Free Activities

Lunar New Year Celebrations in Fairfield County

February is a busy month with President's Day, Valentine's Day, and Black History Month, but one sometimes overlooked holiday is the Lunar New Year. There are, of course, world famous events in NYC including the Chinatown Parade and Festival on February 14th (a great excuse to trek into the city), but there are many celebrations all over Connecticut continuing throughout the month as we welcome the Year of the Monkey!

Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebrations for LA Kids

In New Orleans, it's Mardi Gras. In Venice, Italy, it's Carnevale. In Austria they call it Fasching, and in England Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, or just plain old Fat Tuesday. Whatever the name, it's a party; and with its traditions of masks, music, and bling, this party deserves to be shared with kids. We've collected LA's most family-friendly Mardi Gras celebrations below, and they're all FREE. Let the good times roll!

Winter Gardens: Get Out of the Cold at Indoor NYC Plazas

If you feel like you've already exhausted your favorite NYC museum or indoor play space, why not try a nearby public atrium or garden? New York City is full of many semi-secret indoor public spaces, as well as not-so-secret gardens that are perfect for staving off cabin fever this winter with an antsy kid.

Bonus: The atriums are FREE to wander into and many offer seating, snacks, Wi-Fi and art. The gardens are so steamy that we practically feel as if we booked that tropical getaway after all. This is why we love New York, right?

10 Chinese Lunar New Year Festivals for Families around Los Angeles

Time to say Gung Ha Fat Choy to our kids, wish them a happy Year of the Monkey, and bring them to a Chinese New Year festival! LA families have several opportunities to greet the lunar new year, from low-key neighborhood events to Chinatown's century old grand scale festival. One thing they all have in common is beautiful imagery, so bring a camera and get ready for the Year of the Monkey at one of the family-friendly events below.

Top 10 Benefits of the IDNYC Card for Families

It's no secret that living in New York City and raising kids here isn't cheap. So one of my favorite finds of the last year is the IDNYCprogram, which, among other things, offers FREE and reduced memberships at 40 cultural institutions across the city.

According to the mayor's office, more than 160,000 total memberships were handed out to residents last year when the program kicked off. Well, here's more good news for New Yorkers as 2016 begins: The IDNYC program won't be a one-year wonder.

The city added additional cultural institutions to the program at the end of last year, too. But the IDNYC card offers more than cultural benefits: Families can take advantage of discounts on prescription drugs, fitness centers, movies and sporting events. It even acts as a public library card and can help you open an account at a bank or credit union.

I spent the last year, with three kids in tow, running around to each of these spots to claim our free memberships, and now I'm happy to share my secrets. Read on for the top 10 reasons to sign up for your FREE card, including discounted admission to some of the city's best children's museums and zoos.

Free Skiing for Kids in New York, New Jersey, Vermont

Let's face facts: No matter how exhilarating skiing and snowboarding are, they are also among the most expensive activities in which a family can participate—especially if your kids take a single run and spend the rest of the day sipping cocoa.

Thankfully, many nearby state ski associations, and even a local resort, offer free lift tickets to grade-schoolers, including those in New York City. Of course, there are hurdles to clear to get those benefits—kids need to be the appropriate age, apply online and, in some cases, maintain a desired GPA. But for avid skiers and riders or those who merely want to try out the sports, these programs can save you plenty of cash when skiing with the kids.

These programs do not require residency so children from NYC are eligible for all of them. Read on for more information on how to ski for free in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Check our Ski and Snow Sports Guide for more fun on local hills and mountains.

Kid-friendly Volunteer Opportunities for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

Are you hankering for a day off? (Okay, rhetorical question.) How about a day on? That's right, a day on: a day in service to your neighborhood and community. We agree, it's an appealing idea. And the good news is that not only is the third Monday of January a federal holiday with parades (and more parades) honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.; it's also a recognized day of service, a day to honor Dr. King's teachings and good work by volunteering. Opportunities abound, so why not consider joining the effort? The kids are invited, too.

Top 35 Free Indoor Activities for a NJ Winter

Baby, it’s cold outside! The winter months can be tough and the kiddos are probably going stir-crazy because there are only so many craft projects they can do, right? Well, we’re here to help with 35 fabulous activities to keep the family busy all winter long. With everything from story times to music events to fun with animals, kids will have a blast all season long. And go ahead and supplement your idea list with our Indoor Activities: 25 Ways to Spend a Rainy Day in NJ.


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