Playgrounds

Play outside at fabulous destination playgrounds. Also check family fun outside the city, plus our guides to Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park  and Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Most playgrounds are open dawn to dusk - click through to the park website or the latest hours.

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UPTOWN

Hippo Playground

Frolic and splash with beloved hippo statues in this well maintained playground in lovely Riverside Park featuring swings, wooden and metal play equipment, slides, a spray shower, picnic tables, benches, sand pit, a drinking fountain, bathrooms and summer weekday art projects.

River Run Playground

A shady large playground nestled in pretty Riverside Park is  just big enough for range of ages but small enough not to lose wanderers within its fences.  Play on all sorts of equipment including see saws, swings, multiple jungle gyms, and monkey bars and a large sand pit.

On hot days, sprinklers create a replica…

Diana Ross Playground

Summit Rock, the highest natural point in Central Park, provides a shady (climbable) backdrop to this pretty playground. A large wooden climbing structure with multiple levels of platforms and decks links to ladders, slides, and tire swings, all set in a naturalistic sand area. Also enjoy toddler swings and spray showers in the summer.

Named…

Ancient Playground

This big playground invokes Egyptian themes with climbable pyramids, a large sand lot and a spray shower that represents Egypt’s Nile River in reference to the ancient Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art next door.  Lots of slides, tunnels and concrete bridges plus bucket, tire and strap swings are perfect for…

Billy Johnson Playground

This rustic playground hosts an amazing 45-foot granite slide nestled into a rocky hill, bucket and tire swings, and an amphitheater and miniature stone bridge made of natural materials like plants, stone, and wood at a child’s scale.

MIDTOWN

Little Island

Explore nature and art on a unique floating green space on the Hudson River.

* Enjoy diverse horticulture, welcoming seating lawns, winding paths leading to spectacular views, and a variety of spaces for performing arts, relaxation and play. Make music on a variety of percussion installations and play with a spinning optical illusion.

* Restrooms are on the southern edge by The Glade.

* No playgrounds on the island, but colorful Chelsea Waterside Playground and Pier 62 Carousel are both short walks away. Lots of art & food to explore in nearby Chelsea/Meatpacking.

* Free seasonal programming includes art, music, theater, storytime and more for kids at weekday Creative Breaks  and Sunday family shows.

🍽 From May to October, fresh, locally-sourced food available throughout the day, from local baked goods with coffee in the morning, salads or sandwiches throughout the day, and evening  signature drinks and snacks for sharing. Gluten-free & vegan options availble; see menu.

Daily 6 am to 9 pm
Reservations no longer required

Police Officer Moira Ann Smith Playground

Toy soldiers welcome kids to this brightly colored playground featuring water fountains, tire-swings, water-spouting alphabet blocks, turrets, slides, and a large water wheel in the northeast corner of charming Madison Square Park..

Named after Officer Moira Ann Smith, the only NYPD policewoman to be lost on September 11, 2001, the playground stands as a loving tribute to this community hero and mother.

See our complete guide to Flatiron/Gramercy.

Chelsea Waterside Playground

The newly designed play area features a giant, multi-colored, one-of-a-kind, Robinia wood pipefish plus water features incorporating limestone cattle head sculptures reclaimed from historic meatpacking district business New York Butchers’ Dressed Meat Company.

Near the new must-see Little Island and Pier 62 Carousel.

Heckscher Playground

Central Park’s largest playground features a shaded area with swings and slides, a large, maze-like climbers, seasonal water features, sloped turf, a large sandbox area, low monkey bars, tunnels, ramps and (our favorite) giant rocks to climb. Plus a spacious bathroom.

Face painters, musicians and giant bubble makers often congregate at the entrance.

Bella Abzug Park

Climb on rope webs in a colorful structure surrounded by undulating soft surfaces. Communicate through underground pipes, relax on tables and chairs, splash int he fountain and admire the Hudson River view.

DOWNTOWN

Pier 25 Playground

The longest pier in Hudson River Park hosts an awesome playground with eight different water features (including some very unpredictable fountains), rock climbing walls, swings, monkey bars, a big sandbox, geodesic-dome-shaped climbing net and more. Also explore an 18-hole miniature golf course, a snack bar, sand volleyball courts, berthing areas for historic ships and a large artificial turf lawn.

Battery Playscape

Explore a new playground with five ecology zones—Bluff, Marsh, Dune, Meadow, and Riverbed– in resilient design, post-Superstorm Sandy when the park survived the full force of the 15-foot storm surge and became a focal point of sea level rise. Lyrical patterns of water illuminate the portal, fence, and custom seating. Daylight filters through the punctuated surfaces to showcase Manhattan island’s tides and currents. A unique portal to the 1.4-acre playground ensures children’s safety as they wander and explore among 40,000 square feet of gardens.

