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Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

With our guide to free activities for kids over winter break, your brood can have fun without spending a dime.

  • Photo: Kara Flannery

    Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

    Christmas Eve Pageant

  • Photograph: Patrick J. Cashin

    Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

    New York Transit Museum's Holiday Train Show

     

  • Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

    Christmas Eve Service at Riverside Church

  • Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

    City Harvest Gingerbread Extravaganza

  • Photograph: Ken Howard

    Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

    Caroling in Washington Square

  • Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

    30th Annual Wreath Exhibition

  • Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

    "NYChildren"

  • Photograph: Carlos Detres

    Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

    The Mistletones

     

Photo: Kara Flannery

Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

Christmas Eve Pageant

Monday, December 24–Tuesday, December 25

Christmas Eve Pageant

  • Free

Settle in for a festive evening of traditional caroling, performed by both the congregation and the children's choir. All ages.

  1. Church of St. Luke in the Fields 487 Hudson St, between Barrow and Grove Sts
  2. Mon Dec 29
More info

New York Transit Museum's Holiday Train Show

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The iconic Grand Central Terminal turns 100 in 2013—and the railroad hub is kicking off the centennial celebration with its annual train show. Even your littlest tyke will feel like a giant while wandering around the 34-foot-long display, festooned with miniature versions of city landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building and, of course, Grand Central. Watch as Lionel model trains travel over the river (the East River, to be exact) and through the woods to reach their final destination, the north pole. Free. All ages.

  1. New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex Grand Central Terminal, E 42nd St, between Lexington and Vanderbilt Aves
  2. Mon Dec 29
More info

Christmas Eve Service at Riverside Church

  • Free

Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, you can appreciate the grandeur of this uptown church during its annual Christmas Eve service for children and families. All ages.

  1. The Riverside Church 490 Riverside Dr, between 120th and 122nd Sts
  2. Until Tue Dec 24
More info

City Harvest Gingerbread Extravaganza

  • Free

You may not be allowed to nibble on the confectionary edifices featured in Le Parker Meridien's third annual gingerbread-house exhibition, but you can gawk at the sugary sculptures, created by local culinary kings. This year's theme is "Landmarks Around the World," so expect to see recognizable buildings and sights in gingerbread form. For just a buck (which will be donated to City Harvest, an organization that helps feed people who are homeless), you can vote for your favorite and automatically be entered to win a five-night stay at the Parker Palm Springs. Hey, this is the season when wishes can come true! All ages.

  1. Le Parker Meridien 119 W 56th St, between Sixth and Seventh Aves
  2. Mon Dec 24 - Tue Dec 25
More info

Caroling in Washington Square

  • Free

Locals gather on the night before Christmas to celebrate the season. The repertoire here is strictly old-school classics ("Jingle Bells" versus "Jingle Bell Rock"), but accompaniment from a brass quartet lends the happening an extra-festive feeling. Bundle up and bring a thermos of hot cider to keep little ones warm as they stroll. All ages.

  1. Washington Square Park W 4th St to Waverly Pl, between MacDougal St and University Pl
  2. Wed Dec 24
More info

30th Annual Wreath Exhibition

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This multifaceted display of door hangings features 43 unconventional wreaths—the creations of fine artists, metal workers, horticulturalists, designers and more—representing themes that range from simplistic (nature) to specific (the recent impact of Hurricane Sandy). Expect to see the likes of pistachio shells, bicycle tubes and even Chinese takeout containers as you make your way through this innovative display of holiday cheer. All ages.

  1. Arsenal Gallery in Central Park 830 Fifth Ave, at 64th St, third floor
  2. Mon Dec 29
More info

"NYChildren"

  • Free

In 2003, while filling up at a gas station in Arizona, photographer Danny Goldfield met a Sikh man whose brothers had been victims of hate crimes. The man's mission to make the world a safer, more understanding place inspired Goldfield to embark on his own quest to foster more inclusive communities. He then set out to photograph one child from every country in the world, with the caveat that each child had to be living in New York City. Nearly a decade later, the artist's exhibit of 169 portraits is still growing—but the poignant collection of portraits already reflects the universality of childhood and captures the city's multinational character while envisioning a more harmonious future. All ages.

  1. JCC in Manhattan 334 Amsterdam Ave, at 76th St
  2. Mon Dec 24 - Tue Dec 25
More info

The Mistletones

  • Free

What better way to get the little ones in the holiday spirit than to listen to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman" in front of the Seaport's big tree? Known as the The Mistletones, this alternative caroling group prides themselves on their hipster-chic fashion sense and expertly sung a capella. All ages.

  1. South Street Seaport 19 Fulton St, at Front St
  2. Mon Dec 29
More info

Knit and Crochet Club

  • Free

Crafty tweens will learn to knit and crochet, then create an afghan, small animals and other cozy objects. Bring your own hooks and needles; other supplies will be provided. Ages 9 to 12.

  1. Queens Library, Rochdale Village 169-09 137 Avenue
  2. Tue Dec 30
More info

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