Sure, we say a tearful goodbye to our favorite summer activities for kids when September rolls around, but we also extend an excited "hello!" to our kids' back-to-school time! Fall is wonderful: There are sweaters to wear, pencils and notebooks to buy, and plenty of amazing fall activities for kids to enjoy as well.
RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for families
Before school starts, plan a last minute get-together with friends over these Labor Day activities or Labor Day weekend getaways, and make sure to get in on the season's most photographed activity: apple-picking near NYC!
Organized by Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, this fun-filled event delivers a week’s worth of all-ages creative workshops in which families can design and craft their own lanterns, then showcase their work in a twilight procession through Morningside Park (Sept 23, 8pm). The result? A glowing, somewhat eerie (but nonetheless beautiful) mass of handmade art. This year’s theme, “The Secret Gardens” calls for vibrant lanterns inspired by the city after dark, including everything from flourescent food trucks to tall skyscraper spires. Be sure to sign up for daily lantern building workshops (Sept 16-22) and the parade online. A special craft table for families can also be found at the family craft table at the Down to Earth Farmers Market (Sept 26, 11am-2pm) on the day of the big parade in Morningside Park. Ages 8 and up.
Time-travel back to the Middle Ages and enjoy its ancient forms of fun. Wandering Fort Tryon Park's lush grounds, families can rub shoulders with performers and festivalgoers dressed in clothing typical of the era, listen to authentic period music, and watch the antics of jugglers and jesters. All ages.
Learn about pilotless aircraft in this 6,000-square-foot pavilion on the Museum's Pier 86! The exhibit covers topics such as drone history, new drone technology and the role drones play in helping to solve large-scale humanitarian challenges. You'll see drones small and large, plus things like computer renderings, model airplanes, historical artifacts and even the world's first flying dress (worn by none other than Lady Gaga). All ages.
In celebration of history and art (not to mention the Smithsonian’s free admission policy), over 1,300 museums around the country open their doors to the public free of charge. Visit family-friendly favorites like the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, the Dyckman Farmhouse, the New York City Fire Museum and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Head to smithsonianmag.com to see which institutions are participating this year and to download a free Museum Day Live ticket. All ages.
Families can start or continue their discussions on disability in a super fun and unique way with the new puppet-centric musical Addy & Uno. The musical follows five child characters with disabilities as they discover their strengths and use them to save their school from bullies. It’s the first family musical specifically about disabilities (based on the book by Nava R. Silton and directed by the Emmy nominated Donna Drake.) All ages.
Experience puppetry magic as Eric Carle’s beloved story comes to life on stage for a limited season at the DR2 Theater. The production will also feature three of Carle’s other children’s books: 10 Little Rubber Ducks, The Very Lonely Firefly and the world premiere of Brown Bear, Brown Bear in celebration of its 50th anniversary. All ages.
At this unique art event, kids can follow in the footsteps of paramount painters from the Hudson River School such as Elizabeth Gilbert Jerome, Susie M. Barstow and Harriet Cany Peale by creating their own works in watercolor. “Painting Outdoors” is an annual outdoor painting project where kids create works by translating what they see in nature. This event also include free admission into the Wave Hill House grounds until noon. All ages.
There’s always been a human fascination with creating life-like beings. You can see how this human endeavor has evolved for yourself at the New York Hall of Science. “Picturing Female Robots and Androids” is based on the book My Fair Ladies by Julie Wosk and features images of female robots, dolls and androids from movies, TV and more. Most importantly, this exhibit helps us see how our view of women is evolving. All ages.
Do you have an older child who is interested in science, nature and ecology? At this limited capacity event (pre-registration required) your youngster can learn about Earth’s essential, powerful forces such as fire, water and air, and how they affect the planet. There will be eco friendly giveaways along with plenty of learning about renewable energy. Ages 8-12.
Few things are as fascinating as the cosmos. Have your child join professor and astronomer Mark Freilich to take a look at the sky using a professional telescope. There will also be an indoor Q&A session on astronomy. Feel free to bring your own telescopes and binoculars (pre-registration required.) Ages 9 and up.
Atlantic Ave closes down for New York City’s largest street fair, now in its 43nd year and featuring hundreds of vendors and 11 stages. Visitors can catch a six-hour lineup of entertainment, including music and dance performances, while kid-friendly activities like pony rides, a bounce house, face painting and photo booth will keep little ones entertained all day. All ages.
The annual unicycle celebration rolls into town (on one wheel, no less). While the fest spans three days with tours and rides around the city, you'll find the best sights for kids at the Governors Island stop. Check out demonstrations, races and even unicycle basketball and hockey games. Events begin at various times at various locations, see website for details. All ages.
When 8-year-old Lily Polkadot moves to the small town of Rockaway, she finds that she’s the only one with polka dot skin in her new all Square school. She’s subject to constant bullying and segregation until she meets a shy Square boy named Sky. An unexpected friendship blossoms as the two children learn that differences are to be celebrated because they’re what make us unique. The musical serves as an engaging history lesson on the Little Rock 9, a group of African American students that enrolled in an all-white school in 1957. Ages 5 and up.