What Should We Do This Year?

Holly Rosen Fink - New York
January 16, 2012

You can make 2012 the year of exploration, for both you and your child. Thinking ahead and planning a checklist of places and events you don't want to miss in advance is key to keeping these simple New Year's resolutions, and there is no city better than New York City as your stomping ground. We're here to help you make a checklist. There is nothing better than spending an afternoon doing something new or different with your child. Study the expression on their faces as you do, take a photo, and record the experience. 

Here are ten items to put on your NYC checklist:

  1. Attend a New Victory Family Workshop and give your child a taste of the performing arts. Each workshop at this prestigious theater for children teaches children the skills they need to be the star of the show. From circus performing to a fairy tale mash-up, there is so much to choose from. You can check out the schedule here. Also check out their shows as they are truly the best in town for children of all ages.
  2. Head to the Hudson River Park and River Promenade; cross the West Side Highway at Chambers to enjoy a stroll from Battery Park City to Chelsea along the water. With the dynamic views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island behind you, you can watch the runners, bikers, roller bladers or just enjoy the stroll. You can end up in Battery Park and jump on the Staten Island Ferry or head to Chinatown for dim sum.
  3. Spend an afternoon at the Museum of Modern Art and explore the current exhibition, Deigo Rivera, with your kids, talking about his work. The MoMA offers a variety of programs for kids as young as four and their families, including tours, workshops, films and artist talks. If your child isn't up to a workshop, just take a stroll though the museum, pointing out artists and simply giving them a taste of the museum.
  4. Take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, which connects two great New York City boroughs: Manhattan and Brooklyn. You can walk it, drive it, bike it, or just admire it. Your child will be amazed by the height and will love taking photos of the views.  When you get to Brooklyn, you can stop for pizza at Grimaldi's and draw pictures of the bridge you just walked across.
  5. Take a stroll through Central Park to explore the city's horticulture and end up at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre.  The Swedish Cottage in Central Park, was originally constructed as a model schoolhouse in the 1800s and now puts on puppet shows for kids. Your child will be mesmerized  by the theatre's extraordinary fairy tales.
  6. Catch The Amazing Max and the Box of Amazing Things at the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center and spend an afternoon filled with magic and surprise. Billed as a "show with a mind of its own," it's a very enjoyable 90 minutes for both adults and children.
  7. Looking for something fun to share with your children? The popular Jazz at Lincoln Center family concert series, Jazz for Young People will help to inspire the budding jazz lovers in your family with three amusing and enlightening presentations. Since adults can learn so much at these concerts as well, Jazz at Lincoln Center likes to say "all grown-ups must be accompanied by a child!" You and your child will be mesmerized by the big band led by Wynton Marsalis as they teach the audience all about jazz music.
  8. If you're looking for a rainy day activity, or want to introduce your kids to the world of moving images, the Museum of the Moving Image is for you. From January through March, 2012, a selection of the best episodes of The Muppet Show will be shown in conjunction with the exhibition Jim Henson's Fantastic World.  Plus, they offer a steady programming full of special screenings and workshops for families.
  9. For a unique afternoon out, head to City Island with your kids. Grab some seafood at Johnny's Reef Restaurant, visit the City Island Historical Society and Nautical Museum, take a stroll on the beach. Whether it be cold or warm, there is nothing like a walk on the sand. Be sure to return during the summer when you can catch the sun rays and experience the area in its glory.
  10. The Hall of Science is one of the best NYC museums for children with over 400 exhibits and daily special events for kids. Current and upcoming exhibits include Nikon Small World, Engineering Day, and Animation. They even host sleepovers at the museum.

So, here's to 2012 and all the wonderful activities you are going to do with your kids!

Holly Rosen Fink is the editor and founder and The Culture Mom. She has a career that spans the world of television and publishing, including positions at Lifetime Television, Nickelodeon/MTV and John Wiley & Sons.  As a marketing consultant her current client list includes Ruckus Media Group.  She is also now founder of MamaDrama Consulting and WestchesterIRL. She is also a contributor to AChildGrows.com, TravelingMom.com, CBS New York and Project You Magazine. She contributes to the ABC Million Mom Campaign and has joined the ONE Moms mission. She lives in Larchmont, NY with her husband and two children. 


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