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The best things to do in NYC with kids this week

Look no further for the best things to do with kids this week including festivals, concerts, museum exhibits and more.

Photograph: Joan Marcus
Skippy Jon Jones

Make the most of summer vacation with awesome summer activities for kids! Our lists of the best NYC beachesswimming poolsoutdoor activities for kids and more should help keep little ones happy (and cooled off) throughout this hot week in the city. Don't forget to visit our favorite local splash parks and water parks, too!

Things to do with kids July 27–31


The Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park

The Public Theater continues its seasonal tradition of offering free Shakespeare productions at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. This summer, The Tempest takes the stage, starring the likes of Sam Waterston (Newsroom) and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family). Ages 10 and up.

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Delacorte Theater Until Sunday August 23 2015 Free

Jeppe Hein: "Please Touch the Art"

A standard afternoon in Brooklyn Bridge Park becomes a unique interactive experience when Danish artist Jeppe Hein’s installation takes over the public space. Curious kids will love walking through three separate works, discovering quirky additions to the landscape like benches that twist and curve, a mirror labyrinth that lets visitors see double (or triple) and a grid of sky-high water jets that create sporadic walls of H2O rising up from the ground. Families wander from the Manhattan Bridge along the waterfront to Pier 6, and get their hands on works of art instead of just observing from a distance, so make sure to bring a camera—the crazy-awesome photo opportunities will be more than worth the trip. All ages.

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Brooklyn Bridge Park Until Friday January 1 2016 Free

Theatreworks USA's Skippyjon Jones Snow What

Critics' pick

Tickets for this musical from Theatreworks USA are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so show up an hour prior to the performance to ensure that you and the kids can enjoy the tale of a Siamese cat who imagines he is El Skippito Friskito, a Mexican Chihuahua. In this funny twist on the classic Snow White fairytale, Skippyjon enlists help from his friends, the Seven Chimichangos to rescue the princess, Nieve Qué (Snow What). Ages 4 and up.

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Lucille Lortel Theatre Until Friday August 7 2015 Free

Big City Fishing

Critics' pick

For this aptly named program, the Hudson River Park Trust runs beginner lessons in multiple locations throughout the summer. Kids can learn the rod-and-reel basics, and get familiar with the types of fish that swim the local waters, with an emphasis on river ecology and education. Equipment for up to 25 participants is provided on a first-come, first-served basis at the drop-in sessions. Ages 5 and up.

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Hudson River Park, Pier 25 Until Sunday September 27 2015 Free

PuppetMobile presents Tales of Brier Rabbit

CityParks' roving puppet truck rolls out a summer production that tells the story of the mischevious Brier Rabbit who learns an important lesson about playing tricks on his fellow animal friends. The PuppetMobile brings the production—performed by Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater puppeteers—to parks, playgrounds and rec centers throughout the city, followed by puppet-making workshops. See website for schedule and locations. Ages 4–10.

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Various locations Monday August 3 2015 - Sunday August 30 2015 Free

Drop-In Art Workshop

On special days at the Jewish Museum, little artists get a chance to make their own artwork by painting, drawing, sculpting or crafting. The art projects are inspired by exhibitions on view and have a different theme each week. In July, they'll make portrait books of friends and families (7/13), create TV-inspired art on folded paper (7/20), and, drawing on the contemporary artwork in the exhibition "Repitition and Difference," explore with different shpes and materials in the art studio. Ages 3 and up.

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NYC Parks Summer Sports Experience

Get out and get active at the NYC Parks Summer Sports Experience. No matter what kind of exercise you prefer, this summer camp provides an array of different sports and takes place at various parks throughout the city. Looking to ease that competitive itch? Come out and play lacrosse, basketball, soccer and other active games through the end of August! Recommended for ages 8-14.

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NYC Parks Experience Summer Day Camp Monday August 3 2015 - Friday September 4 2015 Free

"City Splash"

Embrace the warmth at this splashable outdoor play center. Hands-on learning stations let tykes play with floating objects, tinker with an Erosion Table, race boats down a 16-foot zigzagging stream, try out "evaporation painting" and operate waterwheels.

