On hot and humid summer days in the city, indoor play sounds like a pretty nice idea. Enjoy the air conditioning and chat with other parents as your kids have fun climbing, jumping, sliding, and interacting with other children their age. This summer, we’re all about the drop-in, indoor play spaces. Drop-in caters to the busy and ever-changing summer schedules. When daycare unexpectedly closes or there’s a free week between two camp sessions, drop-in play allows you to simply show up and not commit to more than one class. Your kids can get crafty one day with an art project and jump into open play on the indoor jungle gym the next day. If you planned to go to a class, but your little one needs a nap instead, no worries: just stop by for another class on a different day! The flexibility of drop-in classes is convenient for your unpredictable schedule and beneficial for the variety of types of classes that your kids get to engage in.
We also love these drop-in, indoor play spaces because most of them are geared towards infants and toddlers. While there is plenty for kids to do in NYC, there are few places that are designated just for your real little ones. Indoor play spaces are wonderful places for infants and toddlers to play with kids their own age in a safe environment. Many of these spaces also become communities and resources for parents. They’re hotspots for NYC parents to meet while their kids play. We’ve got the best drop-in, indoor play spaces in Manhattan for your kids to beat the heat, play with other kids, and learn. Browse the drop-in classes offered and head over to one of these indoor play spaces!
Looking for indoor play spaces in Brooklyn? Check out our guide to the top places for indoor play in Greenpoint and Williamsburg!
As an incredibly popular drop-in play area for kids, City Treehouse encourages you to make a reservation beforehand to guarantee a spot. The play area is made up of six different spots: Water Table, Treehouse, Main Studio, Soft Play Studio, Play Room, and Art Room. There is an abundance of things to do here that will surely keep your kids entertained for hours. The multi-tiered Water Table teaches kids all about the flow of water, and the Treehouse provides a sense of adventure as kids climb up and explore what’s inside. The Main Room is a great place for kids to practice their tumbling skills, and the Soft Play Studio is perfect for little ones to learn how to walk in a safe environment, complete with a ball pit. Play dress-up games and puzzles in the Play Room and get creative in the Art Room – you can even “cook” food in the play kitchen! 10 am-5 pm, 129 A West 20th Street, Chelsea.
NY Kids Club
As New York City’s premier children’s enrichment space, NY Kids Club supports creativity and innovation in their play space. Kids will enjoy supervised, unstructured playtime in an exciting environment. Little ones will challenge themselves as they climb, think, create, and play. Watch your kids develop new friendships as they interact with other kids during this time of open play. NY Kids Club is all over Manhattan, so check out the various locations to find the one closest to you!
Chelsea Piers Toddler Gym
Chelsea Piers Toddler Gym, designed for children ages 6 months to 4 years, is the perfect indoor play space for little ones. Toddlers can crawl, roll, jump, and explore as they make their way through this exciting jungle gym. We love play areas such as this one that are made specifically for infants and toddlers because it provides them with a safe environment to play without intrusion from bigger kids. The colorful and soft equipment is also a plus! 9:30 am-12 pm, 1-5 pm. 1 session is $12, but Chelsea Piers offers deals if you plan to visit multiple times. 62 Chelsea Piers, Chelsea.
Union Square Play
Union Square Play offers a variety of classes for drop-in learning and play. Open Play for 0 months to 5 years old is at 9 am on Monday to Friday and 1 pm on Saturday to Sunday. Another class offered is Ramblin’ Dan, a children’s musician who crafts an engaging class that focuses on self-expression and confidence. Ramblin’ Dan is split into different age categories so that infants and toddlers can be surrounded by kids their age. MO’JAM The Musical Experiment is a collaboration between Jamie and Mo’ Mommies to lead your little ones on a musical adventure with thoughtful instruments and repurposed objects. One last class we’ll mention is BeBox Kids Studio, where creativity, self-expression, and imagination are fostered. As kids explore different mediums of art, they might get messy, so come in old clothes! 36 East 18th St., Union Square, Manhattan.
14th Street Y
Single session, drop-in classes at the 14th Street Y are designed for children ages 2 months to 5 years, and range from $20 to $35. Discounts are available if you are planning on taking a few drop-in classes through a punch card system. 14th Street Y offers a ton of classes, but some of our favorites are Baby and Me Yoga for 6 weeks to pre-crawlers, Messy Play, where toddlers use their creativity through texture, color, water, bubbles, sand paint, and more, for 18 to 36 months, and Sing Along for 2 months to 3 years. Not only does 14th Street Y offer drop-in classes for your little ones, but they also have classes geared towards parents, such as Postpartum Pilates with Baby, which gets new mom’s abdominal muscles working again, with a focus on rediscovering waistlines and restoring posture. As moms work out, babies interact and play! 344 East 14th St., East Village, Manhattan.
Chelsea Piers Field House Rock-N-Roll Sessions
Although reservations are not required, they are recommended, as these Rock-N-Roll Drop-In Sessions fill up quickly. Designed for ages 5 to 16, Rock-N-Roll Sessions are the perfect drop-in play for your older kids. Expert instructors lead your children through 45 minutes of gymnastics and 45 minutes of rock climbing. Oh, and did we mention that there’s a giant foam pit? On a hot summer day, kids will love this indoor alternative. Even after the school year begins in September, these active sessions are a great way for kids to release some of that built up energy. Times vary, but the sessions typically run 4 to 5:30 pm on Monday to Friday during the summer and 12:30 to 2 pm on Saturday. The cost is $32 per session. 62 Chelsea Piers, Chelsea, Manhattan.
Offering drop-in classes in three locations in both Midtown and Lower Manhattan, Baby Moves is the place to be this summer and into the school year! Classes take place at Perry School in Hudson River Park in West Village, Battery Park City, and Washington Square Park. Single classes are $25, but many are donation-based, in which a minimum of $15 is recommended. Classes include My Little Art Garden, Magic of Reading, Little Athletes, Musical Toolbox, All 4 on the Floor, Brain Development, and many more! There is also Gym Open Play with an obstacle course for little ones. Classes are each designed for specific ages, so be sure to check the calendar. Also check the specific locations for your classes!
Kids At Work
Kids At Work offers an all drop-in schedule, so you can truly take advantage of the various forms of play and enrichment that the learning center provides. One of our favorite classes is Toddle Around, for children ages 1 to 2.5 years. The class begins with an art activity and then moves to a musical session. Toddle Around sparks creativity and imagination, as kids are free to move around and play together. The Toddle Around curriculum varies day to day, so your kids will always have a new experience. Other classes include Jam Sessions for babies ages 0-12 months, Creation Station Dance “Tots and Tutus” for ages 18 months to 2.5 years, Creation Station Dance Pre-Ballet/Tap for ages 2 to 3 years, Mess It Up, an art class that combines sensory play and science concepts, for ages 18 months to 2.5 years, and so many more. Don’t miss out on yoga, cooking, soccer, and open play! 123 West 20th St., Chelsea, Manhattan.
Gymboree Play and Music
While Gymboree Play and Music doesn’t exactly have a drop-in schedule, as you can’t pay by the class, this play space is great for little ones, and there are various pricing options. You do not have to commit to a series of the same classes, and you can attend whichever classes that you want, which fits in with the drop-in style. However, you do have to purchase a package, either an unlimited membership, one class a week, or a 10 class pack. One class a week for the first introductory month is $59! Classes include Open Gym, Runners, Crawlers, Walkers, Family Play & Learn, Family Art, Music, Explorers, and many more, each divided into different age categories. 100 Reade St., Tribeca, Manhattan.
Play & Beyond
Play & Beyond offers Wonders of Play Classes and Joys of Movement Classes. Wonders of Play Classes incorporate play, music, art, and games for an exciting playtime with little ones. Joys of Movement Classes focus on physical activity for babies and toddlers that encourage self-esteem, body awareness, independence, and social interaction. These indoor play, drop-in classes are a great way to immerse your children into an enrichment experience through playtime! Wonders of Play Classes are offered for ages 6 to 14 months and ages 12 months to 2 years, while Joys of Movement Classes are currently offered for ages 2 to 3 years. 227 East 24th St., Kips Bay, Manhattan.
The Art Farm NYC
The Art Farm NYC offers several drop-in classes and open play drop-in for the little ones. Open play is Monday-Thursday, 12:30-3:30 pm, ages 6 months and up, and $20 per child. Fun Fridays are two hours of baking, arts & crafts, singing, and more! Fun Fridays take place 9:30-11:30 am for ages 18 months and up. Drop-ins are $45. Other drop-in opportunities include cooking classes and mornings on the farm. There are discounts offered if you are planning on attending more than one drop-in class. 431 East 91st St., Upper East Side, Manhattan.
TLB Music Playroom
The drop-in, indoor play space at TLB Music Playroom is a safe and exciting environment for kids to play and explore. The playroom features a clubhouse, slide for toddlers, slide for big kids, play kitchen, rock climbing mountain, soft blocks, books for beginners, ride-on cars, train table, mini cars, puzzles, and more! The Playroom is designed for kids ages 6 months to 6 years. Everything in The Playroom is cleaned with natural, non-toxic cleaners, all throughout the day. Drop-in play is open 7 days a week: Monday 9:30 am-5 pm (arrive no later than 4 pm), Tuesday- Friday 12:30 pm-5 pm (arrive no later than 4 pm), and Saturday-Sunday 9:30 am-1:30 pm (arrive no later than 12:30 pm). Single visit for non-members is $25, but there are discounts if you plan on coming more than once or decide to become a member. 266 East 78th St., Upper East Side, Manhattan.
Play Space at The Ballet Club
The Play Space at The Ballet Club offers a wonderful indoor play space for kids. The Play Space features puppet theater, play kitchen, pop-up tent, doll house, book library, stuffed toys, instruments, and more! The hours are Monday-Friday, 10 am-3 pm, September 12 through June 1. The Play Space is closed during the summer: June, July, and August. Therefore, do not show up for open play until the school year kicks off again. But during the school year, this play area is great for little ones to play and release some of that energy built up from school. The cost is $15 per hour per child. 328 East 61st St., Upper East Side, Manhattan.
The Craft Studio
The Craft Studio is a creative and innovative, indoor play space for kids. Let your kid’s imagination run wild with walk-in crafting, including clay play, fabric crafts, plaster/ceramic, watercolor, terra cotta flower pots, edible crafts, and so much more. Not only is The Craft Studio a perfect destination as the summer sun gets hotter, but don’t forget to visit during the school year. When your kids come home with a school project to work on, but you don’t want to deal with the mess of paint, cutting and gluing, and coloring, bring the project over to The Craft Studio and work on it there. Group play-dates are also available upon reservation, in which The Craft Studio designs custom craft projects for your group of five or more. The other walk-in option is the Toy Shop. A magical place full of unique and exciting toys, this is the place to shop to keep your kids interested and engaged. In addition to walk-ins, The Craft Studio offers daily classes, camps, workshops, after school programs, private after school programs, parties, and more. Walk-in prices start at $18.95 for arts and crafts. 1657 3rd Avenue, Upper East Side/ 174 Duane St, Tribeca.