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Fun Ideas For Play Dates With Children

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New York City is more than a place for adults to play. It’s also a great place to explore with kids as there’s seemingly no end of things to do that are of interest or designed for the younger crowd. Make a play date for a group of kids and turn the day into an adventure that they’re going to talk about for weeks. Remember that you need to keep safety as your number one priority when leading a group of youngsters around the city, especially during wet weather. You don’t want someone to slip and fall only to get seriously hurt. Use a buddy system, keep a headcount, but most of all, enjoy yourselves on your day out.

The Playroom NYC

The Playroom NYC is a 3,000 square foot facility designed for children five years and younger and offers a free-for-all creative play experience. Children get to play on a climbing structure, shop in a bodega, dress up in fancy clothes, ride on cars and climb around a playground made from vinyl-covered foam shapes and blocks. Hours are limited to the day time during the week and in the morning on the weekends so plan your visit accordingly.

Modern Pinball NYC Interactive Museum and Party Place

Modern Pinball NYC is great for older kids who are seeking more engagement in their playtime but still have short attention spans. Each admission fee includes no time limit on play and all games are free. No tokens or coins needed for kids to play to their heart’s delight. There’s also an interactive pinball exhibit that shows the mechanics and electronics of a pinball machine. The museum features two multi arcade machines that have over 250 games for those who get tired of pinball. 

Brooklyn Bridge Park Environmental Ed Center

The Ed Center, as it’s called, is a great place for kids to experience the flora and fauna of the East River in an intimate setting. The center features a 250-gallon aquarium full of creatures that were recent residents of the East River. A small rock pool in front of the aquarium is also a touch tank featuring starfish, rocks, plants, and shells that children can touch and hold. Kids can look through a microscope to view water samples and the tiny organisms that live within. The Ed Center has limited hours during the week, but it is free to visit and the adjacent Brooklyn Bridge Park offers more kid-friendly activities when everyone’s tired of the center.

Belvedere Castle

This folly found in Central Park by 79th Street has been fully restored and is a great place for kids to go exploring. It’s located on the second-highest point in Central Park which gives it an amazing vantage point to see the surrounding land and cityscape. Kids are allowed to play on the castle steps with abandon. Make sure to take them up the tower and let their imaginations go where they will go. Be forewarned: there are no public restrooms at the castle, so plan accordingly.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, or CMOM, is a playground that’s disguised as a museum. It’s a place where kids from 0 to 10 are welcome and has plenty of interactive exhibits that are designed to engage kids no matter what their age. The museum also seeks to stimulate children’s interest in the arts and sciences by showing them how every day things work, how the body functions, and go on adventures with famous cartoon characters. Opening hours and days at CMOM vary throughout the year so make sure to check before putting together a play date. 

Good Day Play Café

Good Day Play Café is located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and is representative of a trend that’s springing up around NYC. Adults can sit back and drink coffee while their kids play together in the indoor playground. Good Day Play Café’ offers a climbing wall, ball pit with slide, a matted area with toys for the younger set, a wood cube pit (think indoor sandpit but cubes instead of sand) and more. There’s an hourly charge per child, but parents and babies under 8 months are free with a purchase from the drink menu. 

The Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo is a wonderful destination for a play date. It’s got exotic animals living in their native habitats in an urban setting, a butterfly garden, a carousel, and even a monorail. The zoo allows visitors to bring their own food and has picnic areas so everyone can sit down, relax, and eat before heading off to the next exhibit. You can also bring a stroller, but be mindful that some buildings require that the stroller be left in a designated area before entering. The zoo does have an entry fee for visitors except for Wednesdays when it’s free. Save some money by planning a play date on a Wednesday, but consider donating something to help support the zoo with its ongoing costs.

Queens County Farm Museum

Show kids what life was once like in New York City at the Queens County Farm Museum. The farm traces its existence as far back as 1697 and has been continuously farmed up until the present day. The 47-acre property features historic farm buildings, livestock, farm vehicles, fields for crops, an orchard, and more. Children can visit with the livestock and learn about the jobs they perform in and around the farm. The farm museum focuses on sustainable agriculture techniques and demonstrates that it’s capable of being historical and modern at the same time. 

These ideas are merely scratching the surface of things to do in New York City for playdates. The city is full of museums, points of interest, parks, and even hiking trails that are great for kids of all ages. You’ll never run out of interesting things to do. In fact, the only problem you’ll have is finding enough time to get to these destinations before the kids grow up. 

Hey all! Big thanks to Katy Blevins for handing over the reins to me at the end of 2017 to fulfill my new years resolution to write...often! Based in Miami, you can find me blogging about family life as a mother of two young kids. But i'll also continue the Chaos and Kiddos theme of business, fashion, parenting, product reviews, and...well, I could go on and on.

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