Are you wondering how you’re going to keep your kids occupied and amused when they’re home from school this summer? Luckily we live in such a great city with loads of things to choose from. Here are five free programs and events available for your family this summer.
The Goodwill Beacon Programs are primarily located in intermediate and middle schools throughout NYC. Beacon 141 in Astoria is open to any child in NYC and is FREE! Registration for the free summer camp program will be held on Saturday, May 7th at 10am. Registration will be held at I.S. 141. This summer the camp will host summer camp at P.S. 2 in East Elmhurst. (I.S. 141 will be closed for the summer due to construction) Summer camp is open to children ages 6-14 only and as you can imagine space is limited. Visit www.beacon141.org for more info
Urban Park Rangers Adventure Program
This program is designed for families and kids ages 8 and up. You can explore nature by going fishing, canoeing, hiking, even learn how to use a compass. Whether you have experience with the outdoors or not, the program encourages you to see the nature around you even within the city limits. The best part: it’s free on Sundays in May through November from 10am-1:30pm. Registration is on a first come, first served basis. The program is offered at Alley Pond Park, and as an added bonus, Alley Pond has an adventure course as well, with rope and obstacle courses, and even a zip line. Call 718-217-4685 for more information.
Fresh Air Fund
The Fresh Air Fund provides free summer experiences for children living in the five boroughs of New York City who meet our income guidelines. To find out more visit www.freshair.org
Although not camps, here are some great ideas for free ways to spend your summer
Queens Library Summer Reading Program
The Queens Library hosts free programs all summer long centering around reading. Click here for more info
Walk – Up Paddling at Hallets Cove
The Long Island City Community Boathouse is offering free kayaking on Sundays through the summer. No reservations are necessary, but paddles are offered on a first come, first served basis. Everyone interested in participating needs to be able to swim, sign a liability waiver, and must wear a life jacket. Hallets Cove is located next to Socrates Sculpture Park on Vernon Blvd. and 31st Street in Astoria. In cases of bad weather, there will be cancellations, so be sure to call them first to make sure it’s still happening. 718-228-9214
Not your average playground, Imagination Playgrounds are interactive, allowing kids to design their own way to play, with giant foam blocks, sand, and water, among other things. These parks are free, and there are trained staff onsite at all times while the parks are open. These parks will be launching this summer across the city, with two locations in Queens, at Bayswater Playground – Beach Channel Drive and Norton Avenue, and Lower Highland Playground – Jamaica Avenue and Elton Street.
Did you know the New York City Parks and Recreation Department has actual skate parks across all five boroughs for skaters, skateboarders, and BMX bikers? There are four located in Queens. All your child needs in order to use the skate park is the proper safety equipment, like a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads, as well as a signed liability waiver.
Astoria Skate Park (in Astoria Park) 718-626-8620
Flushing Meadows Corona Skate Park (in Flushing Meadows Park, near the Queens Theatre in the Park, at Astral Fountain) 718-760-6565
Forest Park Skate Park (near Greenhouse Basketball courts on Woodhaven Blvd., close to Myrtle Avenue) 718-235-0815
Rockaway Skate Park (off of the boardwalk on Shore Front Parkway and 91st Street) 718-318-4000
Queens has many exciting things coming up this summer. Be sure to check Queens Mamas events regularly to make sure you don’t miss anything!