Best Things to Do with NYC Kids: February GoList

New York City Family Kids Events February 2016: Presidents Weekend, Winter Break

Get your calendars ready! Here are the top 15 things to do with kids in New York City this February, five of which are FREE.

Even though it's the shortest month, there are still plenty of awesome family activities in NYC. Our February GoList includes annual favorites such as Chinatown's Lunar New Year Parade; the Intrepid's activity-filled Kids Week during public school midwinter break; and two huge movie fests for families: BAMkids Film Festival and the New York International Children's Film Festival. And, of course, there are some brand-new, exceptional-sounding shows, concerts and other special experiences for kids.

If an event piques your interest, click through to our listing for all the details, including address, times and recommended ages. And remember: Cool things to do with kids in NYC often book up quickly, so buy your tickets ASAP, or, in the case of FREE events, arrive as early as possible.

Untapped — Midtown West
February 5-February 21
We gave this tap-dance spectacle a rave review a few years back, and now it returns to the New Victory Theater for an encore run. These talented Australians leap across the stage in jeans and T-shirts, creating intricate rhythms that complement the live band and beat boxer rocking out on stage. Even if you're not a dance person, this high-octane and humorous hour-long show should have you grooving in your seat. Bonus: The 7pm performance on Saturday, February 20 is Mommy Poppins Readers Night, when families can save 20 percent on tickets and enjoy a post-show bead buddy craft.


Enjoy family crafts at the Black History Month fete at the Brooklyn Museum. Photo by Arleen Santana/courtesy the museum.

Black History Month — Prospect Heights
Saturday, February 6
Celebrate black artists at the Brooklyn Museum's FREE Target First Saturday in February. The evening fest fetes Black History Month with art, multiple musical performances, readings and talks on race, and a screening of The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution. Kids can enjoy plenty of dancing and an art-making session inspired by the late Romare Bearden. FREE

Find more Black History Month family celebrations in our Event Calendar.

SOLD OUT as of 2/1
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Live! — Greenwich Village
Saturday, February 6-Sunday, February 7
A number of popular preschooler TV shows are getting the live stage treatment this season, including Sesame Street and Peppa Pig. But Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Live! may be a better option for young fans. It's playing at a more intimate venue—the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts—and it's just an hour long with no intermission. Join Daniel and his pals as they introduce the audience to their beloved Neighborhood of Make-Believe via stories and songs. A great choice for first-time theatergoers.

RELATED: Best Winter Events for NYC Preschoolers and Tots

Daytime dance party at CirKiz is one way to keep the winter blues at bay. Photo by Filip Wolak/courtesy of CirKiz.

CirKiz, A Cool Kid's Dance Party — Midtown West
Sunday, February 7
There was a time when Baby Loves Disco was the only family dance party in town. But these days, club kids can choose from a variety of nightlife-during-the-daylight experiences, including CirKiz. Created by NYC parents and club scene vets Jesse Sprague and Jenny Song, CirKiz stands out from its competitors because it's aimed at 6- to 12-year-olds, not tots. That said, children of all ages are welcome. Dance the cold winter day away to a father-and-son DJ duo spinning electronic music; enjoy interactive live performances by The Dream Lab and The CirKiz Dancers; compete in dance contests for prizes; and hit the neon station to add some glow-in-the-dark flair to your outfit. Can't make it on February 7? Another cool kids dance party, Little Club Heads, takes place on Sunday, February 14 at Verboten in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

RELATED: NYC Indoor Play Gyms and Sports Zones for Kids

Enjoy Chinese ribbon dancing at the Lunar New Year Cultural Festival. Photo by Daniel Avila/courtesy of NYC Parks.

Lunar New Year Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival — Chinatown
Monday, February 8
For the first time ever, Lunar New Year is a public school holiday. So instead of waiting until the weekend to celebrate at the big parade, head to Chinatown for the neighborhood's annual fest in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Confetti fills the air as hundreds of thousands of firecrackers kick off the Year of the Monkey with a literal bang. Cultural performances such as a traditional lion dance, Chinese ribbon dancing and percussion groups are also on tap. FREE

Play Fair — Hudson Yards
Saturday, February 13-Sunday, February 14
Attention hard-core toy lovers—in other words, kids of all ages: Nickelodeon, Lego and the folks behind the industry-only Toy Fair are hosting the first-ever Play Fair at the Javits Center. Yes, it's a bit of a splurge, but it's more than merely toy exhibitors hawking their wares. Attendees can meet beloved characters like the PAW Patrol, Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and SpongeBob; build and race Lego cars and learn from Master Builders; gawk at the new Batmobile from the upcoming Batman v Superman flick; catch live performances and author readings; and play in a massive board game zone. The focus is on trying, not buying! Check out old favorites, new releases and even Play Fair exclusives you won't find anywhere else.

Chinatown Lunar New York Parade and Festival — Chinatown
Sunday, February 14
If you weren't able to hit the Lunar New Year Firecracker Ceremony, Chinatown's annual parade is another great way to celebrate. While there are lots of ways to welcome the Year of the Monkey throughout the month, including parades in Flushing, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Chinatown's annual shindig is the biggest of them all. More than a half-million spectators are expected to line the streets for the pan-Asian spectacle, which includes Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Malaysian and even Hispanic floats and cultural performances. Arrive early—by noon at the latest—if you want to snag a good spot. It's a festive and loud affair that's way too crowded for strollers and probably a bit much for preschoolers. After you've seen your fill, head to Sara D. Roosevelt Park for an outdoor cultural festival. If you want to finish the day with dim sum, check out our roundup of family-friendly Chinatown restaurants, which, as you can imagine, are insanely busy. FREE

The Big Family Quiz Thing at the New-York Historical Society lets kids show off their trivia skills. Photo by Flip Wolak/courtesy of the society.

