Sometimes it takes a kid to bring out the kid in you. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my 10 year old nephew Kiner and learning to look at the world through the curious eyes of a child. We laugh maniacally, like an evil villain would, yet we are polite and courteous to our neighbors (the good guy always wins!) We ask questions about the world we observe around us (like budding scientists) and we make race car noises while we drive (because fast cars are very cool). We genuinely have a good time exploring the city together – hand-in-hand – learning, laughing and acculturating to the ventures of our day.
I’ve dubbed this week “Culture week with Kiner” as we track down novel, cultural and exciting things to do and the best part is that it’s all FREE 🙂
Monday – We started our week by visiting the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza. Kiner opened up his own account and received his very own library card. The librarian was friendly and explained that he can take 99 books out at a time! Ninety-nine books! We were astonished and eager to delve right in. After the library we sprawled outside the Atlantic Barclays Center and walked all through Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, popping in and out of independent toy and book stores.
Tuesday – The Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers free admission all day on Tuesdays. We started our morning at the library again (because reading is fundamental to exercising our brain) and then walked over to the Garden to enjoy an afternoon of botany and bliss. Kiner referred to the Garden as a “museum for plants” which was cute.
Wednesday – The Bronx Zoo offers a pay-as-you-wish admission on Wednesdays. Suggested donations are $15 per person, however you can contribute whatever you are able to. This makes it fun and affordable for all kinds of families to visit. It’s $34 per adult and $24 per child on any other day of the week. (We are doing this activity next week. Pictures to follow!)
Kiner and I visited the Greenspace @ President Street, a local community garden in Park Slope. There, he learned that people care for public spaces in order to beautify a neighborhood and create a green space where people can come together to read a book, have a conversation, enjoy a meal outdoors and generally be surrounded by peaceful plants. We also learned that they have free movie nights for kids — we will definitely be back for that.
Thursday – Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is a beautiful experience. I try to do this every chance I get. I never take for granted that I live in the greatest city in the world and I love to take it all in from these breathtaking views.
Friday – We explored the Brooklyn Public Library Bay Ridge Branch. They offer story time for kids, free activities and computer stations. The second floor is dedicated to children under the age of 12. The librarians were friendly, knowledgeable and helped us pick out our books for next week. Kiner is currently reading 4 books per week and we have a lengthy discussion about what he is learning with every tale. It’s a great way to exercise a child’s imagination, get their creative juices flowing and allow them to experience a different world — all from the comforts of an air-conditioned, local and well lit library 🙂
Saturday – The Brooklyn Museum is free the first Saturday of every month, after 5:00pm. Target sponsors art, entertainment and music at the museum called Target First Saturdays. We missed the party (that happened last week) but it won’t stop us from visiting anyhow.
Culture week was fun and filled with adventures and stories. We also visited parks, playgrounds, community gardens, new restaurants sampling cuisines from around the world and did a whole lot of walking through different neighborhoods.
When I asked Kiner if he enjoyed himself this week, he went on and on about everything new he experienced, lived and learned. He then smiled and gave me two thumbs up. My lesson learned? Sometimes, it’s the simplest activities that provide the most lasting forms of joy 🙂