Summer officially started on June 21 and if your vacation plans aren’t fixed, here are some suggestions of what you can do this summer in the city. (Note that some of the sign-ups are time-sensitive!)
Lots of time in the park
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation offers a range of fitness activities in its more than 1,000 playgrounds in all five boroughs. Playgrounds, some handicap-accessible, can be stand-alone or located in parks or school yards kept open to the public all summer. Activities listed are free and low-cost. Check out BeFitNYC for physical activities. If it's arts, crafts, music, and games you are after, consult a calendar of events with listings through October. You can sort by location, kids’ interest, and parents’ interests too. Some events are repeated daily, some weekly .
Parks swim lessons are so popular that a lottery has to be held for the limited spots. You must register by Friday, June 24, to be eligible for the lottery. For kids who already know how to swim, the parks offer a range of classes at their pools and recreation centers. For more information about the swim program call Parks Citywide Aquatics at (718) 760-6969.For general information about Parks & Recreation,call 311 or (212) NEW-YORK from outside New York City.
Lots of reading
Every day is reading day if kids are hooked on books. It’s fun for you and your child to browse on your own at the nearest branch library where there are also story hours and craft activities. For inspiration, and to participate in reading challenges, check out summer reading in your branch library (Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island ); Queensborough Public Library; or Brooklyn Public Library
Lots of meals
Free breakfast and lunch are offered this summer at hundreds of schools, pools, parks, and playgrounds. All children, 18 and under, are eligible for a meal whether or not they are registered in a New York City public school. Breakfast is offered from 8-9:15 a.m.; lunch from 11 a.m. - 1:15 p.m., Monday - Friday. No need to show an ID to get a meal. Call 311 to find locations near you.
Wednesday's New York Times features an article about new food vendors in many of the city's parks. These meals aren't free, but they may be tastier than hot dogs or pretzels. For example you will soon be able to order a grilled cheese sandwich in Fort Greene Park! Check out the options in this Times article.
Lots of music
What about taking your kids to hear some great free music. Check out this list of concerts in the parks:
There are sure to be many fun and free activities beyond what these. Please share your suggestions in comments!