Next to the enchanting Seaglass Carousel. See our guide to Fidi.

Imagination Playground

This magical interactive, transformable playground lets kids create their own play space with sand, water, giant foam blocks, mats, wagons, fabric, and crates at their fingertips. Great view of the East River. Near lots of cool public art. Bathrooms available.

Nelson A. Rockefeller & Teardrop Park

Frolic on wide waterfront lawns and explore multiple playgrounds plus gardens, public art pieces, and a sheltered pavilion.

In Rockefeller Park, climb large jungle gyms with swinging bridges, netting, slides, poles and more. Ride a pedal-powered merry-go-round and dig in multiple sandboxes and a handicapped-accessible sand table. In warm weather, be sprayed by an elephant hippopotamus, three puppies and sprinklers. Babies can enjoy infant swings and a gentle dodo-bird sprayer

Nearby naturalistic Teardrop Park (tucked behind a Battery Park City high-rise) features a magnificent “Ice Wall,” artwork a children’s slide, rocks for climbing, one of the longest slides in the city and an impressive summertime water play area.

Lots of shade and picnic tables. Find restrooms and friendly BPC Parks staff at the Park House, plus lots of all-ages programming.

DeSalvio Playground

This small park has cool design, a big includes a big jungle gym with monkey bars atop rubber matting, lots of shaded seating area, a basketball court (with two hoops), checker board tables and sprinklers.

QUEENS

Gantry Plaza State Park/Hunter’s Point Park South

Queens: LIC

Visit two Long Island City playgrounds within walking distance of each other set in a large riverside oasis with spectacular Manhattan views.

Lots of places to climb and spin (and splash in the summer) at the playground at Gantry Plaza State Park with a cushioned rainbow floor and groovy design. Stroll along the park’s four piers or through the park’s manicured gardens and unique mist fountain and check out restored gantries, industrial monuments once used to load and unload rail car floats and barges.

Head south to the well equipped Hunter’s Point Playground and explore the city’s new park with large fields, benches, trees, the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign and a 30-foot-tall cantilevered platform for viewing the skyline and waterfront. Pizza, burgers, coffee, ice cream and more available at outdoor LIC Landing Cafe.

Travel to and from Manhattan and Brooklyn on the East River Ferry.

Jurassic & Triassic Playground

Queens: Corona/Flushing

Dino lovers can climb and play on an dino-inspired equipment at two playgrounds on opposite sides of Meadow Lake created to commemorate the Sinclair Oil “Dinoland” exhibit at the 1964-65 World’s Fair. In addition to swings and jungle gymes, find dinosaur footprints and art throughout the playground. Learn about flora and fauna from the Triassic Period, on a geologic time scale and get wet in spray showers in the shape of palm trees.

BROOKLYN

J.J. Byrne Playground & Old Stone House

Prospect Park/Park Slope

Enjoy lots of modern climbing equipment juxtaposed with colonial themes inspired by the adjacent Old Stone House, site of the 1776 Battle of Brooklyn. Explore a submarine periscope and interactive panels depicting the historic battle among natural stone and rustic pavement, then attack your enemies with water cannons.

A gated toddler area features bucket swings, farm animal cutouts, and a tot size climbing structure. The park also hosts a multipurpose synthetic turf field, a skate park, two new basketball courts, eight handball courts, and a dog run.

See a beautiful, interactive exhibit about the largest battle of the American Revolutionary War and what it was like to live in Brooklyn from 1776 – 1783 as well as contemporary exhibits featuring work by emerging artists at the historic Old Stone House (open by appointment Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays from Noon-3 pm). Discover gardens vibrant with native and useful plants and shop at Farmers’ Market (Sunday 10 am – 4 pm year round). Any day, get quality fresh frozen yogurt combined with artisanal toppings as well as hot chocolate, coffee and baked goods from nearby Culture NY.

Domino Park

Williamsburg/Greenpoint

Find cool design and amazing bridge/Manhattan views at a large waterfront park on the site of a former Domino Sugar factory.

* The playground, designed by the artist Mark Reigelman, has fun features like spinning valve wheels cast from Domino Sugar originals and a 26-foot-high silo with ladders, webbing and slides pay homage to the manufacturing process of the refinery.

* Pick up tacos, margaritas and more from counter-service Tacocina with colorful outdoor seating.