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Children's Museum of Manhattan Until Sunday September 27 2015

Hip to Hip Theatre Company: Free Shakespeare in the Park

Hip to Hop Theatre Company brings Shakespeare to parks around the city, Queens, and the Bronx. This season, the Hip to Hop performers will present the dark comedy The Merchant of Venice and the silly farce The Merry Wives of Windsor almost every day through August 16. Bring your little ones to the park 30 minutes before showtime for a special free children's program, "Kids & The Classics" where little theatre goers will play theatre games and get introduced to the language and style of William Shakespeare's plays. All ages.

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Flushing Meadows–Corona Park Until Monday August 24 2015 Free

"Pattern Wizardry"

Kids become "apprentice wizards" for a day when they visit this hands-on exhibit at the Brooklyn Children's Museum. They'll explore repetition in patterns, use special wands to play rhythmic beats, walk inside a 360-degree mirror and create electronic patterns using virtual borders, quilts and kaleidoscopes. All ages.

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Brooklyn Children’s Museum Until Sunday September 6 2015

Mad. Sq. Kids Concerts 2015

Madison Square Park hosts some of the best names in children music for a special series of free outdoor entertainment for kids and their families. Kicking off the series is Brady Rymer and The Little Band That Could (5/28), who will be followed every Thursday by other kid faves like lullaby-loving fiddler Suz Slezak (6/4), girl-rocker Audra Rox (6/11), the Woody Guthrie-esque Alastair Moock and Friends (6/18), high-energy kindie band Recess Monkey (6/25), quirky crooners Danny Weinkauf & his Red Pants Band (7/9), tot-friendly sing-a-long group Songs for Seeds (7/16), joyful songstress Suzi Shelton (7/23) and finally, an interactive JazzReach program, Yes Indeed!, introducing youngsters to American blues (7/30). All ages.

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Madison Square Park Until Thu Jul 30 Free

Evening Bat Walks in Central Park

When the day changes into night, bats leave their hiding places and come out to feed. Take a stroll through Central Park accompanied by members of the New York City Bat Group including Bradley Klein and Danielle Gustafson, who come equipped with a detector that amplifies the bats’ inaudible chirps, a special bat-watcher's monitor and a species catalogue with which to identify them. You’d be surprised how how many of these elusive creatures call New York City home. R.S.V.P. is required a week in advance. Meetup is at the AMNH entrance on 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. All ages.

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American Museum of Natural History Until Fri Jul 31

Coney Island Fireworks

Get ready to tilt your head back. The famed Cyclone roller coaster and Deno's Wonder Wheel sponsor a stunning fireworks display every Friday night, and the Brooklyn Cyclones shoot off their own after select Saturday games. Plus, expect an Independence Day fireworks display to rival that of Macy's at MCU Park's FourthFest. See the website for an updated schedule. All ages.

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Coney Island Boardwalk Friday August 7 2015 - Friday August 21 2015 Free

Hudson RiverFlicks Family Fridays

Settle on the lawn with your mini film buffs this summer to see family favorites new and old. You can catch classics like Pee Wee's Big Adventure (7/24), Jumanji (8/7) and Hook (8/21) or catch up on the latest hits like Spongebob: Sponge Out of Water (7/10), The BoxTrolls (7/17), Annie (7/31) and Paddington (8/14). Bring snacks and a picnic blanket, and enjoy free popcorn, a great view, and fantastic flicks. All ages.

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Hudson River Park, Pier 46 Friday August 7 2015 - Friday August 21 2015 Free

Sunset on the Hudson

Little ones and families can enjoy great local music acts including the Chuck Braman Jazz Band (6/19, 7/4, 8/7), The Baby Soda Jazz Band (7/17, 8/14) and Max Gallico & Friends (6/26, 7/10, 8/1, 8/21) set against the scenic backdrop of a summer sunset over the Hudson. All ages.

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Hudson River Park at Pier 45 Friday August 7 2015 - Friday August 21 2015 Free