Summer is our favorite time of year at Fresh Orthodontics. The days are longer, the weather is warmer and we can finally swap our boots and jackets for shorts and sandals. Summer also gives us more time to spend with our families, exploring and enjoying everything our neighborhood has to offer.
For the past three years, we’ve shared the best fun and free summer activities for kids in the Park Slope area. Our Brooklyn orthodontist clients always love our annual round-up, so we’ve brought it back for another year — and with two bonus additions, it’s better than ever! Trust us: with this list in hand, you’ll never again have to ask what to do with kids in NYC.
Without further ado, here’s our ultimate list of fun, free family activities in Brooklyn and beyond. If you end up checking any of them out, let us know at your next visit with Dr. Ankush Khanna!
- Learn to Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Let your kids discover their green thumb in the Discovery Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Here, they’ll learn all about different species of flowers and plants, explore habitats and wildlife, and get a hands-on look at how gardens grow. Then wander over to the Children’s Garden where a garden instructor will teach your kids how to plant, tend and harvest their own flowers and crops. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is an immersive, educational activity for kids this summer.
- Picnic and Play at Prospect Park
Little ones love to ride the carousel at Prospect Park. While you’re there, why not make a full day of it? First, take a stroll along the park’s many walking trails. Let the kids climb and play on one of the seven playgrounds, or sign them up for a free nature tour. Then lay out a blanket for a leisurely picnic lunch before heading to the main event: the vintage carousel. A single ride costs $2.50 and a pack of five is $11.50.
- Splash Around at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park
When the temperatures heat up this summer, one of the best free activities for kids will be an afternoon of splashing around at Water Lab in Brooklyn Bridge Park. There’s a water-jet field for kiddos to run and play, keeping them cool and active throughout the summer. Kids don’t feel like getting wet? Pier 6 has four other playgrounds that are just as fun, without the need for swimsuits and towels.
- Stock Up on Fresh Produce at a Farmer’s Market
No summer would be complete without a trip to one of Brooklyn’s amazing farmer’s markets. While most of the markets are open year round, nothing beats a warm, sunny afternoon browsing the fresh produce and artisan goods on offer. Let your kids pick out some delicious, homegrown fruits and veggies to bring home. Then spend the evening cooking together and prepping the farm-to-table dinner of your dreams.
- Dance Up a Storm at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival
Everyone’s favorite summer concert series returns this June to Prospect Park. The festivities kick off on June 4 with a free concert by Patti LaBelle. Many of the shows are kid-friendly but chances are they might be past your kiddos’ bedtime. For a truly family-friendly show, make sure to catch Rich Medina, Shareef Keyes and the Groove on June 15 at 3pm. It already promises to be the family dance party event of the summer.
- Taste the World at Smorgasburg
Broaden your children’s taste horizons at Smorgasburg this summer. As the largest open-air food fair in America, Smorgasburg draws 30,000 people to Brooklyn every weekend. Each market showcases 100 local vendors, offering tastes and flavors from around the world. Smorgasburg runs from 11am to 6pm on weekends. It’s held at East River State Park in Williamsburg on Saturdays and in Prospect Park at Breeze Hill on Sundays.
- See the Lights at Coney Island’s Friday Night Fireworks
Summer without Coney Island is like winter without snow. It’s always a fun summer activity for kids in Brooklyn, but did you know you don’t need to visit the amusement park to get in on the action? To enjoy the fun of Coney Island for free, head to the Coney Island beach and boardwalk on Friday nights to watch the fireworks light up the sky. Starting on June 21 until the end of August, the free show will begin at 9:30pm and runs for 30 minutes, weather permitting.
- Catch a Movie with a View
Get off the couch and change up your movie night by catching a flick under the stars this summer at Harbor View Lawn in Brooklyn Bridge Park. This year, most of the movies are geared towards an older crowd, but kiddos can get in on the fun with the screening of An American Tail on August 15. Movies with a View is the perfect thing to do with kids in Brooklyn.
- Settle into Storytime at Brooklyn Public Library
Summer heat getting to you? Step inside for storytime at one of the many public libraries in Brooklyn. Most libraries offer Saturday Storytime, as well as many other educational and interactive events for kids. There’s always a fun activity for kids and parents to enjoy together. Events vary by location so be sure to check the schedule for your local library.
- Keep Up on Education at the Ed Center
School might be out for the summer but that doesn’t mean your kids shouldn’t learn a thing or two over the next few months. The Environmental Education Center at Brooklyn Bridge Park has free drop-in hours on four afternoons a week, giving your kids a closer look at everything happening in the park. There’s an aquarium to teach little ones about the critters living in the East River, a 10’ scale model of the Brooklyn Bridge, crafts classes and so much more. Dropping the kids at the Ed Center also gives parents an afternoon off — win win!
- Visit the Brooklyn Children’s Museum
For a free activity in Brooklyn the whole family will enjoy, take a trip to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Your visit will be totally free if you visit at the right time: free hours are on Thursdays from 2-6pm and Sundays from 4-7pm. The exhibits offer a hands-on, interactive and educational experience for kids. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is a simple way to keep your kids entertained (and educated!) this summer.
- Meet Your Inner Artist at Free Family Art Days
Find out if your kid is the next Monet or Picasso with a family art extravaganza. Free Family Art Days are a chance for parents and kids to get creative together by exploring different art forms. Presented by Spellbound Theater, events are offered at local businesses, libraries and community centers around NYC. Who knows, you might even discover a hidden artistic talent of your own!