* Stroll on an elevated walkway cantilevered off of 21 columns preserved from the Domino factory’s original Raw Sugar Warehouse for pretty perspectives of the river, skyline and park. ADA/stroller access by ramp near the Gantry Cranes.

* Shop fresh, local produce and products back at the Domino Park Greenmarket every Sunday 9 am to 3 pm.

* In warm weather, frolic in waterfront fountains, near remaining elements of the former Domino Sugar Factory. In the evening, the fountains are illuminated in pretty colors. Try artisanal popsicles from Mom & Icepops.

* Take the NYC ferry from Wall Street, East 34th Street and elsewhere to the North Williamsburg landing for a special arrival. The L train Bedford Station is a 15-20 minute walk away.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Playgrounds

DUMBO, Downtown & Heights

This expansive park has great attractions and a gorgeous only-in-NYC view. Explore refurbished piers, most of which host playgrounds (our favorites are at Pier 6 including giant Slide Mountain, Sandbox Village, Swing Valley and the splashy Water Lab). Play in the sand and admire tide pools at Pier 4 Beach (no swimming/wading).

Find a variety of yummy concessions throughout the park and restrooms at Piers 2,5 & 6.

See our guide to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Zucker Natural Exploration Area

Prospect Park/Park Slope

Strategically placed branches and stumps of trees damaged by storms and other materials from within Prospect Park invite engagement nature and unstructured play in this magical playground. several areas to explore including sand for digging and water features for pumping and splashing.

See our complete guide to Prospect Park.

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List of Events

Friday, November 1

Hive

Nov 1, 2019 - Dec 31, 2022
Broadway-Lafayette Subway Station
Broadway & Lafayette

Watch rainbow lights dance across hexagonal honeycomb shapes on the ceiling of the Bleecker Street Station in a light installation by Leo Villareal.

FREE
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Cards For Seniors

Jan 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2023

Make cheerful cards for isolated seniors. Use big print (not cursive) so the card is easy to read. Provide stickers and stencils to help the younger kids. Adults can make cards too. Join the NYC-based Caring By Card Nursing Home Project, donate through DOROT and Meals on Wheels NYC or check with local nursing…

FREE
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Wow in the World

Jan 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2023

Join hosts Guy Raz and the hilarious Mindy Thomas on a journey into the wonders of the world. Go inside brains, out into space and deep into the coolest new stories in science and technology - with lots of wacky fun along the way. One of our family's faves.  

FREE
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Circle Round

Jan 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2023

Hear sound- and music-rich radio plays based on folktales from around the world. Explore important issues like kindness, persistence and generosity with guest stage and screen stars. Each episode ends with an activity that inspires a deeper conversation between children and grown-ups. My daughter's favorite at bedtime.

FREE
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Here Wee Read

Jan 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Find great books recommendations for all ages in all sorts of diverse & inclusive categories, from Harlem Renaissance picture books to graphic novels talking about race. Includes themed collections like Halloween, Weddings,, Kids with Disabilities and RBG. Find links to buy at bookshop.org, an alternative to amazon that supports independent bookstores.

FREE
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Kobra Street Art Gandhi & Mother Teresa Mural

Jan 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022
18th Street & Tenth Avenue
West 18th Street & Tenth Avenue Chelsea/Meatpacking

Humanitarians Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi Brazilian are depicted facing each other in street artist Eduardo Kobra’s colorful harlequin-pattern mural.

FREE
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Kobra Street Art Albert Einstein

Jan 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022
West 21st Street & Eighth Avenue
292 West 21st Street Chelsea/Meatpacking

Albert Einstein is a NY-loving graffitist in street artist Eduardo Kobra’s colorful harlequin-pattern mural.

FREE
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imagiNATIONS Activity Center

Jan 1, 2020 @ 10:00 am - Dec 31, 2022 @ 4:30 pm

Solve puzzles, perform experiments, play state-of-the-art computer simulations and find out how corn is like a dog in this interactive, family-friendly space. Explore scientific principles behind Native innovations and technologies that are so ingenious, many remain a part of our daily lives. See our complete guide to National Museum of the American Indian -…

FREE
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Café 2

Jan 1, 2020 @ 11:00 am - Dec 31, 2022 @ 5:00 pm

Order rustic Italian cooking, including handmade pastas, cured salumi, artisanal cheeses, panini, salads, soups, and desserts, from the counter to eat at rows of communal, high-design tables. Kids menu with pizza, pasta etc. available as well as cute high chairs. The line to order can get pretty long mid-day, but near a gift shop for…

