New York City kids like to learn (OK, most the time) and with school in full swing, events with an educational spin abound. There's a 'technology playground' at the World's Fair Nano in Greenpoint, and more science at Submerge: NYC Marine Science Festival in Tribeca. The Brooklyn Book Festival Children's Day, with five stages of top children's authors, has more reading-fun than seems fair. Speaking of education—hey parents! Looking for a preschool? Check out our preschool fair on Sunday, September 17!
Another highlight of the school year: free museum times! See our full guide. We also have a new guide for you, this one an extensive lowdown on six newly renovated playgrounds to check out this fall. Not enough outdoor fun for you? See our guide to five kid-friendly farms right here in New York City.
We'll also get some early Halloween fun on Coney Island with the kickoff to Luna Park's Halloween Harvest Festival, and there are fall street fests in Sunset Park, Flatbush, and of course, San Gennaro in Little Italy.
Make sure our September GoList is always on hand, and keep our Fall Fun Guide close for apple picking outings, corn mazes, and more day trips. And don't forget our Event Calendar for all your day-to-day planning needs.
Halloween Harvest Festival – Coney Island, Brooklyn
Luna Park's annual harvest fest kicks off this weekend and runs through Halloween with a pumpkin patch, spooky crafts, face painting, pony rides, and special performances. Of course, you'll be able to enjoy all those famous Luna Park rides, too.
Morningside Lights’ weekend-long activities culminate in a parade of handmade lanterns.
Morningside Light Workshops — Morningside Heights
A September GoList pick! These daily, collaborative art sessions (while adult-oriented, they welcome kids 10 and up) begin on September 16 and culminate in a family-friendly parade of paper lanterns on September 23. Pre-registration is essential. FREE
We the People: Citizenship Weekend — Upper West Side
Head to the Children's Museum of Manhattan to celebrate Citizenship Day (September 17) all weekend with crafts and activities centered on being a citizen and celebrating those who are working hard to become one.
The 91st Annual Feast of San Gennaro — Little Italy
A perennial September GoList pick, this is one of the largest street festivals in Manhattan, taking over Mulberry Street from Canal to Houston (and sections of Grand and Hester) with food, rides, and treats. FREE
An interactive sound and light sculpture at World's Fair Nano is just one element of this weekend's "tech playground."
World's Fair Nano — Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Kids 10 and under can attend this tech festival for free. They'll find a "technology playground," where all the newest and coolest tech will be on hand for testing and playing.
WWI History Weekend — Governors Island
Reenactors will resurrect the Harlem Hellfighters and General John J Pershing against the backdrop of Governors Island, with tents, vehicles, and demonstrations all representative of WWI. FREE
See all weekend events.
Saturday, September 16
Brooklyn Book Festival Children's Day — Downtown Brooklyn
Another September GoList pick, and wow, it's a big one. Five stages will offer an impressive slate of best-selling and award-winning children's and YA authors. Laurie Berkner reading from her We Are the Dinosaurs—and performing—is only one of the highlights. FREE
Neighborhood Concert: Juana Molina — Upper East Side
You know those concerts for families that adults conceivably could enjoy without kids? This is one. Shedding early fame as an Argentinian comedian, Juana Molina has been perfecting a shape-shifting, playful folk-electronica that makes her one of the most inventive and unclassifiable musicians recording today. FREE
Submerge: NYC Marine Science Festival — Tribeca
Pier 26 in Hudson River Park hosts this daylong extravaganza dedicated to marine science, with fishing, a science stage, and hands-on experiments. FREE
Join in the fun with We Are All Tourists, an interactive show on Governors Island. Photo by Buatti-Ramos Photography.
We Are All Tourists — Governors Island
The Trusty Sidekick Theater Company presents this immersive theater experience. The no-spoilers-version: audience members help "tour-guide" actors as they search the grounds of Governors Island for an actor trapped in an alternate dimension.
PolkaDots: The Cool Kids Musical — Chelsea
The Atlantic Theater Company introduces 8-year-old Lily Polkadot, who faces down discrimination in a kid-appropriate allegory for the true story of the Little Rock Nine.
See all Saturday events.
Sunday, September 17
Ladybug Day — the Bronx
Wave Hill dedicates an entire day to the one beetle to rule them all.
HRP Mamas Lower Manhattan Early Education Fair — Tribeca
Along with HRP Mamas, Mommy Poppins hosts a fair for parents seeking information on lower Manhattan preschools, with reps present from more than 30 schools. FREE
Adoptapalooza – Union Square
Meet more than 300 cats, dogs, and other animals looking for forever homes at this annual pet adoption event in Union Square Park.
The tot-friendly Please Bring Balloons fully engages its little audience members. Photo by Mommy Poppins.
Please Bring Balloons — Lower East Side
This sweet adaptation of Lindsay Ward's children's book of the same name is a perfect introduction to theater for kids ages two to five. Read our full review.
Never Built New York — Flushing, Queens
The Queens Museum posts one of coolest exhibits seen in some time, this one dedicated to plans for structures planned but never built in New York City; some feasible, some silly, and some flat-out fantastic.
Sunset Park Boulevard Street Fair — Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Giant inflatable rides, two stages of live music and dance, and oodles of food will dominate Brooklyn's 5th Avenue for nine entire blocks. While you're there, check out the recently revamped playground! FREE
Flatbush Frolic – Flatbush, Brooklyn
This community celebration features the usual street fest fun, including delicious treats, live music, a craft fair, and a dedicated kids' area with games and bouncy houses. FREE
See all Sunday events.
Top photo: Electric Spaceship at Nano. Photos courtesy of the events/venues except where noted.