Brooklyn is full of fun experiences for little kids, whether you live here or are just looking for new adventures. From pedal boating in Prospect Park to sharing Key lime pie along the water in Red Hook, we guarantee you’ll want to take your preschooler or toddler on these 30 must-do activities.
And one of the great things about these early years is that your kids may not be in school every day, so you often can avoid the weekends and enjoy some of these Brooklyn places without crowds.
The Prospect Park carousel is the perfect stop after the zoo or just a walk through the green space. Photo by Eva Bogaisky via Instagram.
1. Ride the lion, giraffe, or dragon-pulled chariot on the Prospect Park Carousel.
2. Drive a bus and play on real subway trains at the New York Transit Museum.
3. Swing on the Tarzan swings and swoosh down the two-story slides at Pier 6 playground.
4. Count the fish and turtles at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden.
5. Play in the sand, splash in the surf, and go for a spin on the kiddie rides at Coney Island.
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Wander through Grand Army Plaza to check out the Bailey Fountain. Photo by the author.
6. Feel the spray from the giant Bailey Fountain at Grand Army Plaza, and if it’s Saturday, meander through the Greenmarket and see a street musician or puppeteer.
7. Learn to swim at these indoor Brooklyn pools, or register for FREE programs hosted by the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation.
8. Float boats and splash on the water table at the Brooklyn Children's Museum's Totally Tots exhibit.
9. Go for a spin on the glass-enclosed Jane's Carousel at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo.
10. Burn off energy at the nearly two dozen indoor play spaces and kiddie gyms scattered around the borough.
11. Blow bedtime this holiday season to walk or drive through the over-the-top Christmas lights displays in Dyker Heights.
The rooftop deck view from Ample Hills in Gowanus is almost as good as the ice cream. Photo by thedonutproblem via Instagram.
12. Eat ice cream on the rooftop deck at Ample Hills' “Ice Cream Paradise” in Gowanus.
13. Feed the sheep at the Prospect Park Zoo.
14. Take them to their first film fest with the annual BAMkids fest in Fort Greene, or the kidsfilmfest in Williamsburg.
15. Or enjoy live theater at some of Brooklyn's best spots for preschoolers, including Spellbound Theatre, BAM, Park Slope's Puppetworks, Jalopy in Carroll Gardens. You'll also find children's shows at On Stage at Kingsorough, The Brooklyn Center for Performing Arts, and Kings Theatre.
16. Share a chocolate-dipped Key lime pie on a stick at Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies in Red Hook while overlooking the harbor and Statue of Liberty.
17. Run through the splash pad fountains or learn to skate at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park.
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Pedal a boat or kayak around Prospect Park Lake. Photo by the author.
18. Rent a pedal boat as a family to cruise around Prospect Park Lake in the warmer months.
19. Catch the sea lion show at New York Aquarium.
20. Sign up for those preschool tours with these dual-language Brooklyn schools or nature-based programs in Brooklyn parks and gardens.
21. See the world's largest Hanukkah menorah at Grand Army Plaza.
22. Play with a water pump and hop from stump to stump at the nature playground in Prospect Park.
23. Drop in for one of these Brooklyn storytimes at bookstores like Greenlight and the top public libraries.
24. Visit a Brooklyn maker space for class, camp, or a special birthday party, including Brooklyn Robot Foundry in Gowanus and Geek Forest in Williamsburg.
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Show off your Halloween costumes at the Park Slope parade. Photo by Gilly Youner/courtesy of Park Slope Civic Council.
25. Trick-or-treat through Park Slope for the renowned annual children's Halloween parade.
26. Teach your pre-K kid the game of golf at the brand-new indoor Shipwrecked in Red Hook.
27. Celebrate Caribbean culture with beautiful costumes and music at the children's West Indian American Day Junior Carnival parade.
28. When summer rolls around, flip-flop your way to the local (and FREE) outdoor pool. Brooklyn plays host to some of our favorites, including McCarren and the Brooklyn Bridge Park's pop-up pool.
29. Sip coffee and nibble a croissant or slurp soup while the kids play at these Brooklyn cafes with children's toys and activities.
30. Catch a free show by a kids’ band at the Brooklyn Public Library's Dweck Center.
Top photo: Pier 6 slides. Photo courtesy of BBP.