FREE
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Thursday, January 2

BRAINPOP

Jan 2, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Watch short, well-written animated films on a variety of topics including antiracism & Black history, STEM, arts, math and much more starring a very funny robot. Take quizzes and play games to test what you learned. Two editions, for ages K-3 or 4th -12th Grade (which can thoughtfully address some weighty topics, so monitor…

FREE
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Saturday, February 1

Cook For Soup Kitchens

Feb 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2023

Contact your local soup kitchen to ask if they accept donations of home cooked meals or desserts. Find easy recipes that include stirring, scooping, and other kid-friendly steps. Here are tips for cooking for crowds (you may need to borrow extra pots etc. from friends); we’ve found baked ziti, roasted baby carrots and brownies all scale well.…

FREE
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Monday, February 10

Bleecker Street Pizza

Feb 10, 2020 @ 10:00 am - Dec 31, 2022 @ 11:30 pm

Lots of seating to eat (counter-service) pizza that regularly appears on best of NYC lists. The signature Nonna Maria — thin-crust specimen with mozzarella, marina, parm, and basil — is delicious but might be too spicy for some young palates. Fresh, flavorful cheese, pepperoni etc also available plus appetizers, pastas, salads, and dessert.  Fun…

FREE
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Wednesday, April 1

Art For Kids Hub

Apr 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Follow along step by step as a professional artist and his kid draw animals, emojis, people, vehicles and more. Clear, simple steps turn anyone into an illustrator.

FREE
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Children’s Museum of the Arts

Apr 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Children's Museum of the Arts' blog features how-to videos and detailed instructions for art projects like Paper Chains of Kindness and Collaborative Drawing Games. Projects can be adapted for different ages and made with materials around the house.

FREE
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Audible Kids

May 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2023

Listen to hundreds of audio books handpicked by Audible editors, including original exclusive content (we love The Mystwick School of Musicraft). Choose from a mix of stories to entertain, engage, and inform young people, ages 0–18. Spanish, German, French, Japanese and Italian selections also available. Free 30-day-trials available.  

FREE
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BUSY TODDLER

May 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Find a trove of educational, easy-to-set up creative and sensory activities from a K-1 teacher turned SAHM. So many great ideas, quick & easy to messy messy, babies to tweens plus links to useful art supplies. Follow their great instagram account for daily inspiration.

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DAYS WITH GREY

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

An educator and mom to 3 shares daily 'Breakfast Invitations,' easy-to-set-up sensory and art activities for preschoolers and toddlers.

FREE
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VIRTUAL MUSEUM TOURS

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Take virtual journeys to over 1,200 museums around the world via Google Arts & Culture. See collections and gallery views of  Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, Florence’s Uffizi Gallery, Mexico City's Museum of Anthropology, Paris's Musée d'Orsay and more (plus NYC faves like the Whitney, Guggenheim and MoMA).

FREE
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New-York Historical Society Online

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2023

This fascinating historic  museum (now partially open for visits) hosts engaging live educational programs for all ages, audio and video resources (including the inspirational We Rise) and interactive 360 degree tours drawing on its world-renowned collections. Excellent educator resources including videos,  remote lesson plans, and media-rich curriculum website Women…

FREE
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MOMI Moving Image Studio

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Find tutorials and interactive ways to collaborate and make media art with Astoria's Museum of Moving Image educators. Create Jim Henson-inspired puppets, learn about film editing and apply to have your media art shared on their YouTube channel.

FREE
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MoMA Families At Home

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

MoMA provides resources and ideas—from art-making activities to books and films—to spark creativity and fun at home. Explore artworks in MoMA’s collection through activities (available in English and Spanish), watch favorite kid-friendly short films with prompts to spark discussion, dig deeper into Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures, find favorite Children’s Books about Art, listen…

FREE
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Ailey All Access

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

The acclaimed Alvin Ailey dance company shares full length videos of past performances. Also see videos of company members dancing the landmark Revelations and other pieces together from home, join free online dance classes and check out the  great Resource Guide for Educators. Find free live and on-demand classes for all ages in a variety of dance…

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Carnegie Hall Music Explorers

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Learn about musical culture and tradition around the world - African-American Freedom Songs, South African Zulu songs and many more - with lessons plans, music and video featuring global artists. The well-designed site features a world map to explore. Also Learn about symphony orchestras in an animated adventure in Carnegie Hall Listening Adventures.

