For the past two years, we’ve posted guides to summer events in Brooklyn for children, tweens and teens and the parents at our Park Slope orthodontic clinic have been big fans of the series. We’re going to keep it going and help you avoid hearing the kids complain of boredom within a week of that final school bell ringing. Here are Fresh Orthodontics’ favorite summer activities for kids in Brooklyn:
1. FREE Summer Camp with Good Shepherd Services – Various Locations – Good Shepherd Services turns its after-school programs into free summer camps in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Activities vary camp to camp but they’re all geared at offsetting summer learning loss by combining outdoor fun and play with hands-on enrichment activities. Some camps accommodate children grades kindergarten through eight while others accept those in grades six through eight. Contact the individual camp for details on how to apply, the deadlines and the qualifications. You can find the list here.
2. Water Lab at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park –Brooklyn Bridge Park, Enter at Furman Street and Atlantic Avenue – If you’re looking for free Brooklyn activities for kids, Pier 6 should be high on your list. The park is awesome in general with a huge playground containing different sections including Sandbox Village, Marsh Garden and Swing Valley. In the summer, it becomes doubly awesome since the Water Lab opens. The Water Lab boasts a water-jet field where kids can get soaked and cool off. It’s guaranteed to keep them entertained for hours.
3. LeFrak Center at Lakeside – Prospect Park, 171 East Drive – The LeFrak Center at Lakeside transforms into a summer fun destination once the warm weather hits and it’s the site of several of our favorite activities for families in Brooklyn. April through October, the covered ice skating rink becomes a roller skating rink. Bring your own skates or rent a pair and show your kids how it’s done! For those who are a little unsteady, you can sign them up for skate school. The uncovered rink is turned into Prospect Park’s largest water play area for children. There are 41 jets that spray water across the surface for kids to splash around in. At night, the fountains are lit up in a beautiful display. As if those two options weren’t enough, you can rent paddle boats from 11 a.m. until sunset and make your way around the lake.
4. Piper Theatre Productions at Old Stone House –336 3rd Street (between 4th and 5th Aves) – Every year, Old Stone House hosts its popular residency with Piper Theatre in July. Round up the family and enjoy a free production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (July 6, 7, 8; July 13, 14, 15; July 20, 21, 22) at 8 p.m. If your child would prefer to be on the stage, try out the Piper Theatre summer youth workshops for children ages seven through 17. They’ll spend the month of July at the Old Stone House & Washington Park creating full-scale productions to be performed outdoors on the professional stage. Younger kids will perform inside the Old Stone House.
5. Summer Reading Storytime –Pier 3 Greenway Terrace/Granite Terrace at Brooklyn Bridge Park, 334 Furman Street – The Brooklyn Public Library’s Summer Reading Storytime at Brooklyn Bridge Park is another one of our favorite free things to do with kids in Brooklyn in summer. On Wednesdays at 11 a.m., from June 6 through August 2, meet down at the granite terrace, just north of Ample Hills Creamery and the BBQ pits. Kids will listen to stories from the library’s summer reading list, sing songs and enjoy the sunshine all with a stunning view of the Brooklyn Bridge!
6. BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival – Prospect Park Bandshell, 141 Prospect Park West – The BRIC summer concert series in Prospect Park is almost back. The super popular event will kick-off on Wednesday, June 7 at 8:15 p.m. with Lake Street Drive taking the stage. Most of the concerts are free and there a quite a few acts that are kid-friendly or at least upbeat enough to get the little ones dancing. The festival will present its annual children’s concert on Saturday, June 17 at 3 p.m. Lisa Loeb, who will be accompanied by the Brooklyn-based orchestra The Knights, will perform fun songs kids can sing along to.
7. Arts, Culture & Fun Events – McCarren Park Pool Deck, 776 Lorimer Street – NYC Parks want to ensure all residents have access to the arts so they created the Arts, Culture & Fun Series, which consists of a variety of free events that are open to the public in parks and recreation centers in the five boroughs. On Friday, June 2, head to the McCarren Park Pool Deck for Dance Away the Night With a Spring Swing! featuring live swing music from the Stephanie Jeannot Band. On Wednesday, June 21 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the same spot, Odd Gift Records will host a rock concert at the Make Music New York event with a line-up that all ages will enjoy.
8. Sunday Smorgasburg – Prospect Park, Breeze Hill (near Lakeside and the Lincoln Road entrance) – This open-air food fair will save you from having to cook and the kids will soak up the sights and sounds (and tastes) of over 100 food vendors from around the world. Held Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. now throughout the summer, the event is presented by Brooklyn Flea and the Prospect Park Alliance. If you’d rather pick up some fresh produce and whip up meals on your own, stop by one of the many Brooklyn farmers’ markets instead.
9. Pop-Up Audubon – Various Locations in Prospect Park – Explore the park and learn about the different ecosystems with the Prospect Park Alliance’s Pop-Up Audubon program. The free events for families and children are held at different natural areas throughout the park April through October on Saturdays and Sundays. Themes include Wonderful Warblers and Animal Clues and include fun games, activities, and experiments. Check out the schedule to see what’s coming up next.
10. Kids in Motion – Various New York City Playgrounds – The purpose of Kids in Motion, a program run by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, is to encourage kids to engage in physical activity in a fun, non-competitive environment. Kids in Motion staff lead kids in a variety of free activities in Brooklyn and the rest of the city. No registration is required. Simply stop by one of the playgrounds during the hours listed, usually Tuesday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and little ones can take part in games, organized sports, fitness demonstrations, guided walks, water games, board games and more.
Check out our previous free kids activities in Brooklyn guides: