Affordable summer activities for kids and families - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Affordable summer activities for kids and families

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It's time for summer vacation, and it isn't too late to findaffordable activities to keep your kids busy. From yoga to lacrosse, here is alook at some activities that will keep your kids on their game all summer long.

The Socroc/Healthy Habits summer program is a confidence builderfor this little guy. For $400, it combines 45 minutes of soccer, yoga andmartial arts with 30 minutes of nutrition counseling.

"Our main goal is to make the class fun and be as positive aspossible," said James Christie, who runs the 8-week program. 

Positive vibes also flow at the Lil Yogis summer yoga program in CentralPark, where classes meet every day. Mom Cassey Morales approves.

"I think it's a huge physical benefit for their little coresthat they use to sit up straight in school, or to speak clearly," Moralessaid. "I think it's great physical exercise and it's tons of fun."

But if yoga isn't your thing, how about some free fishing with thekids? The Harlem Meer in central park is stocked with a wide variety of fish,ripe for the taking. Bamboo fishing poles are available at the Charles A. DanaDiscovery Center through October 5.

If your kids enjoy sports that are even more active, the BrooklynLacrosse Club offers free clinics on Sunday mornings at the picturesque BrooklynBridge Park. All kids and teens in grades K-12 are welcome.


Best Summer Activities for kids in NYC

Lil Yogi's NYC

From June to August, send your kids to outdoor yoga classes. They meet at a variety of locations around Central Park in the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side. They have options for single classes, 5 class pack, or 10 class pack, as well as weekly, monthly, and summer unlimited passes.

How to register: Visit, email, or call (646) 574-0370 to find the Summer 2013 schedule and what classes work best for you.

Catch-and-Release Fishing in Central Park (FREE!)

The Harlem Meer, located at the northeast corner of the park, is probably the best spot to fish with kids in the city (despite recent unsubstantiated fishzilla sightings). The lake is stocked with a wide variety of fish, including golden shiner, largemouth bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, bluegill sunfish, carp and chain pickerel. Contact for more information.

How to register: Completely free and up to you. Bamboo fishing poles are available free of charge (you must leave a valid picture I.D.) through Saturday, October 5 at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, located on the north shore of the Harlem Meer at 110th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenue.


SocRoc/Healthy Habits Summer Program

This program combines old school soccer classes with nutrition info for kids. It includes 45 minutes of fitness (soccer, yoga and martial arts) and 30 minutes of nutrition information. It is an 8 week program priced at 400 dollars.

How to register: Visit the website or contact James Christie at (917) 703-0409 or


Brooklyn Lacrosse (FREE!)

On Sunday mornings in July and August, this nonprofit offers free lacrosse clinics and open play sessions at Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park for kids in pre-K to 12th grade. Contact for more information.

How to register: Families must register in advance online and fill out a U.S. Lacrosse membership form and a Code of Conduct form.


Summer Play Streets Program (FREE!) 



From Monday, July 8 through Friday, August 23 9am to 5pm, kids can drop by designated streets, schools and playgrounds for a variety of fun. Older kids play games like stickball, volleyball, basketball, skully, and double Dutch, while the younger kids have  jump rope, hopscotch and relay races. There's also chess, checkers, mancala, and board games for some mental exercise. For more information, contact Richard Guevera at


How to register: To find a Summer Play Street near you, call the Police Athletic League at 212-477-9450 ext. 389.


Central Park Sandbox Programs (FREE!)

Bring your children to the park for some free entertainment! The Sandbox Programs take place from mid-July to mid-August! Featuring dance, music and stories, these Sandbox Programs happen in different playgrounds all over Central Park on weekdays at 11am and 2pm. These events are designed for children aged 3 to 8 years, accompanied by adults.

How to register: No advance registration required. Visit the website for a full schedule and list of locations.

New York Junior Tennis & Learning Community Tennis Program Community Tennis Program (FREE!)

NYJTL offers free programs in all five boroughs for children ages 5 to 18 throughout the spring, summer, and fall. All skill levels are welcome and loaner rackets are available.

