Best Events for Preschoolers in NYC This Spring
We've rounded up 14 of the city's best spring events for the preschooler and toddler set just as we near the end (we hope) of sub-zero temps and snow! We've included buzzy shows like Peppa Pig Live!, mellow but lovely performances like Curious George: The Golden Meatball, the always blow-your-socks-off Sakura Matsuri spring festival, a preschooler-friendly ballet and much more happening in April and May 2016 for New York City's younger kids.
For more details about an event, be sure to click through to our listing for address, time and pricing. As always, the really cool kid stuff in NYC always books up quickly, so reserve your tickets early.
Children’s Carnival at Queens County Farm Museum — Glen Oaks
Saturday, April 9-Sunday, April 10 and Saturday, April 16-Sunday, April 17
The two-week Children’s Carnival at Queens County Farm Museum features an old-school midway with lots of preschooler-friendly rides, games and family entertainment. All carnival rides are included in admission price.
Peppa Pig Live features oversized puppets of Peppa and all her family and friends even the loveable Daddy Pig. Photo courtesy of the production.
Peppa Pig Live: Big Splash — Upper West Side
Saturday, April 9-Sunday, April 10
In her first U.S. theatrical tour, Peppa Pig, every preschooler’s favorite pig, brings her family and all her buddies to The Beacon Theatre stage for a jolly song- and dance-filled puppet performance, complete with muddy puddles and plenty of Peppa snorts. Our Mommy Poppins reviewer who caught it in nearby New Jersey says her daughter is still talking about going to see "Peppa's house!"
Milstein Science Series: Wild Antarctica — Upper West Side
Sunday, April 10
Wild Antarctica, part of the American Museum of Natural History’s Milstein Science Series, is a preschooler-friendly festival exploring newly discovered antarctic creatures and the mysteries of the world’s coldest, highest and driest continent. Kids try on polar clothing, take a deep dive into arctic waters via an immersive dome, get close to live penguins and catch a live performance by the Central Park Zoo.
This hourlong performance of Cinderella by the New York Theater Ballet is a great intro to ballet for tots. Photo by Christopher Duggan/courtesy of NYTB.
Cinderella — Midtown East
Sunday, April 17
Nicely condensed into a fast-paced, tot-friendly one-hour performance, New York Theater Ballet performs Cinderella at Florence Gould Hall this spring. Watch your preschooler delight in the wacky stepsisters, cruel stepmother, fairy godmother and even a dancing clock in what still seems like the best rags to riches tale.
Everyone's favorite oversized red pooch performs in Brooklyn this spring. Photo by Michael F. O'Brien/courtesy the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts.
Clifford the Big Red Dog Live! — Flatbush
Sunday, April 17
The big red dog with the heart of gold comes to Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts’ Walt Whitman Theater with another interactive adventure for kids ages 4 and up. This interactive, one-hour show is filled with song and dance and the timeless values author Norman Bridwell wove into his classic stories about a young girl and her lovable, gigantic dog.
Make marionettes and other arts and crafts at two upcoming cultural festivals at the Children's Museum of the Arts. Photo courtesy of the museum.
Russian and Indian Cultural Festivals — Tribeca
Sunday, April 17 and Sunday, May 1
We’re big fans of the Children’s Museum of the Arts and its annual Russian Cultural Festival, followed three weeks later by the Indian Cultural Festival, are super-fun for the preschool set. Activities include hands-on workshops where kids get crafty making paper marionettes, sculpting matryoshka dolls, block printing their own textiles and even learning Bollywood dance moves.
Hit Tribeca Film Festival's family day for some outdoor entertainment. Photo courtesy of the festival.
Tribeca Film Festival Family Street Fair — Tribeca
Saturday, April 23
This free street fair for families includes gigantic bubble-making in the Bubble Garden, an arts and crafts pavilion, live music and performances and a whole lot more family-friendly entertainment. The fair takes place on Greenwich Street between Hubert and Chambers streets.
Soh Daiko performs a Japanese lion dance at Sakura Matsuri. Photo by Mike Ratliff/courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Sakura Matsuri 2016 — Crown Heights
Saturday, April 30-Sunday, May 1
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens’ cherry blossom festival is just about the best celebration of spring we can think of. In its 35th year, the festival will include 60 events and performances celebrating traditional and contemporary Japanese culture. And if the cherry esplanade is too crowded for your family, spread out and explore the rest of the garden's 52 acres.
Unfortunately, this show sold out as of April 27.
Where the Wild Things Are — Greenwich Village
Thursday, May 5-Sunday, May 8
Adapted from the beloved Maurice Sendak children’s book, this lively production at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts is a “guided play” where performers invite audience members to interact with the play by becoming the "wild things," for example. For kids ages 3-7, seating is on mats and the performance is one hour.
On a Wing Festival — Central Park
Saturday, May 7
Paging young birders and nature lovers! This annual event at Central Park’s Belvedere Castle kicks off migration season and will give your preschooler an opportunity to spot migrating warblers and songbirds, meet live butterflies, birds of prey and bats. Little ones can also participate in a scavenger hunt, complete with a discovery kit on loan from the Central Park Conservancy.
Find Curious George onstage in Queens in a short performance starring meatballs. Sounds yummy! Photo courtesy of Queens Theatre.
Curious George: The Golden Meatball — Corona
Sunday, May 8
Curious George, the beloved, cheeky and curious little monkey, takes to the stage at Queens Theatre to help Chef Pisghetti prepare meatballs for, you guessed it, the annual All-You-Can-Eat Meatball Day. When nobody shows up for the celebration, George sets about finding out why. This 50-minute performance is aimed at kids ages 4-9.
A play kitchen nearly the size of an NYC studio apartment is open for playtime at Liberty Science Center's Sid the Science Kid exhibit. Photo courtesy of the center.
Sid the Science Kid: The Super-Duper Exhibit — Jersey City
Now through Sunday, May 15
From a climbable tree house and enormous play kitchen to magnifying glasses, the new Sid the Science Kid exhibit at Liberty Science Center is worth the trek. Your preschooler could spend hours on this tiny section of the museum alone! Everyday science questions come alive at this exhibit loosely based on the popular PBS Kids TV series about a pint-sized funnyman named Sid. Did we mention there's a slide? Photo-op alert: the exhibit includes several special dates where kids get to meet Sid in person.
Governors Island Opening Weekend — Governors Island
Saturday, May 28-Monday, May 30
Governors Island officially opens for the season on Saturday, May 28 with a fun-filled and family-friendly day of free events, plus great food and abundant green space for romping and lounging. We've enjoyed the island more and more as it expanded hours, added new ferries and loads of kids' playgrounds and programming. Read our full review of the isle's latest family features, and we'll be sure to update you as details about opening day become available.
Fleet Week NYC 2016 — All Boroughs
Wednesday, May 25-Tuesday, May 31
Blow your preschooler’s mind with a tour of a U.S. Navy or U.S. Coast Guard ship during this annual celebration of the nation’s sea services. While tours and parades are scheduled at different piers throughout the city, The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum hosts a series of fun, free activities and tours all week.
Top image: Check out the new preschooler-focused and interactive Sid the Science Kid exhibit at nearby Liberty Science Center. Photo courtesy the center.