Queens is part of New York City, but this sprawling borough is a city in its own right. Queens is New York’s largest and second most populous borough and is ethnically, economically and culturally diverse, making it a prime location for New York families. In addition to beaches, parks and outdoor attractions, Queens has plenty of indoor fun for toddlers.
Burn Some Energy
The toddler play area at the Kids Fun House (kidsfunhouse.com) in Ridgewood is designed just for kids between 6 months and 4 years old. Your toddler can run, crawl, climb and slide on tot-sized play equipment at the indoor playground’s open play sessions without worrying about being knocked over by bigger kids. Visit the Howard Beach Kids N Shape indoor playground (kidsnshape.com) when school is in session, and your toddler will have free run of the soft play structures, oversize balls and ball pits. Toddlers can explore a carpeted play area, complete with two playhouses, rocking horses and lots of stuffed animals, at the Kids Playhouse (facebook.com/kidsplayhouse) near the Museum of the Moving Image.
Learn Something New
Kids learn early literacy skills, preschool math basics, music, movement and art at Long Island City Kids’ (lickids.com) Preschool Alternative program. Choose from two-, three- or four-day-a-week class options. Help your toddler prepare for preschool with classes at the Not Quite Nursery at the Samuel Field Y (sfy.org). These two- or three-day-a-week classes teach kids art, music, cooking and more, helping them build independence and skills they’ll need for preschool. Kids can sing and dance to their hearts’ content at the Little Waltzers program at the Waltz-Astoria (waltz-astoria.com). The drop-in sing-along sessions teach kids music basics in a fun atmosphere.
Preschool Place at the New York Hall of Science (nysci.org) is just for kids younger than 6 years old, and this multi-sensory, interactive mini museum within the larger museum makes a great rainy day adventure. The museum also hosts hands-on workshops to encourage toddler creativity and family science classes. Check the online calendar to see what’s coming up. You’ll find more than books at the Queens Library (queenslibrary.org). The Children’s Library Discovery Center is home to several exhibits from the National Science Foundation, including a bug viewer and a magnet spinner, which toddlers can explore.
Find a Little Nature
You may be surprised to find a nature center in the midst of New York City, but the Alley Pond Environmental Center (alleypond.com) is a city kid’s natural wonderland. You may not want to explore the 635 acres of forest, meadows, ponds and marshland on a cold or rainy day, but the science center’s toddler classes take place indoors when the weather is not so great. Younger toddlers can participate in the center’s Wee Sprouts program, designed for kids 18 to 23 months old. Older toddlers transition to the Toddler Time Program for 24 to 35-month-olds.