Winter Fun List: 50 Things to Do Indoors With Long Island Kids
The holiday bells have jingled past, but winter is still in full frozen swing. It's the time of year when your teeny angels might start to sing a twinkly tune called "I'm bored."
Luckily, Long Island has plenty of museums, arts and crafts classes, indoor play venues in Nassau and Suffolk, and children's theater. Our list of 50 fun things to do indoors on Long Island, below, has all that and plenty more.
Still eager for seasonal entertainment? Check out our Winter Fun Guide and daily events calendar for more inspiration. While you're at it, why not sample a few of our 100 must-do things with kids on Long Island? And for daytime escapes or overnight excursions, you won't do much better than these winter days trips on LI and beyond.
Dream of summer while exploring the indoor beach at the Long Island Children's Museum. Photo courtesy of LICM
1. Visit the Long Island Children's Museum, one of our recommended family membership spots, to engage in hands-on activities such as arts and crafts, bubble making, and block building. Play reporter at the Communication Station, or head to the TotSpot with little ones for everything from a slide and reading nook to a replica of the Long Island Rail Road. Big kids will love the climbing wall. Be sure to check out the Sonic Sensation exhibit debuting at the end of January. Children will have the opportunity to create their own soundtracks and learn about the anatomy and physics of sound.
4. Sign your kids up for cooking classes like the Kids Cooking Classes at Sur La Table or Junior Chef classes at The Well-Seasoned Chef. Let them show off their skills in your kitchen as they help you prepare dinner or dessert.
5. Learn about art together at fun family programs hosted by the Nassau County Museum of Art or Heckscher Museum of Art. For impromptu sessions of open painting, check out Creative Corner in West Hempstead or A Gathering of Artists in Williston Park.
6. Take in a musical or play at one of Long Island's children's theaters. You might want to treat the kids to Seussical the Musical through March at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport. Tickets are $15 (adults and children) and kids can meet the characters after the show.
7. If your kids have been bitten by the acting bug, sign them up for one of Long Island's theater and drama classes.
8. Explore these space and astronomy hot spots for kids.
9. Or join the Amateur Observers' Society of New York. Gaze at the stars and learn about constellations. Member meetings are held monthly and stargazing events are held across the Island.
Take a spin on the ice at the family-friendly Port Washington Skating Center. Photo courtesy of the rink
11. Who says it has to be warm outside to indulge in an ice cream sundae? These old-fashioned ice cream parlors will warm you up as you dig into classic frozen treats. Or satisfy those sugary mid-afternoon munchies by visiting a family-style sweet shop. It's a great way to break up the day.
12. Although it’s generally a restaurant and tavern for adults, Beginnings in Atlantic Beach has a literary theme, and hosts occasional kid-friendly storytime brunches Reservations are recommended. You can also check out storytimes at book shops like Barnes and Noble in Carle Place and Book Revue in Huntington.
13. Play pinball, laser tag, or old-fashioned video games at an indoor arcade.
14. If your children are into go-karts and are lamenting the long wait until spring, take them for a spin at one of these area indoor tracks. It's a super way to burn energy without getting nippy fingers.
15. For a simple change of venue, spend an afternoon reading and playing games at your local library. Many offer storytimes and other children's events. Check their websites before you head out.
16. Indulge your train-obsessed child's fascination with steam and diesel engines at one of several train exploration venues.
17. If you have a wannabe firefighter on your hands, learn about the history of firefighting and take part in hands-on exhibitions at the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center. Make a day of it by visiting one of these great places to eat near Roosevelt Field mall.
Putt away under the lights at Glow Golf. Photo by Jaime Sumersille
18. Believe it or not, some of Long Island's best mini-golf venues are indoors, including Monster Mini Golf in Deer Park and Glowgolf at Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City. Older kids will get a kick out of the extra entertainment at these venues, including laser mazes and video games.
