Activities for kids at home

New York is on pause. But you can still keep children occupied and active.


• The Dyckman Farmhouse Museum posted a long list of activities for education and entertainment.

• The The bike trails in Highbridge Park are still open. Be sure to stay in very small groups.

• Parks activites: To encourage social distancing, Margaret Corbin Drive, in Fort Tryon Park, is now

   closed to vehicles. Take a quiet walk amid blooming trees! Here’s more on offer in the parks.

• Kids can use the NYPL’s free online tutoring and anyone can visit the NYPL’s online collection.

• Children are known to be susceptible to Pediatric Multi-Symptom Inflammatory Syndrome. To protect your child. Learn more:

   Se sabe que los niños son susceptibles al Síndrome Inflamatorio de Síntomas Múltiples Pediátricos. Para proteger a tu hijo. Aprende más:



Plenty more is available to do from home. Here’s our collection.


     So you’re stuck doing chares at home when you’d rather be playing in the park.

     How about a little experiment?

     Turn an egg into a rubber ball … make nectar for hummingbirds … maybe figure out how focus binoculars.

     They’re all here, courtesy of the Greenbelt Conservancy, our friends in Staten Island who take care of the parks and open spaces on Richmond.




     Enjoy a musical storytime interlude by one of Inwood Art Works’ favorite Uptown musical families.

     Musical Storytime is a series of short children's stories sung by the delightful Stephanie Bell with accompaniment by the talented and tuneful Jonathan Bell, and co-starring the slightly hungry Walter Bell. 

     May 12 Over in the Meadow

     May 19 Down by the Bay, by Raffi
     May 26 Medley: Rain, Rain Go Away; Oh, Mr. Sun; Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

     Tuesday mornings at 10 on am on Inwood Art Works’ social media accounts.



     Take a hike with the Urban Park Rangers for live adventures in the park. Last week the webcast came from Inwood Hill Park.

     From scenic hikes to nature exploration activities, these live broadcasts wll entertain the whole family. 

     Free. Tuesday mornings (weather permitting) at 11:30 here online.




     Learning doesn’t have to stop when the city’s on pause. The Y is here to help.

     The Family Literacy Program @ Home invites you to join to read stories, explore  feelings, discuss characters and plots, and create poetry. 
Click here to register with Zoom. Questions?  Contact Katherine Higuera-McCoy, director of elementary programs, at

     Free. Tuesday evenings at 5 through the YM & YWHA in Fort George.




     Gary Dreifus is the Professor of Magic at the Coney Island Sideshow School at Sideshows by the Seashore in Brooklyn. He’s designed and taught magic programs at several schools, colleges, community and senior centers.

     And now he’s online for you and your family.

     Register here to participate by Zoom.

     Free. Wednesday mornings at 10:30 through the YM & YWHA in Fort George. Through June 24.



     Join Bubbie from your home to make some delicious challah together.

     Check your pantry for these ingredients:

1½ packages (1½ T) active dry yeast

1      T plus 1/2 c sugar

½   c. vegetable oil, more for greasing bowl

5      large eggs

1      T salt

8–8½ c all-purpose flour

And some poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling on top.

     Hosted by the YM & YHWA in Fort George. Click here to register with Zoom.

     Thursday evenings at 6 online.




     Being a new mom is tough enough in ordinary times. But now you can’t even get out to meet other moms who have the same struggles — and triumphs.

     The YM & YWHA in Fort George is helping with an online meet-up for new mothers.

     All are welcome. Click here to register with Zoom. Questions? Contact Mara Bragg, the Y Beginnings Parenting Center coordinator, at

     Free. Friday afternoons from 12:30 to 2.




Postponed to July

     Give your children the chance to explore yoga outdoors.

     Parent & Me is open to any caregiver and their child, led by  Christina Shablak, a certified children’s instructor. All children are welcome with a parent or caregiver.

     Please arrive early, and bring a towel or yoga mat, and note that the ground is sloped with uneven spots. Rain or wet ground cancels. Register here.

     Free. Saturday mornings starting July 11 on Abby’s Lawn in Fort Tryon Park. Through September 26.




     In this online intermediate class taught by Uptown cartoonist Ellen Lindner (The Black Feather Falls, Cranklet Chronicles), students will learn the skills to take their comics to the next level. Over the eight classes topics will include book design, layout, storytelling structure, nonfiction reportage and more.
     The course is open to those aged 14 and up, especially those who have taken the beginner module.
     Hosted by Word Up. For information and to register email instructor Ellen Linder at
     $75 fee for eight sessions; scholarships available. Sunday afternoons through June 7 from 1 to 3 online.

On-line tutoring

     With kids at home all the time, Patience and Fortitude will get parents only so far!

     The New York Public Library offers ways to keep your family occupied and engaged no matter their age.

     Pre-school: Ideas for playing at home, from music shakers to no-mess finger painting.

     Pre-teens: A range of chapter books that meet the requirement for 30-minute independing reading.

     High school: Curated books and videos for teens who want more than just and assignment to fulfill.


Virtual learning

     Lin-Manuel Miranda invites kids to take part in EduHam: it’s the classroom version of exploring his smash hit Hamilton, and now it’s available to you for free.

     It’s an extension of the program that has served more than 160,000 students across the country since 2016. Students study primary source documents from the Founding Era, learn how Miranda used them to create Hamilton, and create their own performances based on the same material.

     Free through August.



Uptown coloring pages


     Here’s a way to make your next outing with the kids a little different.

     Print out a family scavenger hunt booklet and take a walk through Fort Tryon Park’s historic estate remnants.

     Find, draw, and map natural marvels and constructed treasures while you explore the path network that leads from Billings Lawn to the Palisades Overlook.

     The booklet is provided by the Fort Tryon Park Trust.

Fort Tryon Park Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger Hunt 2020 Fort Tryon Park.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [5.6 MB]

     Drawing a building is easy when you break it up into shapes.

     See for yourself with some help from the Center For Architecture, which created an instructional lesson and video on how to draw Manhattan’s oldest house, the Morris-Jumel Mansion. The site of a famous meeting held by George Washington, the Jumel Terrace landmark is said to be haunted.

Draw the Morris-Junel Mansion
Adobe Acrobat document [386.3 KB]

     Need something new for the kids to do?

     The Hispanic Society of America offers several coloring pages, each based on one of the most famous paintings in the museum’s collection. Recognize the Duchess of Alba? Download the pdf below.

      For adults, the society has posted several lectures here.

¿Necesita algo nuevo para que hagan los niños?
      La Hispanic Society of America ofrece varias páginas para colorear, cada una basada en una de las pinturas más famosas de la colección del museo. ¿Reconoces a la duquesa de Alba? Descargue el pdf a continuación.
       Para los adultos, la sociedad ha publicado varias conferencias aquí.

Color Your Day with Hispanic Society Kids
Adobe Acrobat document [717.7 KB]

     Have someone at home who needs a bigger stage?

     The Pied Piper Children’s Theatre offers a 35-minute musical theater introductory class to take kids through a typical vocal warm-up, stretches, dance warm-up, and even some funny tongue twisters and other facial and speech exercises. The troupe’s artistic director, Colleen Hawks-Pierce, leads, with guest appearances by Uptown teens.

     Free. Watch it here.



     The NYPL offers free online homework help from one-on-one tutors, daily from 2 to 11 p.m. through a partnership with Brainfuse.
     Available in English and Spanish, for early elementary through high school students, in core subject areas. Explore more from the Library's academic resources 24/7, including
its wide array of online learning aids for all ages and teaching resources for educators.

     The library also offers activities for your kids to do at home.



     With miles of trails and the best vistas in Manhattan, Uptown is lucky to have amazing parks. Getting out in one can help you relax and excercise at the same time.

     Now that Margaret Corbin Drive in closed to vehicles in Fort Tryon Park, getting out while keeping your social distance is even easier.

     Just be sure to follow these common-sense guidelines:

  • Go out in small groups no bigger than three, making sure that everyone remains at least 6 feet from each other at all times. 
  • If you go out at night, stay near the street, and go with a friend — and maintain that distance of at least 6 feet. 
  • Bike or stroll  on the Greenway along the Hudson or Harlem Rivers. 
  • Do not engage in team sports or other group games. 
  • Use playgrounds at your own risk. Although playground bathrooms remain open and are disinfected daily, the playground equipment is not disinfected. Avoid using playground equipment, but you do, take wipes to sanitize anything you or your child may touch and play on equipment only if you can remain at least 6 feet apart from anyone not in your household.
  • Parks are now closing at 10 every night.

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Events on hiatus

The Hub nights are canceled until April 20


     Get your teens involved in a program promoting health & wellness, education, employment readiness, and creativity.

