New York is one of the best cities to live. With a variety of things to do, there’s never a shortage of places to visit to fill your day. As your little one gets older, there will be more activities the two of you will have opportunities to participate in together. But you don’t have to wait that long. In fact, there is a list of things you can do before they are one that will be just as exciting and necessary for their development. 15 of them to be exact.
Here are 15 things you must do in New York City with your little one before they turn the big 1-year-old.
Visit the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is the go-to place for kids, especially babies. Open spaces and large items like toys are perfect for the stage in their development when they’re still trying to make sense of what they are looking at. The museum is free for children under 12 months and is accessible by public transportation if you don’t want to drive through the city. They also offer small workshops for hands-on creative work like collage making, coloring and other hand and motor skill activities perfect for your little one
Participate In A Mom Jogs Event
Every year there is a stroller race in New York City. Attending this event is a great way to meet other moms with little ones. It is also another reason to get out of the house and get a workout. Typically, these jogging events are held in large parks around the city like Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and Manhattan’s Central Park. A great place to find events like this is via websites like MeetUp.com where parents just like you meet up and plan events.
Gaze Up at Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station isn’t only a place people go to catch trains to travel from state to state. The architecture is also worth gazing at, more specifically their ceiling. With celestial inspirations painted in such detail, you’ll find it hard to take your eyes off it. It’s so amazing, people travel from different countries just to see it in person. The mural will keep your little one’s attention for longer than most toys. Though according to experts, the ceiling mural is incorrect in the position of the planets painted, it still is something to look at and really your little one won’t be able to tell the flaw.
Ride The Carousel At Brooklyn’s Jane’s Carousel
Besides being one of the best places in Brooklyn, riding Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of the best things to do with a baby under one for several reasons. The music that is played at Jane’s Carousel is very kid-friendly. The objects in motion help with shaping your little one’s perception around them. Being in motion will keep them busy. Since they are too young to ride on one of the horses just yet, it would be helpful to take a seat in one of the carousel carriages to enjoy the ride. Anytime during the day is a good time to visit the carousel but it is especially beautiful at night.
Visit Your Local Library’s Storytime
Your local library is an excellent place to visit with your little one. There’s always a host of activities to do and visiting is a great opportunity to meet moms and dads like you. Visit the major library branches if you can. In Brooklyn, Grand Army Plaza’s Central Library often has story time events that draw moms and babies by the droves. The Manhattan branch near Bryant Park is another location perfect for enjoying the best of story time around likeminded parents.
Go To A Mommy and Me Matinee
So, you’ve had your little one and you’re missing being able to go out and do the little things like catch a movie. You still can. Matinees are a great way to get out with your little one and go to a place that makes you feel like your old self. Baby matinees are offered across the city. In Brooklyn, near Brooklyn Heights, United Artists’ Theater offers baby matinees before noon. Baby matinees are perfect because it offers an opportunity to get out of the house and you can enjoy a movie without worrying about your little one bothering others with their crying. That’s what babies do. And since there will be others around, you’ll be in good company.
Take A Mommy and Me Yoga Class
Fitness is important, especially after you’ve had your little one. Besides the benefit of shedding the baby weight, staying active is great for keeping you energized to keep up with your growing little one. Yoga is a practice that is low impact and doubles as an exercise for the mind and body. There are a few mommy and me yoga classes around the city you can take. Bring your mat, unroll and lay your little one down while you stretch into relaxing poses. During the warmer months, many yoga studios offer yoga in the park classes. Be sure to do your research before attending one of these classes so you are prepared.
Visit The Beach
When summer arrives, going to the beach must be at the top of your to-do list. Exposing your little one to the beauty that is the beach is perfect for their development. The texture of the sand, that rush of the water. They’ll form memories that will surely last a lifetime. There has also been research that going to the beach will be perfect for you, mom. Listening to the ocean has been proven to help calm you and get those creative juices flowing. There are many popular beaches around New York. Some of our favorites are Jacob Riis Beach and Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk.
Have A Picnic In Central Park
This is another one of those activities that give you an opportunity to be outdoors with your little one. Sunlight for your baby at this age is very important. Vitamin D can be given in supplemental form but getting it the old-fashioned way is always the way to go. Picnics in the park also allow you to be around others, and being around others is needed for your little one too. It helps with developing their social skills. Central Park is an excellent location for your picnic. It’s scenic, accessible by public transportation and there is a lot to do once you are done picnicking.
Take A Swimming Class
Despite the misconception that babies are born knowing how to swim, they don’t. They do have certain reflexes they maintain before the age of one that makes them look like pros because they flail their arms and legs in a way a knowledgeable swimmer can. Because they have these reflexes, this is a great time to get them familiar with what swimming is all about. Swimming classes with your little one will teach them the rules of swimming at an early age and will give you an opportunity to bond with your little one. There are several swimming classes offered in NYC. You can start your search at your local YMCA which offers parent and baby swimming classes.
Cross The Brooklyn Bridge
The perfect activity to show your little one the city of their birth and a way to get your legs moving. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic structures in New York City. Many New Yorkers who have lived in NYC all their lives have yet to walk across it. Strap your little one to their stroller and stroll across the bridge to show them the beautiful scenery that is New York. At this age, they are forming their perception of the world around them. This will also give you a chance to help them name the things they are seeing which help with language development.
Take A Tour Of New York City
There’s so much to see in New York City and many more places to visit than you might think. Pretend to be a tourist for the day and do touristy things. Ride the double-decker bus and see Times Square and other New York landmarks from a view. This is great for your little one who is still trying to make sense of the world around them. Large buildings and the like is something they are naturally interested in right now.
Get Their Portrait Drawn In Times Square
While you are touring New York, get your portrait drawn by a street artist. This makes an excellent keepsake for your little one to find when they are of age. And it will make for a good story. Be sure to have the artist date your portrait for easy reference and if the portrait looks like something that can deteriorate as time passes, be sure to protect it by keeping it covered and away from oils or harsh lights. Times Square and Union Square are two places that are great for having this done.
Take A Dance Class
Clapping their hands and learning how to balance themselves on their little legs are activities they’ll be doing before one. It’s a good idea to give them a reason to do these things while having fun. Taking a dance class is a great way to get them into the groove and interacting with other babies like themselves. There are several mommy and me dance classes you can find on MeetUp.com. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan has a dance room in the basement of their building, where they have dance classes with skilled professionals and with kid-friendly music.
Build Something at SPARK by Brooklyn Children’s Museum
SPARK offers an opportunity for your little one to play and not realize they’re learning at the same time which is excellent at this age. SPARK offers workshops and open play where babies build with soft big blocks, build pretend bridges and train tracks, and color and paste to their heart’s content. Located in Brooklyn just below the Manhattan bridge, SPARK is a great place to go to, to keep your little one busy.
At this age, exploring and seeing the world is something that has your little one’s interest. Take them to one of these 15 places or take them to all. You’ll be surprised at how much fun the two of you will have and it will be a learning experience for the both of you, too.
You can also find family and kid-friendly events around town on the Mommybites Events Board.
Samantha Greaves is a freelance writer based out of New York. When she isn’t contributing to parenting websites like Mommybites, she can be found chasing behind her 5-year old or sitting in front of her laptop with a cup of coffee at arm’s reach.