New York City, that hub of arts, commerce and traffic, isn't generally considered a toddler-friendly environment. But next to all the grit and glamour, New York does have many toddler-friendly activities. It's even easy to find inside activities for toddlers so you can avoid those harsh New York City winters.
Indoor Play Areas
Wiggles and Giggles (wigglesgigglesplayhouse.com) is an Upper West Side indoor play space for newborns to 5-year-olds that has an imaginary play area, climbing structure and toy store. In Midtown, there's Scandinavia House (scandinaviahouse.org), with a traditional playroom of Legos and puppets and a storybook-themed imagination space. Downtown families can visit the Chelsea Piers' Little Athletes Exploration Center (chelseapiers.com), which has a soft climbing area for younger toddlers and a big jungle gym. Toddlers in Brooklyn can visit Klubz4Kidz (klub4kidz.com), a huge play area with a snack bar, dedicated toddler space and a four story climbing structure.
If you're looking for a more structured toddler activity, New York City is filled with classes for toddlers. Both Gymboree (gymboreeclasses.com) and Kidville (kidville.com) have locations throughout the city. They offer classes for active toddlers that incorporate movement, music and art. Another option is City Treehouse (citytreehouse.com), which has music classes, dance classes and language classes in Hebrew, Mandarin, French and Spanish. Parents or caregivers attend all of the classes with their toddlers.
Art Farm New York City
The Art Farm (theartfarms.org) is an indoor petting zoo on the Upper East Side. During drop-ins or weekly classes, toddlers will get to interact with hamsters, bunnies, turtles, guinea pigs and geckos. They will also participate in arts and crafts and music activities. Parents can also sign up toddlers 2 years and older for cooking classes at The Art Farm.
In New York City, museums for everyone are everywhere. Even toddlers. The Children's Museum of Manhattan (cmom.org), for example, has an entire 4,000-square-foot floor dedicated to kids younger than age 4, with costumes and foam blocks and a fire truck. The Children's Museum of the Arts (cmany.org) has just been redesigned and includes the Wondrous Exploring Experience, a place for children 5 years of age and younger to create all kinds of art.
New York Public Library
For a free toddler activity, you can't beat the New York Public Library (nypl.org). With locations throughout all five boroughs, there's one near you. Most of these have weekly toddler story times, such as those at the Morningside Heights branch, the New Amsterdam branch and the Ottendorfer branch. Toddler story times usually include stories, songs and creative movement. Parents must be present and should be comfortable singing along.