     Once you’ve signed them up, your kids can attend Uptown Hub programs at the Y. For those 14–24 years old who live, work, or go to school in Washington Heights or Inwood.

     Not sure if it’s for your family? Visit during program hours to learn more, or to contact Karina with questions at or (212) 569-6200, x239.

     Free. Monday through Thursday nights through June from 6 to 9 at the YM & YWHA in Fort George at 54 Nagle Avenue. As of March 13, the Hub remains open.



The New York Public Library is closed until further notice


     Give your pre-schooler a chance to learn and play with neighborhood friends.

     Toddlers from 18 months to 3 years old and their parents or caregivers can enjoy interactive stories, action songs, fingerplays and spending time with other Uptown toddlers.

     Free. Wednesday mornings at 10:30 at the Fort Washington branch of the public library in Fort George on 179th Street at St. Nicholas Avenue.


     Does your child love books? Enjoy creative writing? Have an unlimited imagination?

     Uptown Stories offers workshops led by professional writers and master teachers. Students ages 8 to 16 learn the craft of writing, engage their imaginations and join an exciting, supportive community.

     Workshops meet for ten weeks and conclude with a celebratory reading open to family and friends. A list is here.

     Pay-what-you-can tuition. On various days and times at Our Saviour’s Atonement Lutheran Church in Hudson Heights on Bennett Avenue at 189th Street.



The New York Public Library is closed until further notice

     Pre-school kids and their parents or caregivers can enjoy interactive stories, action songs, fingerplays and spend time with other growing kids in the neighborhood at the branch library.

     This month, the children’s musican Ian Hayes leads the group with seasonal favorites.

     For children 3 to 5 years old.

     Free. Story time Friday morning at 10:30 at the Fort Washington branch of the public library in Fort George on 179th Street at St. Nicholas Avenue.



     Row New York’s Row Program is a nine-month-long adventure that teaches students in 7th through 12th grades to be dynamic rowers, entrepreneurs, and community members.

     The idea is to use the skills that rowing instills—discipline and teamwork—to build strength and confidence. The curriculum pairs rowing with an entrepreneurship program which will culminate in participants’ developing an actionable business plan, which they will present in a Shark Tank-style competition.

     Row New York will deliver a rigorous and engaging learning experience, both from a fitness as well as an academic perspective. It meets three times per week for a total of nine hours: two days of rowing and workshops/speakers (an hour and a half each), and one full day of entrepreneurship training (3 hours).

     The program resumed in September and meets three days a week through June. More information is available from Denise Aquino at



     Take your kids to a community book shop to hear their favorite stories read out loud by experienced, trained readers. Just like their teachers in the classroom, but with new faces and new friends.

     Free. Saturday mornings at 11 at the Word Up Community Book Shop/Librería Comunitaria, in Lower WaHi on Amsterdam Avenue at 165th Street.



     Want to make your own animated film?

     Dr. Rurik Nackerud will teach you the basics of animation using open source software suitable for Windows or Macs to create your very own animated video short. 

     Laptop provided. Appropriate for 3rd to 6th grade students.

     The event was postponed in March and will be rescheduled.



     Literacy Inc. holds its regular bilingual story time, with a crafts activity relating to the book. Co-sponsored by the New York Public Library.

     Free. On a Wednesday afternoon at 3 at the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum in Inwood on Broadway at 204th Street.



The races have been canceled


     Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you can’t be active. New York Road Runners hosts a weekly race open to all participants. The finish line is open until the last person is done, on a course of about 2.5 miles.  

     Arrive 15 minutes before the start of the run and to leave their valuables at home – bag check is not provided. No need to do anything before the run, just show up. Open to all ages, experience levels, walkers, strollers, dogs.

     Free. Saturday mornings at 9 in Inwood Hill Park at the intersection of Isham Streat and Seaman Avenue.



The event is canceled

     Join your neighbors for the monthly day of fitness, health and fun in the park for the whole family to enjoy.

     Presented by the Park in collaboration with Columbia/New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

     Free. Saturday morning, April 19, at 11 in the Highbridge Recreation Center in Lower WaHi on Amsterdam Avenue near 173rd Street. Monthly on the third Saturday.



The saunter is postponed until the autumn

     See New York City like never before in the Shorewalker’s epic urban hike, The Great Saunter, covering 32 miles of beautiful waterfront and more than 20 parks along Manhattan’s shorelines.

