Free Indoor Play Spaces for Kids on Long Island
There’s no reason to stay home just because the colder weather is upon us.
All across Long Island, there are play spaces and indoor playgrounds to keep your kids happily occupied. In fact, some are hiding in plain sight. And better yet, many of these kid-friendly spots are FREE. From malls to bookstores and libraries, there is plenty of FREE fun to be had on Long Island for kids.
Enjoy these unique play destinations, but remember at most venues a parent/adult must be present to supervise children.
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And be mindful of potential COVID-related closures as Long Island copes with with latest virus surge.
Free Play Spaces for Kids at Long Island Shopping Malls
Broadway Commons features an expansive, LI-themed play area for kids.
Broadway Commons — Hicksville
Tucked away upstairs by the food court, the children’s area is worth a trip up the escalator even if you’re not hungry. The floor is a giant map of Long Island, showcasing some of the Island’s highlights, including a Montauk Lighthouse slide; planes and trains to ride on; a "dock" to walk out on; and plenty of comfortable seats for adults. It’s an ideal stop for kids eager to run around in a mostly enclosed area while grabbing a snack.
Green Acres Mall — Valley Stream
The enclosed play area, situated in front of Old Navy, includes plenty of bright, oversized pieces just waiting for kids to climb over and explore. The nautical-themed toys include a large lobster, starfish, whale, and lighthouse. For added fun, kids can test their memory at the electronic “Simon”- like toy on one of the walls.
Enjoy a FREE children's play adventure at Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City.
Roosevelt Field — Garden City
This popular mall in central Nassau County has a large children’s play area on the concourse level outside of Glow Golf. The area features unique sculpted playground pieces in a jungle theme, including a crocodile and hippo, that kids can climb on and enjoy.
Take a break from shopping for a little playtime at Walt Whitman Shops. Photo by Kim Miller
Walt Whitman Shops — Huntington
This mall recently added a play area between Lord & Taylor and Macy’s. While not enclosed, it is tucked away against the wall and includes oversized LEGOs and Connect 4, as well as plenty of seating for kids and adults. A few feet away, teens and tweens (and adults) can enjoy a game of chess or checkers (also oversized), which are set up on tables.
Westfield South Shore — Bay Shore
The play area here features an aquatic theme with colorful sea creatures and large puzzles. It’s located near the food court and the family lounge, which has interactive games and televisions showing children’s shows. Another plus: The family restroom features pint-sized toilets and sinks perfect for little ones. Plus, parents can rent themed Smart Wheels strollers, which come with a built-in tablet.
Westfield Sunrise — Massapequa
Like its sister mall in Bay Shore, Westfield Sunrise features a play area where little ones can climb and explore an aquatic-themed area filled with sea creatures. There is plenty of space to run around. It’s located on the lower level in front of the former Sears. Smart Wheels strollers are also available for rent.
Free Play Spaces for Kids at Long Island Stores
Barnes & Nobles — Islandwide
This bookstore chain offers FREE weekly storytimes in stores around Long Island. Just head to the children’s department, where kids will hear a new story every week and get to make a fun craft. Spend some time happily browsing through the shelves stocked with books for kids of all ages. Check individual stores for event dates and times.
Fun Stuff Toys — Seaford
In each aisle of this store dedicated just to kids you will find some toys set up for kids to play with. Toys vary throughout the year, from magnet boards to calico critters, and ride-on cars. Don't expect to leave emptyhanded, though. There are plenty of great finds here.
Ikea — Hicksville
Ikea can feel like an indoor playground for adults. But did you know the Ikea next to Broadway Mall has an actual indoor play area for kids? Smaland is a FREE, supervised play area that's designed like a Swedish forest. You can leave your child for up to one hour while you shop. One caveat: Kids must be potty trained. As of 2022, Smaland is temporarily closed.
LEGO Stores — Roosevelt Field Mall, Smith Haven Mall
What child doesn’t love LEGOS? Here, children can explore and build their own creations at child-size tables filled with bins of everyone’s favorite plastic building blocks. Check out our events calendar to see when the LEGO store is holding FREE events throughout the year.
Free Play Spaces for Kids at Long Island Libraries
Local Libraries — Islandwide
No doubt your local library offers FREE story and craft times, and much more. From toddlers to tweens and teens, libraries are a treasure trove of FREE quality events for kids of all ages. Suffolk libraries can be found here and Nassau libraries can be found here.
Photos courtesy of the venues
A version of this post was originally published in 2019. Writer Gina Massaro contributed to this January 2022 update.