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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.

  • Photograph: Prospect Park Alliance/Paul Martinka

    Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

    New Year's Eve Fireworks in Prospect Park

  • Photograph: Ed Haas

    Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

    New Year's Eve Party Ride

     

     

  • Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

    30th Annual Wreath Exhibition

  • Photograph courtesy of the JCC

    Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

    "NYChildren"

  • 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

    Lego Masterpieces

     

     

  • Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

    City Harvest Gingerbread Extravaganza

  • Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

    Needlecrafts

     

     

  • Photograph: Nancy Adler

    Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

    JCC Annual New Year's Day Fitness for EveryBODY Fair

Photograph: Prospect Park Alliance/Paul Martinka

Free activities for kids over winter break in NYC 2012

New Year's Eve Fireworks in Prospect Park

Monday, December 31–Tuesday, January 1

New Year's Eve Fireworks in Prospect Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Take the clan to Prospect Park for hot refreshments and a bombastic coup de grace at midnight. The best viewing locations include anywhere in Grand Army Plaza, inside the park on the West Drive, and along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza and 9th Street. All ages.

  1. Prospect Park Prospect Park West to Flatbush Ave, between Prospect Park Southwest and Ocean Ave
  2. Mon Jan 5
More info

New Year's Eve Party Ride

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Grassroots environmental organization Time's Up organizes this under-the-stars bike ride, which begins in Washington Square Park and ends at Central Park's Belvedere Castle. Participants are encouraged to wear festive outfits and bring treats for the outdoor after-party. Ages 10 and up for children riding on their own bikes; all ages if on a parent's bike.

  1. Washington Square Park W 4th St to Waverly Pl, between MacDougal St and University Pl
  2. Wed Dec 31
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 Jan 5
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 Jan 5
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 Jan 5
More info

Lego Masterpieces

  • Free

Kids can practice their engineering and architectural skills by creating anything they can imagine out of Legos. Ages 5 to 12.

  1. Queens Library, Ridgewood Branch 20-12 Madison Street, between Forest and Fairview Aves
  2. Until Mon Dec 31
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 31 - Tue Jan 1
More info

Needlecrafts

  • Free

Today's city kids havethe luxury of playing video games and watching television in a heated apartment while the weather outside is oh-so-frightful. Switch things up and brave the chilly air to pass time the old-fashioned way at Lefferts House, where kids can busy themselves with needlepoint crafts or dip a quill into ink and jot down a New Year's resolution or two. Ages 5 to 12.

  1. Lefferts Historic House Museum 95 Prospect Park West, at Flatbush Ave
  2. Mon Dec 31 - Tue Jan 1
More info

JCC Annual New Year’s Day Fitness for EveryBODY Fair

  • Free

Get your family moving in 2013 with this fun-filled, daylong event at The JCC in Manhattan. Everyone can participate in fitness classes for all levels, like yoga, zumba, martial arts and more. After you've worked up a sweat, stick around for giveaways and raffle prizes! All ages.

  1. JCC in Manhattan 334 Amsterdam Ave, at 76th St
  2. Tue Jan 1
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 Jan 1
More info

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