Activities to Engage Your Children This Summer – 08/03/2023

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Activities to Engage Your Children This Summer

Dear New Yorkers,

I truly have the best job in the world, because I get to interact with children and families all year round, including over the summer. The students and families I’ve met this past month all say they’re having a great time keeping the learning going as they take full advantage of all our great city has to offer. With more than a month of summer vacation to go, I wanted to share some activities to get kids involved in the marvelous diorama of literature, culture, science, history, and the arts that is New York City.

Summer Reading
NYC Reads is our exciting, new initiative to make all students strong, confident readers. There’s no better way to support your children’s literacy skills than to encourage them to keep reading throughout the summer. I’m thrilled that all New York City public school students have access to free digital books through the reading app Sora. You can find suggested reading lists for every grade level at the bottom of the discover Sora homepage and wonderful summer reading programs via New York City’s three public library systems.

Summer Meals
Spread the word! Every summer, young people ages 18 and under are invited to enjoy free, nutritious breakfast and lunch meals throughout the five boroughs via our Summer Meals program.  Children do not have to register to receive free meals, and IDs and documentation are not required. The Summer Meals program runs until September 1. Breakfast is served daily from 8:00 to 9:15 a.m., and lunch is served daily from 11:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Visit the Summer Meals page on our website for more information, including daily menus, locations, and where you can find the Summer Meals food trucks.

More Summer Resources
The Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Public Library are offering free, fun, educational events for children and families all summer long. Explore movie screenings, board games, and dance classes in Brooklyn; and STEAM activities, arts and crafts, and robot design classes in Manhattan. In Queens, kids can play tech-based games to hone their math and science skills, produce their own magazines, and participate in creative dance and singalongs. There’s even a bilingual Mandarin story time and reading with toddlers for adults.

Families can also:

Please visit the New York Public Library events page for dates, times, and more information.

Parks & Events
Enjoy fun, informative, and healthy activities at an area park! Visit NYC Parks to find an event that matches your interests and location.

Financial Empowerment
This summer, build a strong financial future for your family with the help of innovative financial education programs. The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) provides tools and resources to help New Yorkers achieve their financial goals.

  • NYC Financial Empowerment Centers can help you manage your finances with free, one-on-one professional financial counseling. Counselors can help create a budget, establish or improve credit, open a bank account, and deal with debt, including student loans. Visit to make an appointment.
  • NYC Free Tax Prep program provides trusted, multilingual tax preparation for thousands of individuals, families, and the self-employed. For more information about eligibility requirements and how to file, visit

Cooling Centers
New York City opens cooling centers when the National Weather Service issues a heat advisory with a forecasted heat index of 95 degrees or higher for two or more days or 100 degrees for any period. Cooling centers are located in air-conditioned facilities that offer people relief from the heat.

Sites where cooling centers are located include:

  • Libraries
  • Community centers
  • Senior centers
  • NYCHA facilities

You should use a cooling center during a heat wave if you have no access to a cool environment, and particularly if you are at risk for heat-related illness.

For more information, contact a facility directly or search for a cooling center here.

For more updates on NYC Public Schools, please follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube at @NYCschools.

As a former teacher and principal, I know that activities that make learning fun are some of the best ways to open children’s minds, engage them in their communities, and show them that their education continues outside the classroom. As Chancellor, seeing children’s faces light up with a sense of wonder and curiosity reminds me of the inspirational power of our city…and of the brilliant promise of our children.

Soaring high,

David C. Banks

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