! The Festival of Ballooning takes over Readington Township, New Jersey's Solberg Airport with hundreds of hot-air balloons, live music and fireworks.

Head to the weekend-long Country Fest Long Island in Riverhead for live country music, local vendors, crafts, barbecue, dancing and kids' activities.

Celebrate kid lit and life on the sea at Fish Tales, Tugs and Sails in New London, Connecticut featuring authors and illustrators, live entertainment, touch tanks and tugboat rides.

Don't forget: There's more fun to be found in our Event Calendar.