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Winter break activities for New York City kids

Your guide to winter break including free activities for kids, weekend getaways and holiday fun for the whole family

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

Our Senses: An Immersive Experience

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.

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American Museum of Natural History , Upper West Side Until Monday January 6 2020

"Block Party"

Party it up at this festive exhibit that invites families to play street games like hopscotch, jump rope and sidewalk chalk drawings. Live DJs will be spinning beats and local artist Anderson Zaca’s photos of New York block parties dress the walls of the gallery. All ages.

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Brooklyn Children’s Museum , Crown Heights Tuesday May 22 2018 - Saturday June 30 2018

Storytime at Books Are Magic

Each Saturday and Sunday at 10:30am this enchanting independant kids bookstore in Cobble Hill hosts a storytime. Be sure to check out all their unique special events for children and young adult readers. All ages.

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Books Are Magic , Carroll Gardens Saturday May 26 2018 - Sunday August 26 2018

The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter


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.

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American Museum of Natural History , Upper West Side Until Monday May 28 2018

Jazz for Kids

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.

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Jazz Standard , Flatiron Sunday May 27 2018

More winter break fun for families