As most of you know, Dr. Khanna isn’t just a Park Slope orthodontist, he’s also a dad! So, he completely understands just how tough it’s been over the past two months to keep kids entertained during the coronavirus lockdown. While summer in Brooklyn, and New York City as a whole, will look much different this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun with the fam. To help, we’re sharing our 5th (!) annual guide to free and affordable activities for kids in Brooklyn this summer, all with social distancing in mind.
- Take Advantage of the Open Streets Program – The city has opened 40 miles of streets to allow for greater social distancing while enjoying the outdoors. The ultimate plan is to open a total of 100 miles. The streets are free for pedestrians and cyclists to use from 8am to 8pm daily. So, if you’re wondering what to do with kids in Brooklyn, consider a family bike ride, walk or jog. Check out the map to find open streets in your neighborhood.
- Enjoy Virtual Programming from the Brooklyn Public Library – The Library is offering a variety of free summer activities for kids, teens and adults through its virtual programming. For children, you’ll find storytimes, crafts and even Zoom sessions where kids can read to a therapy dog. Teens can do virtual open mics, crafts, virtual board games, art, meditation, and more. Browse the schedule here.
- Head to a NYC Park – While playgrounds are still closed, parks remain open during daylight hours offering plenty of things to do in Brooklyn with kids. Find a spot away from others and have a catch or just lounge on a blanket and soak up the fresh air. There are some quieter spots in Prospect Park like Nellie’s Lawn and Peninsula Meadow that are usually less congested.
- Support a Brooklyn Farmers’ Market and Then Chef it Up – Shopping at Brooklyn farmers’ markets, which are considered essential businesses, is a great way to support local farmers and small food businesses. Send someone in the family out to pick up fresh produce and groceries from the market and then visit America’s Test Kitchen Young Chefs’ Club. The site offers free baking and cooking activities for kids. Have your children or teens choose an activity or recipe using your farmers’ market haul and hone their skills. As a bonus, you’ll have something delicious to eat afterwards.
- Go Camping in Your Living Room – Camping is a quintessential summer experience and it’s usually one of the fun things to do with kids in Brooklyn thanks to programs through the Parks Department. While it may not be something that happens this summer, you can recreate it at home. If you have the space and a tent, move your furniture out of the way and set up your tent right in the middle of the living room. Make s’mores on the stove and tell stories. If you don’t have a tent or the floor space, even just sleeping bags or blankets on the floor can be fun for the kiddos. If you’re one of the lucky people in NYC with a backyard, even better, you can move the whole camping trip outdoors.
- Go for a Hike – There are Brooklyn hiking trails in Prospect Park, as well as some nearby that may be less crowded. Hiking is a great way to spend time in nature and get in some exercise. Hiking Project has a nice list of hiking trails near Brooklyn complete with distance and difficulty.
- Visit Kid-Friendly Museums Online – Usually our guide to affordable and free summer activities for kids in Brooklyn includes some museums. While museums are still closed to the public, many of them from New York City and around the world are offering kid-friendly tours. Kids can take in art, local historical tours, gardens, natural history, and so much more from the comfort of the couch. NY Metro Parents has a full list of virtual museum tours for kids.
- Send the Kids to Virtual Summer Camp – Some of the best summer camps for kids in NYC are moving online this year. Here are a few virtual summer camps you may want to check out:
o Child’s Play NY – Child’s Play NY has turned their award-winning theater camps into online programming for kids all over the world with Virtual Mini Musical Camp. Kids will work in small groups, by age, creating original material, playing games with one another, and working on their acting skills.
o Brooklyn Friends School – BFS is offering virtual summer camps this year. Kids will engage in synchronous activities led by group leaders and artists. Activities are designed to encourage curiosity, self-expression, and social interaction.
o CinemaKidz – CinemaKidz is also holding virtual summer camp for kids ages six through 15. Kids will engage in film-making, animation, and media arts through hands-on activities. Material kits will be provided.
We hope our ideas for summer activities for kids in Brooklyn are helpful. If perfecting your child’s smile is also on the agenda this summer, book a virtual consultation at Fresh Orthodontics to get started!