Best Places to Take the Kids During the Mid-Winter Break

By Sonja Sharp on February 20, 2012 12:19pm 

Kermit the Frog appears at the Whatnot Workshop at FAO Schwarz on November 11, 2008. Muppet fans can make their own stop-motion animation as part of the Jim Henson exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image.
Kermit the Frog appears at the Whatnot Workshop at FAO Schwarz on November 11, 2008. Muppet fans can make their own stop-motion animation as part of the Jim Henson exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image.
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Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Muppets Studio

MANHATTAN — School's out and the weather's still a little chilly for a lot of outdoor time with the kids, but there's still plenty to do across the city this vacation week with free and cheap activities around the city.

Parents and kids can test their presidential knowledge at the New York Historical Society with the Family Presidential History Quiz at the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side Monday at 2 p.m. Local historians can also learn about North America's oldest free slave community, Sandy Ground, at the Staten Island Children's Museum.  Admission is free. 

Aspiring astronauts can rub elbows with "Star Wars" characters, test their outer space strength, and build their own balloon rockets at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in Midtown Monday. Check the Kids Week calendar for a complete list of activities today and all week long. 

Did you know this week is also National Engineers Week? Take your tiny tinkerer to Engineering Day at the New York Hall of Science in Corona, Queens, for an afternoon of busy building, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday.  The more materials-minded can explore alternative energy at the Brooklyn Children's Museum's Light It Up exhibit, or marvel at the museum's popular Secrets of Circles exhibit during extended hours, from 9:30 a.m. to 5p.m. Monday.

More the mystery type? Kids can learn CSI sleuthing at the New York City Police Museum's Junior Police Academy, with fingerprinting and invisible ink. The academy continues from 1:30 to 3 p.m. daily all week long. 

For the artistically inclined, there's "The Muppets Go to the Movies." Catch the puppet classic, part of Jim Henson's Fantastic World at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, open Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For a cool $5, aspiring animators can even make their own stop-motion short. 

Prefer paint to puppets? The Bronx Children's Museum's "River on the Go" exhibit will be visiting the Bronx Terminal Market from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday. Kids can get their faces painted, snack on free popcorn and add some artistic flourish to a painting and collage project inspired by the Bronx River. 

Smaller crafters should try a WEE Arts drop-in class at the Children's Museum of the Arts, 10:45 a.m. to  12 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. 

Despite the frosty weather, there's no shortage of family-friendly nature to explore. The Brooklyn Botanic Graden kicks off its Discovery Week today, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Admission is free, and kids can take home their own seedling. Or explore Inwood Hill Park with the Rangers, free all week through the city's Parks Department.  

Finally, for parents still mourning the loss of NoLita's Park Here indoor play space, there's The Chinatown YMCA's 3,200 square foot indoor playground is open all week from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m daily. 

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