Tuesday : Staycations in the City

By Time Out NY Kids 2012
With a June heat wave already behind us, July is gearing up to be equally warm; luckily, it turns out that it's also a hot month for free festivals and family-friendly events. With free summer activities taking place on Governors Island, Prospect Park, Coney Island, Central Park and plenty of spots in between, families can explore the city and enjoy lively summer happenings at the same time, all without spending a penny. Looking for more free summer activities?

Hudson River Park’s Science on the River

The folks at Hudson River Park know that the best way to interest young New Yorkers in conservation is to make it fun. This fest packs a punch with over ten educational stations manned by environmental scientists and participating organizations including the New York Aquarium and Cornell’s Lost Ladybug Project. The park’s environmental education staff will host family-friendly catch-and-release fishing, plankton collection and observation, and a workshop on water-quality sampling. Kids can observe displays of live fish straight from the Hudson River, as well as falcons and hawks. Other options include constructing art out of recycled materials with the Children’s Museum of the Arts staff, watching a presentation on the use of scientific tools and doing mini science experiments. Sat July 7 11am–4pm. Hudson River Park at Pier 84. Free. All ages.

Summer Stage Kids Family Day in Central Park

This event boasts the most jam-packed lineup of this year’s SummerStage Family Days; plus, it’s headlined by kindie group Justin Robers & the Not Ready for Naptime Players, who will sing about everything from snow days to trick-or-treating. The multicultural Illstyle & Peace Productions will perform hip-hop and tap dance, followed by a Chinese lion dance from the New York Chinese Cultural Center. The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus sends families off with a show that combines their unique style with traditional circus tricks. Sun July 8 3–6pm. Central Park, Rumsey Playfield. Free. Ages 3 and up.

Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance presents the 5th Annual City of Water Day Festival
There’s no better place to celebrate water than on Governors Island, where H2O is all around. The long list of activities, many focused on waterfront issues, includes free guided boat tours (a fireboat tour of the harbor on the John J. Harvey is just one of the options), a bike scavenger hunt and two critter touch tanks where little ones can get to know water-dwelling creatures such as sea stars, whelks and hermit crabs. Kids can use a fishing rod to catch laminated cutouts of local fishies, learn to tie different knots at the North River Sail & Power Squadron station and line up for free kayaking. Sat July 14 10am–4pm. Governors Island. Free. Ages 4 to 16

Tamimiami Pixilation Project

Mark di Suvero’s sculpture Tamimiami, located in Governors Island’s Nolan Park, serves as the inspiration for this pixilation workshop. After viewing the sculpture, kids will learn how to animate their bodies and choreograph movements with the guidance of teaching artists from the Children’s Museum of the Arts and Storm King Art Center. Sat July 14 11am–3pm. Governors Island. Free. Ages 6 and up

Come Out & Play Field Day 2012

Far more exciting than your child’s average gym class, this field day features original games for both kids and adults, centered on the theme of time travel. Kids can stomp on balloons in Balloon War, play pinball in Medieval Madness, and have a water fight using water blasters and sponges in Robots vs. Zombies. Sat July 14 noon–6pm. Governors Island. Free. Ages 6 to 11

Midsummer Night Swing Kids Dance!

Rodney Lopez, who was featured in the documentary Mad Hot Ballroom, gives kids a basic lesson in swing, merengue and tango. Sat July 14 3–4:30pm. Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center. Free. Ages 6 to 10

Mow-Down Garden Hoedown Weekend

Celebrate the beauty and utility of the grass family at this hoedown: On Saturday and Sunday, families can weave a hat, mat or basket out of multicolored grasses (10am–1pm) and view Wave Hill’s ornamental grasses on a garden tour (1, 3pm). Bluegrass band Spirit Family Reunion will play on Saturday (noon, 1:30pm), while Sunday features live music from Astrograss (noon, 1:30pm). Sat July 14–Sun July 15 9am–5:30pm. Wave Hill. Free. All ages

Bastille Day on 60th Street

Vive la France! New York’s main Bastille Day fête features can-can dancers, a wine-and-cheese tasting for those 21+, and all the pastries your children’s hearts desire. Sample a macaron and take a complimentary 30-minute French lesson before ushering the kids over to the children’s pétanque contest and the FIAF Kids’ Corner, where they can get their faces painted and enjoy storytelling sessions. Sun July 15 noon–5pm. 60th St between Fifth and Madison Aves (bastilledayny.com). Free. All ages

Lincoln Center Out of Doors Family Day

This family day sets the tone with Tangle, in which children help create an art installation by unraveling balls of elastic around 25 polls of varying height. The fun continues with performances by the Chinese American Arts Council Acrobatic Group and the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. Sat July 28 at 11am. Lincoln Center, Josie Robertson Plaza. Free. Ages 4 to 10

17th Annual Rockaway Beach Sandcastle Contest
Kids can channel their architectural leanings at this sandcastle contest, where Urban Park Rangers will distribute prizes to builders in each age category. Sun July 29 noon–2pm. Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk. Free. All ages

SummerStage Kids Family Day in Queens

Randolph Matthews will do more than delight families with his soul and African music: He’ll also help teach a vocal percussion workshop in which families use recycled materials, storytelling and Matthews’ rhythms to create music of their own. There’s also magician LuckyBob, who can juggle hats, balance objects on his face and even read minds, all while keeping kids laughing. Families can amp up their dance moves at a free hip-hop class in the park, then try them out at the Little Club Heads dance party. Sun July 29 4–7pm. Springfield Park. Free. Ages 3 and up

SOURCE: http://timeoutnewyorkkids.com/things-to-do/248239/free-summer-activities-for-new-york-city-families-july-2012?cmpid=SAT070712