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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.

This week is chock-full of festive things to do, including Hanukkah and Christmas-themed events for families. You'll have to choose wisely—the kids will want to do it all! Finish your last-minute gift shopping with the help of our holiday gift guide and then kick back, relax and enjoy some family time.

Things to do with kids, December 22–26


Robot Swarm

Kids will marvel at the Museum of Mathematics' futuristic new exhibit, featuring more than 20 small, light-up robots. The 'bots zoom across the floor, interacting with museum-goers and communicating with each other thanks to high-tech motion control and positioning systems. Families can learn all about the exciting field of swarm technology in robotics and explore the mathematical rules that make the robots work. All ages.

  1. Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) 11 E 26th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves, 10010
  2. Mon Dec 22 - Mon Dec 14
More info

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical

  • Price band: 3/4

Even the grumpiest of grinches will work up some holiday spirit after seeing this musical adaptation of Dr. Seuss's classic Christmas tale. Kids will recognize familiar songs like "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and "Welcome Christmas" as they watch the Grinch tear apart Whoville on his mission to destroy Christmas. When his heart grows three sizes, yours will too. All ages.

  1. Theater at Madison Square Garden 4 Pennsylvania Plaza (Seventh Ave), between 31st and 33rd Sts
  2. Mon Dec 22 - Sun Dec 28
More info

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

  • Critics choice
  • Free

An annual pilgrimage here never fails to remind us why we love New York City in December. A chance to gawk at this year’s behemoth, decorated with 45,000 LED bulbs and a Swarovski crystal star is well worth the fighting the crowds. The tree lighting ceremony will take place December 4.

  1. Rockefeller Plaza Fifth and Sixth Aves, between 48th and 49th Sts
  2. Mon Dec 22 - Wed Jan 7
More info

Columbus Circle Holiday Market

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Run by the same company that organizes the Holiday Market at Union Square, this alfresco fair offers much of the same merchandise as its predecessor with an emphasis on creating a European piazza atmosphere. Said to have been designed with Copenhagen and Munich in mind, the holiday hot spot is the perfect place to meet a friend, shop for the family or simply enjoy the novelty of browsing at the edge of Central Park. Look for handmade wooden puzzles, gingerbread houses and kits, and lots of sweets from local vendors. All ages.

  1. Columbus Circle Holiday Market Central Park South, at Central Park West
  2. Mon Dec 22 - Wed Dec 24
More info

Saks Fifth Avenue holiday windows

  • Critics choice
  • Free

As if Christmas in New York weren't enchanting enough, Saks Fifth Avenue will add another touch of whimsy via this year's fairytale-themed holiday window displays. Families can see classic storybook characters take to the big city in Art Deco–style scenes set against famous NYC landmarks. Spot Rumplestiltskin spinning straw into gold in the subway tunnels and Rapunzel swinging around the Empire State Building from her long tresses; plus more fantastical dioramas featuring Cinderella, Snow White and more. Don't miss "An Enchanted Experience," when the windows are unveiled on November 24, complete with a dazzling 3-D light show, a performance by the Rockettes and fireworks.

  1. Saks Fifth Avenue 611 Fifth Ave, at 49th St
  2. Tue Dec 23 - Wed Dec 31
More info

From Soil to Oil

Learn about the ancient art of oil-pressing and other seasonal traditions at this Hanukkah workshop. Little ones will choose the best olives, extract the oil and use it to light a menorah. They can also decorate their own donuts, watch a fruit carver create incredible, edible art, experiment with stained glass techniques, design a tile to add to the museum's giant menorah and meet Judah Maccabee. For more Hanukkah fun, families can explore three floors of interactive exhibits and participate in live game shows. The program varies by day, so visit www.JCM.museum for a complete schedule. Ages 3–12.

  1. Jewish Children's Museum 792 Eastern Pkwy, at Kingston Ave
  2. Mon Dec 22 - Wed Dec 24
More info

Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise

  • Price band: 2/4

Take your brood aboard the 1920s-style yacht Manhattan for a classic, cozy holiday party with a nautical twist. As you sail by city landmarks—from the Empire State Building to the Statue of Liberty to the Brooklyn Bridge—your family can settle in for jazzy holiday standards (Wed, Fri, Sun) or a Christmas carol sing-along led by the Chelsea Opera (Mon,Tue, Thu, Sat). Cookies and hot cocoa add to the merry atmosphere. The Classic Harbor Line Cruise leaves from Pier 62 at West 22nd Street and the Hudson River, behind Chelsea Piers. All ages.