     Enjoy fabulous skyline views and natural landscapes rarely appreciated from within the city, all the while raising awareness to protect our parks, maintaining the Westside promenades, restoring the Eastside Greenway, redeveloping the Harlem River, and connecting the Greenway into a continuous path around the world’s most fascinating island.

     Join the more than 1500 hikers for this amazing journey you will always remember.

     Free. A Saturday morning in the autumn at 7 at Fraunces Tavern in Lower Manhattan; lunch will be on Jeffrey’s Hook (for landlubbers, that’s the Little Red Lighthouse) if you’re sauntering and in Inwood Hill Park near the flagpole if you’re speedy.



    The screening has been postponed


     The Lord of the Rings trilogy tells the story of greed hope and determination in Middle Earth.

     Released from 2001 through 2003, the series will be played on a giant 50-foot screen.

     Saturday, May 16, wth details to be released later at the United Palace Theatre in Lower WaHi on Broadway at 175th Street.



     Voting for the winners of the New York Quarantine Film Festival is now open!
     The entries were shot in town by locals. Categories include comedy, horror, drama, and kids. The films were shot on phones and last no longer than three minutes. And they had to be made while staying safe in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

     Screening — and voting — is free.

     Monday, June 1, through Saturday, June 13. Find out more here.



The bookstore is closed until further notice


     The Washington Heights Music Fest in collaboration with Washington Heights Artists’ Movement hosts a monthly open mic for artists, poets, singers, writers and performers. Refreshments will be provided.

     All ages are welcome, so the acts should be appropriate for everyone. Hosted by Lethy Liriano.

     $10. Friday evening, June 5, starting at 5:30 at the Word Up Community Book Shop in Lower WaHi on Amsterdam Avenue at 165th Street. On the first Friday of the month.



     The seventh annual Hudson Cliffs School Film Festival is about to raise the curtain.

     This time it’s in your living room: the festival will be streamed on its web site.

     There’s no cost to watch but the school would appreciate your donation. Last year the festial raised more than $5,600.

     Free. Friday evening, June 12, at 6.



     For now, ride in very small groups and keep your distance. Stay alert, slow down, and communicate with each other from a distance about how to proceed. With gyms and rec centers closing, there may be new users on the trails.


    Do some digging, then get in some riding with your BMX buds.

      Meet up for a day of work and play in the woods and learn what it takes to build, maintain, and ride the most progressive urban bike park in America, with the help of the New York City Mountain Bike Association.

     There will be light trail maintenance tasks for all ages in the morning. Every volunteer receives a free 20-minute clinic and, in the afternoon, a guided ride throughout the trails from 12:30 to 3. Even better, bikes and helmets are provided, so you don’t need your own.  

     Uptown is the home of the city's first mountain biking course, a 3 miles of trails of varying difficulty and a free-ride trail that includes drops, steeps, and berms. The park also features a dirt jump park and pump track, making it a good place to develop different skills at all levels.

     Updates on trail work posted are on the New York chapter’s web site.

     Free. Saturday, June 13, from 10 to 3 in Fort George at the BMX trailhead in Highbridge Park, on Fort George Avenue, just northwest of the Buxzek Ballfield. Monthly on the second Saturday.



The mansion is closed

    Life for kids was different before the American Revolution, and there’s a hands-on way they can find out what it was like. This month kids can learn how the mansion was built.

     It’s part of the monthly family program in the museum’s Colonial Kitchen.

     Saturday, June 13, at noon at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Lower WaHi on Jumel Terrace. Monthly on the second Saturday.



     Get off the island and on the water!

     Row New York offers a great way for kids with less than a year of rowing experience to sharpen their skills and build their fitness.

     This camp is beginner-friendly. Rowers will receive individual attention in a low-pressure environment that will aim to turn weaknesses into strengths.

     Rowers ages 12–18 will learn in wide, stable barges before graduating into racing shells, and they will build strength and stamina by cross-training, doing rowing drills, and rowing in steady-state and race-pace.

     $800 for one week, $1,500 for both weeks. Monday through Friday mornings, June 15 through 26, from 9 to noon at the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse on the Harlem River in Swindler’s Cove.



Opening night has been rescheduled


     The creator of Hamilton and the director of Crazy Rich Asians invite you to the event of the summer, where the streets are made of music and little dreams become big … In the Heights.

     Lights up on Washington Heights. The scent of a cafecito caliente hangs in the air just outside the 181st Street subway stop in Fort George, where a kaleidoscope of dreams rallies a vibrant and tight-knit community. At the intersection of it all is the likeable, magnetic bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines, and sings about a better life.

