At Le Studio NYC, we love December, when the snow covers New York in a stunning blanket of white. With the snow comes the magic of the holidays and the ringing of a new year. Winter is a lovely time to gather with family and celebrate the past year. As winter break fast approaches, you may want to spend some quality time with your children out of the house. So here are 10 suggestions of family activities for the winter recess and the weekends that follow.
1. Ice Skating
Take a warm coat, some good mittens, and head to one of the city’s ice skating rinks, located in Bryant Park (if you own your own skates, this venue is free), Rockfeller Center, and Central Park. However, as this is also the time of year when New York welcomes its highest number of tourists, these places might be a little overcrowded. Looking for a less trafficked option? The Lasker Rink in Harlem is your best bet. They even host a figure skating party in February!
2. Be Creative
If your children like to draw and create, an Advent Calendar might be a fun thing to do with them. Then, each day, surprise them by putting a little gift (a candy, a piece of chocolate, a miniature toy) or a drawing that represents an activity you could do all together (watch a movie, bake a cake, …) behind the window they will open. A lot of websites have ideas on how to do this depending on your individual needs and/or skill sets. If that sounds like a lot of work, you can also create more simple and still beautiful Christmas fairy lights to hang on the tree or around the house, or simply purchase a premade calendar.
3. Go to a Show
If you are looking for an interesting foray into the art world, try out a new performance art group, or visit a museum you’ve never been to before. Watch a wordless performance with the Mummenshanz, a surreal theater group that celebrated its forty years anniversary in 2012. Using timeless creatures and incredible colourful forms, Mummenshanz will enchant your kids with laughs and wonders, for ages 6 and up.
4. Sweet Treats
In January, head to DUMBO for the NYC Twinkie Festival. Those yummy yellow pastries now have an entire festival dedicated to them. Along with multiple tastings, you’ll be able to learn the mysterious art of baking a Twinkie.
5. Cruise on the River
For New Year’s Eve, skip the overcrowded scene at Times Square and head to the pier in Manhattan to embark on a Water-Taxi for a stunning family cruise. The kids will be amazed by the fireworks and wonderful views of the city and skyline. The Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty can also be seen on the way!
6. Sip Some Hot Chocolate
In February, City Bakery celebrates the Hot Chocolate Festival. Every day that month, a unique flavor is on the menu. Spicy fig, caramel, and marshmallow are some of the favorites from past years. The list is usually revealed by mid-January, so keep an eye out!
7. Experience a Night at the Museum
Have your children ever dreamt of discovering the wonders of the American Museum of National History? Kids between 6 and 13 years-old will be able to fulfill their dreams in January, as the museum offers guided-tours in the evening that will take you amongst dinosaurs, whales and all varieties of ancient and extinct species. Advance registration is required and the price of the admission includes two snacks and a cot to sleep on.
8. Attend an Old-school Movie Screening
Running from January through March, the Film Forum in Manhattan hosts family screenings of cinematic classics every Sunday. Silent movies, animations, musicals of past generations, you can find something to fit any taste! Ages 5 and up.
9. Snow Fun
After a winter storm hits, there is nothing more exciting than rushing out the next morning to enjoy the crisp whiteness of that freshly fallen snow. Slip your warmest clothes on and head to one of the best sledding spots around! In the city, Central Park, Riverside Park or 91st street offer some pretty good sledding locales. If you are in Brooklyn, Fort Greene Park and Prospect Park have some fun hills to sled down. Natives to Queens will generally head to Crocheron Park, to avoid the crowded larger parks and still find some decent hills.
10. Art Workshops
If your kids seem restless during winter break, the Museum of the City of New York will be organizing hands-on workshops throughout the week. Creation of collages, models and buttons are all on the menu. Here is a perfect way to offer some creative and educational leisure time for your kid!
We hope this list of activities will be a fun way to spice up your winter. The whole Le Studio crew wishes you all a warm and happy season, as well as merry celebrations with family and friends!
–Lea of Le Studio NYC