New York is one of the most famous cities in the world, known for its high-flying business tycoons, exclusive shops, and extravagant Broadway performances. New York is also the land of opportunity for individuals looking for a career and starting a business.
Undeniably, New York is a lot of things, and being family-friendly is one. New York is an excellent place to raise children because it’s surrounded by culture and diversity, allowing kids to learn different experiences. But do you know that New York also offers countless outdoor activities for nature-loving kids?
If you’re traveling or moving to New York soon, make sure to try out these outdoor activities with your kids:
1. Run Through Corn Mazes
New York has plenty of corn mazes that you and your kids will surely enjoy. You can visit websites like Mazeplay to locate the nearest corn maze from your location in New York.
Going through a corn maze provides many educational benefits for children of all ages. For one, corn mazes can enhance your child’s problem-solving skills as they have to figure out several clues to make it through the end of the maze. Some corn mazes will require your kids to answer riddles, while others will ask them to complete jigsaw puzzles.
Allowing your kids to wander in a corn maze could also improve their spatial awareness and directional skills, enhance their memory, and spark creativity. Most importantly, corn mazes promote family bonding as parents and children have to work together to survive the maze.
2. Visit Botanical Gardens
If your kids are curious about plants and how each variety differs in appearance and maintenance, visiting botanical gardens should be included in your to-do list. New York houses some of the world’s best botanical gardens, so you won’t have any problems finding one that suits your schedule and budget, and your kids’ preferred activities.
Exposing your children to plants can teach them understanding as they’ll learn about cause and effect. For example, when you enroll your kids in gardening classes, they’ll know that their plants can die if they don’t water them regularly or if they allow weeds to grow around them.
Here are some of the best botanical gardens the entire family can visit around New York:
- New York Botanical Garden: Aside from being able to view breathtaking gardens, the New York Botanical Garden also offers different trails perfect for kids. You and your kids can hike on the Thain Family Forest or Wetland Trail and enjoy bright-colored flowers throughout the entire year.
For a more interactive experience, register your kids in the Edible Academy. With a state-of-the-art educational facility, this program aims to teach children (and adults how to cultivate fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and even cook them at an on-site kitchen.
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Your kids will never run out of activities to do in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. They can marvel at the garden’s cherry esplanade, access the largest rose collection in North America, and explore special gardens and paths.
You can enroll them in the Seeds Classes (for children ages four to six years old), so they can learn how to care for garden plots or City Farmers (for children in the first to eighth grades) to educate them on basic horticulture skills.
- Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens: With over 11 acres of landscape, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is one of the best botanical gardens in New York. This local attraction has several greenhouses where kids can learn a lot about a wide variety of plants and flowers.
As for outdoor activities, kids can have several options to choose from in the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. For starters, they can feed several families of koi fish with food provided by the garden. They can also enroll in on-site art classes and draw inspiration from different flowers for their paintings and drawings.
3. Play In Kid-friendly Parks
Outdoor activities play an essential role in your kids’ development. Encouraging your kids to play outdoors may improve their motor skills, muscle strength, and overall health. Playing outdoors is also a great way for your kids to have a sense of independence. The list of health benefits goes on, which is why it’s important to regularly take them to parks—and New York has plenty.
There are many kid-friendly parks in New York, and most of these are free. This will surely encourage you to spend more time with your kids in different parks around the city!
Listed below are some of the best kid-friendly parks in New York:
- Brooklyn Bridge Park: If you’re looking for a park that allows your kids to play to their heart’s delight, Brooklyn Bridge Park is an excellent choice. The playground in this park is like no other—your kids can enjoy playing around in the Sand Village (an enormous sandbox with several metal slides), Water Lab (a stone-strewn area where kids can play with water), and Swing Valley (a dedicated area for Tarzan-style ropes).
The Brooklyn Bridge Park also has soccer fields, grassy spaces, bike paths, and hidden trails. With the number of areas this park has to offer, your kids will surely have a great time here!
- Governors Island: Governor’s Island has 172-acre park open from May to October and is an excellent place for kids to learn how to bike as there are rentals nearby. If your kids aren’t interested in biking, they can spend more time at the park’s playground and glide down on the longest slide in New York.
- Central Park: Central Park has been a cultural icon in New York—and with the activities it offers, it’s easy to see why. Your kids can watch and feed different animals in the zoo, learn more about flora and fauna found in the park through the Belvedere Castle’s Henry Luce Nature Observatory, and ride on rowboats. Central Park has 21 playgrounds, so your kids will never run out of areas to play.
4. Take A Dip At Swimming Holes
Swimming has several health benefits to children. Whenever your kids swim, their cardiovascular, respiratory health improves. Swimming also helps kids develop endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.
When done with peers, swimming may also serve as an avenue for your children to improve their social skills and create friendships with children who have similar interests. Most importantly, swimming may also help your kids manage and reduce stress.
Undeniably, swimming is a fun and healthy activity, so make it a habit to take your kids to various swimming holes around New York. You’ll have several options to choose from, namely:
- Canopus Lake: Canopus lake is a 100-acre lake with a large beach and designated picnic areas. If your kids want to take a rest from swimming, they can hide on rowboats (rentals are available) or take on hiking trails.
- Lake Taghkanic: Lake Taghkanic is a favourite among many locals and tourists because it features a sandy beach perfect for swimming. There are also several playgrounds, picnic areas, and kayak rentals in the area.
- Lake Tiorati: Lake Tiorati is a popular swimming spot in New York that gets crowded during weekend holidays. Because it has several acres of sandbars, your kids will also have fun making sandcastles in this lake!
5. Take On Hiking Trails
If you’re looking for easy yet effective ways of introducing your kids to nature, encourage them to take on hiking trails. This outdoor activity is a great form of physical exercise, helps kids build confidence, and teaches them how to appreciate nature.
Hiking can be educational as kids can see, smell, hear, and feel things they never knew existed. This activity is also a great opportunity for you to teach them about some basic survival skills, and the importance of preserving the environment.
New York has several kid-friendly hiking trails, such as:
- Harriman State Park: As the second-largest park in the city, the Harriman State Park offers different hiking trails for families. The trail leading to Pine Meadow Lake is one of the most popular as it’s ideal for kids.
- Inwood Hill Park: If you want your kids to bask in breathtaking views while hiking, visit the Inwood Hill Park as soon as possible. Because it’s located at the tip of Manhattan, your kids will have access to a 360-degree view of the city as they’re hiking the steep trail.
- Bear Mountain State Park: The trail in the Bear Mountain State Park is ideal for older kids or those who already have experienced taking on hiking adventures in the past. After conquering 40 miles of trails, you and your children can enjoy stunning views on top of the mountainous terrain.
Create An Itinerary For Your Kids ASAP
New York City has a lot to offer to nature-loving kids. Regardless of whether your children want a laidback experience or something more physically engaging, there will always be something to do when in The Big Apple.
So, what are you waiting for? Start creating an itinerary with the outdoor activities mentioned in this article. When you allow your kids to enjoy what New York has to offer, it won’t be long before they start to love the city!