     Filmed in WaHi, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s kinetic tale debuts on Friday, June 18, 2021, at screens across town.



     Ready to get back in the dirt?

     Wear long pants and sturdy shoes and join the Friends Committee of the Fort Tryon Park Trust at its monthly beautification days.

     Activities will include some or all of the following: painting, planting preparations, planting, weeding, and more. Tools and gloves will be provided.

     Groups of more than five must RSVP by sending an email to by June 15. Volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

     Free. Sunday, June 28, from 10 to 2 at the Heather Garden at the Hudson Heights entrance to Fort Tryon Park. Also on July 19 and August 16.



     The annual Drums Along the Hudson began in 2002 as a traditional Pow Wow to celebrate Native American heritage and culture, and also to commemorate the Lenape people who first inhabited Inwood Hill Park, or Shorakapok (“edge of the water”).

     The event features dancers and drummers from around the world, combining Native American heritage, culture and art with the diversity of New York City. Activities include a Tree of Peace planting, international cuisine, Native American storytelling, a Pow Wow and crafts.
     The event has attracted a growing audience, numbering from 400 in the first year to over 8,000 in recent years.
     Free. Sunday
, June 28, from 11 to 6 in Inwood Hill Park at Indian Road and 218th Street.



     Experienced rowers can build on their abilities and compete in their first competition.

     Row New York’s extended summer camp is geared for those with over a year of rowing experience to get faster and stronger. Skills in this camp range from new varsity (over one year of experience) to advanced varsity (seven years’ experience).

     This camp is limited to grades 9–12.

     Racing is on the schedule for those who want to compete. Lineups are up to each coach’s discretion and based on rowers’ attendance, competency, and competitiveness. Races, with an extra fee, are The Philly Youth Regatta (Philadelphia) and Overpeck Summer Sprints (in Leonia).

     $3,600. Monday through Friday mornings, June 29 through August 14, from 6:30 to 8:30 at the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse on the Harlem River in Swinder’s Cove.



     Why spend the summer on land when you’re surrounded by water?

     These Row New York’s camps are perfect for complete beginners and novices, with their focus on the fundamentals of the sport and build a foundation for rowing in the future.

     Rowers ages 12–18 will learn everything including the stroke, parts of the boat, rowing terms, safety procedures, and proper equipment handling and they will learn in wide, stable barges before graduating to racing shells. Rowers will build strength and stamina by cross-training, doing rowing drills, and rowing in steady-state and race-pace.

     $2,000. Monday through Friday mornings, July 6 through 24, from 9 to noon at the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse on the Harlem River in Swindler’s Cove. Also from July 27 through August 14.



     City Sail is a week-long sailing summer camp for kids to escape the heat and noise of the city and enjoy the Hudson River while sailing on it. The camp is operated by Hudson River Community Sailing.

     Students learn new skills, make friends, build sailing skills, and have fun on the water. Students work in small groups no larger than five per boat.

     For kids in 5th through 10th grades (9–16 years old).  No boating or swimming experience is required.

     Participants may sign up for one or more of the four weekly sessions.

     $506 per week through February 15; then $595 per week (additional weeks, $550). Mondays through Fridays, July 20 through August 14, at the Dyckman Street Marina in Inwood.



     Columbia Athletics hosts Little Lions Camp, a kid-centered, fun-based day camp that keeps kids physically and creatively active.

     Programming features an ever changing combination of classic PE games, backyard favorites, sports, arts and crafts, and special surprises to keep kids happy, active, and engaged.

     A highly trained, eclectic staff includes physical education teachers, athletes, camp veterans, creative types and child care specialists who ensures that games are always changing and that counselors can tailor programming to fit children’s needs and likes. Registration required.

     Two sessions: Mondays through Fridays, August 3 through 7 and 10 through 14 at the Baker Athletic Complex on 218th Street in Inwood.



The Medieval Festival is the most famous event in the Heights, drawing tens of thousands of visitors to the neighborhood.

     Lords, ladies, knights and commoners bring to life the customs and spirit of the middle ages, transforming a slice of Upper Manhattan into a medieval market town decorated with bright banners and processional flags. Visitors are greeted by period music, dance, magic, and minstrels, as well as jugglers and jesters. The day concludes with a joust among four knights on horseback.

     Free. A Sunday in late September from 11:30 to 6 in Fort Tryon Park.   

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