The Big Quiz Thing’s Presidents’ Day Family Trivia Spectacular — Upper West Side
Monday, February 15
Grown-up multimedia trivia extravaganza The Big Quiz Thing goes to the kids with a POTUS-themed family competition at the New-York Historical Society. Test your knowledge of past, present and possible future presidents via questions and video and audio puzzles—all in attendance get to play and vie for prizes. Although those with a cursory knowledge of our nation's leaders likely can figure out many of the queries, points are awarded for colorful answers so your kid's rep as class clown may come in handy. Afterward, stick around and explore the Dimenna Children's History Museum and other Historical Society exhibits, including Superheroes in Gotham which closes later this month.

Kids Week at NYC Parks — Citywide
Monday, February 15-Friday, February 19
NYC public school kids are off for midwinter break this week. While there are plenty of fun things to do inside, don't forget the great outdoors. Throughout the week, Urban Park Rangers lead enriching and educational programs at nature centers in all five boroughs at no cost. Locations and activities vary so check the Parks Department's website or call your local center for additional details. FREE

RELATED: 8 Favorite Family Skiing Spots Near NYC


Watch as space suits and zero gravity are demonstrated during Kids Week at the Intrepid. Photo by Erika Kapin/courtesy the museum.

Kids Week at the Intrepid — Midtown West
Monday, February 15-Saturday, February 20
Another fabulous way to keep kids occupied during midwinter break: the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum's annual vacation celebration. This year's theme is Extreme Environments, and families can enjoy enriching activities throughout the week, including geeky demos by Mad Science and the Franklin Institute; high-tech workshops and talks; live birds of prey; author readings and fun hands-on activities such as making Rube Goldberg machines. Activities are free with admission and you can snag FREE kids' tickets with this coupon.

Try digital family art projects at BRIC's Hack-a-thon. Photo by Bailey Constas/courtesy of the event.

Hack-a-thon House Party — Fort Greene
Saturday, February 20
Brooklyn's cutting-edge cultural destination BRIC hosts an afternoon of high-tech fun for families. The lineup includes interactive activities for a variety of ages, from a Baby Loves Disco dance party for tots to digital animation and a Minecraft meet-up for older kids. Best of all, it's all totally FREE, though you must RSVP.

Washington's Birthday Ball — Upper East Side
Sunday, February 21
Celebrate the birthday of the original POTUS 19th-century style at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden. It's a lovely little historic building, and walking into it gives you the sense you've stepped back in time. To honor George's big day, there is period music and costumed dancers, and kids are encouraged to learn new steps and join in. A kid-friendly tour, family scavenger hunt and refreshments are included. Reservations are recommended.

The Gustafer Yellowgold Show — Upper West Side
Saturday, February 27
Singer, songwriter, artist, dad and newly minted Grammy nominee Morgan Taylor hits Symphony Space along with his band and Gustafer, his little yellow animated alter ego from the sun. We've been raving about his shows for years: They're equal parts concert and cartoon, as Gustafer's animated adventures are accompanied by groovy, Beatles-like tunes. It's perfect for preschoolers.

BAMkids Film Festival — Fort Greene
Saturday, February 27-Sunday, February 28
This 18th annual family film fest may not be as big, long or famous as the New York International Children's Film Festival, but that also means it's less crowded and overwhelming. The 2016 edition features more than 70 films from 25 countries; most are shorts, which are perfect for the attention-span-challenged. Screenings are organized by age and there are fun drop-in activities in the upstairs BAMcafé, including comic book making, balloon twisting, magic acts and a BubbleMania! performance. Note: Tickets are already on sale and buying in advance is a must.

New York International Children's Film Festival — Manhattan
Friday, February 26-Sunday, March 20
Held at a handful of Manhattan venues, this annual fest features a host of kids' flicks from around the globe. Tickets go on sale Thursday, January 28. Screenings often sell out quickly so check the schedule and buy tickets right away. There are options for all ages, including shorts programs and dubbed foreign films. There are often pre- or post-show Q&As with the filmmakers and other special events, and everyone gets voting ballots to help select the festival winners. More good news: Mommy Poppins readers can use the code MOPO16 when ordering for $2 off each ticket. 

Honorable Mentions

NYC always has so many incredible things going on that it's difficult to choose. Here are nine more cool events that are worth considering for your February calendar. Be sure to sign up for our FREE newsletters so you can get our weekend picks delivered to your inbox every Thursday morning.

Grab a cup of exotic flavored hot cocoa at City Bakery's annual Hot Chocolate Festival, which takes place daily in February.

Rise with the sun to find out whether Staten Island Chuck predicts an early spring on Groundhog Day, Tuesday, February 2, at the Staten Island Zoo. FREE

Learn about Native American culture at Theater for the New City's annual Thunderbird American Indian Dancers Annual Dance Concert and Pow-wow from Friday, February 5 to Sunday, February 14.

Kids too young for firecrackers and parades? Celebrate the Lunar New Year sans noise and crowds at Asia Society's Moon Over Manhattan Family Day on Saturday, February 6.

Enjoy train-themed activities and a buffet at the New-York Historical Society's final Holiday Express Family Brunch on Sunday, February 7 before the exhibit comes down.

Have a really retro time at the Cloisters' Family Workshop Medieval Heroes on Sunday, February 7.

Catch the funniest juggling troupe in town, the Flying Karamazov Brothers, at the Schimmel Center on Sunday, February 14.

Run off and see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus spectacle Legends at the Barclays Center from Thursday, February 25-Sunday, March 6.

Get geeky at the live-action graphic novel Intergalactic Nemesis: Book One Target Earth at the Schimmel Center on Sunday, February 28.

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