How to register: Since registration is ongoing, children can join anytime. Just head to the location of your choice. Registration must be done in person and your child must be present. Call (347) 417-8156 for more info. Visit the website for a list of locations and schedule.


CityParks Tennis

CityParks Tennis offers instruction for children ages 5 to 16 of all skill levels, from beginner lessons to tournaments and leagues. This summer, lessons will be held in 37 parks from Monday, July 1-Friday, August 9. Start dates and schedule vary by park.

How to register: Once you pick a location, parents can sign up their kids for the six-week session at the first lesson, no advance registration required. According to the staff, no one is ever turned away.

Is your kid an aspiring pro? Then consider the Junior Tennis Academy, a free tournament-training program held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. 2013 tryouts will be held on Saturday, May 18 and 50 players ages 8 to 16 will snag coveted spots.


Big Apple Games

Big Apple Games takes place indoors but it's worth knowing about for high-schoolers: The Public Schools Athletic League sponsors this program, which runs Monday, July 8-Thursday, August 1. From Monday-Thursday, 1-5pm and 6-9pm, students in ninth to 12th grades can hit the Afternoon & Evening Teen Recreational Centers for wrestling, volleyball, basketball, softball, floor hockey, team handball, gymnastics, ultimate Frisbee, arts and crafts, and swimming lessons. The Junior High School Program for students in fourth to eighth grades is open 9am-3pm on weekdays, and offers a variety of activities including arts and crafts, game room fun and sports. All sites are staffed with licensed teachers and school safety officers. Contact for more information.

How to register: Visit the website for a full schedule and list of locations. Registration is ongoing at the site on a daily basis.


Summer Swimming Lessons from the NYC Parks and Recreation Department

The NYC Department of Parks & Recreation offers free summer swimming lessons for children as young as 18 months through adulthood at public pools. There are three separate summer sessions: Tuesday, July 9-Tuesday, July 23; Thursday, July 25-Thursday, August 8; and Monday, August 12-Friday, August 23. In addition, children ages 6 to 18 who can swim 50 meters in reasonably good form can join free swim teams.


How to register: The Parks Department will hold an online lottery beginning on Friday, June 14 at 4am. The session I lottery ends on Friday, June 28; the session II lottery ends on Monday, July 15 and the session III lottery ends on August 5, all at midnight. Visit the Parks Departments' Aquatics page beginning Friday, June 14 to try to snag a spot. Read our post about free swim lessons for more information.


Free Summer Kids Concerts at Madison Square Park (FREE!)

Head to Madison Square Park for a series of free outdoor concerts for kids! The Madison Square Park Conservancy is proud to present the 11th season of music for the whole family.


How to register: All concerts free. Visit the website for a full schedule.



Best Free NYC Swimming Pools for Toddlers and Kids



Hamilton Fish Recreation Center – Lower East Side
Pitt and Houston Streets
Considered by many to be the best public pool in the borough, Hamilton Fish has certain attributes that make it a standout. There are two pools: an Olympic-size one for adults and big kids (56 inches and taller), and a wading pool for younger children. These types of kiddie pools are hard to find in the city. Plus, these watering holes happen to be quite clean with cool water and attentive lifeguards. There's also a nice little park nearby with sprinklers, a play area, and places to picnic and relax in the shade.



McCarren Park Pool – Greenpoint
Lorimer Street and Driggs Avenue
This pool shuttered in 1984 and remained closed until the summer of 2005, when it was transformed into a concert venue. Well, the Brooklyn hipsters are weeping now because this summer the pool will once again be filled with water. The pool's $50 million makeover includes the restoration of the historic bathhouse building and entry arch, plus a brand-new recreation center.


The Bronx

The Floating Pool Lady – Hunts Point
Barretto Point Park, Tiffany Street and Viele Avenue
Getting to this pool is a serious schlep. (You're really going to want to drive. It's about a mile walk from the nearest subway or you need to take a bus.) However, once there, you'll find a beautifully landscaped riverside park, with amazing views of Manhattan and various islands (including Rikers!), a pier to promenade, a cute playground and rolling hills for picnicking. And then there's the pool, which is located on a barge that's docked right on the East River.


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