Staying home with the kids this summer? Trying to keep them entertained for so many weeks can get expensive. And while you might have some pretty awesome vacations or day trips planned, there’s plenty to do locally without breaking the bank in between. Here’s a list of ideas to stay cool, unplug, and spend some quality time together this summer.
The New York City Parks Department offers free swimming lessons at their outdoor pools. There are several sessions to choose from, and the lessons take place before the pool opens to the public. When the lessons are over, hop on the line for the first session and enjoy the pool for a few hours. Forgot to pack lunch? No worries- grab a free bagged lunch thanks to the The SchoolFood Lunch Program. www.nycgovparks.org
Spend the Day at Your Your Local Pool
Speaking of pools, find the closest public pool for those hot days that you woke up too late to hit the beach. There are two sessions- just don’t forget your bathing suit and lock. Pools open for the 2017 season on June 29th. www.nycgovparks.org
Canoe or Sail the Bronx River
On Saturdays from May 27th to September 2nd, Bronxites can enjoy free canoeing and sailing on the Bronx River. Canoe rides take place every Saturday from 1-6 pm in Hunts Point Riverside Park. Sailing will take place on August 12th and September 10th from 1 to 5pm. Lifejackets are also provided at no charge. www.rockingtheboat.org
Join a Tennis, Track, or Golf Program
The City Parks Foundation offers free tennis, golf, and track during the summer months at select parks in each borough. Participants learn the basics and usually end the season in a fun celebration. www.cityparksfoundation.org
Catch a Concert or Show in the Park
City Parks Foundation also hosts Summerstage each summer- the largest FREE performing arts festival in New York City. From music to broadway, mark your calendar with your favorites. www.cityparksfoundation.org
Hit up the Sprinklers at Your Local Park
For those low key days, make it an adventure by exploring a new park each time you head to the sprinklers. By the end of the summer, you’ll have found your favorites. www.nycgovparks.org
Catch a Movie Outdoors
While the theater can cost just as much as a trip to Six Flags these days, there are plenty of free outdoor movies to catch this summer. Grab a blanket and whatever snacks you have in the pantry for a fun summer movie night outdoors. Check our event calendar for weekly updates on what’s playing.
Jump on a Bronx Trolley
On the first Wednesday of every month, hop on the Arts & Culture Tour Trolley at Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos. The trolley departs at 5:30, 6:30, and 7:30pm for other venues in the South Bronx Cultural Corridor and admission to participating venues along its route are free. Or on the first Friday of each month, catch the City Island Seaside Trolley from 5:30pm to 9:30pm, leaving hourly on the half hour, from Pelham Bay Station and going to The Bartow Pell Mansion Museum then on to City Island For an evening of art, music and fine dining. www.bronxarts.org, cityislandchamber.org
Hit up the Bronx Zoo
We know, Wednesdays at the Bronx Zoo can get a little crazy, but throw on your poncho and head to the zoo on a rainy day for a fun safari adventure. The rain will deter some folks and you can run for cover in the indoor exhibits when you need to. www.bronxzoo.com
Boogie on the Boulevard
On Sundays June 25, July 23, August 20, September 10 from 12 to 4pm, the center lanes of the Grand Concourse from 162nd Street to 170th Street will be closed to cars and open to a world of fun with free music, art and fitness programs hosted by organizations from the Bronx and beyond. www.bronxmuseum.org
Catch an Activity at the Library
The library is already a great place to fit in some quiet time this summer. Make a weekly visit for everyone (including you, mom) to check out a new book and spend some time reading it while you’re there. Check your local library’s calendar to see what activities they have planned for the week- there’s plenty of things to do for all age ranges throughout the summer. www.nypl.org
Spend the Day at the Botanical Garden
On Wednesdays all day and on Saturdays from 9am to 10am, admission is free to the New York Botanical Garden. Pack a lunch and hike the Thain Family Forest, have the kids photograph their favorite flowers, and end the day with a picnic lunch. www.nybg.org
Participate in a Bronx Rock Hunt
If you haven’t heard of this fun small town craze, rock hunting is where folks paint rocks and then hide them around their neighborhood. We’ve started our own group called #TheBronxRocks over on Facebook, so come join us and then spend some down time painting rocks this summer and helping us get the whole borough involved! www.facebook.com
Visit Wave Hill for a Family Art Project
Saturdays at Wave Hill are free before noon, which includes their weekly Family Art Project. Kids can participate in fun nature themed activities and take home their creation. www.wavehill.org
Plan a Visit to the Bronx Museum of the Arts
Grab your sketch pads and head to the Bronx Museum of the Arts to see the latest exhibits and be inspired to sketch your own masterpiece. Admission is free for all ages, and there are often free events to check out- including their fun Family Affair events catered to children and their families. www.bronxmuseum.org
Hit up the Beach
Parking isn’t free- we know. But grab your Metro Card and hit up Orchard beach for a day on the water. Pack a picnic lunch or grill some hamburgers and hotdogs, then enjoy the day splashing around. www.nycgovparks.org.
Visit our calendar daily for more free events, festivals, and other fun around the Bronx-updated daily.