Family-friendly Fourth of July activities for kids in NYC

Take your children to story time with Hans Christian Andersen. (Credit: Anne-Mette Elkjær Andersen)
Take your children to story time with Hans Christian Andersen. Credit: Anne-Mette Elkjær Andersen

Weaving through the huge crowds angling for a good look at fireworks in New York City might not be the most family-friendly option this Fourth of July. Fortunately, many spots that cater to kids are open this weekend, so we gathered a few places you can take your family if you’re in town. Below are a few options where children can participate in Independence Day festivities, whether learning about the founders or creating their own fireworks.

The New-York Historical Society has a slew of historical activities for kiddos. Children can meet Ben Franklin himself at the museum, learning about his experiments and inventions. They can also participate in a scavenger hunt, including looking for the horse tail from King George’s statue. In the afternoon, they can sample popular ice cream flavors from the past like orange flower water and even give the historic ice cream maker a crank themselves.

New York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
www.nyhistory.org

The New York Botanical Garden offers a weekend full of family-friendly activities, from a dance production to learning about plants. The garden will be open Thursday, its 250-acre grounds available for families to explore all four days throughout the holiday weekend. The “Wild Medicine: Healing Plants Around the World” exhibit includes a recreated botanical garden, a fun way for parents to learn about medicinal plants as well as children to explore interactive stations. The Commedia Dell’Arte for Children is a festive performance by The New York Baroque Dance Company where kids can engage in Renaissance branle dance “The Washerwoman.” 

The New York Botanical Garden
Bronx River Parkway and Fordham Road, the Bronx
Open Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
www.nybg.org

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is open on the holiday, with festive workshops planned: All ages are welcome to create red, white and blue Lady Liberty sculptures in the morning. In the afternoon, children 4 years old and younger can create fireworks collages using confetti.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 W. 83rd St., Manhattan
Sunday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
www.cmom.org

Go to a free, professional story time on Saturday, when every week during the summer an ensemble of storytellers entertain children by the Hans Christian Andersen statue at Central Park’s Conservatory Pond. This Saturday, Julie Della Torre and Ken Setterington will tell the story “Little Claus and Big Claus.”

Hans Christian Andersen Statue
Near 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue
Central Park, Manhattan
Saturday 11 a.m.
www.hcastorycenter.org

If it rains, stay inside and watch “What They Don’t Teach You about July 4th.” The webinar, hosted by Christina Frei, who penned “5 Rockstars of the American Revolution.” She promises to use her comedic and acting chops to demystify Founding Fathers for children, helping them to understand the history behind the country. Among things Frei says no one teaches you? The Declaration of Independence was not signed by everyone. The free webinar – recommended for children 8 through 12 – will be around 45 minutes.

www.christinafrei.com
 Thursday, 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @reporteralison


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