  1. Chelsea Piers Eleventh Ave, between 17th and 23rd Sts
  2. Mon Dec 22 - Fri Jan 2
More info

One Hundred Books Famous in Children’s Literature

Little bookworms can take in some literary history at the Grolier Club, America's oldest bibliophile society. "One Hundred Books Famous in Children's Literature" showcases kid-friendly tomes beloved by readers big and small for generations—from time-honored classics like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Winnie-the-Pooh and Grimm's Fairy Tales to modern favorites like Harry Potter. The collection includes a number of rare books and early or first editions, as well as a Latin schoolbooks dating back to 1658. Tots can page through reading copies of many of the books on display and families can wander through the exhibit, guided by a cell phone audio tour. All ages.

  1. The Grolier Club 47 E 60th St, between Madison and Park Aves
  2. Mon Dec 22 - Sat Feb 7
More info

Hansel and Gretel

  • Price band: 2/4

The Engelbert Humperdinck rendition of this classic tale returns to the Metropolitan Opera House. Plenty of humour is sprinkled throughout the performance as Hansel (played by Kate Lindsey and Alice Coote) and Gretel (played by Aleksandra Kurzak) find themselves at the mercy of a witch with every intention of turning the siblings into gingerbread. Ages 8 and up.

  1. Metropolitan Opera House (at Lincoln Center) Lincoln Center Plaza, at 65th St
  2. Tue Dec 23 - Thu Jan 8
More info

Mini-Matisse Workshop

Story time and painting come together in this fun class. The children will first get to listen to a book read aloud before making their own art project about the story. Stories will vary every week and during November kids can look forward to hearing favorites like The Hungry Caterpillar or The Giving Tree. Ages 2–5.

  1. The Paint Place 243 W 72nd St, between Broadway and West End Ave, 10023
  2. Tue Dec 23
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

12 Days of Science

  • Price band: 1/4

Just because school's out doesn't mean you need to stay bored. Curious kids can see a live penguin, use liquid nitrogen to make ice cream and other unexpected surprises. Don't miss out on a supercool live performance by Master Bubble-ologist Casey Carle as he creates fog-filled bubble sculptures and bubbles that burst into flame druing "Bubblemania!" (Dec 27, 28) and catch live concerts put on in partnership with the current exhibit "Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World." Check lsc.org/12days for the scheduling details. Ages 3 and up.

  1. Liberty Science Center 222 Jersey City Blvd, between Philip and Wilson Sts
  2. Mon Dec 22 - Tue Dec 30
More info

Art Week & Artists in Action

During the kids' week off from school, head to the Jewish Children's Museum for art-making fun. Children can learn about the art of Gelli monoprinting in an interactive workshop, then create their own stained glass window panel. Families are also welcome to explore three floors of exhibits and participate in live game shows. On Christmas Day, December 25, kids can watch artists like Khalil Chishti, Jodi Harvey-Brown and Ruby Chishti as they craft their unique works, then try out some new creative skills. Ages 2 and up.

  1. Jewish Children's Museum 792 Eastern Pkwy, at Kingston Ave
  2. Thu Dec 25 - Thu Jan 1
More info

"What's Up, Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones"

  • Price band: 1/4

Chances are, the iconic cartoon characters of your childhood were brought to life by animation director and artist, Charles Martin "Chuck" Jones. Discover the origins of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner and more—all brought to life by the creative genius during a successful career that spawned over 300 animated films. A new Smithsonian traveling exhibit exploring Jones' process, inspiration and more will debut at NYC's own Museum of the Moving Image, before moving on to thirteen more cities. Re-visit the Looney Tunes in 23 of his animated films, view a documentary and peek into his animation process via original sketches, storyboards, photographs, an interactive experience and more. All ages.

  1. Museum of the Moving Image 36-01 35th Ave, at 37th St, 11106
  2. Wed Dec 24 - Sun Jan 18
More info

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