It's a planetarium show for little ones: One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure headlines at the Vanderbilt Museum planetarium. Photo courtesy of the museum
21. Let the talented crew at the Long Island Puppet Theater entertain you with their hand-crafted puppets.
23. The Children's Museum of the East End hosts a Lego Club for kids of all ages on Saturday mornings for $12 per person. There is also a TotSpot every Wednesday morning, where little ones can work on fine motor and social-emotional skills with their moms or dads.
24. Keep your kids' creative juices flowing by registering them for an art class.
25. Explore underwater treasures, say hello to the penguins, and feed the stingrays at the Long Island Aquarium. Turn it into an overnight adventure by also visiting Tanger Outlets in Riverhead and staying at a nearby family-friendly Long Island hotel.
Warm up with a tasty cup of hot chocolate. Photo by Thien Nguyen August
26. Set up an ideal winter date with your little ones at one of these Long Island spots that make the richest, yummiest hot cocoa around.
27. Want to go cheap, easy and fun without reservations? Malls such as Roosevelt Field, Westfield Sunrise, Smith Haven and Westfield South Shore have play areas geared toward children younger than 5. You can grab a snack or beverage and let them run around until they exhaust themselves, which can take a while.
29. Introduce your children to the beauty of dance (and instill grace and etiquette) with ballroom dance lessons.
30. Relax and stretch at a kids' yoga class. They help kids build confidence and improve concentration.
31. Help kids sharpen their STEM skills by having them participate in Minecraft Build Challenge events held at the Walt Whitman Shops' Microsoft store on Saturdays and Sundays.
32. Give your toddler a chance to explore while you both make new friends at a mommy-and-me class.
33. Create a snuggle bear with your own snuggle bear at Build-A-Bear, which has locations at Walt Whitman Shops, Roosevelt Field, and Smith Haven Mall.
34. Treat your little prince or princess to a spa day they won't forget, complete with sparkly manicures, pedicures, and a brand-new hairstyle (tiara optional). For more beauty parties, check out the Ritzy Glitzy Girls Club in New Hyde Park or Lil' Divas Spa on the Go in St. James.
35. Crafty kids love inventing their own plaster craft pottery creations.
37. Pretend you're tourists and pay a visit to the iconic Big Duck in Riverhead or Sagamore Hill, where President Theodore Roosevelt lived. Note: There are no visitor services at Sagamore Hill during the 2019 government shutdown, but the grounds remain open.
38. There's no better time than winter to perfect your swim strokes. These indoor swimming classes give kids the skills they need to have lots of watery fun this summer.
39. If you've got baseball fanatics at home, try these indoor batting cages. Some even offer clinics for players ages 5 to 12.
Say hello to the "residents" at the Science Museum of Long Island. Photo courtesy of the museum
40. The Science Museum of Long Island boasts after-school workshops, STEM-based events, and even nursery science programs.
42. Register for a themed tour and explore the diversity of exhibits at the African American Museum of Nassau County.
RELATED: Great STEM classes for LI kids
Aspiring aviators will thrill to the life-size planes at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. Photo courtesy of the museum
43. With more than 75 examples of aircraft and spacecraft, a video game exhibit, and a planetarium, you'll find plenty to do and lots to learn at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.
44. Give your children an important lesson about history and compassion at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County.
45. Your kids can learn even more ways to say "frozen" when they take foreign-language classes in Spanish, Italian, French, or German.
46. Load up on popcorn, sit back, and relax at an IMAX theater, where kids will ooh and ahh all the way through a 3-D movie.
47. Take a spin on the gorgeous 100-year-old Nunley's Carousel, which is sandwiched between the Long Island Children's Museum and the Cradle of Aviation Museum, and right next door to the Firefighter's Museum.
48. Step back in time to explore dinosaur eggs, fish fossils, and more at the Hicksville Gregory Museum.
50. Get wet-n' wild: Check out our these great indoor water parks near LI for a winter getaway, a day out, or overnight adventure.
A version of this article was first published in 2017. Writer Rebekah Yahoves updated this post in January 2019.