As the school year begins to wrap up, it’s a sign that warm summer days are just around the corner. But now that their days aren’t filled with reading, writing and arithmetic, you might be wondering how to keep your kids busy all summer long.
While some people use the summer months for family trips abroad, there are plenty of fun, free summer activities for kids in Williamsburg and Park Slope — right here in Bitesize Pediatric Dentistry’s own backyard. From parks and gardens to museums and entertainment, our neighborhood is full of fun for the whole family.
As pediatric dentists in Brooklyn, we care about your children’s health — and that goes beyond their teeth. Here are our favourite budget-friendly activities to keep your kids’ minds and bodies active this summer.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum – As the world’s first children’s museum, the BCM is the perfect place to keep your kids’ education going throughout the summer. The museum offers everything from hands-on, interactive experiences to music and art displays. “Pay-as-you-wish” hours are on Thursdays from 2-6pm and Sundays from 4-7pm, so grab the gang for an afternoon of learning.
The Old Stone House – Nestled in the heart of Park Slope, the Old Stone House is a throwback to 18th century Brooklyn. With a balance of historical exhibits and contemporary art displays, the OSH delivers a combination of history, community and education. A visit to the Old Stone House is always free and always an experience to remember.
BLDG 92– For a free family activity in Brooklyn that’s rich in history, look no further than BLDG 92 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Situated on Brooklyn’s iconic waterfront, BLDG 92 tells the story of one of the country’s first naval shipyards, through audio and video footage, photographs and ship models. Open Wednesday through Saturday from 12-6pm, admission is free for everyone.
Harbor Defence Museum – One of the best summer activities for kids in Brooklyn is Fort Hamilton’s Harbor Defence Museum. It’s the only army museum in the area, giving kids and adults alike a deeper understanding of milestone events from the Revolutionary War to World War II. The Harbor Defence Museum is free for everyone but is closed on Sundays so plan accordingly.
Waterfront Museum – The Waterfront Museum is one of Brooklyn’s most interesting summer activities for kids. Located aboard a barge from 1914 in Red Hook, the museum provides education and recreation for the whole family. Make a day of it and stroll along the waterfront before stepping indoors for an educational experience. Always free, the Waterfront Museum is open on Thursdays and Saturdays year round.
New York Transit Museum – What better way to learn all about our city’s world-class transit system than by taking a trip to the New York Transit Museum? The coolest part: it’s located underground inside a real 1936 subway station and is home to a collection of vintage subway cars over a hundred years old. While not free, entry is only $5 for kids and $10 for adults. Seniors are free on Wednesdays so bring grandma or grandpa for an afternoon of fun.
PARKS, GARDENS & ZOOS
Brooklyn Botanic Garden – A summer of kid-friendly activities in Brooklyn wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. There’s something for everyone: an herb garden, a rock garden, and even a water garden that’s home to birds and other wildlife. Don’t miss the Children’s Garden, where kids can plant their own flowers and crops with the help of a garden instructor. With this program, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden seeks to educate young people on sustainable gardening practices. For free admission, visit on a Friday before noon. Kids under 12 are always free.
Prospect Park – For a relaxing family activity in Park Slope, head over to Prospect Park. You can pack a picnic, take a stroll through this sprawling urban park, and enjoy a leisurely afternoon at your own pace. Or take advantage of the park’s seven playgrounds, free nature exploration tours, and vintage carousel circa 1912 (a single ride will cost you $2.50, or buy a pack of five for $11.50). Prospect Park is the perfect place to unwind with the kids this summer.
Prospect Park Zoo – Also located within Prospect Park is the Prospect Park Zoo. Entry for a family of four will set you back about $35, but for a day full of sea lions, monkeys and pandas (oh my!), this affordable summer activity is totally worth it. Little ones under two years old are always free.
Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park – Fun (and free) summer activities abound at Brooklyn Bridge Park. With five playgrounds at Pier 6 alone (including Water Lab, Sandbox Village, Slide Mountain and more), you can easily spend a whole day running around with the kids. Pier 6 is one of our favorite places for summer fun in Brooklyn.
Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival – In June, BRIC’s Celebrate Brooklyn! concert series returns to Prospect Park. As always, the schedule includes several free, family-friendly shows — specifically, Rich Medina’s family concert on June 15th. Slated to be the “biggest family dance party in Brooklyn,” it’s sure to be an afternoon the whole family will love. For more free concert listings, check out the schedule.
Coney Island Friday Night Fireworks – On Friday nights all summer long, watch your kids eyes light up as the Coney Island fireworks show lights up the sky. The start time (9:30-10pm) might be a little late for babies and toddlers, but it’s the perfect summer activity in Brooklyn for older kids. The free fireworks show at Coney Island starts on June 21st and runs through the end of August, weather permitting.
Movies with a View – Everyone’s favorite outdoor film series is back at Harbor View Lawn in Brooklyn for its 20th year. Movies with a View is a staple summer activity for families you won’t want to miss. Not all of the movies on offer this year are safe for kids, but August 15th’s showing of An American Tail is the perfect flick for a family night out.
Summer Streets Festival – Over three consecutive Saturdays in August, seven miles of New York City’s streets will be transformed into an interactive playground. With fun, free family activities from zip lining to street games to obstacle courses, Summer Streets is the ideal way to get outside with your family this summer. The festival runs from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park, so it’s up to you how far you explore.
LIBRARIES & BOOKSTORES
Barnes & Noble Park Slope – Barnes & Noble is the go-to spot for hassle-free (and literally free) kids activities in Park Slope. The store offers a variety of events, from book fairs to storytime, so keep an eye on the schedule for activities coming up this summer.
Leonard Library – Leonard Library has been around since 1908 and is one of Brooklyn’s coziest spots for families to unwind. Let your little ones browse the books or sign them up for one of many daily activities. The library offers yoga for kids, coloring, building with LEGO, storytime, chess workshops and more. Leonard Library has made sure there’s no shortage of kids activities in Brooklyn this summer.
Brooklyn Public Library – The Brooklyn Public Library is kind of like Leonard Library’s big brother, offering summer activities for kids of all ages. Events are geared towards inspiring a love of reading and learning at an early age. For the latest schedule of free children’s events in Brooklyn, check out the BPL’s website.