There's nothing quite like the holidays in New York, and winter break for NYC students is the cherry on top. No homework, no waking up early and plenty of time for enjoying the best winter activities for kids! See below for our favorite winter break activities for kids, and be sure to explore our favorite holiday markets and spots for hot chocolate!
When is winter break?
Winter break for New York City public school students runs from Dec 25, 2017 to Jan 1, 2018. See our guide for the rest of the 2017–2018 NYC school calendar.
Winter break events for kids
Delve into the fascinating world of computer-generated art in "Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the Computer Age" at MoMa. Featuring art from 1959-1989 this show, suitable for all ages, explores the various ways we've harnessed technology to create computer animation, kinetic sculptures and more. All ages.
Step inside the world of senses in this funhouse-like exhibtion at AMNH. There are eleven unique galleries in all. You’ll be able to explore how real our “reality” is (and what it’s shaped by.) And what our mind tells us through our different senses. Step into a room that tests your balance as the walls will appear to wave and ripple, through your feet tell you otherwise. Fly through a garden seen through the eyes of a bee or butterfly to learn how other animals experience flowers. Take a smell test and learn how what we think is one scent really is a symphony of different smells. There will also be a live presentation on why our senses are necessary for survival, how our senses are different from other animals and why human perception is unique. All ages.
This immersive exhibition features interactive installations and performing objects that showcase how sound transforms from an ephemeral wave to physical material. Experience a selection of works by contemporary artist, designers and performers as they use sound to guide their work and respond to their environment. All ages.
Minitrain aficionados are certain to be transfixed by the scenic components of this show, featuring trains from the Jerni Collection of handmade toys dating all the way back to 1850. Four large multimedia screens inside the W 77th Street entrance serve as a backdrop to take this trainscape the extra mile. Theatrical lighting and accompanying music immerse viewers in the exhibit on the museum's first floor as they browse model trains from decades past. The exhibit shows off hudreds of toy trains, stations and figures, including eight overhead trains and a cool crawl-through space leading to a pop-up bubble, putting kids smack in the center of the display. Families can continue exploring the world of classic toys and trains through a slew of programs, including a railroad worker played by a living historian, storytelling, and crafts projects. All ages.
It's a balmy 80 degrees in the museum's 1,200-square-foot vivarium, which houses up to 500 butterflies living among tropical flowers. The free-flying butterflies often land on the shoulders of visitors, allowing tykes to come into direct contact with monarchs, zebra longwings, paper kites other butterfly species as they emerge from their chrysalises. Outside the vivarium, youngsters can watch a short film and read displays on the life cycle of butterflies, how to protect their habitats and what kinds of adaptations certain species have. 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, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. All ages.
Introduce your kids to the joys of jazz at the Jazz Standard's weekly Sunday brunch program. The Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra, made up of talented youngsters between the ages of 11 and 18, provides the music including big band classics like “Cherokee” and “Billie’s Bounce." While your family taps their toes, chow down on a barbecue brunch from Blue Smoke. Doors open at 1pm. All ages.