Yes, we know: There's a chill in the air and, at some point, there will be snow on the ground, but that doesn't mean your family should stay home until spring arrives. This winter, there are tons of things to do with kids—everything from Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's events to new museum openings, ice-skating parties, hot chocolate festivals and Broadway show pop-up exhibits. Read through our list of 50 great things to do with kids, then bundle up your crew and embrace the season.
Things to do with kids this winter
Families can glide and twirl to soul music at the 16th annual Soul on Ice Winter Skating Party, a fund-raiser for figure skating in Harlem. Competitive figure skater Sharon Cohen founded the organization in 1997 to help young girls learn how to ice skate and to boost their confidence and leadership skills. In addition to rink time, the party will feature live music, snacks, activities, raffle prizes (including a Nintendo Wii and an iPod Touch) and a performance by FSH’s synchronized-skating team, Harlem Ice. All ages.
At Erth's Dinosaur Zoo, an interactive theater performance imported from Sydney, Australia, kids venture to the Australian outback, where they meet a collection of puppet dinosaurs both fierce and adorable. The large-scale, lifelike puppets (designed in collaboration with palaeontologists and using real fossil evidence) actually react to human contact for a totally realistic experience. Among the species on show are the carnivore Australovenator and the petite Leaellynasaura. Young dino-lovers even get to pet the prehistoric puppets after the show. Note: Kids under the age of six may be scared of the dinosuars. Ages 6 and up.
The Big Quiz Thing has been stumping participants for ten years with its wacky and original trivia questions. In January, for the first time, the trivia tournament will be played family-style. Quizmaster (and resident Time Out New York copy chief) Noah Tarnow will host five rounds of brain-tingling multimedia trivia at 92YTribeca that even those not yet in high school can try to answer. The competition culminates in a Three-Way Finale with the winner taking home some well-earned prizes. Ages 8 and up.
It's been 15 years since the The Lion King first came to Broadway stage. To celebrate the big anniversary, Disney has opened "Inside The Lion King," an immersive pop-up exhibit that showcases artifacts from the show, including Madame Tussaud's wax portraits of Rafiki and Scar. Disney's teaching artists will also be on hand for a series of kid-friendly workshops: "Storytelling" (Saturday Dec 8) will give tots an inside look into the playwriting process, while "Design" (Sun Dec 16) explains the artistry behind the show and gives participants the chance to create an original mask. All workshops will take place at 10:30am and 3pm. Th exhibit is located adjacent to Bryant Park on 42nd St and Sixth Ave. All ages.
In 2003, photographer Danny Goldfield 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. His photos are on display at the JCC through the beginning of January. All ages.
Still original after all these years (40 to be exact), the surreal troupe Mummenschanz uses a variety of everyday materials to churn out fantastical, puppet-like theater performances. Kids are bound to be wowed by the show which is devoid of words, and instead creates a visual feast by transforming shapes and abstract forms into surprising characters and expressive masks. Ages 6 and up.
What better way to celebrate the life of the now-defunct Twinkie than an entire festival dedicated entirely to the yummy yellow pastry? Kids can create a table-top craft, learn the art of baking a Twinkie and even taste one that has been deep-fried. All ages.
For the first time ever, China's all-female percussion group, The Red Poppy Ladies, comes stateside to perform a classic children's tale. The group will reinterpret Mulan, the story of a young girl who disguises herself as a man to take her father's place in the Emperor's army. All ages.
The latest space-invader show to hit the scene is not another celestial battleground affair, but rather concerns how artists "attack" the physical spaces of Lehman College Art Gallery in the Bronx, designed by the preeminent Bauhaus modernist Marcel Brauer. The set of site-specific installations is a great primer on the art form for kids, who'll be bedazzled by the imagination of the artists whose works "appear to grow out of the structure, hang down, wrap around or peer out from under" the architecture. A special workshop for kids, where they can make an art project inspired by the exhibit, takes place on December 15 from 10:30 to 11:30am. All ages.
When a mischievous ghost begins haunting a local theater, Scooby, Shaggy, Daphne and the rest of the gang are called on to solve the case. During the live stage show, kids should keep an eye out for wacky new characters, big musical numbers, including the theme "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?," and, of course, the Mystery Machine bus. Ages 4 and up.