When the weather is gray and chilly, it's easier to stay inside and hide. But for children that can be among the most boring things to do.
All across Long Island, there are play spaces and indoor playgrounds to keep your kids happily occupied. But how about some low-key kids spots hiding in plain sight? And better yet, how about FREE destinations? From malls to bookstores and libraries, there is plenty of FREE fun to be had for Long Island kids.
Enjoy these unique play destinations, but remember at most venues a parent/adult must be present to supervise children.
For more indoor fun, don't forget our guide to rainy day activities on Long Island.
The redesigned Broadway Mall features an expansive play area for kids.
Broadway Mall — Hicksville
This mall recently underwent a huge transformation, adding a food court, more restaurants, and more popular stores. Hidden up 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.
Roosevelt Field Mall — Garden City
Like Broadway Mall, Roosevelt Field also features an updated children’s play area on the concourse level outside of Glow Golf. This area features unique sculpted playground pieces in a jungle theme, including a crocodile and hippo, that kids can climb on and enjoy.
Westfield Sunrise — Massapequa
Like its sister mall in Bay Shore, Westfield Sunrise features an updated "PlaySpace," where little ones can climb and explore a colorful area filled with animals and large puzzles. There is plenty of space to run around. It’s located on the lower level in front of Sears. Smart Wheels strollers are also available for rent.
The location below is under renovation. We will update you when it reopens.
Westfield South Shore — Bay Shore
Similar to the children’s play area at Broadway Mall, Westfield features a Long Island theme, with a lighthouse to climb on and colorful sea creatures. Located near the food court, the family lounge also has interactive tables, electronic 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.
Stores and shops
Book Revue — Huntington
Book Revue is Long Island’s largest independent bookstore and a fairyland for children who love to read and explore. Enjoy FREE Toddler Time every Thursday morning at 11am. A huge children’s section boasts colorful murals, artistic, kid-friendly sculptures, an indestructible fire engine, and more. It’s a great place to instill a love of reading in your child.
Disney Store — Islandwide
Just walking into a Disney store can bring a smile to a child’s face. Children can enjoy wandering around, seeing all their favorite Disney toys, movies, and games. There is often a Disney favorite playing on TV along with a huge pile of stuffed animals kids can check out.
Learn do-it-yourself skills at Home Depot kids workshops.
Home Depot — Islandwide
Home Depot offers kids workshops that mix skill-building and creativity while teaching safety to little ones. It even offers parent-and-me options, such as building a bank that your child gets to decorate. You child can keep the project while receiving a Home Depot workshop apron.
Ikea — Hicksville
Ikea can feel like an indoor playground for adults. But did you know the Ikea next to Broadway Mall actually has an actual indoor play area for kids? Smaland is a FREE, supervised play area where you can leave your child for up to one hour while you shop. One caveat: Kids must be potty trained. In Smaland they can enjoy a fun, playful area designed like a Swedish forest and perfect for keeping little ones occupied.
LEGO — Roosevelt Field 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 Calendar to see when the LEGO store is holding FREE events throughout the year.
Kids can enjoy a comfortable learning experience at Pottery Barn in Huntington Station.
Pottery Barn Kids — Huntington Station
Located at Walt Whitman Mall, PB Kids hosts FREE events throughout the year, including a Halloween parade, weekly storytime, and more. It also has pint-sized tables and set-ups of its classic Anywhere chairs, so children can play and explore while mom or dad shops.
Local libraries — Islandwide
Chances are, your local library offers FREE storytime, and classes such as LEGO Creations. Children can build with the library’s LEGOs and perhaps see their creations on the library’s website. Suffolk libraries can be found here.
Top photo: Enjoy a FREE play adventure at Roosevelt Field mall. Photos courtesy of the venues