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.
Fri Dec 19 2014
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
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.
- 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.
- Critics choice
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.
- Critics choice
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.
- Critics choice
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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