FREE
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Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz Academy

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Watch curated educated videos on the from Jazz at Lincoln Center's educational programs and learn about it's roots in African-American traditions and communities.  WeBop instructors demonstrate fun activities to get families swinging and singing, members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra share performance secrets,  and Middle School Jazz Academy instructors break down jazz techniques.…

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Black Art Picture Books

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Learn about African American art history with curated lists from Culture Type, a website exploring art by and about people of African descent. Find gorgeous books about Jean-Michel Basquiat, fashion designer Ann Cole Lowe,  Jacob Lawrence and other great black artists on posts Black Art History: 10 Children’s Books Illuminate the…

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FLOCABULARY

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Learn about a range of subjects for grades K-12 though catchy, educational hip-hop songs. Watch videos about math, history, science and more, learn new words, take quizzes then (this is the coolest part) write short raps/songs using your new words and knowledge.

FREE
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KHAN ACADEMY

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Watch short videos taught by excellent instructors with an electronic whiteboard in just about any subject for preschool through college. The free Khan Academy Kids app (for ages 2-7) teaches reading, language, writing, math, social-emotional development, and more through open-ended activities and games like drawing, storytelling, and coloring guided by adorable animal characters. Also…

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The Davidson Institute At Home

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

The educational arm of Israel's  Weizmann Institute of Science offers online kids science courses, videos, games, puzzles, quizzes and science experiments in fun topics like the science of soccer and (safe) homemade explosives.

FREE
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Lincoln Center At Home

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Watch short #concertsforkids recorded (at home) by world-class artists including musician Etienne Charles celebrating a cross-section of cultures from the African Diaspora, Soul Science Kids weaving soul, funk, hip-hop and educational themes and many more diverse voices. Learn puppetry, dance, songwriting and other art forms with simple materials found at home with Lincoln Center Pop-up…

FREE
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The Super Secret Hive

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2023

Join a former Disney duo on a musical adventure for the whole family. A cast of quirky characters navigate timely challenges to help kids save the world. Explore topics like honeybees and pollinators, plastic in the oceans, germs and our immune system, inclusion and kindness vs. bullying (as expressed by a T-Rex!) and…

FREE
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Dav Pilkey At Home

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Get creative and have fun with the creator of cult favorites Dog Man and Captain Upderpants. Watch short videos of Pilkey drawing and reading aloud and download printable activity sheets, drawing guides, comic book creators, games and more.

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Chamber Music Society

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2023

Engage with the vast CMS archive of concerts and lectures including the Meet the Music family programs, short videos with the wacky Inspector Pulse and Digging Downbeats with Wolfgang Amadeus Schmutzinberry (who has his own web series). Weekly themed classical music playlists include fun assignments and activities.

FREE
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Kennedy Center Education

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Explore music, dance, theater, opera, visual and media arts through informative and engaging Kennedy Center Education interactive lessons with music videos. Learn about African-American History,  US President's Favorite Music, all sorts of dance, popular American songs and more. Designed for grades K-12.

FREE
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Classical Kids

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Explore classical music with dramatic stories based around works by Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi and other great composers.  My kids especially love Mozart's Magic Fantasy: A Journey Through 'The Magic Flute' about a girl and a dragon's  journey through the Queen of the Night's realm to Sarastro's castle featuring dialogue mixed in…

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TATE KIDS

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Play art-inspired games, take cheeky quizzes, find art activities, and share your art on a fun website from British museums Tate and Tate Modern. Find detailed instructions for activities such as "think like the artist Alberto Giacometti" and create interesting portraits and landscapes.

FREE
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NYSCI At Home

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Find tons of games, activities, experiments and projects from Queen's New York Hall of Science. At-Home STEM resources encourage open-ended exploration and imaginative learning. Learn about physics, engineering, design, biology, math, chemistry and more with videos, instructions for experiments and art projects, interactive graphic novels, engaging apps and more.

FREE
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The Past & The Curious

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2023

Learn that history can be amazing, inspiring and relevant to anyone in a podcast featuring stories of Spies, funny foods, George Washington's foibles, early advancements in cartooning and ballooning and much more. A professional music…

FREE
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Story Pirates Podcast

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2023

This absurdist sketch comedy show based on stories written by kids features original music and celebrity special guests. Young listeners are invited to submit their own stories that might be brought to live in the podcast or a future live show. Find comprehensive activity guides for each episode online with recipes, poetry lessons, and more.…

FREE
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Ear Snacks

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2023

Kindie musicians Andrew & Polly and their friends consider music, science, art and culture in a fun-filled family-friendly podcast enjoyable for kids and grown-ups. Developmentally appropriate & absurdist but never untrue.

FREE
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Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

Jun 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2023

Learn about extraordinary, inspiring women women in a podcast based on global best-selling book series Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls (a great purchase for all ages). Features famous leaders like Harriet Tubman and RBG as well as lesser known heroes from around the world.

FREE
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